Best 3D Printing Software for Mac (With Free Options)


In your 3D printing journey, you’re going to come across plenty of software that has its purpose. If you are specifically using a Mac you might be wondering what the best 3D printing software is out there for you.

This article will show you these options, as well as free software that you can make use of.

Blender

Blender is a great open-source app which specializes in 3D creations, namely sculpting for 3D printing, but it can do a lot more beyond that. Mac users can happily use Blender without issues, all for free.

The flexibility that you have for creating models is second-to-none, where you have 20 different brush types, multi-res sculpting supports, dynamic topology sculpting, and mirrored sculpting, all tools to help you create.

I think a video illustration can better show you just how intuitive the Blender application. Watch how this user takes a basic low-resolution tiger model from Thingiverse and transforms it into a higher quality tiger head.

 

Features and Benefits

  • Cross-platform software with an OpenGL GUI can work equally well on Linux, Windows, and Mac devices.
  • Facilitates fast and efficient workflow because of its highly advanced 3D architecture and development.
  • It allows you to customize the user interface, window’s layout, and included shortcuts according to your requirements.
  • An ideal tool for professionals as it can help you to improve 3D printing skills and allow you to print complex 3D models without any hassle.
  • Freedom of design and its unlimited functions and tools make it a perfect option for designing architectural and geometric 3D models.

AstroPrint

AstroPrint is a tool for managing 3D printers and is fully compatible with Mac. If you’ve ever thought about how a 3D printer farm would work, this is definitely one method that successful people have used.

One of the best things about AstroPrint is its secure connection to the Cloud, where you can store and access your 3D models from any device, anywhere, at any time. You can upload .stl files and slice them over the Cloud, straight from your browser.

There’s no need to update any tedious, hard-to-learn software. Just simplicity, and power.

This app offers live monitoring of your prints and allows you to easily manage user permissions.

Features and Benefits

  • Supports remote printing, you can print wirelessly or with a USB cable.
  • Multiple shared printing queue
  • It allows you to scale, rotate, arrange, push up or pull down, and make multiple copies of the designs through your AstroPrint account.
  • Provides detailed analytics for analyzing the printing process in a better way.
  • Allows you to view the G-Code files’ print paths and to analyze your design layer by layer.
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • You can analyze the printing speed which is indicated by different colors.
  • Reflects the changes visually on the display while adjusting its settings.
  • AstroPrint can find or identify your 3D printer in a few seconds no matter whether your printer is remote or on a local network.
  • Provides a push notification when the print is finished or stopped.

ideaMaker

Raise3D’s unique slicer software, ideaMaker is a seamless, free 3D printing tool that helps develop G-Code and can support file-formats including STL, 3MF, OLTP, and OBJ. Mac users can also join in on the fun.

It has a user-friendly interface for beginners and highly customization features for professionals. Check  out the video below to see how the interface looks and how to get a printer set up.

Features and Benefits

  • You can create your own 3D prints with an easy process.
  • This tool facilitates you with a remote monitoring and management tool to provide a better printing experience.
  • Includes an auto-layout feature for printing multiple files at a time.
  • ideaMaker is compatible and works flawlessly with FDM 3D printers.
  • It can connect with third party open-source 3D printers and allow you to upload G-Code to OctoPrint.
  • Can adjust the layer height automatically by analyzing the prints.
  • This tool can provide an interface in multiple languages including Italian, English, German, and many more.

Ultimaker Cura

Cura is probably the most popular 3D printing software out of them all, and Mac users can use this slicer software with no problems. I use it on a regular basis and love its functionality and ease of use.

What it does is take your favorite CAD models, and turn them into G-Code which is the language your 3D printer translates to perform actions such as print head movements and setting the heating temperature for different elements.

It is easy to understand and can be customized according to your printing needs and desires. You can download unique material profiles from a variety of brands if you are working on this application.

More experienced users can also share their ready-to-use profiles, usually with great results.

Check out this video of CHEP going through the features of a release of Cura.

Features and Benefits

  • You can ready your models with just a few clicks of a button.
  • Supports almost all 3D printing file formats.
  • Has simple settings for quick printing or expert-level, with 400+ settings that you can adjust
  • CAD integration with Inventor, SolidWorks, Siemens NX, and more.
  • Has many extra plugins to help streamline your printing experience
  • Prepare the print models in just a few minutes and you only have to see print speed and quality.
  • Can be managed and operated with the cross-platform distribution system.

Repetier-Host

Repetier-Host is a free all-in-one 3D printing software solution that works with almost all popular FDM 3D printers, with over 500,000 installations.

It has multi-slicer support, multi-extruder support, easy multi-printing, full control over your printer, and access from anywhere via browser.

Features and Benefits

  • You can upload multiple print models and can scale, rotate, and make their copies on the virtual bed.
  • Allows you to slice models with different slicers and optimal settings.
  • Easily watch your 3D printers via webcam and even create cool time lapses to share
  • Very small memory requirement so you can print files of any size
  • Has a G-Code editor and manual controls to give instructions to your 3D printer remotely
  • Can handle the processing of 16 extruders at the same time even if they all have different filament colors.

Autodesk Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is a very advanced piece of software which allows Mac users to really explore their 3D modelling capabilities, without limitations to the creative process.

Although it has a steep learning curve, once you get the hang of it, you can create some amazing models, even functional models that serve a purpose.

Several professionals make use of Fusion 360 from Mechanical Engineers to Industrial Designers, all the way down to Machinists. There is a free version for personal use, which still allows you to do plenty.

It’s especially good for collaborative team building, where you can share designs and manage them securely from anywhere.

Included in Fusion 360 are major printing tools such as task management and project management.

Features and Benefits

  • Provides users with a unified environment that allows you to create high-quality objects.
  • Standard design and 3D modeling tools
  • Supports many file types
  • This design software makes it easy for you to program your manufacturing process effectively.
  • An advanced set of modeling tools that provide high-quality prints by using many analysis methods.
  • Secure data management if working in teams on projects
  • Single cloud user storage

MakePrintable

MakePrintable is a Mac-compatible tool widely used for creating and printing 3D models. It is a cloud solution that can analyze and repair 3D models using some of the most advanced 3D file repair technology on the market.

The unique value that this tool has is the ability to do these repair tasks very quickly and efficiently. This is a paid software however, where you can pay on a monthly basis or per download.

It’s done in four easy steps:

  1. Upload – 15+ file formats accepted, up to 200MB per file
  2. Analyze – A viewer showcases the 3D printability issues and much more
  3. Repair – Rebuild the mesh of your model and fix issues – all done on cloud servers at speed
  4. Finalize – Pick your desired format including .OBJ, .STL, .3MF, Gcode, and .SVG

This software has a cool feature which can automatically adjust your wall thickness so print strength isn’t compromised. It really goes above and beyond most software in helping you 3D print like a professional.

Join 200,000 other users who have installed and use this software.

Features and Benefits

  • Using this tool allows you to import files directly from the cloud storage.
  • The color picker feature allows you to choose your favorite color.
  • Allows you to transform your 3D print model into STL, SBG, OBJ, G-Code, or 3MF without damaging the print-ability and quality.
  • Highly advanced and latest 3D optimization technology.
  • Includes a tool to manage and adjust the wall thickness providing a high-quality print.
  • An in-depth 3D model analyzer which will indicate error and issues before starting the printing process.

Does Cura Work on Mac?

Yes, Cura works with a Mac computer and you can simply download it directly from the Ultimaker website. There has been issues in the past with users getting a ‘Apple cannot check for malicious software’ error, though you just click ‘Show in Finder’ right click the Cura app, then click open.

Another dialog should show up, where you click ‘open’ and it should work just fine.

Best Software for Mac - Cura Download on Mac - 3D Printerly

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