Is Solidworks Good for 3D Printing?


Solidworks is a less commonly known software compared to some of the other CAD software out there, so people wonder whether it’s actually good for 3D printing. This article will answer that question so you can decide whether or not to use it.

Keep reading on to learn more about 3D printing with Solidworks.

Is Solidworks Good for 3D Printing?

Yes, Solidworks is good for 3D printing because it is a powerful and feature-packed software for 3D modeling. It has a good 2D sketching interface if you want to create a model and create an .STL file quickly. It is slightly more useful for professionals and not directed towards beginners in general as there is a learning curve.

One user who used Solidworks under a student license said it worked great for making models for 3D printing. When comparing Solidworks to a program like Fusion 360, someone mentioned that Solidworks is more of a polished program for 3D printing, especially the paid version.

For the free version, Fusion 360 works very well and it more of a hobbyist-friendly software.

Solidworks is great for creating real-world models or “engineering projects”, but not so good for organic models. If you want to model parts that are used for functional purposes or industrial use, Solidworks would be a great option.

Fusion 360 is also known to produce some great 3D models for engineering.

Another user mentioned that he faced problems with organic curves in Solidworks, which is worse when working with a complex model.

An example he gave was if you are trying to make a hinge or a mechanical part, it’s great, but if you try to make a rose, it doesn’t have the best tools available.

An upside to Solidworks is how it has CAD libraries for accessing pre-build models, as well as an add-in option to download to enable high-level customizations.

Here is a great tutorial on using Solidworks for 3D printing modeling.

Does Solidworks Work With 3D Printers?

Yes, Solidworks can work with 3D printers by simply creating your model and exporting the file as an STL file. It’s actually possible to directly work with your 3D printer if your manufacturer uses the Solidworks 3D Print API.

Solidworks is known to require a longer learning curve than other CAD software, though there is a Solidworks YouTube channel that you can learn from. There are many tools to learn so you’ll want to invest a good amount of time to get the hang of them.

Here’s a great video that shows the actual 3D print with Solidworks:

Many users do prefer Fusion 360 for their 3D modeling. It does also have a learning curve, but not as much as Solidworks and there’s a larger community of people that use it.

There’s even a really cool channel called Fusion 36o School that you can quickly learn from, with many case studies and real 3D model examples.

Best 3D Printer for Solidworks

Solidworks will with any 3D printer since it creates STL files that are widely used. The Ender 3 S1 and the Anycubic Kobra are among some of the best choices for 3D printers.

Ender 3 S1

The Ender 3 S1 is one of the highest-performing 3D printers out there. Owing to its cutting-edge design and premium features, this advanced version of the Ender 3 series is quite popular. The best part is that the printer comes 96% assembled.

New users can rely on the printer due to the easy assembly method. The improved wire management makes it great for contemporary workstations. Plus, the Sprite extruder of the device allows the users to model flexible filaments easily.

Features of the Ender 3 S1

  • Dual-Geared Sprite Direct Drive Extruder
  • CR Touch Automatic Bed Leveling
  • Dual Lead Screws for Greater Stability
  • X and Y-axis Belt Tensioner Knobs
  • Built-In Storage Space
  • 3-Inch LCD Screen
  • Filament Runout Sensor
  • Print Resume After Power Cut
  • USB-C Input Port
  • 32-bit Silent Mainboard

Check out the Ender 3 S1 from Amazon as a great 3D printer to use.

Anycubic Kobra

The Anycubic Kobra is another great FDM printer great for beginners as well as professionals. This medium-sized printer is equipped with the latest updates and yet is budget-friendly. Just like the Ender 3 S1, Anycubic Kobra comes partly assembled but you need to assemble the rest.

The build of this printer combines aluminum with some amount of plastic. Yet, that won’t hamper the printing quality or performance of the device. You can print TPU and PETG filaments quite easily at a maximum 260°C temperature.

Features of the Anycubic Kobra

  • Automatic Bed Leveling
  • Flexible, Magnetic PEI Coated Print Bed
  • Direct Drive Extruder
  • 3-Inch Color LCD Touchscreen
  • Silent Trinamic Stepper Drivers
  • Ultra-Portable Lightweight Frame
  • Sensorless X and Y-Axis Homing
  • X, Y-axis Belt Tensioners
  • Print Resume After Power Cuts

You can get yourself the Anycubic Kobra from Amazon for a competitive price.

What 3D Printing File Formats Does Solidworks Use?

Solidworks uses the following 3D printing file formats:

  • .STL format (Standard Triangle Language)
  • .3mf (3D manufacturing format) and
  • .amf (additive manufacturing format)

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