Best 3d printer software reddit

gettingstarted - 3dprinting

  • Getting Started
    • Why 3D Printing?
    • Getting started with 3D Printing
    • Where to get a model printed
    • What printer to get
    • Where to find models
    • Material Choices
    • Slicers
    • Printing and Troubleshooting
    • Post Processing
    • How to make models
    • Further Info
If you're new around here, welcome! We thought we'd put a few links together to springboard your foray into the fabulous (and sometimes frustrating!) world of 3D printing. :)
If you are contributing to this wiki please keep this page incredibly concise and extremely high level, keep further detail for the Detailed Info pages.

Why 3D Printing?

3D printing (a.k.a Additive Manufacturing) is now pretty well established in industry as a prototyping tool, and is becoming more common as a process for creating finished custom or low-run parts.

In the home, printers can be a marvelous tool for solving practical household problems for example by repairing items, or creating new items that are fully customised for their position or use case. They also can be used for fun, and are popular for making tabletop gaming minis, and toys.

For inspiration browse the top posts of this subreddit.

Getting started with 3D Printing

The various types of 3D printing technologies all create real-world three-dimensional objects from digital models via the addition of material. These processes are able to produce novel structures that other manufacturing techniques cannot. Usually the 3D printing process looks like this:

  1. Get a digital 3D model (by downloading or making one)

  2. Slice it (use a program to generate instructions for the printer)

  3. Print it (and troubleshoot it)

  4. Post-process it (remove support material, clean up areas, paint etc)

Where to get a model printed

If you don't want to buy a printer (and you just want to have something printed), you can engage the help of a 3D printing service. Some popular choices include:

For a full list of service-providers (including design and model hosting services), please see the Services page.

What printer to get

If you're totally new to printing, the best place to ask for help when deciding what printer is right for you is our stickied monthly Purchase Advice Megathread.

Generally personal printers come in two main categories;

  1. FDM (FFM) printers are best suited to larger objects and functional parts and work a bit like a like a hot glue gun that moves around, extruding plastic filament and building up an object layer by layer.

  2. DLP (Layer Masking) printers are best suited to extremely detailed prints, and use light to cure resin in layers, masking it with an LCD screen.

There are, however, many other types of 3D printing technologies, which are explained here.

Where to find models

If you don't want to make your own models to print, there are many sites that host models for download. The more popular ones are:

  • Printables: upcoming and community-focused, feature-rich

  • Thingiverse: biggest model host, often buggy

  • Thangs: free models, which can be searched by geometry

  • My Mini Factory: free and paid models, guaranteed to print

  • GrabCad: functional/ technical models

  • YouMagine: Open source models

  • pinshape: free and paid models

  • yeggi: 3D model aggregator/search

  • CGTrader: free and paid models, not all of them made to be printed

A community-curated list of model host services can also be found on the services page.

The RepRap foundation also keeps a list of printable model-host services here.

When selecting a model you need to ensure they are manifold, here's an explanation of what that means and guide on fixing them. You can also try these free, automated services; Netfab, and Microsoft's tool

Material Choices

When you are just starting out with FDM 3D printing PLA is the recommended choice. It's very easy to work, relatively strong, with and comes without many of the safety concerns of other materials. A deeper discussion of materials can be found here.

If you are starting on a resin printer, check out our Resin Info page.


Slicing software takes a 3d model and turns it into instructions for the 3D printer. The instructions are generally exported in GCode which essentially is a list of locations to move to, amount of filament to extrude, etc.

The popular choices for slicing software are:

  • Ultimaker Cura: free, open source, highly customisable. Getting Started, Full Manual

  • Prusa Slicer (Based on Slic3r), Beginning with Prusa Edition (old version)

There are, however, many other options, most of which are discussed here

Be sure to check the layer preview to see if it makes sense in your slicer before printing (no unsupported overhangs, no parts missing, etc). More info on the Slicers Page

Printing and Troubleshooting

Follow your manufacturer's instructions in setting up your printer and starting your first print. It's a good idea to print a test print first (usually printers come with one).

If it succeeds congrats on your first print! You can now start slicing and printing your own models or some calibration prints

If your print fails you can begin troubleshooting.

This video helps you get to know the parts of your machine, so you know what we're talking about! :)

By far the most common reason for prints failing is an issue with levelling/tramming:

Full-resolution printable copy can be found here.

This visual reference, and this video may also help.

Once you have your prints sticking and printing, these guides can help you identify and solve any other issues you're experiencing:

  • Our Troubleshooting and Calibration wiki page

  • A Printa Pro PrintaGuide

  • poster and visual guide

  • Matterhackers Troubleshooting Guide

  • Simplify 3D Visual Troubleshooting Guide

  • Ultimaker Visual Troubleshooting Guide

  • RepRap Wiki Pictorial Troubleshooting Guide and Descriptive Troubleshooting Guide, these are a bit more technical/ advanced

  • It's also worthwhile seeking information from the manufacturer of your machine.

  • You can try searching for similar issues that other folk have experienced in the following communities: /r/3Dprinting, /r/FixMyPrint, the 3D Printers Discord

If the above suggestions don't solve your issue then it's time to seek help from the community:

  • This video is a great overview on how to seek help with prints.

  • The best places to ask for help are here on /r/3Dprinting, /r/FixMyPrint, the 3D Printers Discord. When asking for help be sure to provide the following:

    • A highly descriptive title (even if you don't know exactly what everything is officially called, please do your best to describe the issue in plain English. This not only helps you get the help you want, but also helps the rest of the community by keeping the sub searchable, so others can benefit from the help you receive.)
    • Photos of the issue, screengrabs of the layer view in your slicer, screengrabs of the model itself.
    • A description of what the machine was doing as it produced this issue.
    • Your basic settings such as: nozzle and bed temperature, speed, nozzle/line width and later height, the printer you're using and the material you're printing in. Or better yet, a screengrab or an export of your settings (you can upload files free without an account here)
    • Any other information you think could be relevant such as modifications or hypotheses.

Post Processing

Most prints need some work after they come off the printer to turn them into a finished part. Supports need to be removed, and surfaced may need to be smoothed. Here are some tutorials:

  • How to finish 3D Prints guide

More info on the Post Processing page

How to make models

Can't find what you want online? Why not design and make it? Model-making software is split into 4 main categories, depending on your goal:

Full-resolution, printable copy here

These are just the top picks, model making is discussed in more depth on the Making Models page

More communities:

  • /u/Devtholt keeps a Multireddit of all 3d printing subreddits including some specifically for help, or tailored to certain printers or printer manufacturers. Also has some subs that are related to 3D printing peripherally, such as /r/lasercutting and /r/CNC

  • 3D Printers Discord great platform for troubleshooting and socialising.

  • RepRap Forums

makingmodels - 3dprinting

  • Making 3D Models for 3D Printing
  • CAD /CAM/ Parametric Design
  • Sculpting
  • Hard-Surface Modelling
  • 3D Scanning and Photogrammetry
  • Generative Design & Topology Optimization
  • The importance of manifold
  • Tutorials for goals
This page is incomplete. You can help by expanding upon it.
If you've not contributed to this wiki before, some guidance and help can be found on this page: How to contribute to this wiki.

Can't find what you want online? Why not design and make it? Model-making software (for printing) is split into a few main categories, depending on your goal:

Full-resolution, printable copy here

  • CAD/ CAM/ Parametric Design is best suited to dimensioned objects, functional objects, fitted parts. Fusion 360 is the community favourite in this category (free for non-commercial use, startup exceptions available). Some tutorials can be found here: Lars Christensen and Makers Muse

  • Sculpting is for making organic shapes, soft-surfaces, people, animals, terrain. Sculpt GL is the easiest (and free/open source) way to get started.

  • Hard-Surface Modeling is best for making non-functional inorganic shapes hard/ flat surfaces, controlled curves. Tinkercad is the easiest way to get started in this space, and Blender is another, more advanced (free/open source) way to go about making this style of mode. Blender Guru has made a good series of tutorials. 3D Printing Professor has created a series for the absolute beginner with a focus on designing for 3D printing.

  • Scanning and Photogrammetry are also popular methods of generating a 3D model from real life objects. The easiest to get started is using AliceVision.

  • Generative Design and Topology Optimisation utilise a computer to either generate or optimise a design based on various constraints such as load and fixing points.

These are just the top pics, more options are discussed below, please note that this list is not intended to cover every modelling application, only those that are free/popular with redditors. If you want a more detailed list you can check out the reprap software list or head over to /r/3Dmodeling.

This image explores many open source options, and /u/morphfiend put together a wonderful collection of tutorials for many of the programs discussed on this page.

CAD heavily excels with mechanical designs, where the object is defined by measurements, angles, tolerances, quicker to revision

Program OS Price Notes/Tutorials
Onshape Browser free for public documents with a paid option for private documents. Some tutorials, Tech-Tips, and CadSessions
Fusion 360 free for non-commercial use, startup exceptions available Some tutorials can be found here: Make Anything, Lars Christensen, Makers Muse, Start with the basics, Quick Tips & Best Practices, Fusion 360 in 90 minutes, Autodesk Academy and Fusion 360 Parameters, how to make parametric Lego pieces in fusion 360
FreeCAD free Open Source Parametric CAD program in active development. Works pretty much like Fusion360 but completely offline. Can be scripted with Python. Paul Randall, FreeCAD tutorials, cad1919, Invent Box Tutorials
DesignSpark Mechanical Free to use mechanical modelling tool.
OpenSCAD Open source Syntax based modelling (describe your model in a computer language, the computer renders it. Note: SCAD is not an NP-complete programming language). Cheat-Sheet, Beginners Tutorial, Paul Randall,
SolidPython Open source Allows 3D models to be written as python programs, the output is OpenSCAD. The advantages of using python are that the full features of a modern language (including OO programming techniques) can be used.
Autodesk Inventor Natively supports STL's, but most often used for subtractive manufacturing methods
Rhino 3D Windows, Mac Paid Tutorials: Basics, Preparing for 3D Printing, Prepare your model for 3D Printing with Rhinoceros, Advanced Rhino and Grasshopper recorded college classes
STLBuilder Open source Generate models using mathematical formulas for the position of points in space. Then combine the model parts in a Javascript (the code blocks themselves are again model parts + recursion supported). STL download.
Solid Edge Windows Community Edition is free for non-commercial use. Has the best symmetry and feature recognition for editing STEP files from other sources. Most editing is done in 3D space instead of traditional Sketch->Feature workflow

3D sculpting, think of having a virtual ball of clay, your pinching it, smoothing it, pulling it to make something heavily organic looking such as a person, a creature, etc

Program OS Price Notes/Tutorials
Sculpt GL browser Free digital clay sculpting
Sculptris Beginner/kid friendly. pixologic (near the bottome of the page), Mr.Brooks, Sculptris cheat sheet
Meshmixer Free software to combine/modify models, generate custom support structures, and sculpt as though with clay. [Maker's Muse-, Teaching Tech, Sculpteo
ZBrush [ZClassroom-, [Zbrushtuts-, [Zbrush for beginners-, [Edge-CGI 3D tutorials-, [Twitch for Pixologic-, flippednormals
Blender free and open source Grant Abbitt -2.7, YanSculpts -2.7, Flipped Normals -2.8
3D-Coat alienminefield, 3dcoat learn, gamedev the pipline, Pluralsight (Paid)
Strata Sculpt3d browser free Appears to be a spin-off of SculptGL?
Various Programs Gnomon workshop (Paid)
Sculptura Mac, IOS Paid (low cost) robust clay sculpting. Particularly recommended with iPad pro+ apple pen

3D modeling when you think of those interesting artistic buildings or those pieces of terrain for on a game table, 3D modeling was behind the scenes, not as heavily defined process as CAD

Program OS Price Notes/Tutorials
Tinkercad Browser Beginner/kid friendly
Blender 2.7 free and open source BlenderGuru, Blendtuts, CGCookies Blender Basics,GameDevTV Complete Blender Course(Paid),Blender Tutorial, Blender Fundamentals, Making Spiralised Vases
Blender 2.8 Fundamentals, gabbit comprehensive beginners guide, YanSculpts, BlenderGuru 2. 8, CG Masters (Paid), 3D Printing Professor, flipped normals, making a lightsaber, 3D Printing Professor Absolute Beginner's Guide
Orchard Broswer Beginner/kid friendly
3D Builder MS 10 Beginner/kid friendly piece of software which is also great for cutting or joining models. Great auto repair functionality and can convert images (such as logos) into 3D models
Sketchup Browser Sometimes produces non-manifold models
Makers Empire 3D iPad/Android/Mac/Win. Free to use with a premium option. Touch-optimized software - usable by students as young as 4.
3DS MAX TopHATTwaffle, Autodesk 3ds max learning channel, Autodesk getting started in 3ds Max, Edge3Dcgi, Arrimus 3d

3D Scanning and Photogrammetry are used to create digital 3D models directly from real-world objects.

Program Style OS Notes/Tutorials
Meshroom/ AliceVision Photogrammetry Windows, Linux Tutorial, video tutorial
3DF Zephyr Photogrammetry
Lhun's solution Photogrammetry Windows, Linux
FabScan Laser Raspberry Pi Open source raspberry pi based laser scanning system
Strata Foto 3d CX Mac, Windows Free trial
OpenScan Lowcost, open source DIY scanner
Regard3D Mac
AAScan Photogrammetry Android Thingiverse page. App and printable files made by /u/redditNewUser2017

Generative Design and Topology Optimisation utilise a computer to either generate or optimise a design based on various constraints such as load and fixing points.

Program Style OS Notes/Tutorials
Fusion 360 free for anyone earning less than 100k per yr
Altair free for students

When selecting a model you need to ensure they are manifold, meaning they don't have tiny gaps or reversed faces. Here and here are guides on fixing them. You can also try these free, automated services; Netfab, and Microsoft's tool to repair models. Or try importing it into Sculpt GL and voxel remeshing (manifold tris) under the topology category.

  • Convert raster graphic or logo like a JPG or PNG into 3d model. Non-windows users can use this site
  • Making Spiralised Vases
  • Make topographic maps by using the height maps generated by jthatch and then importing the image into cura.
  • Converting brain scans to stls. Tutorial and can also use InVesalius to convert the DICOM file
  • Snap fit joins
  • How to render sliced models
  • Splitting large/difficult models to make them printable and adding connectors can be done in Meshmixer, and Netfab

REC Wiki » Best 3D Printing Software in 2022

3D printing is a multi-step process, because you first need to design a 3D model, check it for errors, convert it to machine code, and only then the 3D printer goes into business . In this article, we will share examples of programs that can help at every stage of preparatory work and directly during 3D printing.


1. 3D modeling software:

  • Tinkercad
  • ZBrushCoreMini
  • 3D Builder
  • SketchUp Free
  • Fusion 360
  • FreeCAD
  • Blender

2. Editing and repairing STL files:

  • Meshmixer
  • MeshLab

3. Slicers:

  • Cura
  • PrusaSlicer
  • ideaMaker
  • ChiTuBox Basic
  • Lychee Slicer
  • Kiri:Moto
  • IceSL

4. Control programs:

  • OctoPrint
  • MatterControl 2.0
  • AstroPrint

5. G-code Visualizers

  • UVTools
  • WebPrinter
  • Gcode Analyzer
  • Design Software
1. 3D modeling software

If you are ready to create from scratch, you will have to learn special 3D modeling software. Many of them, especially professional computer-aided design systems, can be expensive investments, but on the other hand, there are plenty of quite capable and at the same time free offers on the market.


Tinkercad is a browser-based application from Autodesk that is great for no-experience users, even kids, because of its simplicity. In this program, 3D models are built on the basis of basic blocks - simple geometric shapes that are joined together and then "filed" to the finished look. You can also convert 2D vector images into 3D models. Of course, you have to pay for simplicity - in the case of Tinkercad, rather primitive functionality that makes it difficult to create truly complex models. But such a task is not worth it: having gained basic skills on Tinkercad, you can always move on to more complex and more capable programs on our list.

Official website


ZBrushCoreMini is primarily a 3D sculpting tool, especially popular among those who create human and animal figures, computer game characters, comics, and the like. This software is mainly aimed at beginners and users with moderate experience, but at the same time, it is full of impressive features that make the work easier. For example, dynamic tessellation algorithms constantly analyze the surface of the working model and automatically add polygons so that detail is not violated.

ZbrushCoreMini is offered free of charge and is positioned as an entry-level program for learning and gradually moving to more capable and complex options - ZBrush and ZbrushCore.

Official website

3D Builder

This program was developed by Microsoft and was included with Windows 10 for some time, although now it needs to be downloaded and installed separately. 3D Builder allows you to edit models in STL, OBJ, and 3MF formats, as well as create models from scratch. In this regard, the program is quite primitive, but it is simple and understandable even for novice modelers.

One of the interesting features of 3D Builder is the ability to simplify meshes by reducing the number of polygons, file weight and processing time in the slicer - useful in cases where the original designer obviously went too far with polygons. Additionally, you can import models from the library and even use Kinect sensors to 3D scan and import models of physical objects.

Official website


SketchUp is a web application with a great combination of simplicity and functionality. The user-friendly interface is intuitive and greatly facilitates learning, and the set of tools is quite diverse even for advanced users - hence the wide popularity of this program.

The free version was formerly called SketchUp Make, but is now simply called SketchUp Free. It includes everything you need for 3D modeling for 3D printing, just don't forget to download the module for exporting STL files - it's also free. The kit comes with 10 GB of storage for projects in the cloud and access to the 3D Warehouse, a repository with open source user-generated content.

Official site

Fusion 360

Professional CAD developed by Autodesk and famous for its ease of use and advanced functionality. This includes parametric modeling and mesh analysis and load distribution tools, including through generative design with topological optimization. The program is great for those who are engaged in 3D printing of functional products, for example, for industrial applications.

Some versions of Fusion 360, such as hobby and student versions, are even available free of charge. FreeCAD FreeCAD The program relies on a parametric approach: at any point in history, you can scroll back and make changes to the parameters. The program even includes finite element analysis and a robotic system simulator.

Official site


One of the most popular 3D modeling programs, but quite difficult to master. Not the best choice for a novice designer, but a great tool for those who have already gotten their hands on simpler editors. Fortunately, the popularity of Blender has led to a huge number of guides, tutorials, and visual examples published by experienced users for beginner colleagues.

Developers are trying to make the program more convenient without sacrificing functionality: the interface has recently been updated, rendering has been improved, and 3D design and animation capabilities have been expanded. And yes, it's open source and freeware, so you don't risk anything.

Official site

2. Editing and repairing STL files

If you find an interesting 3D model on the Internet, this does not mean that it can be immediately sent to a 3D printer. Many models are created for completely different needs, such as animations or video games, and in principle are not intended for 3D printing. But there is a solution: before processing such models into G-code, they must first be repaired so that the slicer can do its job well. The following programs on our list will help you cope with the repair.


Meshmixer is an advanced and free program from Autodesk that allows you to view and check 3D models for errors in polygonal meshes that can ruin 3D printing. If such problems are detected, the program can automatically repair meshes. One example of an application is finishing 3D scans to a state suitable for 3D printing.

Additional functionality includes mesh blending, 3D sculpting, surface writing, cavity creation, support branching, mesh smoothing, and more.

Official website


MeshLab is another open source program for editing polygonal meshes. MeshLab has the necessary tools for editing, checking, cleaning and converting meshes with the ability to combine meshes into one model and patch holes that can lead to incorrect processing of models into G-code.

Official website

3. Slicers

Having received a 3D model, it must be converted into machine code - a series of commands understandable to CNC machines, including 3D printers. Slicers are responsible for this task - programs that accept digital models (usually in the form of files with STL, OBJ or 3MF extensions), analyze their structure, and then compile lists of actions for 3D printers, called G-code (Gcode). Such lists contain all the information the equipment needs: to what temperature to warm up the extruders and stages, whether to use airflow, along what trajectory and at what pace to lay the plastic.


Cura is a slicer from the Dutch company Ultimaker, designed primarily for proprietary 3D printers, but open source and compatible with most other FDM/FFF systems. The program is easily customizable with various plugins. Since this is a very popular program, the chances are that it already has a profile with optimal settings for your 3D printer. If not, then nothing prevents you from creating a profile manually or using profiles prepared by other users.

The program has several levels of difficulty depending on the level of training - basic, advanced, expert and complete. The higher the level, the more access to customizable options. At a basic level, the program takes the bulk of the work on itself, helping inexperienced users.

Cura is constantly being developed and improved through regular updates and is also offered free of charge, although a paid version of Cura Enterprise is available to professional users with licensed plug-ins from the Ultimaker Marketplace, technical support and additional security measures.

In addition to converting 3D models to G-code, Cura can also take on the role of a control program, but this will require a constant connection between the 3D printer and the computer throughout the 3D printing. Professionals appreciate another feature of Cura - seamless integration with professional computer-aided design systems such as SolidWorks and Siemens NX.

In general, Сura is suitable even for novice users, especially since a huge number of training videos and step-by-step guides are available for this program, both from developers and enthusiasts.

Official website


3D printer manufacturer Prusa Research, under the leadership of the legendary Czech engineer Josef Prusa, whose designs are copied and refined around the world, has developed its own open source software based on the Slic3r slicer. PrusaSlicer quickly gained popularity as it not only retains the original program's extensive customizations, but also adds a number of useful features not found in Slic3r.

A redesigned interface, support for Original Prusa branded 3D printers, and profiles with settings to work with many common polymers are just some of the improvements. Additionally, algorithms for generating support structures have been improved, support for multimaterial 3D printing and the ability to dynamically adjust the layer thickness have been added.

PrusaSlicer can process models not only for FDM 3D printers, but also for stereolithographic systems printing with photopolymers. As with Cura, the user can select a difficulty level with appropriate access to fine-tuning.

Official website


Raise3D's slicer is optimized for branded additive hardware in the same way that PrusaSlicer is optimized for Original Prusa 3D printers, and Cura is optimized for Ultimaker 3D printers, but this does not mean that it cannot be use with third party systems. The organization of workflows and the interface is somewhat more complicated than in Cura and PrusaSlicer, but on the other hand, ideaMaker allows you to set up individual layers and apply textures for product customization.

ideaMaker users can connect to the cloud platform and access hundreds of 3D printer profiles and materials created by other operators, or create their own library of settings.

Add the ability to customize support structures, split models for more efficient 3D printing of large parts, integrated mesh repair tools, and OctoPrint compatibility, and you have a flexible, versatile program to suit the needs of most 3D printers.

Official website

ChiTuBox Basic

This is a specialized slicer for those who use stereolithographic 3D printers that print with photopolymer resins. Most budget LCD masked stereolithography (MSLA) 3D printers rely on motherboards and firmware from ChiTu Systems, which also developed this software.

Users gain control over technology-specific parameters such as layer exposure time, as well as access to predefined profiles with settings for many popular 3D printers. The slicer takes into account such moments as the orientation of the model and the automatic construction of support structures with the possibility of manual optimization.

Official website

Lychee Slicer

A program from the independent Franco-Belgian team Mango 3D, not associated with 3D printer manufacturers, but with support for many popular stereolithographic 3D printers, including those from Elegoo, Anycubic, Phrozen and Creality.

One of the features of this program is the high level of automation. If you wish, you can simply click on the "magic" button (it's called Magic), and the slicer will do everything by itself: it will orient the model on the platform, generate supports, and so on. Although, here you are lucky: the results are not always optimal, but usually adequate for relatively simple models. Otherwise, everything can be configured manually.

The program is offered in free and paid versions. The functionality of the free version is slightly reduced, but it has everything you need.

Official site


Browser solution for those who lack computing power. Kiri:Moto can prepare 3D models for both 3D printing and laser engraving or milling. The settings are somewhat more primitive than in locally installed slicers, but are sufficient for most users.

Official website


IceSL is a combination software that combines slicing with 3D modeling. In the left window, you can edit 3D models using scripts in the Lua language, which makes it possible to perform parametric modeling. On the right side, the 3D printing settings are displayed. For beginners, pre-configured settings are available, while experienced users can take advantage of features such as specific adjustment of parameters for individual layers with automatic gradation of intermediate areas. For example, this allows you to gradually reduce or, conversely, increase the filling density of the product as it is built, or gradually change the thickness of the layers.

Official website

4. Control programs

Control programs are designed for exactly this - managing workflows during 3D printing. Although you can insert a G-code drive into almost any 3D printer and press the start button, this is not always convenient, especially when you have to work with several 3D printers at the same time, and even more so when you do it remotely. This is where control programs come to the rescue. In addition, some of them offer additional functionality, including slicing and even editing 3D models.


A web-based appliance that requires connection to a 3D printer via a microcomputer such as a Raspberry Pi equipped with a Wi-Fi module. This system allows you to control 3D printers remotely. OctoPrint accepts G-code from almost any slicer and provides the ability to visualize - view files before and during 3D printing. Alternatively, STL files can be loaded and processed directly in OctoPrint.

OctoPrint not only provides all the necessary tools for remote management, but also allows you to track the work in progress using notifications via various instant messengers.

This is a completely free, open source program with many plug-ins created by enthusiasts and available on the official website.

Official website


MatterHackers offers its own control program, slicer and 3D editor in one package. MatterControl allows you to directly control and observe 3D printing, slice, export G-code to SD cards for offline printing, and even create 3D models from scratch. The 3D printer will need a Wi-Fi or USB connection to run MatterControl.

The interface is well structured: on the left side there is a file browser and a library of simple geometric shapes. Interestingly, these shapes can be dragged into the 3D model and used as support structures.

Basic functionality available in the free basic version, advanced users can pay to upgrade to MatterControl Pro.

Official website


AstroPrint is a cloud-based management platform that allows you to remotely monitor and control multiple 3D printers simultaneously, store files, convert 3D models to G-code, and track workflow statistics. The functionality ranges from basic in the free version to advanced with different levels of paid subscriptions.

The 3D printer will require a Wi-Fi module to fully work with AstroPrint. In conjunction with the Raspberry Pi, the system is similar in functionality to OctoPrint: you can process models and send the finished code to a 3D printer via a web interface without the need for additional software. Another plus is integration with popular repositories of 3D models Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory, as well as 3D editors 3D Slash and Leopoly.

Official website

5. Programs for visualizing G-code

What if you find an old file with a G-code, but you have no idea what it is and why - maybe garbage, or maybe an excellent, but long-forgotten model without a clear marking in the file name? The programs in this section will help you visualize the contents of such files.


This program combines file browsing with layer editing and even model repair for stereolithographic 3D printing. The program can also be used as a plug-in for PrusaSlicer, adding support for third-party photopolymer 3D printers - although PrusaSlicer is open source, support for stereolithographic systems is still limited to branded equipment. At the same time, UVTools allows you to print calibration samples to check the exposure time and other parameters, which can be useful, for example, when working with new photopolymers that have not yet been tested.

Official website


A simple browser tool for quick G-code preview, developed by the same team that created the IceSL slicer and 3D editor. The application works very simply: follow the link, upload the file with the G-code and see how the 3D printer will grow the model according to the provided commands. Unfortunately, the functionality is limited: for example, the application does not provide information about temperature settings. On the other hand, you can quickly figure out what kind of model is hidden in a file with an incomprehensible name.

Official website

Gcode Analyzer

An old but still very capable and popular G-code analysis web application. The 3D simulation doesn't work very well, but the 2D and G-code previews work great. In 2D mode, you can conveniently view individual layers, moving from layer to layer and following the construction path step by step using two sliders. G-code viewer displays a complete list of commands, allowing you to see what a particular line of code is doing.

Official website

Adapted translation of The Best Free 3D Printing Software of 2022 article.

Best 3D Slicers for 3D Printers (2021)・Cults

3D printing is possible with three main elements: a 3D printer, a 3D model, and 3D cutting software. The latter, known as a "slicer", is the middleman that prepares your chosen model before sending it to the 3D printer. There are many free and paid 3D programs on the market for users. This selection of the best slicers is designed to help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

Cura is the most widely used slicer on the market. The software was developed by Ultimaker, a leading manufacturer of FDM 3D printers. Its advantage is that it is open source, free and compatible with the vast majority of desktop 3D printers and with a computer running Windows, Mac or Linux systems.

Cura slicer works with many 3D formats such as STL, X2D, 3MF, OBJ as well as image formats such as BMP, PNG, GIF, JPG. Its accessible interface is suitable for both beginners and professionals. Its features include: outline display, material usage, and print time calculation. For more advanced users, there are third-party plugins.

3DPrinterOS is a full-featured 3D slicer that can be accessed not only through a browser, but also through Windows or Mac. It is a cloud-based platform that has a slicing application, as well as a number of other functions required for 3D printing, such as repair.

Slicer gives you the ability to manage machine files in your company in a very simple way. The 3DPrintersOS platform includes three slicing apps: Cloud Slicer, Slicer 2, and Marketbot Slicer. It is also compatible with a wide range of printers.

IdeaMaker is a free 3D slicer that is often preferred for its convenience. It was released by Raise3D, a manufacturer of 3D printers. It is quite easy to use, just 4 clicks to start preparing various 3MF, OBJ and STL files. You can also customize the software to get much more advanced functionality.

IdeaMaker works with most FDM printers and with Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems. The software can also be used as a 3D printer control platform. For example, it gives you the ability to monitor different print profiles, remotely manage a running print, and easily switch between print settings.

Keep it Simple Slicer or KISSlicer is a fast, cross-platform application that you can have on Windows, Mac, Linux or Raspberry Pi. Depending on the version you choose, its interface may be more complex.

You will find a free version, which is probably suitable for beginners, as well as a paid professional version. The latter has additional features such as dual extrusion 3D printing.

Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, Repetier-Host is a free and open source 3D cutting software widely used in the RepRap community. Slicer offers a complete solution. It supports up to 16 extruders and can work with multiple filaments and colors at the same time to give you an idea of ​​the result before you start printing.

Repetier-Host includes 4 slicers (Skeinforge, CuraEngine, Slice3r, Slic3r Prusa Edition) but allows you to add the solution of your choice. Thus, the slicer is compatible with almost all FDM 3D printers. It has an interesting feature built in that allows you to download or duplicate all models that match your print tray and print them at the same time.

Free and open source, OctoPrint is a 3D slicer and web interface for your 3D printer. It is compatible with Raspberry Pi, Windows, Mac, Linux operating systems and allows you to control all actions through a web browser or from other portable devices. Based on CuraEngine, OctoPrint cuts your files directly.

Astroprint is designed in a similar concept to OctoPrint. It is used in the browser and with Raspberry Pi and pcDuino systems. You have 3D cutting software and the ability to control your 3D printer from any device connected to the internet.

The 3D printing software has two modes. An easy mode where you can choose the material and quality before sending it to the 3D printer. In advanced mode, you can improve the settings for better results.

Simplify 3D is specially designed for professional users. The software is compatible with Windows, Mac and almost all 3D printers. Through partnerships with 3D printing companies in over 30 countries, Simplify 3D supports over 100 printers. Your device can also be easily added if it is not listed. This means that the same 3D slicer can be used when printing on a new machine.

Another advantage of this 3D cutting program is the simulation before printing, which allows you to test. This is a very realistic feature that allows you to check prints in advance and identify any problems. In addition, the slicer is able to automatically suggest where the supporting material should be improved.

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