The 3D Printing Industry Awards will be announced on May 20th. Our readers have nominated the best 3D printers, best 3D scanners, most innovative applications and many others across the additive manufacturing sector.
In the software category, Autodesk, SOLIDWORKS, Simplify3D and 3DXpert are joined by OnShape, Ultimaker’s Cura, Siemens NX, SpaceClaim, ZBrush and others.
Software for 3D printing
A critical part of 3D printing is the software, depending on the purpose there are multiple options available to meet the range of requirements. CAD software might be used to create the 3D design while other tools are required optimize that design for 3D printing. As the nominations show, a large number of software tools across the 3D printing eco-system exist as part of the 3D printing workflow.
In this article we take a closer look at the best 3D printing software, as nominated by readers of 3D Printing Industry.
The 3D Printing Industry Awards 2017 Software of the Year.
Autodesk Fusion 360
Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is a cloud based 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool. Fusion 360 can be used to create 3D designs, perform simulations, create assemblies and make photorealistic renderings and animations. The 3D printing workflow can be used to preview the mesh structure, make pre-print refinements and optimize support structures.
For students and educators Autodesk offer free licenses to encourage and prepare students for the future of design. Autodesk also runs a series of international conferences to foster the next generation of designers.
Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS
SOLIDWORKS from Dassault Systèmes is a leading 3D CAD and CAE in use by over 2 million engineers and designers. As a solid modelling tool, SOLIDWORKS uses a parametric approach to create models and assemblies while direct editing techniques are also possible to create a seamless environment.
On the 3DEXPERIENCE platform SOLIDWORKS delivers a new design experience focused on enabling users to create innovative products in a connected and collaborative environment.
Simplify3D converts 3D models into the g-code necessary to 3D print. While many 3D printers come bundled with a Slicer tool, the dedicated software from Simplify3D is favored by many across the 3D printing industry for the advanced settings that are accessible. As the company say, “Better instructions mean better prints, so a simple software upgrade makes all the difference in the world.”
Simplify3D can be used to prepare, process, preview and 3D print. The software comes with 100 pre-configured profiles optimized for many of the 3D printers on the market. Support generation, dual nozzle optimization, simplified multi-part printing and a detailed preview mode are just some of the features offered.
3D Systems 3DXpert
3DXpert for metal additive manufacturing is an integrated software solution for preparation and optimization of parts. The 3D Systems software can be used to define the scan strategy according to the particular requirements of specific elements of the build.
3DXpert allow of the creation of infills via the generation of lattice structures and intelligent generation of support structures. It is also possible to save details to the file of elements that will not be 3D printed, but might be machined at a later stage. The aim of optimizing a 3D printing workflow in this manner is reduce the number of software packages required and to preserve the data which can be lost when moving between software.
The best software of 2017
In addition to the shortlist, the 3D Printing Industry Awards invites readers to let us know if another company should win the trophy. In the software category we’ve had votes for Ultimaker’s Cura, OnShape: the full-cloud 3D CAD system, SpaceClaim 3D modeling software, the Slic3r g-code generator, ZBrush, TinkerCAD, 3D Systems 3D Sprint and Siemens NX. You can vote for any of these tools as the best software of the year, or let us know who you think should win on the voting form.
The best 3D printers of 2017
You can read further profiles of the best enterprise 3D printer of the year, the best personal 3D printer manufacturer, and the enterprise additive manufacturing OEM of the year nominations for our 3D Printing Industry Awards.
Plus, take a look at some of the best 3D printing startups, most popular 3D scanning tools and the best 3D design software, as voted for by the most informed people in the 3D printing industry, our readers.