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Best 3D Modeling Software for Mac: 3D Printing with Mac OS

Not all 3D modeling software is available for every operating system. That’s why we compiled a list of the most popular 3D design programs for Mac users. Read on to discover the top 20!

The list of the most used 3D design software for Mac (see below) is based upon our list of the 25 most popular 3D modeling programs. However, we excluded software that is not available or not suitable for the Mac OS. This leaves us with the ultimate 3D modeling list for Macintosh users.

The Ranking: 3D Modeling Software for Mac Users


The two most used 3D modeling software programs for Macintosh devices are freeware program Blender (score: 80) and freemium software SketchUp (75). Blender is known for its enormous design freedom and its endless number of tools and functions – however, it’s also known for its steep learning curve. SketchUp, on the other hand, is said to be rather beginner-friendly and great for architectural and geometric objects. However, it’s not suited for creating organic structures.

UNIGINE Benchmarks. UNIGINE benchmarks can be effectively used to determine the stability of a. Blender is certainly one of the best programs to use on a Mac. It is free, open-source and provides 3D modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, motion tracking, video editing, and game creation. All of these great tools can be used to create animated movies, visual effects but also great 3D.

Next come three programs from the Autodesk family: its professional high-end programs AutoCAD (59) and Maya (59) as well as its beginner-friendly free-to-use online app Tinkercad (51) all score well with Mac users. ZBrush (49), a professional 3D sculpting software, comes in 6th. Its free light version, named Sculptris (19), made it to rank 15.

After ZBrush, Cinema 4D (43), 123D Design (42), OpenSCAD (38), and Rhinoceros (36) complete the list of the top 10.

Screenshot of SketchUp, a popular 3D modeling software with Mac users.

The Popularity Score for 3D Modeling Programs

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We calculated the popularity of a 3D modeling software for Mac based on their ‘popularity score’ in the 3D printing community. The popularity score consists of mentions and fans on social media, page authority, forum mentions, video mentions, 3D printing database mentions, and Google results. This score is especially helpful if you’re looking for a modeling software for Mac that is widely used for 3D printing, so you can be assured of an online community to brainstorm with and help you out if you get stuck.

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3D Design Programs that Won’t Run on Apple’s Mac

Most 3D design programs are available for Windows and Mac users alike. However, some 3D design software that is not available for Mac OS includes Solidworks (62), 3DS Max (55), and Inventor (55). While these are not many, they still represent quite popular 3D modeling software packages. In our original list which includes all platforms, these programs ranked 3rd, 6th, and 7th among the most popular.

Some good news to end with: there are more and more options for Mac users. For example, Rhino 5 is available for Mac. Since many 3D design apps run online now (browser-based), programs like Tinkercad and 3DTin are also accessible from any device. With Cheetah3D there’s also a 3D design software which is exclusively available for Mac OS.

Are you new to the world of 3D modeling and 3D printing? Make sure to avoid these 5 common mistakes in order to create stunning designs. Do you already know how to create printable 3D files? Then simply upload them to our website, choose from more than 100 materials and finishes, and let us take care of printing your object.

If that is a Windows app with no OS X equivalent, then you need to run Windows.


RunWindows on Intel Macs


There are presently several alternatives for running Windows on Intel Macs. Here is a list of the primary options in the market place.


  1. Apple Boot Camp software. Boot Camp enables you to boot the computer into OS X or Windows. (Free because it comes with OS X. You must own a legitimate Windows Full Retail Installer.)
  2. Parallels Desktop for Mac. Parallels is a software virtualization that enables running Windows concurrently with OS X.
  3. VM Fusion.VM Fusion is software virtualization that enables running Windows concurrently with OS X.
  4. CrossOver. Enables running many Windows applications without having to install Windows. The Windows applications can run concurrently with OS X.
  5. VirtualBox. Open Source freeware virtual machine such as VM Fusion and Parallels that was developed by Solaris. (Free because it comes with OS X. You must own a legitimate Windows Full Retail Installer.)
  6. Veertu. A new entry from Open Source utilizing native virtualization. It’s a fast and secure way to run VMs on the Mac.
  7. Veertu Desktop is supported on Mac models of early/mid-2011 or later running Yosemite 10.10 or later.


Parallels, VM Fusion, VirtualBox, and Veertu can also run other operating systems such as Linux, Unix, OS/2, Solaris, etc. There are performance differences between dual-boot systems and virtualization. The latter tend to be a little slower (not much) and do not provide the video performance of the dual-boot system. A 2015 comparison of Parallels, VM Fusion, and Virtual Box is found at 2015 VM Benchmarks: Parallels 11 vs. Fusion 8 vs. VirtualBox 5. A review of these and other competitors is found in PCMag: The Best Virtualization Software of 2017. Boot Camp is available with Lion and later.


You must also have an internal optical drive for installing Windows. Windows cannot be installed from an external optical drive. Windows must be installed on an internal drive if you use Boot Camp. A license must be purchased for all commercial software and operating system products. Open Source software is free.


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Some Boot Camp Articles from Apple Support.


Boot Camp Support.

Boot Camp 5.1: Frequently Asked Questions.

How to Install Windows using Boot Camp.

Boot Camp Control Panel Users Guide.

Use Windows 10 on your Mac with Boot Camp.

Use Windows 8.1 on your Mac with Boot Camp.

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Install Windows 7 and earlier on your Mac using Boot Camp.

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Aug 13, 2017 10:43 PM