What Software To Use With A 3D Printer?

Before starting to 3D print, you must gather the necessary software tools to guide you through the printing process.

First, you’ll need CAD software, which is used to create a 3D model. If you don’t want to design your own model, you can also use an existing one.

Next, you’ll need slicing software, which converts your 3D model into instructions that the 3D printer can understand.

Additionally, there’s printer management software that allows you to operate your printer remotely; though this is optional, it can be very convenient.

This article will guide you through the best 3D printing software available online, helping you choose the right tools to get started with your 3D printing projects.

Key Takeaways

In this blog, you will:

  • Learn about the best CAD, slicing, and printer management software available online to streamline your 3D printing projects.
  • Explore how selecting the right software can enhance efficiency and precision in turning your digital designs into physical creations.
  • Gain insights into the software options that best fit your workflow, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional in the world of 3D printing.
  • Start your 3D printing journey equipped with the knowledge of essential software tools that can elevate your design capabilities.

Choosing the Right CAD Software for Your 3D Printing Needs

CAD, or computer-aided design, software helps in designing a 3D model from scratch. There are many types of CAD software, each with its own unique benefits. AutoCAD, developed by Autodesk, is perhaps the best-known among them, as it was one of the first CAD programs available for personal computers when it was released in 1982. Here are some other popular CAD platforms:

  • Fusion360: Ideal for designing and creating efficient mechanical parts. It offers a comprehensive toolset for 3D modelling, simulation, and collaboration, making it suitable for engineers and designers.
  • 3ds Max: It’s used for creating various 3D models, including video games, architecture, and 3D printing, with powerful tools for modeling, rendering, and animation.
  • TinkerCAD: It’s a free CAD tool online where users can build 3D models using different shapes. It is popular with CAD novices and is widely used in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education for its simplicity and ease of use.
  • Blender: Free, open-source 3D model creation software. It is highly versatile and is used for everything from 3D modelling and animation to video editing and game creation.
  • Siemens NX: Advanced software for designing and creating complex 3D models. It is used in various industries for product design, engineering, and manufacturing.
  • Solidworks: Designed to create professional parts for industrial use. It provides powerful tools for 3D modelling, simulation, and managing product data, which is popular among engineers and designers.
  • Catia: Advanced design software used to create surfaces and engineering systems. It is extensively used in aerospace, automotive, and many other industries requiring precise and complex designs.

Before you begin 3D printing, it’s essential to research and choose the CAD software that best suits your needs. This way, you’ll get the most out of the model you design and print.

Additionally, ensure that the file types generated by your chosen CAD software are compatible with your slicing software. This compatibility is crucial for converting your 3D designs into printable formats, ensuring a smooth transition from digital model to physical object.

If you want to learn more about 3D printing in detail, head over to our blog on “3D Printing Complete Guide.”

Essential Software for Starting Your 3D Printing Projects

To start 3D printing, the software you need depends on your workflow. Here’s a simple guide:

  • Slicing Software: If you have a 3D model, you need slicing software to convert it into instructions (G-code) for your printer. This software prepares your model for printing and lets you modify settings like layer height and print speed.
  • Printer Management Software: This optional software lets you control and monitor your printer remotely. It’s useful for managing multiple print jobs or checking progress when you’re not near the printer.
  • CAD Software with Printer Integration: Some CAD tools can send your 3D model directly to the printer, skipping the slicing step. This integration simplifies the workflow.
  • Pre-sliced Files: If you have a 3D printable file (like a G-code file on a USB stick), you can print without slicing software since the file is ready to go.

In short, you need slicing software and possibly printer management software.

However, if your CAD software integrates with your printer or you have a pre-sliced file, you might not need extra software. This helps you efficiently manage your 3D printing projects.


Starting a 3D print involves several steps, each requiring specific software tools. From designing your model with CAD software to slicing it for printing and managing the printer, having the right software can make the process smooth and efficient.

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, choosing the right tools for your needs will help you get the most out of your 3D printing projects.

Ready to get started? Explore our top-tier 3D printing services in Sydney as well as in Perth to bring your innovative ideas to life with precision and efficiency.

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