Due to the emergence of 3D printing factories on the rise, programmers need to work overtime to produce more and better software for 3D printers. Today, smart-3D printing software technology is the talk of the day in the manufacturing industry.
3D printing is a modern technique of creating shapes in three dimensions. In simple terms, 3D printing software features tools/functionality that enables the creation of 3D models and sends those designs to the 3D printer.
The software for 3D printers allows users to print or create objects which show length, width, and depth. The 3D printing software helps you in prototyping and printing real-life 3D models.
Numerous 3D printing applications support file formats like Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) and Stereolithography (STL).
STL is a file format that contains a single color and is compatible with desktop 3D printers. VRML is a more advanced 3D file type that includes color. More so, it supports using two or more nozzles that can print different colors.
What to Expect From 3D Printing Applications?
Job loss – The use of this software makes product manufacturing more streamlined. 3D printing technology is likely to take away some jobs because of the advanced automation of tasks. More so, the ability to engage 3D technology from remote locations and monitor production can further decline manufacturing jobs.
Limited materials – Currently, 3D printing technology is limited to printing with plastic and few types of metal. Some of these raw materials are not readily available for commercial purposes.
Copyright issues – Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between an original and a duplicate. The situation can be much more complicated when the product is software. The emergence of 3D printing software available online makes it possible to counterfeit objects.
Who Can Use 3D Printing Software?
3D printing software enables visual artists, architects, and other businesses in the manufacturing field to create realistic scenes for customer engagement.
Advanced software for 3D printers is also used in the industrial field to create machine parts and other objects.
More so, entertainment and news providers use 3D rendering software to produce and create different media types.
Are you looking to find a 3D printing software that is fit for your work as well as your pocket? Look no further. In this blog, we have selected the 20 best software for 3D printers in 2021 that anyone can use for creating 3D objects.
SelfCAD 3D printing software is an online computer-aided plan. It gives instructions on how an object needs to be constructed or created in length, height, and depth. SelfCAD is a set of instructions a 3D printer executes to implement the process of generating 3D objects.
SelfCAD is a web-based 3D printing software that supports the Linux platform, which is the basis of commercial networking machines. The initial creation of this software dates back to 2016. Nevertheless, it continues to rate as one of the best 3D printing tools you can use in 2021.
More so, individuals seeking to produce three-dimension objects can use SelfCAD because the app is in the English language. It is almost self-explanatory, and both beginners and experts can use it to render, model, or sculpt.
- Animation – This software for 3D printers feature is one of the best tools that come with SelfCAD. The Animation tool walks you into the near reality of your project. You can visualize the completed results of your work by using this tool to animate your design.
- Follow Path – SelfCAD comes with the Follow Path tool. This software feature allows you to generate a circular mold around the Tabletop.
- Object Library – The software allows you to store all types of objects that you can use in pictures, texts, hierarchical lists, forms, and more.
- Macros – SelfCAD allows you to use a single program statement to carry out multiple processes. This tool makes the programming task easy and less tedious.
- Stitch and Scoop – The tools allow designers to place and round text in the core. More so, this feature enables you to see different aspects of your functional prototype design. This specific detailing feature helps you achieve or increase the chances of creating a flawless 3D object.
- Slicing – SelfCAD generates a G-code that you can use on multiple 3D printers. It allows you to spread out the printing of parts across a network of printers.
- Sculpting – Why do you need to model or sculpt a functional prototype? The simple answer is that making a design before the actual production makes manufacturing easy.
This tool allows you to view your idea in reality and a three-dimension user interface. More so, you can also capture the errors in your project at the sculpting stage.
- The app is a cloud-based technology – As it is with other cloud-based systems, SelfCAD software regularly updates itself since it is automatically set. Furthermore, you do not have to worry about data storage issues because data stores in the cloud.
- Flexibility – Ability to work specific parts of your model – SelfCAD allows you to select an area on your object you wish to edit. You may want to focus on individual sections to identify flaws or improve the design. SelfCAD gives you the flexibility to alter the whole into smaller parts.
- SelfCAD is eccentric– This 3D printing software allows you to work on your project from scratch. Some manufacturers and other professionals use SelfCAD to edit designs. However, not all individuals who use software for 3D printers have some of the work already done.
- Easy to learn and use – Beginners can become proficient 3D design experts with minimum assistance. Both the learner and tutor can navigate them without a fuss.
- SelfCAD comes with an interactive tutorial – Unlike some 3D printer software that requires you to move back and forth from tutorials, SelfCAD tools are where you need them.
You cannot upload the G -code generated by SelfCAD to a printer Cloud interface directly. However, you can send the code through Wi-Fi connectivity. You can also save the file on the micro-SD card and insert it into your 3D printer.
SelfCAD 3D printing software costs 14.99 dollars a month. However, the software offers a free trial that you can use to help you experience what SelfCAD can do.
MatterControl is a free-to-use open-source 3D printer software. This all-in-one software for 3D printers allows you to create, slice, organize and manage your prints. More so, you can use this software to draw your object from scratch by using design tools.
It is a web interface and a slicer with integrated modeling software for 3D printers. This program allows you to create a whole 3D object from the initial design to the final print.
It runs on various platforms such as Microsoft Windows (Vista and above), Linux, and Mac OS X. MatterControl offers you a direct approach to 3D printing and is easy to use.
This software allows users to slice designs using advanced features for software bed leveling. Furthermore, you can also build your prototype according to individual personalization.
MatterControl does not require the help of multiple programs to print objects. You can generate your prints straight from the source 3D printing software.
- Integrated library – The software allows you to systematically save your projects in various file types.
- Printing – the print preview tool helps you correct errors and gives you a view of your final object before printing.
- Cloud – MatterControl allows you to save your data and 3D models in your cloud folder and retrieve projects from any location.
- Design suite – Some of the tools in this feature include gear creator, text tool, image inverter, braille tool, and pro tools. You can also create, add and edit objects from this feature.
- Calibration – This feature helps you manage various 3D printer settings such as bed level, retraction, and temperature.
- Clear and well-structured web interface – The software offers you a list of simple tools to help you with your modeling. Beginners find the wizard helpful and easy to follow during the various design stages.
- Automatic repair function – MatterControl comes with an in-built-in auto repair tool that helps fix errors without your effort. You can activate this additional option in the advanced mode of the software.
- Integrated forum – MatterHacker is the developer’s website. It contains tutorials and a community forum for 3D printing. Here, you can find answers to some of your software challenges and get solutions from seasoned 3D developers.
- Easy access to your projects – This program offers you the option of saving your work on Cloud storage. You not only save on space, but you can also get access to your project from another computer.
- All-Inclusive 3D printing software – The program allows you to design, slice, monitor, and print all in one software.
- Notifications – MatterControl sends you a short message or an email immediately after printing any of your 3D objects.
- Although MatterControl is open-source software, it works with numerous plugins and applications, which come with a cost. The developer adds new features, tools, and plugins frequently.
- MatterControl does not have an application for iPhone Operating System (iOS)
- Like other free-to-use applications, this software has limited features. It is effective only for self-learning.
MatterControl 3D printing software is free to use.
Slic3r is open-source software for 3D printing whose production dates back to 2011. It has since continued to change and become better. This development is possible because Slic3r relies on a community of individuals who work together on GitHub to create and test new features.
This software is independent and not affiliated with any commercial enterprise or printer manufacturer.
- Auto-repair – Slic3r has the ability to re-export and automatically fix non-manifold meshes.
- USB Compatible – The software comes with an in-built USB/serial host controller that supports more than one printer, each with a spool queue.
- Printing – Slic3r is compatible with various 3D printers. You can spread out your print jobs across a network of different printers. It also allows you to print with multiple extruders to produce colored objects.
- Input and output – This software can read STL, AMF, and OBJ file types. This feature also allows you to output G-code and SVG files.
- Use brim for adhesion – this feature enables you to place a protective ring around your object. More so, you can remove it after printing. The adhesive helps your model stick to the bed, which is needful for quality prints.
- Support – You get unlimited virtual resources to help you navigate the software.
- Conversion – Slic3r allows you to convert between OBJ, POV, AMF, and STL file formats.
- Slic3r has no dependencies and is easy to install and use. All you need to do is download the program and double-click to start using it.
- You can preview your project as it is in reality before producing the final object. More so, you can catch the errors while in this mode and rectify your model before printing.
- This software for 3D printing provides you with tools to queue your projects across multiple printers.
- Slic3r allows developers to turn 3D models into G-code. This feature enables you to print your objects on multiple printers.
- The software does not allow you to print your 3D objects directly.
- Slic3r comes with a wide range of tools that are not necessary for proper customization.
- The application’s viewer tool responds at a slow speed, and editing objects can be frustrating.
- Loading objects on the plate is heavy and reduces the processing speed of the application.
Slic3r is a free-to-use 3D printing software.
Solidworks is a computer-aided software program for 2D and 3D designs. The educational institutions, medium-sized engineering, and mechanical sectors are some of the most common users of Solidworks.
This browser-based application runs on Microsoft Windows and Mac operating systems. However, it can also deploy on-premise.
- 3D CAD allows you to create complex designs and assembly parts quickly and precisely.
- Interference check – Solidworks gives you options to verify that your 3D parts are ready for assembly before proceeding to the production level.
- CAD library – This allows you to save used components, templates, and features. It is easy for you to retrieve from the library any saved data.
- Re-use and automation – This feature makes it easy for you to retrieve and incorporate existing engineering data to design new objects. The tool helps you to complete projects quickly and effectively.
- Manufacturing cost estimation – This tool constantly checks your design against the estimated cost. It integrates with automated manufacturing tools to generate feedback.
- Product support – Software reviewers rate this feature as one of the best among others. Users are offered overwhelming support from the live chat, videos, and documentation from the vendor.
- Effectively handle heavy workloads as well as smaller projects. It is employed to complete simple and complex 3D designs.
- Easy to learn and use – compared to other similar apps like Autodesk CAD, I find Solidworks one of the most effortless 3D printing software to navigate.
- Excellent features – Some of the features perform tasks just as expected without the support of plugins.
- Product support – Users are connected to a network of experts and other experienced developers where help is readily available.
- Solidworks can crash or fail without giving you any warning.
- This software comes with a wide range of features that are not useful for a beginner or hobbyist.
- It is an expensive software that makes it impossible for beginners, students, and small-scale businesses to use.
Pricing is in two categories. The Solidworks Standard edition costs $3,996 per standalone license.
- Annual subscription for $1,295.
- There is no free trial for Solidworks 3D printing software.
What is Makeprintable?
It is a cloud-based repair application and runs on Mac OS X and Windows. This 3D printing software comes with in-built tools that analyze, validate, and repair mesh errors when assembling a 3D file for production.
This 3D printing software increases the chance of 3D print success for beginners and experts by identifying and correcting faults before printing a file. Makeprintable is best for fixing errors such as wall thickness, flipped faces, non-manifolds, and solidity.
Some of the common industries that use Makeprintable include engineering, construction, Education, Gaming, Woodworking, and 3D hobbyists.
- Wall thickness adjustment tool – This feature allows you to control your 3D thin surfaces and thickens them for printing.
- Model repair – This tool is one of the best 3D printing software aids that lets you repair damaged and complex geometries with ease.
- Analyzer and viewer – This feature allows you to see the object in real-time. More so, it offers you the tools to correct all the faults in your 3D model before printing.
- 3D model converter – With this feature, users can transform 3D models into OBJ, STL, GVODE, 3MF, or SVG without compromising the quality of their 3D print.
- Mesh repair – Analyzing and repairing your 3D objects on the fly is handled by this powerful tool.
- The software allows you to correct faulty 3D images before printing, which helps you avoid material wastage.
- One of the top reasons numerous 3D users choose Makeprintable is because it shortens the time between design and printing.
- Printing 3D objects from Makeprintable is easy and effortless. More so, this software converts complex files into print-ready format fast.
It is not easy for a new user to navigate the software. Makeprintable does not have clear directions and guidelines.
The pricing is offered in two categories as follows;
- Pro plan – 7 dollars a month.
- Plus – 25 dollars a month.
It is one of the most popular 3D printing software you can use in 2021. Blender has a large number of users. The community individuals share their models, STL files, and other helpful information. Most 3D designers use the software extensively because it is 100% free.
Blender is open-source software that allows developers to do anything with its rich features.
- Blender is versatile – It is a 3D modeling tool that supports film VFX, video games, 3D model design, and printing.
- Skin Modifier – This feature allows you to use edges to design shapes and generate a simple base mesh within a short time.
- Printer support – This software allows you to use different printers. The best software for 3D must integrate with more than one printer.
- Keyboard shortcuts – Provides you with various key combinations to use instead of the complex application commands.
- Versatile – Besides having an in-built game engine, Blender also allows you to edit videos and sculpt objects.
- User support – Experts in the Blender community forum willfully teach beginners how to navigate the application because it is open-source and free-to-use software,
- Ability to switch between printers – Because Blender supports printer integration, you are not limited to using one machine.
- It is challenging to navigate and is more strenuous to learn and use when compared to Slic3r and Solidworks.
- Going through the menus can be time-consuming. The interface layout seems clattered and can be cumbersome to navigate, and the selection section requires too many clicks.
- This software can be complex for starters or intermediates. Nevertheless, experienced developers can use Blender with minimal effort.
There are no charges attached to the Blender 3D printing software. It is a free-to-use application.
It is an online 3D modeling and printing software. It is an Augmented reality technology. Vector works in a browser and therefore does not require you to download. This free-to-use software receives support from the Slant community.
Vectary is among the best software for 3D printing deployed on the cloud environment and runs on Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, and Unix. It is a mix of standard mesh modeling, parametric plugins, and subdivision modeling.
It exports more than 60 file formats, including FBX, USDZ, and GLTF. More so, Vectary imports 3D and 2D formats.
- Browser-based – You do not have to install this application. More so, you can use it from any browser.
- Short cuts – This feature helps reduce the time spent on completing tasks. You can also drag and drop 3D models.
- 3D print optimization – It allows you to print 3D models.
- Vectary 3D printing software is easy to use. The structured user interface makes navigating the app simple.
- It is cheaper than a similar app like Solidworks. It is free of cost.
- It is visually stunning. The design is attractive, and it helps to improve the overall user experience.
- This application offers you a friendly environment to create 3D objects for Augmented reality (AR).
- The software allows you to access your work remotely. Besides working on a desktop or laptop, Vectary can also run on Chromebook.
- The system is slow when turning information from a 3D model to a 3D image.
- Although Vectary works well with low-poly assets, higher-poly can lead to the computer-controlled digital setting freezing.
- The usability is subject to change. This application changes frequently.
- You cannot use Vectary when you are offline. It requires a stable internet connection.
Vectary is a free-to-use software for 3D printing. There is no cost attached to its usage.
ideaMaker software prepares files for printing, and it works well with Raise3D printers. The application runs on Mac OS X v10.10 or later, Windows XP or later, and Linux 32-bit and Linux 64-bit versions.
Slicing with ideaMaker is well organized and fast. More so, it only takes about four clicks to make STL, OBJ, and 3MF files.
While the app provides simplified features for starters, it also offers an advanced setting for experienced users.
- Create texture – It allows you to apply different patterns to a selected model’s surface.
- Duo-extrusion – This allows you to slice your models for printing on a dual-extrusion 3D printer.
- No CAD processing – The application automatically applies the desired pattern to the model, skipping the lengthy CAD process.
- Texture – You can alter the surface of your object using this tool from the ideaMaker library or your 2D file.
- Customized support – It comes with an inbuilt auto support mechanism that offers you tools for manual editing and advanced purposes.
- Speed – It is 64-bit, natively compiled, and multi-threaded. This software is a highly efficient tool for users who need faster slicing speeds.
- Optimized interface – This feature allows you to see multiple files in one print task. You can also switch between the print setting.
- Compatibility – It is adaptable with a variety of FFF 3D printers. Moreover, this application is available in English, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and more.
- Modifier – ideaMaker has integrated Boolean tools in the software to help you split, curve and combine models. More so, you can also define particular settings according to the layers.
- Saves you extra time – You do not need to run CAD software that takes a longer time to complete a process. With Boolean tools, you achieve focused and accurate results quickly.
- Simple user interface – allows you to add or remove support structures by 2clicks. It is one of the best apps that beginners can learn about 3Dprinting. Both novices and experts can use this software because it gives you tips at every stage.
- Stability – ideaMaker is steady as compared to similar apps like Ultimaker Cura.
- The system is slow when loading files. However, the results are worth the waiting.
- ideaMaker is effortful to master and can be challenging for starters.
- This software does not work well with aftermarket printers.
The pricing model is per feature.
This program is one of the best open-source free-to-use 3D printing and modeling software on the market. It is a feature-rich and user-friendly software best for university students and engineers to design and print objects.
DesignSpark Mechanical allows users to complete complex tasks such as solid modeling. A majority of users have found this software to produce geometrically correct surfaces.
This 3D printing software is available in more than 20 languages. This approach makes it easy for almost anyone to learn and use DesignSpark. It runs on Microsoft Windows (x64) and is ideal for desktop and laptop computer platforms.
- Solid modeling – The software allows you to create 3D objects from only a surface.
- Manufacturing – Engineers and other developers can react to new projects quickly. You can also make anticipated changes on designs within short notice. Designspark Mechanical is best for architectural models such as roadways, airports, bridges, power plants, and utility networks.
- Bill of materials management – The software provides tools to help you calculate the cost of your project.
- Data Import Export – The process of transferring files from one device to another can be a daunting task when using some of the 3D printing software. However, Design Spark makes it simple for engineers to move data across various machines.
- Component Library – DesignSpark Mechanical offers you pre-defined models from industrial suppliers. More so, you can use these suggestions to add to your drawings and make your object better.
- This software offers you the ability to produce a bill of material for various designs. It comes with electrical and PCB CAD tools ideal for advanced 3D printing software users.
- The full-featured interface is simple, and the software runs smoothly. DesignSpark Mechanical allows you to work on your designs without interruptions which helps you achieve efficient output.
- It is among the few 3D printing software that can calculate the cost of producing a potential 3D object.
- Documentation, a chat forum, and live chat features are available to help you navigate through the software difficult stages.
- It is rigorous to create a customized template of a bill of materials.
- Mirroring projects takes a lot of time to complete.
- This software comes with a resource of videos and templates that explain the same idea.
DesignSpark Mechanical 3D printing software is free to use.
Modo is a 3D modeling platform used to create 3D objects. This software is a product of Luxology, LLC and dates back to 2007. Modo offers a free-to-use version.
The application offers you various tools such as a DXF translator and editing mechanisms.
Modo is best used for sculpting, rendering toolsets, texturing, and lighting. Some of the industries that use Modo include animation, design, VFX, games, and architecture.
This application runs on Mac OS X 10.14.X, 10.15.X and 11.X, Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, and Linux 64-bit platforms.
- Modeling – The powerful built-in sculpting tools and Mesh Fusion Boolean toolset work well together. This feature enables developers to work fast and with precision. It offers you various modeling tools such as direct modeling, procedural modeling, sculpting, and brush.
- Sculpting – This feature allows you to add details to your 3D model with speed.
- Rendering and Shading – This software offers you various tools such as Modo Render, mPath, and baking. You can adjust your textures during the baking progress.
- Effects – You get access to tools such as Particles and Dynamics, which blends rigid and soft bodies to help you create high-powered models in a shorter time. Other instruments in this feature include Hair and Fur that help you design real-life-like objects like feathers, hair, grass, and other similar effects.
- Workflow – It integrates with modeling and other workflows. This feature comes with a built-in toolset that supports automated functions and UDIM workflows.
- Animation and Rigging – This utility enables you to turn 3D models into moving graphics.
- Import/Export – Modo permits you to move data and 3D models to and fro in various file formats.
- Template library – Modo allows you to select from pre-existing templates and add your own. This feature also offers you objects and materials to place in your models.
- Modo rendering is top-notch.
- Some 3D printing software types can be heavy and slow, but Modo has high speed, and it is also light.
- You get tips from experts and other experienced users on the lively community forum.
- The package is affordable, and a perennial license includes a one-year maintenance plan.
- The application is prone to bugs.
- It does not have tools for liquid simulation or fluids
- It is frustrating to convert some aspects like curve pipe to squad mesh features.
- The animation speed is slow.
Modo offers you a monthly subscription at $65.
However, you can choose to pay
an annual fee of $659.
More so, Modo has a 30-day free trial to help you recognize your creative potential.
Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Printed Circuit Board (PCB), and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) software. It consolidates electronics, engineering, and design into a single software platform.
This software is best for students, teachers, and hobbyists. It is also commonly employed in the automotive and aerospace industry.
This application integrates computer-aided design CAD and computer-aided engineering.
- Sketching – This tool allows you to create and adjust sketches with sketch constraints and dimensions.
- Direct modeling – This feature enables you to repair imported geometry at your own pace.
- Surface modeling – It creates intricate parametric surfaces for fixing geometry. You can produce your objects with cutting water jet and plasma machines strategies.
- Machining extension– allows you to extend the CAM proficiency of Fusion 360 with ultra-modern manufacturing technologies.
- Mill turning – This feature integrates milling and turning functions to create elaborate parts without switching machines.
- Fusion 360 allows you to make last-minute changes to your project. The parametric design lets you edit your design after completing the entire project.
- Saves on storage – Fusion 3D software for 3d is cloud-based.
- Fusion 360 offers a free version for individuals, students, and teachers.
- The modeling tools are easy to master and use. The learning curve is not steep.
- The software generates a G-code to send to a 3D printer.
- Access to features and shortcuts is fast and easy. All you require is to make a few clicks or use a mouse.
- Fusion 330 is an excellent 3D solution for technical design work. You can share projects on the cloud with multiple users.
- Some functions may change without notice, even when you are midway in your design. Besides being annoying, it changes your workflow.
- It is challenging to locate some settings, for example, the custom color.
- You require an internet connection before you can use this application.
- The free version is limited. It only allows 3-axis machining.
- The software has inadequate support resources for organic sculpting.
The pricing category is in two categories which include;
- Monthly plan at $60.
- Yearly subscription at $495.
Simplify3D is one of the best-integrated software and slicer for 3D printing. It enables you to enhance a model for 3D printing and also helps you to troubleshoot printing.
This application runs on Microsoft Windows Vista or later, Mac OS X 10.7, and Linux. It is also available in different language translations including, English, German, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian.
Some of the groups who use Simplify3D include engineers, designers, architects, entrepreneurs, professors, teachers, and students.
- Printer support – Simplify3D works well on different 3D printers without compromising print quality.
- Preview simulations – This tool allows you to view a real-life scenario of what your model will look like before you start the print. More so, realistic simulations enable you to identify potential errors in your object.
- Support structures – These software pillars allow you to achieve excellent surface quality for complex prints. You can remove these supports safely without using unique tools or post-processing.
- User Support – You get access to industry-top resources to help you achieve excellent print quality. The Simplify3D experts are available to help you with any issue you encounter while using this service on your 3D printer.
- Customized support – Simplify3D printing software manages every detail of your print.
- Save time and resources – You do not have to buy and learn new software for different machines. Simplify 3D is one of the best benefits of this software is the ability to work with different types of 3D printers.
- Import – Allows the importation of 3D models in various file formats such as STL, obj, and image conversion like jpg, PNG.
- Export – You can send out tool paths or files that contain instructions for 3D printers like G-code, X3G, 3W, and MakerBot.
- You don’t get access to the free trial before buying the complete package. However, you get a full refund after two weeks of returning the software.
- It is relatively costly considering that similar alternatives like Cura and Slic3r are free.
Simplify3D costs 149 dollars.
Autodesk Maya is a 3D printing software, and it is a product of Autodesk. This 3D animation, modeling, rendering, and simulation tool is cloud-based.
Some of the groups that also use Autodesk Maya include the motion and film industries. It is also best for educators, artists, and animators.
- Dynamics and effects – The tools contain ready-to-use graphics to help you create sequels such as dust storms and snow. You can also design other physical reactions like soft-body, cloth, and hair.
- Rigging – This feature helps you with character setup. You can create skeletons and deformers objects that deliver natural-like performances.
- Pipe Integration – With this feature, you can customize how Autodesk Maya works for you to be continent or in line with your pipeline.
- Animation – the software allows you to improve characters with powerful deformation effects.
- Sculpting toolset – This feature helps you to shape objects automatically.
- Retargeting – It simplifies the transfer of animation between skeletons that are similar or even varying skeletal structures.
- Motion graphing – This feature offers you MASH procedural effects to create powerful motion animations.
- Rendering and shading – Tools like Arnold render found in this attribute allow you to view the scene in real-time. You can monitor various environments such as lighting, materials, and cameras.
- Autodesk Maya can process high-end character rigs as compared to 3ds Max. This software is excellent for rendering heavy scenes.
- Autodesk Maya offers 3D Designers all the essential tools needed for 3D printing in one package. It contains modeling, rendering, animation, texturing, rigging and dynamics.
- The software allows you to add plugins and scripts.
- It is simple to create and edit sophisticated animations using time and graph editors.
- Autodesk Maya offers you a variety of features.
- Autodesk Maya can be slow, and rendering is time-consuming.
- The software tends to crash.
- It is costly for individuals, startups, students, and hobbyists. Autodesk Maya does not offer a free trial or a premium version.
- The advanced conversion tool in Autodesk Maya 3D printing software converts geometry into the proper topology.
You can purchase Autodesk Maya 3D printing software at the following costs;
- $215 a month.
- $1700 yearly subscription.
PunchCAD is a 3D printing, verification, and repair software. This app edits and repairs STL, 3MF, and OBJ files and facilitates 3D printing. It is a full-featured software for photorealistic rendering capabilities.
It runs on Microsoft Windows 2000., Windows 98, windows me, and Windows NT. PunchCAD 3D software is best for designing homes and landscaping yards.
- CAD file support – This feature is compatible with CAD. It permits you to send your 3D models to an architect or a contractor.
- Object Library – PunchCAD contains over 4700 objects you can choose from to help you remodel or create. This selection includes interior and exterior furniture, window, doors, appliances, fixtures, and more.
- Estimation tool – This feature automatically calculates the cost of all the materials required to complete your 3D object.
- Drag and Drop interface – The easy-to-use feature helps you add detail to your project quickly. The objects you drag and drop automatically rotate and position themselves on the selected surfaces like walls and tabletops.
- Preview – This 3D tool with variable lighting enables you to see the project as a whole
- PunchCAD offers you a variety of useful utilities you can choose. The easy-to-use tools allow you to DIY interior design, landscape design, and more.
- You can use this software on different computers on your network.
- PunchCAD manages the vectors and their connections effectively.
- You can have a 3D and 2D view at the same time.
- The welcome screen gives you access to recent projects, sample plans, and learning material.
- It is not easy to learn and to use. It requires awareness or experience in similar tools.
- You are likely to experience a delay because PunchCAD is vulnerable to crashing.
- It can be annoying and frustrating to wait for feedback from user support.
- The user interface is not well laid out. It is tedious to navigate.
There are several packages for PunchCAD. The starting price stands at 49.99 dollars.
It is a cloud-based 3D printing software. AstroPrint lets you add and edit your 3D designs with the online STL viewer. The software runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems. AstroPrint dates back to 2013.
- Wi-Fi enabled – You can print remotely from any device.
- Video and Camera – You can view your 3D printer and monitor the progress of your work in real-time from any location on a hand-held device.
- Print File Creation – It works well with more than one printer and shares STL files with your 3D printer. Astro slices your model and sends the G-cod to the printer.
- Multi Shared Print Queues – this tool gives you control over your print jobs. You can prioritize your projects and decide what task goes to which printer. You can also send more than one file to a single queue.
- Cloud-based – AstroPrint stores your 3D files on the cloud and allows you to view them from any location.
- Integrates with CAD – AstroPrint works with Computer Aided Designs like TinkerCAD to create and enable the printing of 3D designs from cloud technology.
- Multi-user support and permissions – Advance mode permits you to edit settings to your liking.
- You can control your printer remotely and get notifications whenever the print is successful.
- Frequently fixes bugs and updates the software for better performance.
- You can print and stop print jobs remotely from the web on any device, including smartphones and iOS.
- Astro is compatible with a majority of 3D printers. You do not need specific software for a different printer.
- The free version does not let you save your work and has limited features.
- The setting and editing tools are not flexible.
The starting price is $9.0 per month.
OctoPrint web interface is a 3D technology for location-independent control and tracking f your 3D printer. Unlike MatterControl, this software does not come with a slicer. However, various plugins make it possible for developers to use the slicing software and create 3D objects.
This software runs on Windows and Linux operating systems and is compatible with most Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) 3D printers.
- Remote control and monitoring – Developers can control print activity at a distance from a browser.
- Real-time G-code visualization – Allow you to see what the actual object looks like in reality.
- Printing – Remote job starts from the mobile device. The software permits you to commence prints from remote locations.
- Compatible and expandable – You can expand the functions of OctoPrint by adding numerous features and plugins to the software.
- iOS and Android compatibility – The web works well on the mobile application. Even so, OctoPrint offers mobile apps which you can download on your hand-held device.
- Software integration – OctoPrint incorporates the tasks of slicing software. This feature allows you to cut your 3D object into layers to print correctly.
- Cost-effective – Special features and plugins are available at no cost. This software enables beginners and small businesses to save on costs without compromising quality.
- Que management – The software offers you tools to manage and automate print jobs effectively.
- Time Management – OctoPrint 3D printer software’s automated features free up your time and let you complete other jobs and be more productive.
- You cannot cancel a print job during warm-up, and this situation can lead to wastage of resources.
- OctoPrint software does not notify the printer when the filament is empty and needs a refill. Although you can start print jobs remotely, the process requires constant observation and monitoring.
- It is challenging to use across a network of printers. This software cannot handle bulky printing, and it is tedious and frustrating to control multiple printers.
OctoPrint is a free-to-use open-source software.
BRL-CAD is a cross-platform open-source solid modeling and 3D printing software with over two decades of active development. It includes ray-tracing and rendering, interactive geometry editing, and geometric analysis.
It is available in the English language.
Small and medium enterprises, agencies, and startups are some of the users of this application.
- Cross-platform – The software runs on standard operating systems such as Linux, Solaris, and BSD.
- Image processing – This feature gives you access to various tools such as photo editing, photo effects, watermark images, OCR, batch processing, image recognition, artificial intelligence, and more.
- Benchmark analytics – The artificial intelligence tool enables you to track and evaluate the performance of the 3D environment.
- Mobility – It offers you a smartphone application and browser options.
- 3D modeling – it permits you to create and edit elaborate 3D objects.
- 3D Printing – BRL-CAD offers you state-of-the-art resources for advanced 3D printing.
- Parametric Modelling – This feature allows you to set up 3D geometric models. It also lets you change the object at any time.
- Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) – This feature helps you design advanced 3D models with complex patterns such as tracks on circuit boards. It is easy to create realistic models with CAM.
- File conversion – This tool permits you to convert to and from a wide range of file formats.
- Reduced modeling time -You do not have to start your design from scratch because you can access existing geometric models.
- Online support – BRL-CAD users receive prompt responses to software requests.
- This application contains numerous editing and processing tools. You can customize the software to suit your project needs.
- Besides using the software for free, newer updates or user support does not cost you any money,
- The process of changing attributes is tedious.
- Prone to error when launching MGEP on Windows XP.
BRL – CAD is free of cost.
Geomagic Freeform is a versatile 3D sculpting software. It is a hybrid solution for creating advanced sculptural 3D models and assembling them for 3D printing, mold, or die manufacturing.
- Reverse engineering – Geomagic freeform offers you the best tools to create 3D models from surfaces.
- Rapid 3D printing – This feature ensures the correction of errors in your model. It also rectifies damaged 3D data into usable models. More so, it allows the importation of various 3D data files such as STL, scan, and CAD for use in your designs.
- StructureFX toolset – It allows you to select from existing models.
- Sculpting – This tool helps you to create realistic objects.
- Topology allows you to improve the surface of your 3D models.
- Dynabots – Creating an interactive assistant model doesn’t require codes. You only need to use your mouse clicks.
- Multivox View – This tool enables you to upgrade your accuracy and minimize interactions by confirming internal geometry.
- Brush variety – You can use different brushes with varying stroke width.
- Color – you can paint with endless color options.
- Effects -This feature helps you to highlight and select color shading.
- Export – This Geomagic Freeform file feature allows you to export a virtual 3D model into an interactive 3D pdf file format.
- Rendering – Turns your 3D model into 2D images for photorealistic and non-photorealistic effects.
- Motion-simulation– This tool helps to improve the overall 3D print results.
- It has excellent mesh editing tools and reverse-engineering compared to other applications such as Meshmixer.
- Reduces your workload by allowing you to sketch out scans.
- Modeling organic objects is made easy by the automation tool. The daynaBot option simplifies the generation of advanced organic models in Geomagic Freeform.
- The user interface is well structured and easy to navigate. Geomagic is one of the best tools for hobbyists and beginners’ wishing to venture into the world of 3D printing.
- It is cumbersome to use Geomagic Freeform with other 3G printing software like Autodesk Maya.
- The unavailability of a product license makes it impossible for users to submit presentations.
- The teacher license allows you to use the software for self-study only but not for a teaching process.
The pricing is in two categories which include;
- Geomagic Design Expert costs $1999.
- Geomagic Design Personal costs $199.
3Yourmind is an online software for industrial 3D printing. This application converts data into a 3D print. 3Yourmind software supports Additive Manufacturing (AM) workflows from describing parts, pricing, production, and machine utilization.
It is best for 3D print services, industrial manufacturing, 3D technology, and enterprises. 3Yourmind improves end-to-end AM processes for industrial manufacturing and 3D print services.
3Yourmind offers you both on-premise and SaaS installation options. You can choose to have the software deployed on your local hardware or in a secure, shared SaaS infrastructure as a private cloud.
- Automation – This feature connects you to existing systems through an application programming interface (API). It co-exists with other systems and also syncs your data between the platforms. It helps you make data-driven production choices quickly for a smoother workflow.
- Quotes and Estimates – provides the pricing for your actual project based on your prototype.
- MES – the manufacturing execution (MES) tool enables you to track parts through the 3D production process. This tool automatically defines print jobs based on factors like material, delivery date, and other existing priority levels.
- Analytics – 3Yourmind analyzes, evaluates, and standardizes AM data to connect you to production and maximize machine utility.
- The user-support service is effective and timely.
- It is suitable for individuals who look for speed in the 3D printing software. This app gives you efficient time management freeing up valuable hours to complete other tasks.
- The automation tools reduce the need to add more manual workers, which cut down production costs.
- It is easy to follow up on deliveries. 3Yourmind automates tracking of orders and delivery dates easily. It lets you find parts you can produce quickly.
- 3Yourmind integrates with other existing programs to add value to customer service.
- The software user interface is excellent.
- Like other 3D printing software cons, 3Yourmind doesn’t have enough certification.
- Post-processing is necessary for some instances.
- The product is not suitable for teaching processes. However, you may use it for self-study. It is not possible to use the free version to make a presentation.
You can download the software at no cost. 3Yourmind offers a free-to-use version.
Solid Edge software is a cloud-based application used to design for 3D printing. It is a fast and effective solution for creating initial prototypes and final projects. Solid Edge fully supports your end-to-end workflows, starting from creating 3D designs to printing.
Solid Edge is utilized in various industries such as automotive aftermarket, electronic devices, plastic component manufacturing, and more.
- Cloud – This feature allows you to send your model to cloud-based 3D printing services to get instant quotes.
- 3D printing – Solid Edge allows you to write out your parts to 3MF and STL file formats. You can also send your objects to the Microsoft Builder app. This tool is automated and includes color printing capability.
- Generative design – This feature helps you create light and advanced customized shapes for 3D printing.
- Intelligent cursor – this tool predetermines your drawing movement and prompts you to perfect guesses.
- Mobility – The software allows you to view parts, assemblies, and designs from anywhere. Solid Edge is compatible with mobile devices such as iPhones, smartphones, and tablets.
- User support – The Solid Edge integrates with the manufacturer to provide a quick response to your questions or concerns about the software.
- You can gain access to your project remotely from any device and browser.
- Solid Edge runs smoothly even with larger files than similar CAD applications.
- It provides tools to enable you to use a single design across multiple locations.
- You can assign users a fixed number of licenses. It allows you to maximize the benefits of your lease.
- Free version – You can download the free-to-use version at no cost.
- The price is unreasonable compared to the service it offers. More so, most of the features are not convenient for a standard user. You will likely pay for services that you may never use.
- When you compare with similar products like Solidworks, the learnability, efficiency, memorability, and satisfaction of Solid Edge are inadequate,
- The workflows are complex and burdensome to follow without prior experience with the concerned tools.
Besides offering a free version, Solid Edge has four pricing categories which include;
- Solid Edge Draft and Designing – $100 monthly – $900 annually.
- Solid Edge Foundation – $230 monthly – $220 annually.
- Solid Edge Classic – $290 monthly – $2760 annually.
- Solid Edge Premium – $420 monthly – $3940 annually.
Industries and individuals turn to 3D printing technology because of the numerous benefits it offers. Some of the advantages of using 3D printing software in industry and manufacturing include reduced production costs and decentralization.
However, the use of 3D printing technologies has high energy consumption levels, and it also takes away some jobs. Even so, 3D printing is the future and is here to stay.
Most 3D printing software users are likely to have more than one machine or printer. Therefore, it is critical to consider software integration and printer support before buying 3D printing software.
It is wise to select software that allows you to switch between machines. The best 3D printing software should work well with two or more different printers.
However, no one fits all 3D printing software. If you are new to 3D technology, you may want to select a simple open-source and free-to-use 3D printing software like Self CAD. Experience 4D users and other professionals like engineers may find advanced software like Solidworks more suitable for their projects.