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2018’s Best 3D Printing Software Tools Are Here

The success of your 3D prints does not rely on the quality of 3D printers alone. You may have the best 3D printer out in the market. But if you don’t have a good 3D printing software tool to come up with your design and prepare it for printing, then it would all be for naught. 3D printing software programs allow you to take the reins in reviewing, creating, tweaking, preparing, and overseeing your prints. Some tools may be more technical and more complicated than others, but there is a program for everyone regardless of 3D printing expertise. To help you, here are the five best 3D printing software tools for 2018.





Cura

  • Purpose: Slicing, print management, 3D printer hosting
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Supports: Windows, Mac, Linux

From the makers of the Ultimaker 3D printers, Cura is an award-winning open-source slicer software. It complements their own printers, but it is also compatible with other brands.

Through Cura, you can create 3D models and slice them into layers that the printer can read. After exporting them as the acceptable file formats, you can tweak the settings, such as the material, speed cooling, infill, and quality then just hit print. This 3-step process is so easy that even beginners can operate the tool. For those who are more skilled at 3D printing, you could also have more precise control over the settings by switching to Expert mode.

This software takes away the complexity of directly controlling your 3D printer.

TinkerCAD

  • Purpose: 2D and 3D model design
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Supports: Web browser

Another free software, TinkerCAD is a computer-aided design program that allows users to create models easily from basic shapes. With this program, 2D geometrical shapes can also be designed and converted into 3D models. It is the best jumping-off point for beginners since it has numerous tutorials available online.

However, more adept users might find its feature set limiting, so they would be better off with a more powerful tool as their skill improves.

Fusion 360

  • Purpose: 3D model design
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Supports: Windows, Mac, Linux

Made by Autodesk, the Fusion 360 is a 3D CAD program that ranks high on the usability scale. It handles the end-to-end 3D printing process of planning, testing, and executing a design.

It is also capable of keeping up with industrial design through its wide array of parametric and analytic mesh tools. They also show the user how the construction of the designed components and its potential risks upon manufacture and use. It is also a good collaborative ground for multiple designers with its version control, cloud-based file sharing, and CAD import and export features.

Printing is also a breeze with the Fusion 360. The CAD files produced from this tool can be imported into the Autodesk Printing Studio.

Blender

  • Purpose: 3D model design
  • Difficulty Level: Professional
  • Supports: Windows, Mac, Linux

Blender may be one of the most well-known CAD software programs in the 3D printing community, but it’s not for the faint of heart. It requires a vast knowledge of 3D printing and design skills, but the program is worth it. Blender is a powerful program that covers many aspects of 3D printing, including animation, simulation, and animation, just to name a few.

With Blender, creativity has no limits. Designers can create the most complex and methodical designs. It can also show a preview of how the print will look like with its photorealistic rendering feature.

MakePrintable

  • Purpose: STL viewer and repair
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Supports: Web browser

Everything could be going great. You’ve created a meticulous design. You’ve already adjusted the settings according to your preferences. But then a corrupt STL file can throw a wrench in your carefully laid out plans. MakePrintable can prevent this from happening by checking your STL files and repairing any errors it may have. Many a program can do this, but only MakePrintable the freedom to control the quality level, polygon count and more.

Good-performing 3D printing software programs are crucial to ensuring that your prints created and executed accurately. If you want to know which 3D printers will work best with these tools, check out X3D’s collection of the best 3D printers. We also have quality 3D printer filaments for 3D printing enthusiasts in Australia.