Iiip 3d printer software

Powerful, easy-to-use 3D printing software

Trusted by millions of users, Ultimaker Cura is the world’s most popular 3D printing software. Prepare prints with a few clicks, integrate with CAD software for an easier workflow, or dive into custom settings for in-depth control.

Slicing features

At the heart of Ultimaker Cura is its powerful, open-source slicing engine, built through years of expert in-house development and user contributions.

  • Intent profiles print specific applications at the click of a button

  • Recommended profiles tested for thousands of hours ensure reliable results

  • ‘Custom mode’ gives over 400 settings for granular control

  • Regular updates constantly improve features and printing experience​

Integrated workflow

If you own a 3D printer, software matters. Get the most from your printer with software designed to suit your workflow.

  • Seamless integration with all Ultimaker products​

  • CAD plugin integration with SolidWorks, Siemens NX, Autodesk Inventor​, and more

  • Compatible file types: STL, OBJ, X3D, 3MF, BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG

Easy to use

Manufacturing doesn’t need to be complicated.  We design our software so anyone can use it – both experienced or rookie 3D printer users.

  • Prepare your 3D model for print in minutes with recommended settings

  • Simply choose speed and quality settings, and you can start printing

  • Ultimaker Cura is free and open source software

Ultimaker Marketplace

Being open and collaborating is in our DNA. Now we bring this to the professional 3D printing market with the Ultimaker Marketplace.

  • Download material profiles from leading brands for your application

  • Avoid manual setup when using third-party materials

  • Download useful plugins to customize the print preparation experience, star-rated by our community​ 

An Ultimaker Cura experience that keeps your infrastructure rock-solid

Ultimaker Cura Enterprise delivers stability and security with features that are tailor-made for businesses.

  • Utimaker Cura Enterprise can be deployed, configured, and managed with cross-platform systems distribution

  • Ultimaker Cura Enterprise receives two updates a year. These are thoroughly tested by our community and ensure the most stable desktop application. We support updates for 12 months after release (including security patches and bug fixes)

  • Each release of Ultimaker Cura Enterprise is independently scanned, tested, and analyzed for vulnerabilities. We publish a summary of that report and we commit to continuously improving security

Backup & sync your materials & plugins

Save projects to the Digital Library

Access 3D printing e-learning courses

Join a community of 40,000+ active users

3D printers that simply work

Our award-winning 3D printers are robust, reliable, and easy to use. They deliver quality parts time and again. Designed and tested to run 24/7, they allow you to achieve the results you need more quickly and easily.

Learn about our 3D printers

Software ready for Industry 4.0

Trusted by millions of users across 14 languages, Ultimaker Cura slices your model and integrates with any workflow through Marketplace plugins. Then scale production and digital distribution with Ultimaker Digital Factory.

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Material choice like never before

Ultimaker offers the widest material choice on the market. Through our Material Alliance, choose the perfect filament for your application – from advanced polymers to carbon fiber composites.

Learn about our materials

Support dedicated to your success

Wherever you are in the world, Ultimaker support is close by. Our global network of service partners offer professional installation, training, and maintenance in your language and time zone.​

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Top 4 Free 3D Printing Software for 2022

There’s something to be said about seeing an idea or a design come to life.

No matter what kind of object you create as a 3D model, seeing it become a real, physical object that you can hold in your hand for the first time is an experience you won’t soon forget.

And while this used to feel like a concept for the future, it’s possible now with 3D printing software. These tools translate the idea of an object into data that a 3D printer interprets to create a real-life object.

Best of all? There are free 3D printing tools that are ideal for creators designing on a budget.

What are the best free 3D printing tools?

  1. Fusion 360
  2. Onshape
  3. Solid Edge
  4. NX

Best free 3D printing solutions

When it’s time to take a 3D object made with 3D modeling software and translate it over to a 3D printer, these tools make it possible. Software for 3D printing is sometimes called “slicer software” because they take a digital 3D model and break it into sections, allowing the 3D printer to create it slice by slice.

The list below contains real user reviews from the best free 3D printing page. It’s important to note that in the context of this list, vendors that offer a free trial are also considered to be free. To be included in this category, a solution must:

  • Convert 3D models and turn them into printable instructions for 3D printers
  • Edit and repair Wavefront OBJect (OBJ), 3MF (3D manufacturing format), and Standard Tessellation Language (STL) files

* This data was pulled from G2 on April 11, 2022. Some reviews may have been edited for clarity. 

1. Fusion 360

Fusion 360 bundles design, engineering, electronics, and manufacturing into a single software platform. It’s a cloud-based 3D modeling, 3D printing, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) , and computer-aided engineering (CAE) software platform made for product designers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and machinists.

Fusion 360 offers numerous pricing bundles, plus a free option for personal, hobby use. For professionals, there’s a ​​30-day free trial to access all features and capabilities.

What users like:

“Being able to create assemblies in context and make as many built joints after the fact is something I couldn't live without anymore. I also love being able to create several different parts simultaneously while seeing their relationship to each other, which is very helpful.”

- Fusion 360 Review, Anthony W.

What users dislike:

“Lack of more customizable and intuitive shortcuts to easily access most used tools. I find the right-click shortcut to tools impractical.”

- Fusion 360 Review, David D.

2. Onshape

Onshape is a cloud-native solution that encompasses CAD, data management, and analytics in one platform. With Onshape, designers and engineers can access design documents and create and collaborate from anywhere on any device. The free version of Onshape is available for hobbyists, creators, and others willing to freely share their designs and projects. Also available is a 14-day free trial.

What users like:

“The CAD tools and features are great for me as a graduate and now a 3D printing hobbyist. Its interface is simple and easy to use, especially beneficial if you're used to another CAD program. Being cloud-based and having the freedom to work from anywhere is also a huge bonus.”

- Onshape Review, Alanna P.

What users dislike:

“Some commands are a bit tricky to look for, but you can YouTube it as Onshape has a reasonably good tutorial resource. Also, access to files offline can be tricky and if your Internet is down you cannot use this tool.“

- Onshape Review, Jonathan Y.

3. Solid Edge

Solid Edge provides a portfolio of easy to deploy and maintain features for the product development process, including 3D printing. It gives users support for end-to-end workflow, from design for 3D printing techniques to preparation and output to hardware and services with color printing capability.

Plus, there’s a 30-day free trial so users can test out fast, flexible design changes, powerful assembly management, and effortless use of multi-CAD data.

What users like:

“The UI of Solid Edge is among the top in the construction business. Solid Edge may be used for 2D and 3D sketching and 3D printing, modeling, and simulations. One of my favorite aspects is its organized design technique, which really is origin-based. Solid Edge can also convert 3D designs to draft files. This also includes a digital archive of engineered parts.”

- Solid Edge Review, Lauren J. 

What users dislike:

“In a synchronous environment, the program may run unstable and unpredictable. It can be frustrating.”

- Solid Edge Review, Silvio S. 

4. NX

NX by Siemens is a flexible and powerful integrated product design solution that helps users deliver better products faster and more efficiently. It supports every aspect of product development, including 3D printing, with a variety of features and functionality. In regards to packages, there’s an NX Student Edition for free, plus a 30-day free trial for users who aren’t students.

What users like:

“I really like how capable NX is when it comes to handling large files. When working with assemblies, the size of the file that can be worked in is not limited by the program, but the power of the computer. In many other programs, when a large file with a lot of features is opened, the program will crash, unlike NX. Almost anything you can think of can be done in NX if you take the time to learn how.”

- NX Review, Troy F.

What users dislike:

“Surface modeling is a little bit complex when compared to other modeling software.”

- NX Review, Saravanan A.

Printing on a budget!

Now that you know what’s out there, it’s time to bring your 3D model to life with one of these free 3D printing design software. No matter your skill level or what you’re looking to design, 3D printing makes it possible — on a budget! 

Before you can master 3D printing and take advantage of these free tools, learn more about the different types of 3D modeling and how they work.

Print like a pro!

Find the right 3D printing software to create your latest 3D idea.

Browse software

Mara Calvello

Mara Calvello is a Content Marketing Manager at G2 with a focus on Design, Human Resources, and SaaS Management. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Elmhurst College. In addition to working at G2, Mara is a freelance writer for a handful of small- and medium-sized tech companies. In her spare time, Mara is either at the gym, exploring the great outdoors with her rescue dog Zeke, enjoying Italian food, or right in the middle of a Harry Potter binge.

Top 20 Free 3D Printing & 3D Printing Software

Looking for 3D printing software? We've rounded up the top 20 software tools for beginners and professionals alike. Most slicers are free.

What is a slicer? This is a program for preparing a digital model for printing. Models for 3D printing are usually distributed in STL files. To turn an STL file into G-code (a language that a 3D printer understands), a slicer program is required. It is called a slicer because it cuts (to slice - English) a 3D model into many flat two-dimensional layers, from which a 3D printer will add a physical object.

Which slicer should I choose? In this article, we will tell you which slicer is best for 3D printing for each stage of your work. Which one is better for preparing a 3D model for printing? But what if you need to create a 3D model from scratch? And if you are only taking the first steps in 3D?

Don't be afraid: we've answered all of these questions, including the required skill level for each program and where you can download it. The great thing is that most of these programs are completely free and open source.

  1. Cura
  2. CraftWare
  3. 123D Catch
  4. 3D Slash
  5. TinkerCAD
  6. 3DTin
  7. Sculptris
  8. ViewSTL
  9. Netfabb Basic
  10. Repetier
  11. FreeCAD
  12. SketchUp
  13. 3D Tool
  14. Meshfix
  15. Simplify3D
  16. Slic3r
  17. Blender
  18. MeshLab
  19. Meshmixer
  20. OctoPrint

#1: Cura

For beginners who need a slicer to prepare STL files for 3D printing

Cura is the default slicer software for all Ultimaker 3D printers, but can be used with most others , including RepRap, Makerbot, Printrbot, Lulzbot and Witbox. The program is completely open source, its capabilities can be extended using plugins.

This program is very easy to use and allows you to manage the most important 3D printing settings through a clear interface. Start in Basic mode to quickly get up to speed and change print quality settings. If finer control is required, switch to Expert mode.

Cura can also be used to directly control the printer, but then the printer and computer must be connected to each other.

Download: Cura

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#2: CraftWare

3D printers by the Hungarian startup CraftUnique to support their CraftBot crowdfunding machine. However, the program works with other printers.

Like Cura, CraftWare allows you to switch from "Easy" to "Expert" mode, depending on how confident you feel. It's a colorful app that features a visual G-code visualization with each function represented by a different color. But the most outstanding feature is the individual support service. As far as we know, only the paid program Simplify3D has this.

Please note, however, that this program is still in beta, so bugs may occur.

Download: CraftWare

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac

#3: 123D Catch

-systems, smartphones and tablets, which allows you to convert images of objects into a 3D model. Pictures can be taken with a smartphone/tablet or digital camera.

You need many photos of an object from different angles - the more the better - after which they will be compiled into a 3D model.

123D Catch is more of a fun app than a professional 3D printing tool, but after some tambourine dancing, you can get good results, especially when paired with an STL editor like MeshLab or Meshmixer.

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Android, iOS, Windows Phone

#4: 3D Slash

and surprisingly simple, and refreshingly new. With 3D Slash, you can design 3D models using your dice skills.

You can start with a large block and, like a virtual sculptor, remove small cups from it with tools such as a hammer or drill, or start from empty space and build a model from cubes and other shapes. You can paint with flowers or use template pictures.

Other features worth mentioning are tools for creating logos and 3D text. The Logo Wizard imports an image and creates a 3D model, while the Text Wizard allows you to enter and format text, and then turn it into 3D.


Download: 3dslash.net

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux, Browser

#5: TinkerCAD

- A computer-aided design (CAD) system for 3D printing, which is a good starting point for beginners. Since its capabilities are limited compared to Blender, FreeCAD and SketchUp, many users switch to more powerful tools after some time.

As in 3D Slash, here you can build models from basic shapes. At the same time, unlike 3D Slash, TinkerCAD allows you to create vector shapes in 2D and convert them into three-dimensional models.

Come in: Autodesk TinkerCAD

Price: Free

Systems: Browser

#6: 3DTin

For beginners who want to create 3D printable models

another easy and intuitive online tool choice for beginners in 3D modeling. All you need is a Chrome or Firefox browser with WebGL enabled.

Choose from a huge library of 3D shapes and add them to your sketch. All sketches are stored in the cloud, access to them is free if you honor the Creative Commons license. Everything can be exported to STL or OBJ formats.

Enter: 3DTin

Price: Free

Systems: Browser

#7: Sculptris

For beginners who want to create 3D printable models

clay. This is a fantastic 3D modeling program if figurines are your main task. For example, you can make a bust of your favorite video game or comic book character. Sculptris is completely free and bills itself as a stepping stone to the more complex (and expensive) ZBrush tool.

Download: Pixologic Sculptris

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac

#8: ViewSTL

For beginners who want to view STL files

ViewSTL is the easiest way to view STL files . Simply open a web page and drag the STL onto the dotted box.

The STL online viewer allows you to display the model in one of three views: flat shading (for a quick view), smooth shading (for a high-quality image), and wireframe.

Enter: ViewSTL

Price: Free

Systems: Browser

#9: Netfabb Basic

some nice features that allow you to analyze, "repair" and edit STL files before moving on to the model cutting stage.

A good choice if you need more than just a slicer and want to be able to quickly fix STL files without having to learn programs like MeshLab or Meshmixer.

Don't let the 'Basic' in the title fool you, Netfabb Basic is actually a very powerful 3D printing tool. It's "basic" only in the sense that it doesn't cost €1,500 like Netfabb Professional!

Download: netfabb. de

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

No. 10: Repetier

For advanced to prepare STL files for 3D printing

9002 the next level of 3D printer slicer software, but if you want to stay open source, you should look into Repetier. It is the great grandfather of 3D printing software and a favorite of the RepRap community.

To date, the program is moving by leaps and bounds from the level for beginners to advanced users. Packaged in an all-in-one configuration, it supports up to 16 extruders, multi-slicing via plug-ins, and virtually every fusing 3D printer on the market. Get ready to tinker!

What's more, Repetier Host works remotely via Repetier Server, so that the 3D printer can be controlled via a browser, tablet or smartphone.

Download: Repetier

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#11: FreeCAD

The program is a great option for developing your design skills. More technically, this parametric 3D modeling program allows you to easily change the project by rolling back through the history of the model and editing the parameters.

Download: freecadweb.org

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#12: SketchUp

For beginners who want to create 3D printable models

SketchUp is the perfect combination of simplicity and the perfect combination functionality, with a user-friendly interface and a relatively flat learning curve (i.e., as experience grows with the time spent), the ideal program for developing three-dimensional models.

The Make SketchUp version is free and will include everything you need for 3D modeling if you also download and install the free STL exporter. There is also a professional edition for architects, interior designers and engineers.

Download: sketchup.com

Price: Free (SketchUp Make), $695 (SketchUp Pro)

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#13: 3D-Tool Free Viewer

view and validate STL files

3D-Tool Free Viewer is a sophisticated tool that, among other things, allows you to check the structural integrity and printability of your file. With the Cross-Section function, for example, you can look at the model from the inside and check the wall thickness. Very useful if you want to check your STL file for killer errors before printing.

Download: 3D-Tool

Price: Free

Systems: PC

#14: Meshfix

your model for errors.

Price: Free

Systems: Browser

#15: Simplify3D

For professionals to prepare STL files for 3D printing print. A flexible algorithm checks the model for problems, fixes them, shows a preview of the printing process (ideal for identifying potential problems), and then slices it.

This slicer offers the best infill pattern options in the competition. For models that require supports, Simplify3D will create the appropriate structures on its own and give you full control over their placement. For printers with a dual extruder, when printing with different materials, the Dual Extrusion wizard will help, as a result of which, for example, it will be easier to remove the dissolving filament.

Simplify3D supports 90% of today's commercially available desktop 3D printers and is compatible with Marlin, Sprinter, Repetier, XYZprinting, FlashForge, Sailfish and MakerBot firmware. Simplify3D can also be used to directly control the printer, but then the printer and computer must be connected to each other.

Download: simplify3d.com

Price: $149

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#16: Slic3r

source code, which has a reputation as a carrier of super new functionality, which you will not find anywhere else. The current version of the program is able to show the model from multiple angles, so that the user gets a better preview experience.

There's also an incredible 3D honeycomb infill, the first of its kind that can extend over multiple layers rather than repeating itself like a stamp. This significantly increases the strength of the internal filling of the model and the final printout.

Another option is direct integration with Octoprint. Once the files on the user's desktop are sliced, they can be directly uploaded to Octoprint with one click.

Download: Slic3r

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#17: Blender

For professionals who want to create 3D printable models

Blender is a popular computer-aided design (CAD) system with a steep learning curve. Not at all the best choice for beginners, but what you need if you are quite experienced and need something more complex for modeling and printing.

In short, Blender is one of the most powerful tools out there. Its community is always ready to help, there are a lot of educational materials. It's also open source, so enthusiasts often write extensions to make it even better and more powerful.

Download: blender.org

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#18: MeshLab

For professionals to prepare STL files for 3D printing

MeshLab - advanced editor. It allows you to remove parts of a 3D model, merge two models into one, patch holes. If you need a program to modify models for 3D printing or some kind of "repair" work, MeshLab is the right choice.

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#19: Meshmixer

For professionals to prepare STL files for 3D printing files. It's especially good for identifying potential problems and fixing them automatically. For example, it will show paper-thin walls that can lead to problems with 3D printing. Meshmixer is part of the Autodesk family of 3D printer software, so it should work well with tools like TinkerCAD.

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac

#20: OctoPrint

start, pause or interrupt 3D print jobs. Combined with Wi-Fi capable devices, it makes for a great monitor for remotely monitoring the 3D printing process.

Octoprint understands the G-codes of almost all 3D printers and slicers and includes a gCodeVisualizer to visualize this code before or during printing.

If you want to work away from your 3D printer and control it remotely, Octoprint is the best you can find.

Download: octoprint.org

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux


REC Wiki » Best 3D printing software in 2022

you need to design a 3D model, check it for errors, convert it to machine code, and only then the 3D printer comes into play. In this article, we will share examples of programs that can help at every stage of preparatory work and directly during 3D printing.


  • 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. Programs for visualizing G-code

    • 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.

    ZBrushCoreMini official website


    ZBrushCoreMini is primarily a 3D sculpting tool, especially popular among those who create figures of people and animals, computer games and comics characters, 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 billed as an entry-level program for learning and gradually moving up to the more capable and sophisticated options ZBrush and ZbrushCore.

    Official website

    3D Builder

    Developed by Microsoft, this program was originally bundled with Windows 10, 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 website

    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 necessary for the equipment: to what temperature to warm up the extruders and tables, 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 from both 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 special 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 hardware and software system 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 is 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 to do 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 commands provided. 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.

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