3D Printer Slicer Software

Top 7: 3D Slicer Software

3D Printer Slicer Software

3D Slicer Software: The Best Slicers For 3D Printing

So you’ve finished your awesome design, saved it as .STL, and are ready to get printing your three-dimensional masterpiece.

Hold up, you’re not done yet. 3D models in .STL format are fine for viewing on a PC, but 3D printers are not computers and have no clue how to print .STL files.

Before you can create your 3D object, you need what’s called “slicer software” to translate your model into a format your 3D printer understands in machine language.

Without a good 3D printer slicing tool – or by using incorrect slicer software settings – you may find that your 3D printer starts to give problems such as:

  • poor print resolution
  • leaving unsightly artifacts
  • not adhering to the print bed
  • warping or layer misalignment
  • over- or under-extrusion

How Does Slicer Software Work?

Slicer programs take the .STL design you created with a 3D modeling tool and converts it into “G-Code” language which your 3D printer can read and act on.

The G-Code contains instructions that your 3D printer uses to do things like position its stepper motors for each layer to be printed.

Slicer software chops the 3D model into stacked horizontal layers so the 3D printer can lay them down according to your model’s final X, Y, and Z parameters. The software also controls settings such as feed rate, layer height, temperature, and fill patterns.

Finding the best 3D printing slicing software that works well with your model of 3D printer can reduce frustration from failed prints and make a huge difference to the quality of your objects.

Because your mileage may vary with the type of 3D printer you own, here are 7 of the top 3D printer slicer programs for you to experiment with. Have fun!

Top 7 Slicer Software Tools for 3D Printing

1. Cura

Slicer Software

Cura is free slicer software made by Ultimaker, a Netherlands-based 3D printer manufacturer. Inspiration for Cura came from the open source 3D printing tool, Replicator-G, and Cura stays true to the open source philosophy to this day.

With top class support and a diverse community of users willing to help solve problems together, Cura is an excellent slicer tool for beginners and experts alike.

Price: Free

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac

Good for: Ultimaker, LulzBot, Printrbot, Solidoodle, Type A Machines, RepRap variants, and more

2. Slic3r

Slic3r is another free slicer program and enjoys a reputation of being one of the best slicer software tools around thanks to its cutting edge features and knowledgeable community.

Compatible with most RepRap-based 3D printers, Slic3r helps cut down on mistakes by allowing you to preview toolpaths in 3D and spot any problems before printing.

Price: Free

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac

Good for: Ultimaker, Lulzbot, MakerGear, MakerBot, RepRap variants, and more

3. Simplify3D

Slicer Software

Simplify3D is a full 3D printing software solution with a bundled 3D slicer tool. The fastest slicer software on the market, Simplify3D can take your .STL and generate ready-to-print G-Code in seconds.

Simplify3D’s professional slicer tool is renowned for achieving good quality prints from complex designs and is loved for its ease-of-use.

There’s no need to spend hours fiddling with settings, because the slicer software settings have already been optimized for almost all popular 3D printers. Simply apply the profile for your model of 3D printer and you’re good to go.

Price: $149

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac

Good for: See 3D Printer Compatibility List

4. KISSlicer

Best Slicer Software

KISSlicer AKA “Keep It Simple Slicer” is an open source slicer tool for 3D printing which puts emphasis on being easy to use and quick to set up. At the heart of KISSlicer is a simple G-Code generator and 3D preview function.

The free edition of KISSlicer is limited only by the amount of printer heads that can be used – you can only slice models for single-head 3D printers. Buying the Professional license gives you support for multi-head 3D printers and multi-modeling capabilities.

Price: Free / $42 for Pro license

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac, FreeBSD

Good for: RapMan, CubeX, CubePro, 3D Touch, RepRap variants, Delta-style printers, and more

5. Skeinforge

Best Slicer Software

Skeinforge is a great 3D printer slicer program developed in Python. It is designed to be highly configurable, with a wide range of settings that let you tweak different aspects of the printing process.

Slicing from .STL to G-Code with Skeinforge can take a little longer to complete compared with similar slicer tools, however the high quality 3D prints produced make up for the wait.

Skeinforge is recommended for more experienced 3D print makers and those who like to fine-tune parameters for best results.

Price: Free

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac

Good for: MakerBot, Solidoodle, MakerGear, Printrbot, RapMan, RepRap variants, and more

6. CraftWare

Best Slicer For 3D Printing

CraftWare is a free slicer tool made by CraftUnique, makers of the CraftBot Plus. Sporting an attractive and modern interface, CraftWare is a slicing tool for the more visually-inclined 3D printing enthusiast.

Thanks to its useful 3D G-Code visualizer feature, you are able to view exactly how your 3D model will be printed. This allows for impressive control over the slicing stage and lets you check for any parts of your model that need to be tweaked or corrected.

Price: Free

Operating Systems: Windows

Good for: CraftBot Plus, RepRap variants, and most G-Code compatible 3D printers

7. MatterSlice

Best Slicer For 3D Printing

MatterSlice is a new 3D slicer forked from the open source CuraEngine project. This tool comes bundled with the free MatterControl 3D printing software package and can be used to generate G-Code for most desktop 3D printers.

If you’d like to try MatterSlice, you have to first download MatterControl and then select “MatterSlice” as the slicing engine on the settings page.

Price: Free

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac

Good for: See 3D Printer Compatibility List

 

 

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