What is 3D CAD software?

3D CAD software (three-dimensional computer-aided design) allows engineers to develop complex models of real-world objects so they can modify and optimize the design, automatically detect interferences, and virtually analyze models. In the application of manufacturing, 3D CAD software becomes a powerful tool that enables companies to automate and speed up the creation of downstream production deliverables. It also helps companies identify and resolve design errors early to reduce scrap and rework and, in the end, eliminate the reliance on costly prototypes for evaluation and analysis.

Benefits of 3D CAD software

Traditionally, 3D CAD software was used just to digitize and optimize 3D models. 3D models would have to be hand drawn, which could introduce many errors into the product development process.

Today, digitizing these drawings not only reduces errors—it also allows engineers and designers to advance their designs swiftly and collaboratively. In the new age of 3D CAD software, analyzing and reworking models to best meet design intent becomes smarter, swifter, and more agile—allowing your teams to speed up new product introduction.

3D CAD combines tools like CAE (computer-aided engineering) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) to create a powerhouse of modeling options, along with model-based definition (MBD) to maintain a single source of truth for all model data. Add in the capabilities of generative design, real-time simulation, additive manufacturing, and augmented reality, and your design teams will have all they need to keep and increase your competitive advantage.

Up to
Reduction in design time
Up to
Less development time
Up to
Faster production time
Business benefits of Creo’s 3D CAD capabilities

Using PTC Creo, engineers can rapidly create and automatically update 3D geometry and the associated downstream deliverables across the value chain—all to help users reduce time-to-market by increasing engineering productivity and efficiency.

Consider the impact this could have on your new product introduction time. Using 3D parametric and direct modeling capabilities, users can quickly create, evaluate, and improve design options—so engineers can quickly arrive at the optimal solution. Virtual analysis ensures design flaws are identified and resolved early in the product development process, eliminating the high costs to create and test physical prototypes.

Detect and eliminate design flaws while enabling engineers to focus on quality and innovation. Using integrated analysis and 3D design tools, you’ll be able to streamline and automate changes without requiring additional resources.

Explore Creo
Free 3D CAD software resources The following assets will help you choose the right 3D CAD software and give you insights into what PTC has to offer.
The mechanical 3D CAD buyer's guide helps you score and select the software that is exactly right for your organization.
This free assessment guide sheds light on the fundamental questions you should consider to determine whether your existing CAD design software can keep up with the changing demands of your business.
3D CAD software FAQ

Reduce time-to-market: Increase engineering productivity and efficiency by rapidly creating and updating 3D geometry and associated downstream deliverables

Accelerate the introduction of new products: Rapidly create and evaluate design options and alternatives while using virtual analysis to quickly arrive at the optimal design

Reduce product development costs: Identify and eliminate design flaws early in the process and eliminate the costs of creating and testing physical prototypes

Improve product quality and innovation: Optimize product performance, quality, and durability and use cost savings from reducing rework to boost budgets and the capacity for innovation and creativity

Grow market share and customer satisfaction: Deliver high-quality product and service documentation to improve adoption and customer support, thus increasing competitive differentiation

PTC University has many free and paid offerings for Creo training.

Fewer physical prototypes: 3D models can be visually inspected, interrogated, and virtually analyzed removing the need for costly physical prototyping

Fewer engineering change orders: Errors and design flaws are identified and resolved early eliminating late-stage change orders

More accessible design reviews: 3D models require little interpretation allowing more people to participate in the design review process

Fewer design reviews overall: High-fidelity models along with dynamic cross-sectioning and interference-checking ensure flaws are identified and resolved early

Yes. PTC University allows you to get certified in Creo’s 3D CAD software. There are two Creo Certifications: Fundamentals and Professional. Visit the certification page to learn more.

Yes. With the Creo free trial you gain access to the following benefits:

  • Instantly take advantage of a fully functional, trial of Creo Parametric
  • Use augmented reality to share your designs at scale in the physical world with stakeholders anywhere in the world
  • Effectively combine the power and control of parametric modeling with the ease of use and flexibility of direct modeling
  • Quickly and easily create freeform shapes and surfaces using sub-divisional modeling capabilities
  • Run simulations on parts to see how they will perform under real-world conditions
  • Increase knowledge and enhance new skills with comprehensive learning materials and embedded tutorials
  • Effortlessly manage neutral and non-CAD data, avoiding the need to convert files or recreate 3D CAD models from scratch