3D Printing Software: Must Know Tools for 3d Printing Enthusiasts

3D printing is a process of creating a three-dimensional object layer-by-layer using a computer-created design. If you want to start your first experiment with 3D printing technology, here are the most important 3D printing tools for you.

3D Printing Software
3D printing technology

3D Printing Software: Essential Tools Every 3D printing professionals Should Have

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3D printing technology has revolutionized the way that products are designed and manufactured, allowing users to bring their ideas to life with greater ease and efficiency. 

As the hardware has evolved at a high pace over the last decade, so did the software for our printers. 

We’ve decided to compile the most important tools you need to know before you even start your first experiment with your 3D printer. 

These are the main categories and essential tools you need to be aware: Firmware, 3D modeling and Slicers. 

Let's have a look at each of these categories and discuss their importance in the whole printing process. 

12 Must Know Tools for 3D Printing Enthusiasts


Firmware is a type of software that controls the basic functions of a 3D printer. The firmware is controlling motion and temperature control systems, and translating commands from the slicer software into actual physical movements of the printer's components.

The choice of firmware can impact the performance, reliability, and capabilities of the 3D printer, so it's important to choose a firmware that is compatible with the printer and meets the user's needs.


OctoPrint interface
Otoprint interface

OctoPrint is an open-source software for controlling and operating 3D printers. 

It allows users to control their 3D printer from a web interface, as well as monitor and manage their print jobs. OctoPrint offers a range of features for optimizing and customizing the 3D printing process, including the ability to control temperature and movement, view and edit G-code, and start and stop print jobs.

One of the key features of OctoPrint is its remote accessibility, which allows users to control their 3D printer from anywhere with an internet connection. This makes it ideal for those who want to monitor their print jobs while they're away from their 3D printer. 

OctoPrint also includes a range of plugins, which add additional functionality and customization options to the software.


Klipper interface
Klipper firmware running on mainsail interface

Klipper is an open-source firmware for 3D printers that runs on external computer such as Raspberry Pi - version 2 and higher recommended. 

It's known for its advanced features and improved performance compared to some other firmware options. 

Klipper has gained serious traction among users in the past two years. The newest version 0.11.0 comes with a wide range of useful functions, such as PID tuning, mesh leveling, or pressure advance. 


Marlin interface
Marlin firmware running on Prusa 3D printer.

Marlin is also an open-source firmware for 3D printers that is widely used and known for its stability and versatility but recommended for more experienced users. 

It's compatible with a wide range of 3D printer controllers and offers many advanced features for experienced users. 

Same as his competitor, Marlin has evolved over the years and added new features such as Auto-tuning, Multiple Extruder support, and Virtual Studio extension for easy installation. 

3D Modeling Software

3D modeling is the process of creating a three-dimensional representation of an object or scene using specialized software. 3D models can be used for a variety of purposes, including animation, simulation, product design, and 3D printing. 

To choose the right one, you have to consider the level of complexity of objects you plan to print. There are some free options available on the market, which, as probably expected, will come with some limitations. 

This list contains 3D modeling software at every level, but every 3D software takes time to learn. 

Autodesk Fusion 360

Autodesk fusion 360
Slicing in Fusion 360. Source: scientificworldinfo.com

Fusion 360 is a comprehensive and powerful 3D design and engineering software that combines modeling, simulation, collaboration, and machining in a single platform. 

It's widely used in the manufacturing and engineering industries, as well as 3D printing. Besides the wide range of features offered and user-friendly interface, it offers an advanced function for 3D printing such as an integrated slicer or a rich full library of printers and materials. 

It provides a wide range of 3D modeling tools, including solid modeling, surface modeling, and parametric modeling. 

This allows users to create a variety of 3D shapes, parts, and assemblies.


Blender interface
Source: Vitaliy Sokol 

Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation software that can be used for 3D modeling, animation, simulation, and even video editing. 

It has a wide range of features and tools that can be used to create complex and detailed 3D models. Blender is widely used in the film and animation industry and is known for its powerful and flexible features. The advantage against other 3D modeling software lays in the community. 

There are many communities online with advanced support and free models. 


Mechanical part designed in TinkerCAD, Source: scientificworldinfo.com

Tinkercad is an online, browser-based CAD/3D design software that's easy to use and accessible for users of all skill levels. 

It provides a simple, drag-and-drop interface for creating and modifying 3D models, and includes a range of basic 3D modeling tools and shapes. 

Tinkercad is ideal for beginners and hobbyists who want to quickly and easily create simple 3D models.

Slicing Software

Slicer software is a type of software that takes a 3D model and converts it into a set of instructions (G-code) that a 3D printer can understand and use to create a physical object. 

Slicer is an essential tool for 3D printing, as it takes care of many of the important tasks involved in preparing a 3D model for printing, such as generating support structures, optimizing the print path, and determining the exact amount of filament required for the print.

Let's have a look at the most used slicing software on the market. 


Cura, ultimaker
3D model in Cura

Cura is a slicing software that was developed by the Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker. 

It supports a wide range of 3D printers, including those made by Ultimaker, LulzBot, and many others. Cura is known for its user-friendly interface and intuitive controls, making it a great choice for both novice and experienced users. 

It offers a variety of advanced features, such as the ability to fine-tune the printing process, customize support structures, and control the print temperature. 

While Cura is mainly used to slice for FDM printers, there are also resin (SLA) printers that support models sliced with Cura. 


Automatic Supports generated in PrusaSlicer, Source: scientificworldinfo.com

PrusaSlicer is another slicing software developed by Prusa Research, a leading manufacturer of 3D printers. It's specifically designed for use with Prusa 3D printers, but it also supports a wide range of other 3D printers. PrusaSlicer is known for its advanced features, such as multi-material printing, support for advanced slicing algorithms, and the ability to generate high-quality G-code. It's also highly customizable, with a wide range of function that will help people slice high-quality models. PrusaSlicer has a very user-friendly interface and is easy to use, making it a popular choice for both novice and experienced users.


Simplyfy3D interface

Simplify3D is a commercial slicing software for 3D printers that is known for its advanced features and user-friendly interface. It offers a wide range of tools for optimizing and fine-tuning the 3D printing process, including customizable support structures, the ability to preview and edit multi-part models, and real-time simulation of the printing process. 

Simplify3D also includes a variety of features for optimizing print quality, such as the ability to adjust layer height, infill patterns, and print temperature. It supports a wide range of 3D printers and offers the ability to import and export STL files, as well as generate high-quality G-code.

Despite Simplify3D has also a very user-friendly interface, in comparison to the two slicers, it is more suitable for experienced users. 

Simplify3D is also known for its exceptional customer support, with a team of experts available to help users with any questions or issues they may encounter.


Now we have looked at the main software components in the 3D printing process. 

The right firmware will help you keep the performance of your printer on an advanced level. Where design software and slicers will assure the object you print will fulfill the visual aspect. 

Fortunately, most of these tools are free, and even those paid option (except simplify3D), are offering free test versions to try before you make the purchase. 

The industry is evolving rapidly, and there are new tools coming up basically every year. 

We’ve looked at the popular options, which are required to start the 3D printing process. 

In your next post, we’ll go deeper and explore more advanced options for pro-level 3D printing. 

Looking forward and happy printing.
The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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