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This page will introduce you to slicing software which generates a tool path for the 3D printer.
We'll teach you how to slice your models when you visit the 3D Print Studio for DIY 3D printing. It's time to Choose Filament!
What is Slicing?
In a nutshell, "slicing" your 3D model means taking your design (usually in .stl format) and slicing it into individual layers. The software then generates the tool path (.gcode) the printer will use for printing. Most slicing software will have a print preview function to help you prevent print failures. This video from Maker's Muse shows this; skip ahead to the 4:12 mark to see how a slicer generates the tool path a 3D printer follows to build your model layer by layer.
Created and designed specifically for Ultimaker's line of 3D printers, we use this exclusively with our Ultimaker 3-Extended printer to get the best prints. Best suited for beginner and intermediate users.
The Good: Ideal for very fine detailed and professional prints; the 0.4mm nozzle can print as fine as 0.06mm; easy to use; dual extrusion capability, which is great for models that need PVA (water soluble) supports; time and material estimates are exact; can fix minor issues; creates support structures.
The Bad: Only works with Ultimaker printers; longer print time, which results in a higher price.
This software is compatible with more 3D printers than any other software. We use this exclusively with our Fusion3 F400-S. Best suited for all skill levels.
The Good: Slices large files with ease; can use with different 3D printers and default settings, with only minimal tweaking; can fix minor mesh issues; can create your own support structures and/or modify automatic supports.
The Bad: $149; print quality is acceptable; there is a basic mode, but experience with a 3D printer is best; print times are underestimated by 20-40%; material estimates usually overestimated by 10-20%.