6 Best 3D Slicers / 3D Printing Software for Mac in 2023
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If you’re a Mac user that wants to get into 3D printing, one of the first things you need to do is find a suitable slicing software. There are many Mac-compatible programs to choose from, which is great…but means you need to choose carefully to find the best 3D printing software for Mac for your exact needs.
To help you out, we’ve reviewed the best 3D slicer programs for Mac. We’ll take a look at both free and paid programs, and cover all the important points you need to know when choosing Mac-compatible 3D printing software.
Best 3D Printer Software Software for Mac – Full Round-Up
- Cura: Overall best free 3D printing software for Mac for beginners
- ChituBox: Best 3D resin printer software for Mac
- Slic3r: Popular open source slicer software with intuitive features
- IdeaMaker: Great slicer for in-house model editing
- PrusaSlicer: Powerful 3D printer software with MMU & MSLA support
- Simplify3D: Best Mac 3D printing software for professionals
Which 3D Printing Software is NOT Available on Mac?
Here are some popular 3D printing software to avoid as they’re not compatible with Macs:
Best 3D Printer Software Software for Mac Reviewed
First, we have free Mac 3D slicers and printing software.
Best Free 3D Printing Software for Mac
Cura – Overall Best Free 3D Printing Software for Mac for Beginners
Powerful free and open source slicing engine
Highly intuitive features and settings
40,000 strong community
Excellent learning resources
Regularly updated with new features
Seamless integration with top CAD software
No major drawbacks
Ultimaker Cura is considered by many to be the best 3D printing software for Mac and is used by millions around the world.
This program is based on a powerful, open source slicing engine developed by both Cura’s in-house experts, and users. It provides recommended profiles (custom settings for specific 3D printers) that have been tested for thousands of hours to ensure the most reliable results.
If you use the ‘custom mode’ you can choose from over 400 granular control settings, and Cura offers a variety of highly intuitive functions for streamlining the printing experience, such as intent profiles for printing specific applications in just one click.
Aside from its powerful slicing abilities, there are several other aspects of Cura that make it a top 3D slicer for Mac. It has a large community of over 40,000 active users that you can engage with through forums and other means, as well as a fantastic range of e-learning resources, so it’s a good choice for beginners.
Alongside the free version, Ultimaker offers paid Enterprise versions of Cura which have some more advanced features, such as organization access management and the ability to print from history without reslicing.
Cura Mac software can be used with many different 3D printers, although it’s particularly optimized for Ultimaker printers. It also offers seamless integration with some of the most popular CAD programs, including Solidworks, Siemens NX, and Autodesk Inventor.
ChituBox – Best 3D Resin Printer Software for Mac
Ideal for 3D resin printing
Highly intuitive and streamlined interface
Great selection of powerful editing tools
Automated features for increasing efficiency
Pro license with advanced features available
Best features reserved for Pro license
If you’re using resin rather than filament for more intricate 3D prints, you’ll benefit from a software that specializes in resin. This is because whereas slicing software for filament printing uses g code files, for resin printing it needs to generate a series of images for each resin layer to be cured.
ChituBox is widely considered the best free Mac 3D printer software for resin pritning. This is in part due to its highly intuitive user interface, which allows you to slice models in as little as four clicks.
This free 3D printing software for Mac provides a wide variety of editing tools for rotating, scaling, mirroring, repairing, cloning, and more. Another benefit that can help speed up prints is its multi-model processing function, which saves you having to tediously organize multiple models.
Similarly, the software’s automated model identification and analysis allows you to add support structures in just a single click, while also being able to edit and move supports as you wish using fine tune settings.
ChituBox is supported by a wide range of SLA, DLP, and LCD 3D printers, which you can search for here. It’s also the official slicing software of the popular Elegoo Mars series of printers.
As well as the free version, ChituBox offers Pro licenses for $169. This version offers more advanced features and is used by professionals across a range of industries, from jewelry and character models to electronics and dentistry.
Slic3r – Popular Open Source Slicer Software with Intuitive Features
Fast and efficient slicing software
Intuitive microlayering functions
One of the easiest user interfaces to navigate
Manage multiple printers and filaments at once
Large and active user community
Less powerful engine than the likes of Cura
Slic3r is another popular open source 3D printing software for Mac that’s free. It’s one of the fastest slicers and boasts multithreading for parallel computation, making it about 100x faster than other software such as Skeinforge.
This program has several powerful features designed to streamline the printing process while maintaining optimal results. For example, the micro-layering function allows you to choose from thicker infills, and therefore benefit from low layer heights while still keeping print times quick (within reason).
You can also compose plates using intuitive drag-and-drop, rotation, and scaling tools while retaining the ability to print one object at a time using sequential printing, so it’s a flexible program.
Other benefits of using Slic3r include its intelligent cooling strategies for ensuring optimal printing performance, and the ability to manage multiple printers and filaments at once while saving configurations as presets.
For most people, Cura is the more popular pick of the two, but Slic3r does have some benefits of its own. Ultimately, the program that’s best for you largely comes down to personal preference.
For example, some may prefer Slic3r’s interface which is neatly divided into three separate categories, over Cura’s custom interface which can sometimes appear a little cluttered.
Another note is that while Cura has a more professional feel to it, Slic3r is more like your typical open source program without a fancy website or marketing. It’s continuously updated and the user community is very active in testing, providing feedback, and proposing new ideas on the Slic3r Github.
Slic3r is compatible with many of the best 3D printers from leading brands including Ultimaker, Makerbot, and more.
IdeaMaker – Great Slicer for in-house Model Editing
Can apply wide variety of textures to models for unique variations
Built-in Bolean tools for flexible editing
Save time on CAD processing
Highly configurable slicing settings
Intuitive interface suitable for beginners and pros
Can’t easily highlight print profile changes
Another contender for the title of best 3D slicer for Mac is IdeaMaker, which is the go-to software for many 3D printing enthusiasts.
This powerful program is packed with features designed to help you get the most out of your software and printer. One notable feature is the ability to add a wide variety of patterns and textures to models by creating a concave or convex surface according to your image’s greyscale. This allows you to create many interactions of a model from a single STL file.
IdeaMaker automatically applies textures to your 3D models, which you can then tweak by adjusting slicer settings. It can therefore save you a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on CAD processing.
Another benefit of this 3D printer slicer for Mac is the ability to use in-house Boolean tools to freely adjust models by carving, splitting, and combining. This saves you having to do it in a separate program and is ideal for personalizing models or reducing excessive part size.
By combining the graphic interface and numeric setting panels, you can precisely and intuitive adjust models while simultaneously inspecting results in real time. These are just a few of the many rich features found in IdeaMaker, making it one of the most powerful and flexible 3D printer software for Mac.
IdeaMaker is designed primarily for use with Raise3D printers, but it’s compatible with may other models and provides free slicing templates for a variety of different filaments and printers.
PrusaSlicer – Powerful 3D Printer Software with MMU & MSLA Support
Clear and easy-to-use interface
Great painting and color features
Strong print and time and analysis tools
Supports MMU and MSLA
Over 250 presets available
Mostly optimized for Prusa printers
PrusaSlicer is a 3D slicer and printing software designed primarily for Prusa 3D printers, although you can also use it with models from most other major brands, such as Anycubic and Creality.
It provides a clear and simple UI, which is easy to navigate regardless of whether you’re working on a small laptop screen or a multi-monitor setup.
One of the best things about PrusaSlicer is its range of painting and color features. You can quickly and easily paint custom supports directly onto your model while using custom meshes as support blockers and enforcers.
It also allows you to color models for multi-material printing in just a few clicks with smart fill and brushstroke tools, with painted regions extended inwards during printing for increased material adhesion. Prusa offer a multi-material upgrade (MMU) for their FDM printers for 3D printing up to 5 color filaments at once, and PrusaSlicer makes this seamless.
Other benefits include extensive print time and analysis tools, the ability to select layer height for each part of your model separately, and MSLA support. Prusa claims that PrusaSlicer is the only open source slicing software that supports MSLA.
Like many other Mac 3D printer software, PrusaSlicer is open source and regularly updated with new features by its team of developers. You can keep up with the latest updates on the Prusa 3D GitHub.
For example, the developers are constantly working on new presets for resins and filaments from the most popular manufacturers. There are currently more than 250 presets available on the software.
Best Paid 3D Printing Software for Mac
Simplify3D – Best Mac 3D Printing Software for Professionals
- Price: from $199 (one time purchase)
Very powerful, professional 3D printing software
Fantastic educational resources
One of the most widely compatible slicers
Huge range of slicing settings and tool
Extensive updates regularly added
Simplify3D is one of the most premium Mac 3D printing software and is packed with high quality and intuitive features designed to improve productivity.
For example, the Import and Repair feature allows you to import 3D files and then analyze geometry to help spot any potential mesh errors that could hinder printing. The powerful geometric engine allows you to handle huge files (multi-gigabyte with tens of millions of triangles), and you can easily detect and fix common errors within the slicing software.
It also boasts a range of industry leading orientation, arranging, and packing tools for position your model in the ideal way for printing. With the ability to interactively manipulate single parts or nest hundreds of parts in a single build platform, you can optimize efficiency with great flexibility.
Another benefit is the wide variety of control capabilities that offers far greater setting customization than many other slicers. It also helps improve material efficiency by using intelligent algorithms to adjust common parameters, such as layer thickness and infill density, automatically throughout the printing process while retaining the same level of quality.
Simplify3D is regularly updated, with V5 being the most recent version. V5 includes over 120 new features and improvements, 3x faster slicing, and 90 new supported printers. This level of improvement is one of the main benefits that come with choosing paid 3D slicer software over a free one.
If you hold a license, you can upgrade to the latest version when the software is updated for a discounted price.
This software boasts some of the best educational resources out there and is also one of the most widely compatible programs – you can enter your 3D printer model here to check if it can be paired with Simplify3D.
Buying Guide – Things to consider when choosing 3D slicer software for mac
How well does it run on Mac?
When choosing a 3D printer software for Mac, you need to make sure you find a program that runs well enough on your device. This is because most 3D slicers haven’t yet been updated to run on the latest M1, M1 Max, and M2 chips.
In most cases, you can still run 3D printing software on Macs using these chips using Rosetta 2. However, this may require some tinkering with your device settings in order to achieve optimum performance.
If you’re unsure on this, most 3D slicing software will provide information on their download pages, and you can often find further information on user forums.
Budget and free trial
As you can see from our reviews, the majority of 3D printing Mac software are open source and free to use. However, it’s important to note that the likes of Cura and ChituBox also have paid versions which have more advanced features, while some programs like Simplify3D don’t have unlimited free versions.
Luckily most paid slicers like Simplify3D offer free trials, and in the case of Cura and ChituBox, you can use the free versions first before deciding whether to invest in a paid subscription.
Ease of use
If you’re a first-timer, it’s recommended to go for a Mac 3D printer software that’s more beginner-friendly. Cura is perhaps the standout in this regard, not only due to its intuitive user experience but also because of the great learning resources it provides.
Is Cura available on a Mac?
Yes, Cura is available to download for free on Mac. However, if you have a Mac with an M1 or M2 chip, you’ll need to run it using Rosetta 2.
Can you use 3D printing software on a Mac?
Yes, most 3D printing software like Cura and Slic3r are compatible with Mac. Although some programs, like OctoPrint, aren’t.
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