As a broke college student who is also a hobbyist, I don't have a large budget for software, hardware, or materials. My printer is a Dagoma NEVA. This thing doesn't have the best print quality, but it is built like a tank. I have done numerous prints for countless hours, and I have only had to replace 3 parts over the years (one of which was a redesigned filament out sensor that the manufacturer provided to me at no cost). As for software, I have a mix of tools depending on what I am printing. If it is an entirely original design, I usually use TinkerCAD. Its simplicity and ease of use make it ideal for most basic projects. If I am modifying an existing design, I also use TinkerCAD. If I am slicing up an existing model to fit on my rather limited print bed, I use Meshmixer. That is all I know how to do with Meshmixer for now, but it is enough for my purposes. Now, onto the pros and cons of TinkerCAD.
Pros: Simple, easy to use system that makes any geometric design a breeze. It also has templates for creating threaded objects, and other various model components that are non-geometric. You can also upload existing models and edit them or combine them with other models.
Cons: There is really no efficient way to form complex geometries that do not have a template available. Additionally, the size limit for the upload feature is kinda small.
If you want to learn how to 3D model, TinkerCAD is a good place to start. It is not, however, a good place to stop. There are far more powerful and effective tools, but their learning curb is much steeper.
Here is the custom lightsaber I built:
The body of the saber is from a vintage camera flash tube, like the original lightsaber props. The internals, blaster attachment, emitter, activation switch, pommel, and cooling slits were all 3d printed. The electronics (with exception of the blaster laser module, battery connectors, and batteries) were ordered from TheCustomSaberShop.