What Software do I need for 3D printing?

What Software do I need for 3D printing?
Photo by ZMorph All-in-One 3D Printers / Unsplash

3D printing uses many different types of software, this includes:

  • Slicing Software (Converts models to GCODE, which the printer understands)
  • CAD software (If you wish to 3D model)
  • Remote print software (Not necessary but is convenient)

This article will cover these topics and how they are used in 3D printing.

What is a Slicer?

A slicer is a type of software that is used in 3D printing. It is called a "slicer" because it takes it to a 3D model and "slices" into a series of thin layers, which a 3D printer can then print.

The slicer software is an essential part of the 3D printing process, as it converts the 3D model into a series of instructions that the 3D printer can understand and follow. This includes generating the necessary support structures for overhanging parts of the object and optimizing the printing path to minimize the time and material required to produce the object.

Many different slicer programs are available, and they vary in terms of their features, user interface, and compatibility with different 3D printers and file formats. Some slicer programs are open-source and freely available, while others are proprietary and require a license to use.

In general, slicer software is an essential tool for anyone who uses 3D printing, as it allows for the efficient and effective production of 3D-printed objects.

The most popular slicers include Ultimaker Cura, Prusa Slicer & Slic3r. We recommend using Cura or Prusa Slicer as these are the most feature-packed and widely used, with lots of community support.

What is CAD software?

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software is a type of software that is used to create and modify digital designs and models. It is commonly used in various fields, including architecture, engineering, product design, and manufacturing.

CAD software allows users to create and manipulate digital 3D models of objects. This can include designing objects from scratch or modifying existing designs to meet specific requirements or specifications. The software typically includes a range of tools and features that make it easy to create and edit complex designs. The ability to add and edit shapes, use materials and textures, make comments, and modify dimensions are all included in this.

Many different CAD software programs are available, including free and commercial options. Some examples of popular CAD software programs include AutoCAD, SolidWorks, SketchUp, and Fusion 360.

Overall, CAD software is essential for anyone who needs to create and modify digital designs and models. It allows users to easily and efficiently create and edit complex designs and can be used in various fields and applications.

What is Remote Print Software?

Remote print software, such as OctoPrint and Klipper, is a type of software that allows users to control and monitor 3D printing processes remotely. It allows users to upload and manage print files, start and stop prints, and monitor the progress of the print from a remote location.

Remote print software is typically used alongside a 3D printer with a network connection, such as a WiFi or Ethernet connection. This allows users to access and control the printer remotely through devices such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

OctoPrint is an open-source remote print software that hobbyists and makers widely use. It is highly customizable and offers a range of features, including; the ability to view and control the printer remotely, view a live video feed of the print, and monitor the printer's temperature and other parameters.

Klipper is another popular remote print software that is designed to run on low-power devices, such as a Raspberry Pi. It offers many of the same features as OctoPrint, but with a focus on efficiency and performance.

Overall, remote print software such as OctoPrint and Klipper are useful tools for anyone who wants to 3D print. It allows users to control and monitor their printer from a remote location, which can be convenient and helpful for managing multiple prints or monitoring the progress of long-duration prints.


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