This is the right place to start if you are looking for software for makers
The software you need depends on what you are wanting to make, but we recommend some almost universal tools that will be a great starting place. We also believe in the OpenSource movement, so most of these tools are free and cross platform (work on Mac/Windows/Linux):
Inkscape: is an excellent open, cross platform vector editor. It exports files in DXF and those work with Laser Cutters, Vinyl Cutters and can be a base for CNC & 3D printing. Also make sure you read this: Vectors for Makers
Sketchup: simple architectural based 3D modeler, Trimble will try to upsell you from the free version, ignore them their are lots of plugins available *recommend sketchucation.
sketchucation plugins: register for a free account and browse your plugins directly from sketchup as you need them. *”export to SDL” is a plugin you will need later.
123D Design: Autocad’s free offering hoping to get you into their maker community – buggy but simple and free.
123D make: As above, but specifically for slicing predesigned models, ideal for laser cutting and 2-3 axis CNC router.
sketchchair: A cool but poorly supported software only for making chairs and tables using a laser cutter or simple CNC router.
makerware: Simple 3D printing software for makerbot 3D printers.
tinkercad: Online 3D CAD (computer aided design) software, free for now.
blender: 3D modeling software (an open source cinema 4D/Maya), steep learning curve.
kerkaythea: Render engine for sketchup (Not strictly a making tool, more a visualising tool). free and amazingly powerful