Top 10 Best Slicing Software For 3D Printing: 2020 Guide

Slicing software for 3D printing, Essential thing to run 3D Printer. 3D printers are nowadays in high demand. People are molding many kinds of things by using this 3D printer. Slicing software for 3D printing plays a bridge role. The process that ignites 3D printing innovation is comprised of a few essential tools. Obviously, you have the 3D model and the 3D printer, but there’s an instrumental piece to the puzzle right in between those two points.

Slicing software for 3D printing essentially acts as the middleman between the 3D model and printer. There is a large number of Slicing software for 3D printing out there, many of which are free. To help you find the perfect fit, here’s a list of the top 3D printing slicer software tools which you can find in this blog.

What is Slicing Software for 3D Printing?

The slicer also called slicing software for 3D printing acts as the middleman between the 3D model and the 3D printer. Once you have modeled the object you would like to 3D print, you will have it in an STL file. The slicing software for 3D printing converts the model into a series of thin layers and produces a G-code file containing instructions tailored to a specific type of printer.

In other words, it is dividing the object into a stack of flat layers and describing these layers as linear movements of the 3D printer extruder, fixation laser, or equivalent.

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List Of Best 3D Printers:

This is a listing of good 3D Printers for Beginners starting from low to extreme differ.

Different Types of Slicing Software for 3D Printing:

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There are different types of slicing software for 3D printing. Some of the 3D printing slicer software tools are:

1. Netfabb Standard

Netfabb has come a long way. What started out as freeware developed into a mighty toolkit for handling STL files.  This 3D slicer software for 3D printers offers great features that allow you to analyze, repair, and edit STL files before you get to the slicing stage. Autodesk acquired Netfabb in 2015.

Since then, the program has split into four products: Netfabb Standard, Netfabb Premium, Netfabb Ultimate, and Netfabb Simulation. Don’t let the “Standard“ in the name fool you; even the smallest version is actually very powerful slicing software for 3D printing.

PROS:

  • Netfabb Standard is a true swiss army knife for 3D printing.
  • Students can try the software free of charge for three years.

CONS:

  • The price. As with every other Autodesk software, the pricing model has switched to a subscription.
  • As of November 2019, you get a trial for 30 days, where you can check out all the professional features. The annual price is $230 for Standard, the Premium version will set you back $4,205, and Ultimate is a whopping $13,135.
  • Prices aren’t even shown for Simulation on the website.

Suited for

Semi-professional users who need slicing software for 3D printing to prepare STL files for 3D printing.

2. Cura

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Cura was developed, hosted, and maintained by 3D printer company Ultimaker and its fervent community of users. As the company has its roots in Open Source, the slicing software for 3D printing came out as a freebie and it stayed that way ever since. Over the years, Cura even added profiles for competitor 3D printers. Many companies wouldn’t do that. It can be fed STL, 3MF, and OBJ file formats which the slicing software for 3D printing will also repair if needed.

It will show a toolpath, printing time, and material estimates. Ultimaker continues to update Cura, and also allows users to develop third-party plug-ins, ensuring that this highly popular slicer is always on the cutting edge.

PROS:

  • It‘s suited for novices and experts alike. As a 3D software for beginners, you’ll just see the most important settings.
  • 3D slicer for professionals, there are over 200 settings to fiddle with. The graphical user interface is fast; with some workarounds, you can even handle dual material prints.
  • The slicing software for 3D printing handles huge STL files moderately fast. We found Cura gave us good, but not necessarily excellent, results.

CONS:

  • There are some minor features missing (i.e. OctoPrint support) and the print time estimates are sometimes off by around 10 – 20 percent.

Suited for

3D printing beginners and semi-pros

3. Prusa Slicer

PrusaSlicer has its roots in Slic3r, until mid-2019 it was known as “Slic3r Prusa Edition”. With a huge number of advanced features and more than enough settings for anyone to play with, this slicer is suitable for both FDM and SLA/DLP 3D printers, one of the few of its kind. It’s also completely open-source, allowing advanced programmers to create their own forks and adapt it with new features as if there aren’t enough already.

With three user modes, PrusaSlicer is perfect for anyone; beginners only see the most basic settings, while advanced users can tune their prints to a T. With a reworked user interface, PrusaSlicer is easy to navigate, and provides handy extras like the ability to repair models through Netfabb online services, custom supports, or scarily precise estimated print times (especially on Prusa’s own printers).

PROS:

  • There is a lot that can be tuned and tinkered with for perfect prints.

CONS:

  • We can’t find anything worth complaining about.

Suited for 

Anyone with an original Prusa printer, advanced users who want the ability to view and change every possible detail of printing.

4. OctoPrint

The OctoPrint is a nifty piece of machinery that hosts your 3D printer, allowing you to control and monitor all its activities from your web browser and handheld devices. The application itself is installed on a Raspberry Pi, that you can extend for example with a webcam and a plethora of plugins. This way, 3D printing jobs can be loaded onto your printer without the pesky shuffling of SD cards.

Among the many great features that we have discussed elsewhere, is an integrated slicing software for 3D printing based on the trusted CuraEngine. This basically means that you won’t even need to slice your files on a computer anymore, you can just send over the STL model and the printer will do the rest.

PROS:

  • This testament to human ingenuity is completely Open Source and gaining more and more followers every day.

CONS:

  • It only supports STL files and Not good 3D software for beginners

Suited for 

Intermediate and advanced users want to stay in control of their equipment.

5. MatterControl

MatterControl is a slicing software for 3D printing with integrated modeling software for your desktop computer, which means you can go all the way from zero to a printed model without ever leaving the program. MatterControl was originally developed as a printer host software, with a lot of features still reflecting on this. Ideally, the slicing software for 3D printing operates in tandem with the printer, and the computer and printer must be connected for the entire print.

Alternatively, you can save the G-code file on an SD Card. The interface has changed a lot between the original and the current version but remains fairly well structured. To the left side, you have a list of primitives that you can use for modeling, much like Tinkercad, but with more powerful tools.

PROS:

  • Supports beginners, moderate level users and experts alike
  • They offer the software free of cost, which makes it amazing for beginners
  • Online source library can help you work remotely from any device connected with the internet

CONS:

  • The quality of the Slicer is not as good as compared with other mature level Slicers
  • Quality of print varies with the printers

Suited for

Beginners to advanced users who want to seamlessly transition from designing to printing.

6. Astroprint

While using Astroprint, you realize that it seems like a hybrid between 3DPrinterOS and OctoPrint. Well, they built it on the OctoPrint platform, so the similarity is natural. The Astro box interface provides you with the freedom to remotely control the Printer from any browser. Also, the slicing software for 3D printing offers integration of many other 3D printing applications like Yeggi and Thingiverse for searching and downloading pre-designed models.

PROS:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Cloud-based
  • Integrates many useful 3D printing applications

CONS:

  • Limited features
  • Lesser flexibility as compared to its peers

If you’re ready to graduate to the next level of slicing software for 3D printing but want to stay within an open-source framework, then Repetier is a compelling option. This is the great-granddaddy of slicing software for 3D printing and the favored choice within the RepRap maker community. Now, the thing to note is that this application straddles the intermediate to advanced user spectrum. Pitched as an all-in-one solution, it offers multi-extruder support (up to 16 extruders!), multi-slicer support via plugins, and support for virtually any FDM 3D printer on the market.

It includes by default the options to slice using CuraEngine, Slic3r, or Slic3r Prusa Edition according to your preference. Be prepared to do a lot of tinkering! Moreover, Repetier Host also offers remote access features, via Repetier Server. Similarly to OctoPrint, you install it on a Raspberry Pi, so you can access and control your 3D printer from anywhere via a browser on your PC, tablet, or smartphone.

Suited for

Intermediate Users who are not afraid to tinker.

7. 3DPrinterOS

Next up is the 3DPrinterOS cloud-based slicing software for 3D printing that gives excellent mobility to its users. Using the slicing software for 3D printing, you can directly access your 3D-Printer from a browser. 3DPrinterOS is an integration of three 3D-Printer slicer apps Cloud Slicer, Slicer 2, and MakerBot Slicer. Like all other slicers, you can choose the one that fits your needs.

PROS:

  • Cloud-based
  • Easy to use
  • Allows you to convert your slicer settings as JSON code

CONS:

  • A lot of features are available on the paid version

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Buyers Guideline for 3D Slicer Software for 3D Printers:

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  1. STL import speed: It doesn’t seem to be a big thing, but if you’re handling complicated files on a slow computer, you don‘t want to fetch a coffee until the 3D slicer software for 3D printers is finished displaying the file.
  2. Viewer capabilities: If you don’t own some CAD software, you’ll probably see your printable file for the first time when you open it in the slicing software for 3D printing. Good software should offer the possibility to turn and zoom to any point of your 3D model flawlessly and fast.
  3. STL repairing: A good 3D slicer software for 3D printers won’t leave you in the dark. If there are errors in your 3D model, it should bring them to your attention and ideally, repair them automatically.
  4. Usability: How difficult is the 3D slicer software for 3D printers to use? Are there settings for beginners? More options for experts? Does it have a modification history? Does it store files locally or in the cloud? Does the workflow feel right? Can you use Undo and Redo? All these questions for a “good” slicer software for 3D printers are highly subjective but you’ll get the idea.
  5. Preview: A good slicer software for 3D printers will give you estimates on the duration of the print and the material used. These facts, of course, shouldn’t differ from the actual print itself.
  6. Cost: Is the 3D printer slicer software free or do you have to pay for it? We have to look at this all the time.
  7. Help: We’ve checked if beginners and pros alike get enough on-screen help or if you can ask other users in a forum or user group.

Top 10 Best Slicing Software For 3D Printing: 2020 Guide

Top 10 Best Slicing Software For 3D Printing: 2020 Guide

Frequently Asked Questions:

What type of 3D printing software is required for 3D printing?

There are 2 types of 3D printing software required to create a 3D printed model.
3D design software where one creates a 3D design file of the object one wishes to 3D print. e.g
TinkerCAD, Google Sketchup, AutoCAD, Fusion 360 etc.
3D printer slicer software where the output file of the 3D object from 3D design software is built and sliced for 3D printing. e.g Cura, GrabCAD, MakerBot, etc.

Suggest the best designing software and 3D printer slicer software (Open Source) for students?

Various designing and 3D printer slicer software are used for different expertise levels and applications. Students can start with free and open-source software like TinkerCAD, Google Sketchup, Cura, MakerBot, etc.

How do we prepare a model from a 3D printer without using designing software? Where can we find 3D models on the internet?

Different 3D printable models/objects are available online. These models can be modified in design/3D printer slicer software as per individual requirements. Some examples of 3D models library are Thingiverse, Grabcad, all3dp, pin shape, etc.

What if the output of design software is not compatible with 3D printer slicer software?

Please check for the correct/compatible file extension to be imported in the 3D printer slicer software. Further, You can use your slicing software to repair the CAD file and then use it to create a 3D printer output file (e.g .stl).

How can we teach and learn designing software/programs?

One can enroll in a training program for various designing software and also use online resources for education. Schools are advised to connect to their vendor for assistance and tutorial sessions on such
elements.

What does a 3D printing slicer software do?

So, what does a 3D printing slicer software do? A slicing software for 3D printing is a piece of software, running on a computer. It acts as an interpreter for your 3D printer.
You feed it a 3D file, usually, that’s an STL, M3F, or OBJ file (which describes coordinates in a three-dimensional grid). The 3D printing slicer software then cuts the object in many horizontal layers and produces a path a printhead can follow line by line, layer by layer. So, any decent 3D printing slicer software will create:
a toolpath (more or less intelligently) based on the geometry of your STL-file.
a percentage of infill to save 3D printing time and material.
constructions of support material, if the geometry is difficult to print. These supports are meant to be removed after the print is finished.
After analyzing the file and offering you choices and settings, the 3D printing slicer software generates a “G-code” file that’s tailored for the machine you’re using. It describes coordinates, nozzle and bed temperatures, fan control, printhead speed, and other variables.

Why is a 3D slicer software for 3D printers so important?

If you use a good 3D slicer software for 3D printers, you will get better results, even from a mediocre machine. If the slicing software for 3D printing isn’t good, you will more likely encounter a misprint or run into common 3D printing problems.

Conclusion:

3D printer slicer software is a kind of bridge between the 3D model and 3D printer. There is a variety of open-source slicer software available in the market. In this article, you will find some best available 3D printing software’s detailed analysis. If you have a 3D printer and planning to choose slicing software for 3D printing then this article will be helpful for you.

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