10 Best SketchUp Alternatives For iPad 2024

Our mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – have evolved in such a way that they’re capable of 3D design. If you’ve been in the game for a while, you’ll know that this task has been the reserve of heavyweight desktop systems.

However, with a good mobile app, you can create incredible 3D designs. The challenge would be finding one that’s functional and reliable.

Fortunately, there are tools that can fit into 3D design and printing workflows. SketchUp is one of those apps that does the job pretty well.

That said, SketchUp isn’t the only one around. There are some equally good or better alternatives available that you can try.

Since SketchUp doesn’t have an iPad app, I’m specifically going to focus on SketchUp alternatives for iPad in this post. In addition, SketchUp has a learning curve. Users often don’t find its functions intuitive enough, and that can feel somewhat limiting.

So let’s begin and explore our top 10 picks.

Best SketchUp Alternatives For iPad

While your iPad can’t render, animate, or rig, it still allows you to model and create concepts or artwork. SketchUp doesn’t allow you to do all these on iPad, but there are many alternatives you can find that will help you create anything you might imagine for 3D work.

Here are our top 10 picks.

1. Shapr3D

Shapr3D is a cross-platform alternative to SketchUp that you can use for 3D modeling on your iPad. The intuitive app works with all major desktop computer-aided design (CAD) software.

You can import or export projects and work directly to the tools you use for manufacturing, rendering, drafting, or splicing.

Unlike SketchUp, which doesn’t provide a completely intuitive experience, the Shapr3D app for iPad is intuitive.

Plus, Shapr3D offers the industrial power of desktop CAD tools, offline functionality, local storage, and a modeling experience for fluid keyboard and mouse input.

The app lets you create concepts on the go, and you can export them to your desktop software for more granular editing.

It’s a reliable and functional app for parametric modeling and has a limited free version or premium plan that’s suitable for hobbyists.

You can design easily with your Apple Pencil and iPad just as though you were drawing with paper and pen. By navigating effortlessly with your fingers, you can trim your workflow and use a predictive menu that automatically suggests tools for you.

With Shapr3D, you no longer need to waste time making your product ideas a reality. The tool helps you create watertight solid models that are ideal for 3D printing.

You can also create physical prototypes and perform validation and iteration on them until you create winning designs. All these can be done in the shortest time frame possible.

The software is powered by the same engine driving SOLIDWORKS – Siemens Parasolid. Thanks to its natural user interface, you can prototype rapidly, and import models – for further editing – into your desktop CAD.

2. Sculptura

Sculptura is another intuitive and powerful 3D app for iPads. You can use it to sculpt engaging characters or intriguing abstract art wherever you are.

The app uses artist-tested tools and an advanced, high-resolution clay sculpting engine. This way, you won’t have to worry about triangles or meshes. You can also cut holes easily.

SketchUp’s features don’t offer the intuitiveness you’ll find in Sculptura. Plus, SketchUp requires you to repeat the command to get the required drawings. Sculptura doesn’t, so you’re better off using Sculptura for all your needs.

Other key features you’ll get with Sculptura include beautiful real-time rendering, a long undo history so you can sculpt worry-free, and full GPU acceleration.

You also get multiple tools to use including carve, deform, cut, smooth, pinch, resize, flatten, move, and more.

The app integrates with iCloud, and imports and exports files like USD, STL, and OBJ. Plus, Sculptura offers easy-to-use lighting and materials, symmetry sculpting, and supports the iOS 11 Files App and Apple Pencil.

The touch-centric operating system along with its simple toolset makes Sculptura suitable for creating base meshes. You can then export your work to your desktop CAD or modeling software to do more granular editing.

Sculptura’s interface is clean, unlike SketchUp’s, which some users have labeled as clunky. Plus, Sculptura provides smooth performance and an optimized modeling experience for mobile.

The software is also more affordable than SketchUp, at just $9.99.

3. AutoCAD Mobile

Formerly AutoCAD 360, this computer-aided design software is easy to use when you want to draw or draft designs.

Whether you’re in the design, engineering, or construction industry, you can use the AutoCAD Mobile app for viewing, creating, mark-up, editing, and sharing drawings on your iPad.

Unlike SketchUp, AutoCAD is computer-aided and is more geared towards professional users. SketchUp is a 3D modeling program geared towards hobbyists.

Plus, AutoCAD provides more compatibility with multiple file formats.

Both tools are powerful for 2D and 3D models, and their features can make things easier for you.

AutoCAD has a higher level of adaptability, accuracy, and detail. SketchUp requires a computer with a powerful memory card to be efficient and feasible.

The tool is popular for architecture or BIM-related jobs. A free plan is available, which you can use to view and share DWG files. For more features, advanced editing, and extra storage, you’ll need to pay up for the Premium and Ultimate plans.

AutoCAD is in a different category over other SketchUp alternatives here. It works with an iPad and you can also use it on your Android device.

4. 3DC.io

3DC.io is another SketchUp alternative you can use for your 3D designing needs. It’s a simple app that anyone can use and aims to help teachers or educators to teach basic modeling concepts.

You can place, transform and color a wide range of shapes to create a larger model using this app.

Some of its features include a more modern user interface with a web-hosted gallery where you can share your models with other designers.

It provides simple 3D designs and is available on all platforms. You can design, visualize, and present anything in 3D thanks to its immersive creativity.

Unlike SketchUp, which is expensive and its 3D models’ quality is a bit poor compared to other CAD software, you can use 3DC.io on your iPad and get tangible outcomes as you see your ideas come to life.

The tool also delivers designs that are 3D printable by default. The unique program brings creative problem solving and design thinking to its users.

As a smart app, you can save up to 70 percent of your time – compared to other apps on this list – through cross-platform availability and its small learning curve.

3DC.io is a reliable and proven solution with millions of downloads. It’s also innovative and forward-looking. You can use it on your iPad or on an Android device.

5. uMake

uMake never misses on the list of 3D design apps. The app uses a unique modeling approach: touch input.

You can design in any dimension – 2D drawings or 3D designs in augmented reality – and project your concept onto a live video view to see how it fits.

Unlike SketchUp, which is pricey and the interface may be clunky or hangs when the file becomes heavy, uMake is available for iPad and is the first design app to bring on-device rendering to iPad or iOS devices.

You can use uMake to create beautiful designs from its library of easy-to-use tools and content. Once you download uMake, you’ll get all the tools you need on the go. Draw precisely using the precision tool or drag and drop from the content library in seconds.

Unlike SketchUp, whose users have issues with how it draws lines and angles, uMake makes designing and drawing simple. It’s also very precise and powerful to use and has intuitive inputs for easy modeling of the shapes you envision.

uMake allows you to present your ideas in the best light. Its groundbreaking on-device rendering makes your design stand out. You can even create full presentations using the slide feature and capture your content from any angle or content variation.

Other features included with uMake are annotations, markups, and tools to help you share and publish your work anywhere.

The app fits your workflow and integrates with other apps unlike SketchUp, which has limited integrations. uMake also supports exporting to PNG, IGES, STOL, and other file formats.

You can even view your designs in augmented reality within the app or export them as USDZ files and share them with anyone on their iOS gadget.

6. Morphi

Morphi is a simple iPad app that’s designed for different audiences and use cases. The app is a blend of uMake and Sculptura as it tries to combine and use the intuitiveness of 2D drawings in a 3D platform.

You get some great features in Morphi that you may not find in SketchUp. To begin with, you can use Morphi on iPad and it’s not as pricey as SketchUp.

Plus, Morphi makes it easy for you to design on the go. You can transform and convert high-contrast images to 3D objects automatically.

Morphi also works offline so you don’t need a WiFi connection, nor do you need a mouse to draft your designs. Just open Morphi and start designing.

The simple app comes in handy when you want to create designs for games, animation, and graphic design.

Anyone who has the app, no matter their age or skill level, can use Morphi for sketching, explaining ideas, visualizing, and teaching.

Some of its powerful features include the ability to create designs without logging in or without WiFi. It also has robust computer-aided design tools, and you can easily import 3D models from other similar apps.

Morphi also has preloaded 3D models that work like templates in case you find it hard to start from scratch, along with 3D libraries that offer shapes, colors, and text features. You can also export to OBJ and STL files, use your finger to draw 3D objects, merge, cut, and paste the objects.

7. OnShape

OnShape is a computer-aided design platform designed for professional users. The app is meant to complement the main computer or desktop platform and is focused on making small changes to your bigger projects while on the go.

OnShape has an app for both iPad or iPhone and Android platforms. These apps come with precise multi-touch gesture controls that let you interact and edit the different aspects of your models in an accurate manner.

OnShape is only free for non-commercial projects. If you want to use it for commercial projects, you’ll need to subscribe to its premium plan. However, it’s more affordable compared to SketchUp whose pricey subscription base makes it inaccessible for beginners

The modeling app helps you create, modify, and share 3D mechanical CAD models. The developer aims to help you modernize your product design processes.

You’ll get data management, CAD, collaboration tools, and real-time analytics for the ideal 3D designing experience.

As a complete cloud 3D modeling app, OnShape offers your team the space to collaborate on projects and enhance teamwork.

You also get parametric modeling tools, a robust feature set, secure cloud workspace, controlled access to CAD data, data security, an inbuilt PDM, and design data management.

One of the benefits of OnShape over SketchUp is that it has a shorter learning curve, while SketchUp has a steep one. Plus, OnShape is cloud-based so you can run it on desktop or mobile platforms.

The app gets regular and rapid updates, and you can use it with your design or engineering teams.

8. TinkerCAD

TinkerCAD is one of Autodesk’s well-known design elements. The software has a simple and easy-to-use interface.

Plus, you get to use it on iPad for free, unlike SketchUp, which is pricey. And, you can expect similar functionality with the TinkerCAD app for iPad compared to the web-based platform.

SketchUp’s web-based drawing interface isn’t very stable. TinkerCAD offers both an iPad and a web-based platform so you can continue with your work in case of anything.

You also get the full AR and Apple Pencil support. It’s beneficial to use AR to superimpose your object, but it’s even better to sketch using a stylus or your finger on your iPad.

The free app is used by designers, kids, hobbyists, and teachers to make anything. It comes with lesson plans that are ready for you to use whether you’re in the classroom or online.

To use TinkerCAD, just place a shape on the platform, adjust it freely by moving or rotating it on the workplane, and then combine the shapes to create a custom shape.

Among its key features is that it has controls optimized for your iPad, which make it easy to build 3D designs on a touchscreen. Plus, you can view your 3D designs in AR from inside the app.

TinkerCAD also provides Codeblocks that help you make 3D designs, which you can export as a part to design in the 3D editor.

The app is also compatible with the Apple Pencil and includes the ability to make 3D scribbles. You can import STL files into TinkerCAD for designing, and export your SVG, STL, or USDZ files to other iPad programs.

9. Putty 3D

Putty 3D is a 3D sketchbook for enthusiasts and artists who like to work on the go. Wherever you are, you can use the app to create sculptures in 3D.

Putty 3D works with Apple devices and supports Apple Pencil. The app offers a powerful graphics processor on your iPad to create an intuitive and smooth sculpting experience. Some functions in SketchUp aren’t very intuitive, and that can feel somewhat limiting.

You can use Putty 3D’s modeling tools to create 3D designs. Other features include a mobile-optimized modeling experience, a clean user interface, and file export to desktop apps.

Putty 3D also supports 3D Touch and Wide Color. If you have an iPhone 7 or iPad Pro, the app has been optimized for these devices so you can get smoother performance and bigger sculpting volumes.

It also comes with native support for STL and OBJ export that lets you transfer your 3D models to animation and modeling packages on your computer.

With 3D printing, you can also bring your designs into the real world, using materials like plastic, gold, or ceramic to make your work shine.

Putty 3D also lets you take high-resolution screenshots or record videos of your work with optional camera effects.

The app is also more affordable than SketchUp at only $5.

10. Keyplan 3D

Keyplan 3D is another great SketchUp alternative that helps you improve and design different concepts. Whether you’re remodeling, building, or decorating, the all-in-one app helps you with your plan or building by turning a complex process into an easy one.

This simple-to-use, fun, and useful app can be used on iPad or iPhone. Plus, you can design, build, decorate, and imagine your project from the ground up.

The app also has a beautiful interface that’s designed with simplicity so that anyone can use it easily to create and design their buildings. You can create rooms or walls using the build button and Keyplan3D’s smart engine will handle everything else.

Unlike SketchUp, which may take time to load heavy renderings, Keyplan 3D is a responsive app that doesn’t take time to load screens. Plus, you can visualize your project through its rendered plans, which are updated in real-time and are fully interactive.

Every aspect of the app is designed to help you express your creativity. Behind the app is a powerful technology that lets you create any shape you can imagine, decorate, paint, and place it on over 350 free unique objects.

Other features you’ll enjoy in this app include its housebuilder, interior design elements, decorations, and customization options. You also get iCloud synchronization and you can share 2D snapshots and 3D renders with others.

Wrapping Up

As a designer or freelance artist, the holy grail of your work has always been the ability to work on a simple, light device and remotely at that. The smaller your device, the less you have to carry with you and the more accessible you are to your clients.

With a 3D modeling app for your iPad, you can fit everything into your backpack, without needing extra ports, cables, hard drives, or peripherals to work – just one device that can do everything.

SketchUp doesn’t provide these benefits for iPad users, which is why many of them are seeking out alternatives that can work with the iOS system.

Any of these 10 SketchUp alternatives are a good starting point. Not only do they give you the full power of a computer-aided design tool on your mobile device, but they’re also not as expensive as SketchUp.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.