Hello again everyone!
For this post I wanted to focus on some of the applications I like to use for the 3D printing orders I get, for designing new products that I make, or for just trying out prints that I find on some of my favorite sites for makers (that will be in a future post, so stay tuned!).
To do a 3D print, you need a good slicing application that either came with your 3D Printer or an application you may have found elsewhere. For those who are new to 3D printing you may ask: What is a slicing application? A slicing application is essentially a program that either communicates directly with your 3D Printer or enables you to create a file readable by your 3D Printer when saved to an SD Card and inserted in your printers SD card slot if it is equipped with one. You then use the slicing software to open a file that is readable by the software (usually either a .STL file or .OBJ file) which will then display the object you will eventually print in the application. Once the file is displayed, you need to generate the GCode for the file which is where the printer get all of the commands for the build from start to finish. In the process of generating the GCode you will set print temperatures, filament type, nozzle diameter, print speed etc. Once the GCode is generated, you can start the print.
Myself personally I have not done too much bouncing between slicing applications, because the software I use ReplicatorG (free and open source) does a nice job with getting your 3D Print ready for build.
The printer I use is a QiDi Tech Pro printer with a dual extruder is almost a direct replica of the FlashForge Creator Pro minus some cosmetic differences and is about $200 less on Amazon.com. It has three pre-loaded slicing profiles which can be modified based on the type of build you are doing, what type of filament you are using, how fast you want the build to go etc. Below are some screen grabs of the ReplicatorG:
As you can see, the GUI of ReplicatorG is simple with very little regarding bells and whistles. With that said if you are starting out with 3D Printing you may want to start with something that is relatively easy to use and will get the job done.
Another good slicing application is Cura (free and open source) which I use primarily for a more detailed view of the .stl or .obj file I will eventually import into ReplicatorG. It is however a more robust application and has been updated a lot more compared to ReplicatorG, but I love familiarity so (for now) I´m sticking with ReplicatorG. Check out these screen grabs of Cura:
Cura without question is richer in its graphical interface, and has some advanced features:
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment. Thank you for reading!