A slicing software is an essential element of the 3D printing process. Over the years we have seen a rise in the number of free slicing software for 3D printing. Some extend basic features in their free versions while some are completely free and provide complete access to their package. We will explore some of the best free slicing software for 3D printing in this article.
A 3D printer cannot convert the 3D model directly into a print. It needs a geometric interpretation of the model and a slicing software does just that. A slicing software or simply a Slicer converts a 3D model into a set of geometric codes or a set of paths which the 3D printer understands and can trace to create the print.
A slicing software is a necessary mediator between the CAD file and the printer.
Free Slicing Software for 3D Printing
Craftware was developed by a Hungarian 3D printer manufacturer CraftUnique to support their own 3D printers. This free slicing software can be used on other printers too.
It is best known for its two features: 1. Colour differentiation between different features and, 2. excellent support structure management.
It has both free and paid versions for users to choose from.
CURA is one of the most notable free slicing software for 3D printing developed by Ultimaker, a 3D printer manufacturer. It was developed as a slicer option to use with its Ultimaker range of 3D printers but being open-source it is customisable to include a wide variety of 3D printers. Over the years, the community has evolved boasts of one of the most active user community.
Cura is easy to use. Its simple user-interface and query resolution forum can greatly help new learners. On the downside, it is too basic for advanced users. Dual extrusion prints are difficult to execute.
3. MakerBot Print
This free slicing software is specifically designed to suit the MakerBot range of printers. As a result, you will get the highest possible quality from a MakerBot printer by using this slicer. Moreover, it is easy to use and its monitoring feature makes it the best free slicing software for 3D printing with the MakerBot printers.
Also Read: Best Free CAD Software for 3D Printing
MatterControl is an all-in-one printer control software developed by MatterHacker, a high-quality 3D printing supplies provider from the USA. This really is one of the best free slicing software for 3D printing as it acts as a host. So it basically controls the printer and lets you queue the jobs all the while you slice and adjust the settings as per the print.
It is not as mature as other software like Cura and Slic3r, it is a great tool for beginners as well as advanced users.
Slic3r also is open-source slicing software with a reputation for bringing out unique features not found on any other competitor. It constantly updates its software to add new features at regular intervals. It is one of the best free slicing software for 3D printing for advanced or professional users.
It first came up with the incredible honeycomb infill pattern which was then quickly adopted by many competitors as it gave astoundingly strong prints with less material.
Over the years the software has developed and it most of its features (and those available with other software) is actually born here.
The infill and dual extrusion features are superior to other software. But new users may need some time to get a hang of this software.
It is one of the best free slicing software for 3D printing because it is a web-browser based slicer and is available in Mac version. Though it is not the most attractive slicer it can function efficiently for small files. The files can be uploaded via a link.
This list of the best free slicing software for 3D printing will give new learners wholesome knowledge on the criticalities and complexities of 3D printing. A lot more free slicing software is available or being developed but we have only compiled a few of them.