I'm currently working on a project to make a metal part. I have designed a 2D plan and I was wondering if there was a software out there that would enable me to transform my 2D plan into a 3D model. This way I could have a better look to what I've designed.

I know Autocad has this capability, Alias I guess, and Solidworks will do the job but I'm looking for something simple and why not a free software that will be very simple to turn my 2D in 3D.

  • 1
    Literally every 3D programm fits that description. One thing you need to do to narrow it down is look into file handling. 2D is not a format. So find out what output formats you have and then look for the 3D software that can handle it.
    – KMSTR
    Jun 9, 2013 at 8:11
  • Thanks KMSTR for your answer. I think I missled you by saying 2D, I rather meant a flat plan, industrial drawing. I would like to find a software easy to use so that within it I can reproduce the plan and easily turns it into a 3D piece Jun 9, 2013 at 9:00
  • The bigger issue you are going to have (assuming ou are talking about a paper plan) is tracing the plan. It all depends on the complexity of your "part". But that goes for 2D as well as for the 3D.
    – KMSTR
    Jun 9, 2013 at 9:20
  • After surfing the net, my choice will go to solidworks then. Thank you for your help. Jun 9, 2013 at 9:50
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    That's mostly the point of 3D software. I would simply look into tutorials for your software. If you have issues turning 2D plans into 3D in 3Dmax I suspect you'll run into the same issues in another software.
    – KMSTR
    Jun 9, 2013 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


If you want simple (and moderately powerful) try Sketchup. I've been involved in 3d and parametric modeling for over a decade, and I've used most of them all. I love Sketchup for it's simplicity and quick learning curve. Sketchup is as simple to use or as complex as you can make it within it's limits.

2 versions, one free and one pro. Post back if this doesn't fit the bill and I'll lend you as much info as I can.

  • Thanks Yisela. You don't mention the possibility of transforming a flat 2D plan of a piece into a 3D model. In fact I'm looking for a software with which I draw an industrial plan with quotes and everything according to standards in the field, and when I'm done it's analysing the flat plan to create the piece in 3D. Does this exist? Jun 10, 2013 at 10:11
  • @JulianLivin'inChina, what does "with quotes" mean?
    – JohnB
    Jun 10, 2013 at 19:27
  • @JohnB I think he means dimensions?
    – leugim
    Jun 10, 2013 at 23:44
  • @leugim: Yes that's right! Sorry for my english, it's a bit technical and my level in this field is quite poor but I did meant dimensions as in industrial drawing plan Jun 11, 2013 at 4:30
  • Hi Julian: I don't think there is a program that can take a flat 2d drawing (simple lines/polylines, etc) and convert it intelligently into a 3d object. And by intelligently, I mean parametrically. There are many programs that design in the 2d view, while actually creating a 3d model. As far as free ones go, google "free 3d parametric applications", etc. I think your process is kind of upside down; draft 2d views in the 3d program, and generate dimension/section cuts, elevations, etc from it. Also, if you are a student, or have a student email, I can help you find some killer apps.
    – Billy
    Jun 11, 2013 at 6:12

To KMSTR's point in their comment above, you should find a tutorial to convert your drawing in the program you are familiar with instead of looking for a new program to do it for you.

3DS Max is quite capable of this and is what 3D software was made for.

That being said, try to Google: 3ds max industrial design tutorials

You can also try subscription based services like Digital Tutors. They have some great tutorials no matter what your skill level.

  • Thanks ckpepper02, i tried your suggested search but i didn't get satisfying results. What i'm really looking for is a software with which i create my plan with the different views, cut views as well, and it turns it into 3D without me goofing around trying to get some approximate 3D result. So in few words, how to automatically convert a flat industrial design with all its view into a final 3D model? That would be my question. I don't know if it's possible but it would save a lot amount of time for those who need a 3D model out of industrial drawings. Jun 11, 2013 at 4:36

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