The Librarian wrote:
Just as an example, in FreeCAD I could create an profile of a saucer section, then rotate it to create an object.
A "lathe" operation is very basic and found in every 3D app I've ever used. You can create with a parametric CAD modeler, if you wish. Most have a function for exporting polygonal models for formats such as STL (for rapid prototyping). Some exporters are better than others. 3D forums or your own trial-and-error are the way to learn what works best for you.
I would recommend learning the native modeling tools for whichever package you choose, as some of the native "entities" will give you flexibility that an imported polygonal model may not.
Blender looked interesting to me the first time I saw it, but I didn't pick it up seriously until recently. The feature set is so good, I just couldn't brush it off anymore. Although the interface is improving, one really should learn the common key shortcuts. GUI controls are just so darned slow.
There are so many Blender tutorials (books, web pages, wikis, videos, etc.) that it is hard to know where to begin. I've tried many books. Many will drag you through a detailed look at the interface until your eyes begin to glaze over. Even long-time 3D users want to jump into a new app and just use it. Learn by exploring. The following video tutorial lets you do just that—learn the navigation while exploring some advanced features:
Ice Text Tutorial
And a simple, yet not sleep-inducing, book is Blender 3D Basics
Also, Andrew Price's
tutorials are excellent.