Proposal: 3D Printers, Laser Cutters, & Personal Manufacturing

It seems to me that a large part of the manufacturing process is designing the model you want to make. Is this a good place to discuss:

  • The pro's and con's of different modeling software
  • The pro's and con's of different software for driving machines
  • How to achieve X in program Y (e.g. "How do I split a model in half using netfabb/openSCAD?"
  • What software can be used with a given machine, and
  • What file formats are needed for a given machine


Are any of these not the sort of thing that should be asked here? (e.g. comparisons of software can probably be found on wikipedia fairly easily, and so shouldn't be here)

Are there other software-related questions that might belong here?

  • 1
    I would think that asking specific questions about software tools directly related to the management of a tool such as a 3D printer is appropriate. Commented Dec 17, 2011 at 21:24

2 Answers 2


The toolchain for manufacturing is at least as important as the machines themselves, so this definitively deserves a place here.

What tool you use at every step greatly influences how the end result turns out: For repraps and related machines for example :

  • Modeling : polygonal, parametric (Blender, Openscad)
  • Slicers (how the original 3d model gets converted to GCodes etc) : Skeinforge, Slic3r)
  • Host programs (Reprap Host, ReplicatorG etc)
  • Firmwares (5d, Teacup, Makerbot)

The list of software available here clearly outlines the fact that it can be a jungle to navigate in, even more so when you are new to all of this, so yeah, this has my vote !


CAD, and in particular 3D CAD, is at the top of the content funnel for the vast majority of 3D printing so it is relevent tp the discussion. But perhaps discussion should be limited to those topics more applicable to 3d printing such as creating and repairing meshs of already modeled parts.

Discussion of 'driving' or CAM software should also be relevant. For example, plenty of info out there about homebrew 3d printer software options but not so much about alternatives to software provided by professional printer OEMs.

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