I got into prop making quite a few years ago and wanted to use 3D printing to help rapid prototype and turn my 3d models into physical objects easier.
I have been using Fusion 360 for 3d modelling for a year or 2, its free for hobbyists to use and surprisingly easy to use, they have quite comprehensive tutorials on their website, but I learnt about it from watching Punished Props Academy on Youtube.
Once you get to grips with it can be very good for 3d modelling.
I modelled this Sledge hammer from Red Faction as one of my first projects.
You do need to put some time into it there are some more complicated things I have plans to make some rifles etc but I don't have the skill in making moving parts yet.
I don't like that its a partially online service, your files are all stored on their cloud system so you can access them across multiple computers but you need to login all the time and it can be a pain if your internet isn't working. Its something I put up with because the tools are amazing for a free program.
After years of wanting a 3D printer, trying to save and life things happening to prevent buying one, I finally convinced my wife and my family to all chip in together to buy me an Ender 3 for my birthday. As a beginner printer it is amazing, it worked out of the box and has scope for improvement and learning about how it works. I highly recommend it if you like tinkering to make things better. The problem with a entry level printer is when there is a fault there can be hours and days of troubleshooting to fix it.
As one of my first projects I modelled one of Batman's gadgets in Fusion 360 and set about printing it
I spent a long time finishing it and gave it to my father in-law as a Christmas present.
I use what ever filament I can afford at the time.
While I do save money I do have to spend time making sure my settings are correct for each roll I buy.
I have recently switched to ABS over PLA and there's quite the learning curve to getting decent prints out of it i haven't had a decent non warped print yet, but I think in the long run when I have it figured out the ease of sanding and strength ABS provides over PLA will be hugely beneficial.
I use Cura as a Slicer I have found it to be the most user friendly for beginners allowing me to get my projects printed early on and has advanced tools for when you do learn more about different areas and want to change individual settings.
They do update it a lot and while this usually has good new tools I have found it means it has broken the settings I had set previously. Which sometimes required a full reinstall of Cura and re-entering my settings.