Author Topic: Best 3D printer software  (Read 17588 times)

Heartlander

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Best 3D printer software
« on: May 13, 2016, 11:46:34 AM »
While, of course, your 3D printer's firmware will be unique to the board there is a choice when it comes to the software that you use to "slice" your 3D CAD drawing, set the parameters for printing (bed heat, extruder heat, print speed, layer thickness, etc.).

There is a pretty broad consensus in the desktop 3D world that Simplify3D is probably the finest such software. It is integrated, providing all the functions you need to print your CAD drawing in three dimensions. Simplify3D has ready made profiles for most of the currently available printers and is regularly updated as machines are improved and new ones introduced.

Many if not most 3D printer nuts end up with two or three machines, often to exploit different types of filament or the advantages of one architecture over another or just because they like to buy the newest/fastest/ bestest machines that come out. And, it's always nice to have back up machines and to not be hostage to the whims or lack of service of one particular vendor. Simplify3D lets you use the same software to control all the disparate types of machines with a common interface.

That's really nice.
ELEKS Maker 2.5W A5 laser engraver, Robox 3D printer, Wanhao i3 Duplicator 3D printer, Windows 10

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2016, 01:14:56 PM »
I choose my 3D printer also because I specifically wanted the RAMPS 1.4 Grbl software in the Ardunio Mega board...mainly because there is a lot of support around for that software. It spits out gcode to the 3D printer. But I have not had any problems with that software, so I've not had to seek any help. It just flat out works and works great.

As for filament, I have only used PLA so far. I have not had a need yet to try ABS filament which produces a harder finished part. I have purchased a flexible filament called NijaFlex to print a flexible iPhone case, but I have not had any time yet to actually try it out.

For those who may not know it, there are some really neat 3D designs folks have made. Some one made a .stl file (.stl files are what 3D printer use) that allows you print a crescent wrench...it actually works and its done in one printing. There is carbon fiber filament available so you can print some things are are very strong and won't break. I don't know how much force a carbon fiber tool can handle but one would probably do in a pinch.

There is a story going around (I don't really know if its true or not) where the guys up in the International Space Station needed a special tool to fix something that broke...NASA designed the tool in a CAD program and exported it to an .stl file and emailed it to them...they printed it out and made the fix using the tool!

On a larger scale, there are many companies now making large parts from 3D printers...car parts such as bumpers, panels and doors. 3D printed parts are showing up in aviation manufacturing as well. The only limit for what can be made is in your own mind. As Kent said, it's really an exciting time for us all...!!!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 01:17:38 PM by Administrator »
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Zax

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2016, 07:03:53 PM »
How do you generate the STL files?

Is this something Sketchup can be used for, or are there other low cost options?

- Zax

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2016, 09:10:53 PM »
How do you generate the STL files?

Is this something Sketchup can be used for, or are there other low cost options?

- Zax

I use a program called MeshLab...
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botwrightsea

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2016, 01:09:04 AM »
I've heard good things about Autodesk Fusion 360

It can export STL directly, have constrains etc.

Though, i'm still learning via YouTube tutorials. But the more i play with it, the more i like it.

Also can't beat the price, it's "Free for students, enthusiasts, hobbyists, and startups*"

*Startup = make less than US$100,000 in revenue per year  :D


Zax

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2016, 04:43:14 AM »
Great article, it looks like Autodesk Fusion 360 is one of the better options.

I'm proficient at 2D CAD/CAM and have done some limited 3D work but there looks like a pretty steep learning curve ahead.

- Zax

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2016, 08:30:16 AM »
Fusion 360 is a massive program...for our uses, 3D drawings, using it is like using a jack hammer to drive in a very small nail. It uses a lot of resources. Again, the great thing about having this website is to learn what everyone else is doing and what they are using, etc.

I find for my 3D work, SketchUp Home works the best for me. It's very robust, supports plug-ins, has excellent performance and is free. I export to a .dae file format and then use MeshLab to import it and then export out an .stl file for my 3D printer.

One thing no one has yet mentioned is that when you start to make 3D drawings for your 3D printer, you WILL start to create drawings that are not water tight and for 3D printing they must be water tight. I'm able to fix only about 20% of my vessel leaks so I have to use another tool to plug the leaks before making the .stl file. There is software to do that and I like to use this website for that: https://modelrepair.azurewebsites.net
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kn4ud

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2016, 05:52:16 PM »
sketchup and openscad are very popular for drawing up .stl files I use Viacad to draw up what I need then export it as an .stl file. Thingiverse also has alot of premade .stl files for about anything you can think of, very neat site well worth checking out.
Allen

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2016, 06:55:58 AM »
Hi All,

I am a Newbie to this site and I have just started reading through some of the posts, I must say I have found some excellent info from this site.
One of the best CAD packages I have used for creating 3D .stl files, is a free download called, eMachineShop (do a google search).
Over a year ago I picked up a cheap 3D printer (from my employer, Jaycar Electronics - H/O) that was not working and bits were falling apart.
I managed to get the printer working to a point where I could print out some new parts, one of the first parts I needed was the extruder and hot end holder.
I designed the part I needed using eMachineShop (attached), the program saves the file in it's own .ems format, but you have the option to export the file as an stl,
which can be read and printed by Repetier-Host.
Currently I am in the process of building a Laser engraver/cutter/milling machine from scratch.
Doing research into GRBL and laser control software for the machine is what bought me to this site.
Cheers all,
Baz.

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2016, 04:44:31 PM »
I use Sketchup. There is a .STL exporter at their extension warehouse (Sketchup STL). That works in every Slicing program I have.

I have lately looked a Fusion 360, no judgement on it as yet.

I installed these on a cheap tablet;
Sketchup
Cura 15.04.6
Repetier
Matter Control

All work on it. Some really big projects bring it to its knees then I have to slice them on my desktop.
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MarkB

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2016, 09:03:44 AM »
I use Sketchup to create drawing. Export as STL. Check it/repair it in netfabBasic. Then Slice using Slic3r. All on the mac
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RepRapPro Ormerod2 3D printer
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kn4ud

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2016, 09:33:44 AM »
I use ViaCad 3d and Simplify 3d.
Allen

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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2016, 09:37:10 AM »
I like the Sketchup.

I have tried Fusion 360 and just did not get the hang of it. I need to try it again. But I like free, I'm cheap!
Richard
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Re: Best 3D printer software
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2016, 09:55:13 AM »
I like the Sketchup.

I have tried Fusion 360 and just did not get the hang of it. I need to try it again. But I like free, I'm cheap!

Richard,

I too tried Fusion 360 and I can tell you that Fusion 360 is a huge program and is over kill for what our 2D lasers need. If you use it, you really a PC with some horse power as it is a massive program and it is very complex to use. Like anything else, you can learn to use it if you put the time into it. I just didn't care for it so I uninstalled it.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 09:55:56 AM by Administrator »
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