A colleague and I are currently working on a new 3D modelling tool called Sapphire, which will ultimately be free, open-source and in Java. It is intended to promote a more natural way of modelling objects: rather than working with primitive shapes, linking vertices and creating faces etc. one "moulds" and "spray-paints" the objects that one wants to model.
We could really do with some more Java programmers and OO designers on board, so I've put up a web-site about it at http://www.btinternet.com/~richard.asbury/sapphire
. Participation in a project like this would be great on a CV and would give a programmer some real experience with tool design and computational geometry. If you think you might be interested, take a look at the webpage - contact details are up there!