A combination of software (Windows, or via browser), hardware and services that work together if you want to enter the 3D Printing or designing arena. There are a lot of solutions out there, this is not exhaustive at all but all are (rather) easy to use (except the do it yourself 3D printer), and free or cheap.
3D design software
After having played with several 3D design tools…https://www.tinkercad.com free, very easy to use, performant, good for beginners (like me)…You want to
Need a 3D printing Service:
www.3Dhubs.com is a Dutch based company, possibility to look for a 3D printing facility in your neighbourhood, immediate quote, good platform different types of printing materials, many 3D printer…they tend to stalk you with e-mail, you will get one for each phase of the process, really for each phase and afterwards a thank you message and another one and an other one…be aggressive in you mailing options.
Want to surprise your family or business relations with an original do it yourself 3D puzzle?
http://www.123dapp.com/make Converts a 3 model into 2D wooden, or carboard or whatever you want. It is really great and fast.
Artistic 3D easy modelling, sculpting tool?
Try http://www.meshmixer.com/ , it is really fun to use.
A DIY 3D printer, some (a lot of) spare time?
As a proof of concept hare a Hongkong based DIY 3D printing kit, cheap and rather acceptable quality. Result after 12+ hours of “playing” (printing took me longer)…but it works.
My initial idea was creating a 3D repairshop for legacy spareparts…no real business case, just an idea, a lot of time spend, some fun.
It’s based on an opensource design: Reprap Mendel Prusa 3i bought from http://www.maxmicron.com , price is good (around 400 USD including import tax), basic building instructions , quality acceptable. Several enhancements have been made on this printer however it is not designed for the absolute beginner, some basic computer knowledge and mounting skills are needed, and a lot of time.
The Autobed levelling (Z axis), while on paper looks promising and helpful, in practice, I don’t know why, it didn’t work well and I switched back to manual levelling mode (with a good slicing software this is really easy). Take a heated print bed, it makes the designs stick better.
Use masking tape for the bed so that the models stick on it and adapt the speed of the printer (in Mattercontrol) to a maximum of 50mm/sec for this printer.
3D Slicing (printing) software: : http://www.mattercontrol.com/ from www.matterhackers.com. Rather easy to use and a good software based bed levelling option to avoid to have to play with tenths of millimetre hights.
You want to transform your company logo or a JPG, PNG, PDF in a 3D format?
Convert it to Black and white, you could use the free online picture editing software like https://pixlr.com/editor/
Convert your jpeg or other format of image into a 3D readable format (.STL, OBJ or SVG) supported by Tinkercad using https://convertio.co/