This instructable is designed to help users through the process of designing and printing an object using a 3d modeling program and an online 3D printing service. In this tutorial I will use Autodesk 3DS Max because that is the program I use and know best, but there are plenty of free alternatives that can be used.
Some recommended free alternatives include Blender
and Google Sketchup
. Any software settings or commands I discuss should have relatively similar processes in both of those programs or any other 3d modeling program, but if not a quick search with your favorite search engine should yield some helpful results. Nothing I discuss will be very complicated.
The 3d printing service I use is called Shapeways
. They have a large selection of materials and a great user support base, as well as frequent updates to their website and material library, and low prices. (Very important!) However, there are many options out there and it is up to you to decide which one you like best.