3D printing obviously has hardware requirements such as a printer and filament or resins. As a beginner, you may not know the type of software you need to be able to print things. There are four types of specialist software that are varying degrees of necessary.
Slicing software is basically required for 3D printing. The vast majority of models you can find online are just that 3D models. For your printer to be able to reproduce them it needs a breakdown, layer by layer, of what it needs to do and how to do it. Slicing software manages a broad range of printer settings by slicing the model into layers and translating those structures into G-code. G-code is the instruction language used by 3D printers to actually print the models.
3D modelling software is a great tool to have available. If a model you’ve found isn’t quite to your liking, you can edit it. You can even create 3D models from scratch if you’ve got the time and patience.
Mesh repair software may not be necessary for every model you print. When you need it, however, it can save you a huge amount of time. Sometimes when you go to slice a model, you’ll come across errors where the slicing software just doesn’t know what to do to make sense of the model. Often this is because there is non-manifold geometry, that is shapes that cant exist in the real world. The mesh repair software can highlight and help address these issues. Many 3D modelling software suites do have mesh repair tools built-in, so you may not need to use a standalone mesh repair tool.
Print management software allows you to control or monitor your printer remotely. This can be a useful tool, but certainly isn’t something you need.
To be able to use any of this software you will need some form of a computer with an operating system and a browser. This isn’t much of a requirement but is something worth bearing in mind if you only have mobile devices, as these may not be enough. Technically you can get away with just this if you plan to use a 3D printing service, depending on the type of model files they need and that you can find. This is a bit of an edge case but is something that could appeal to newcomers, especially less technical ones.
Have you got any 3D printing software that you’d recommend? Let us know down below.