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3D Design Software

Can the group recommend 3D design software that is relatively easy to use and will allow me to take .stl files like those of the EZ-Bits and modify them? I'd prefer free software or something with a free trial so I can experience it before paying retail price.

Does everyone just use the software that comes with their printers or is there a must have 3rd party application for the 3D design.

And here is another newbie question, what exactly does "supports" do for your print if you enable it?

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Synthiam
#1  
I am leaning Blender (it's free)... It has a steep learning curve, but the price is right... LOL.... If I can learn it, then you can easily, Justin... Lots of tutorials on Youtube...

For my slicing (Flashforge creator pro) I use Simplify3d... It cost around $140US but worth every penny... It doesn't work with every printer so you will have to check before buying... There are a few free slicing software out there like Makerware and replicatorG if you prefer

Supports keep overhangs (usually around 45 degs or greater) from falling as the filament gets extruded...
#2  
Justin, just like Richard R., I'm also digging into Blender for 3D design and I also have the FlashForge Creator dual extruder model. I'm also considering Simplify3D for slicing 3D models for the best prints.
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Canada
#3  
I'll be learning a new program called "Onshape" tomorrow, it's free as well and it's created by the original Solidworks team. It's unique in that it's browser based, check it out: http://www.onshape.com/

They have a bunch of videos on their front page that get you orientated pretty quickly.