Software Options

Thanks to the open-source compatibility of MakerGear 3D printers, you have the ability to run any non-proprietary 3D design, slicing, and hosting software.

This means you can use what's best for your purposes and your budget. 

Below are some of our favorite options for:

Find what works best for you!  

 

Slicing and Printer Control (Hosting) Software

Octoprint

Features: Hosting (standard), with a wide variety of plugin-based features available (remote monitoring, automated slicing, etc.)

Cost: Free

Born from open-source collaboration, Octoprint has become a preferred hosting and slicing tools among many users. With its comprehensive menu of configuration and plugin options, OctoPrint offers a wide array of features ranging from remote control and monitoring to automated slicing and streamlined management of multiple 3D printers.

Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

www.OctoPrint.org

 

Simplify 3D

Features: Slicing and hosting

Cost: $149

This is the software we sell in our own shop and can vouch for its performance as a slicer and printer interface. It is also the only software that enables you to use the independent dual extruder on the M3. The software comes pre-configured for compatibility with MakerGear printer settings, and makes it easy to tailor them to your particular needs, as well. It allows you to import, scale, rotate or repair your 3D model as needed, and can automatically generate support based on overhang angles. Learn more about its features in our shop

www.Simplify3d.com

 

 

 

Slic3r

Features: Slicing only

Cost: Free

If you are not printing with an M3 Independent Dual extruder and are looking for a free option, Slic3r is an open-source G-code generator for 3D printing. The software will convert your 3D model into printing instructions for your 3D printer. It cuts the model into horizontal slices (layers), generates tool paths to fill them and calculates the amount of material to be extruded. 

Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

www.Slic3r.org

 

Pronterface

Features: Hosting only

Cost: Free

Pronterface is a fully-featured GUI host that lets you interactively control your machine, slice objects directly from the host, print objects, upload SD cards and run SD prints. It's part of the Printrun suite. 

www.Pronterface.com

  

 

 

 

Design Software

 

Experience level: Intermediate - Advanced

Ideal for: Product designers, engineers, and advanced students.

Cost: Free for Educators and Students. $1890/year for professionals.

Part of the Autodesk suite of products, Inventor is a reputable and popular 3D mechanical CAD software choice. It is best suited for users who have familiarity and skills with CAD. Autodesk provides an excellent library of tutorials and videos on their site to learn more. This software (along with many other modeling software options in their family of products) is available for free to students and educators. 

Compatible with Windows & Mac

www.Autodesk.com

 

Experience level: Beginner

Ideal for: K-12 teachers and students.

Cost: Free

Loved for its easy-to use interface, Tinkercad is a free, browser-based 3D modeling program that is an onramp to using CAD (computer aided design) and mastering the basics of critical 21st-century skills and competencies, such as spatial, geometric, technological, and design literacy. With a library of simple shapes and tools to choose from, it's a great choice for K-12 students as well as anyone who needs a quick and easy program to design a simple object for 3D printing.  With its  engaging tutorials  and  intuitive interface, it's easy to see why Tinkercad is loved by non-designers, professionals, and kids around the world .

Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. Chrome and Firefox perform best.

www.Tinkercad.com

 

Experience level: Intermediate - Advanced

Ideal for: Product designers, engineers, and advanced students.

Cost: Free

This free 3D CAD software is available from eMachineShop, an online machine shop that provides custom parts via designs submitted on the web. They invite users to utilize their free CAD software, even if they are not utilizing their machining services. It is a great option for those with some CAD experience.

Compatible with Windows. For Mac users, use Bootcamp or Parallel desktop to run the program.

www.eMachineShop.com

 

Experience level: Intermediate - Advanced

Ideal for: Product designers, engineers, and advanced students.

Cost: Free for open source projects that are not for commercial use. $100/month for professional designers

Onshape is a cloud-based, professional 3D CAD system that allows for import and export in common CAD formats, enabling remote collaboration for product design and engineering teams. A robust library of tutorials, product tours, and webinars are available to help new users learn how to. The software is free to use for open-source public projects, and has several paid professional packages, as well.

Compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook & Mobile (iOS & Android)

www.Onshape.com

Experience level: Beginner

Ideal for: Product designers, engineers, and advanced students.

Cost: Free

A slightly different approach than traditional CAD methods, this is digital scuplting software that allows you to work with "digital clay" to produce designs. Sculptress from Pixologic is an excellent entre into the world of digital sculpting, and is designed to be intuitive to navigate with easy to use features for beginners. It's absolutely free to use. 

Compatible with Windows, Mac

www.pixologic.com/sculptris

 

 

Experience level: Advanced

Ideal for: Product designers, engineers, and advanced students.

Cost: License costs vary by number of users, but educational discounts are available.

After you've mastered Sculptress or other digital sculpting software, Z Brush is the next level design tool that allows for more complex renderings and a greater selection of tools. 

Compatible with Windows, Mac

www.Pixologic.com

 

  

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