There’s no doubt that the Ender 3 is a potent hardware package that can produce some stunning results in its price bracket. But have you stopped to think about the software you’re using with it?
Because in reality, having good hardware is just part of the story. Check out this simple list of tools which should give you the most enjoyable experience on your Ender 3.
A slicer program is a must-have for a 3D printer. You can’t print without one. There are plenty of slicers out there with various price tags, but none are more popular than Cura.
If you’ve bought an Ender 3, you’re most likely trying to save some money, so buying an expensive slicer is probably not something you want to do, anyway. Fortunately for you, Cura is free and open source. But don’t let its low asking price deceive you, this is a feature-packed program which allows the manipulation of many settings so you can get the best printing experience possible.
Meshmixer is a great program for any printer. Created by Autodesk, Meshmixer allows you to edit and sculpt individual models to produce exactly what you are looking for. You are also provided a huge range of tools to aid your model editing efforts.
From adding optimized supports to slicing objects into multiple sections, the sky is the limit for what you can do. In fact, some have called Meshmixer “the Photoshop for 3D.” This ability to strategically split models into smaller pieces might be especially helpful for Ender 3 owners since the machine doesn’t have too generous a build volume.
Tinkercad is a browser-based 3D modeling tool is perfect for beginners in the CAD space. It differentiates itself from other common platforms in its simplicity. Complex geometries are primarily created using the addition and subtraction of simple solids, like cubes and spheres.
Because it’s free and easy to use, Tinkercad is often recommended for beginners in 3D printing, but it’s certainly capable of serving your modeling needs further down the line, as well.
To get started with this modeling tool, check out our beginners’ guide to Tinkercad.
Autodesk Fusion 360 is a massively popular parametric modeling tool which will continue to serve you well into your 3D printing journey. It’s also popular in the hobbyist 3D printing community since it’s free for hobbyist and educational use.
The tool is easy to learn with the help of ample online tutorials. In addition, Fusion 360 tends to be good at creating watertight models suitable for 3D printing, unlike equally popular free CAD tools like Blender.
Check out one of our guides for everything to know about Fusion 360.
The Ender 3 is an amazing 3D printer, but it can also take on some extra abilities. The Ender 3 laser engraving setup is a good addition to your hobbyist tool arsenal. That’s where IMG2GCO comes in. It’s been designed by a maker in the community who aims to help others make this attachment usable.
But be warned: This is an advanced application for users who know what they’re doing. The Ender 3 isn’t primarily a laser engraver, so it doesn’t come with a safety enclosure. In addition, this program is nothing more than a script generator with no built-in safety measures. It simply moves the toolhead with laser attached in a pattern that might create a usable final etch, but has no way of checking if the material has caught fire, for instance. Be sure to thoroughly dissect the Wikipedia page linked above before attempting anything.
All in all, the Ender 3 laser engraving attachment is an extremely versatile tool, but it just needs the proper program to run it and the proper skill set to avoid causing blindness.
Last but not least, a well-loved upgrade for the Ender 3 is OctoPrint. Open-source and fairly easy to install, OctoPrint allows you to connect your printer to a WiFi network for remote monitoring and basic control. This is tremendously convenient for a number of reasons.
For instance, you don’t need to hover over your printer while it works. With the webcam integration, you can simply monitor the progress of your prints through a web browser.
Feature image source: techadvisor.co.uk
License: The text of "Creality Ender 3 Software: 5 Must-Have Programs" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.