Softwares in 3D printing
What softwares you will need to print with a 3D printer?
When most people think about building a 3D printer they mostly focus on the hardware. We weren't any difference. We thought when the building part was ready we are nearly done - but we were far-far away from the printing! Most of these softwares were mentioned in the Is it printable? article - this is just a little more detailed description which is focusing other aspects of the softwares.
First of all, the printer itself needs a software - it's called firmware, like any other hardware's software. We use Sprinter, which is the recommended for RepRap. But when you download it, you will need something to compile and upload it to the printer. The software which is capable of doing that is Arduino. Now, you have everything to build the firmware, but before you do that, you need to setup a few things. First of all, you have to set up which board you have for the printer, and you need to tune the settings in the Configuration.h, for example: the type of the board, the printable dimensions, the steps of the motors needed for one mm of movement etc. When you are ready you simply verify and upload the firmware. We're sure you will do this routine a few times to make your configuration perfect. We did.
Now, you have a printer ready to print, so you need something to send data to your printer. There are several possibilities, but the most reliable is Printrun - this can open stl files directly, but it is recommended to slice your models with Slic3r and load the resulted G-code file into Printrun. Slic3r has lots of features and settings which are documented - more or less - on their website. Before you start to print you should setup the settings of your printer: the size of the noozle, the printable dimensions and so on.
These softwares are only the basics - there are lots of other useful softwares, but with these four you can start printing.