Search our shop

What is a Slicer in 3D Printing

  • 5 min read

What Is a Slicer in 3D Printing: Basics & Top Software Picks


In the realm of additive manufacturing, "What is a slicer in 3d printing?" is a question frequently asked by newcomers and enthusiasts alike. In this article, we will unfold the intricacies of a 3D printer slicer, discussing its essential role in the 3D printing process, elaborating on the mechanics of how it operates, and offering some top-notch software recommendations to enhance your 3D printing experience. By the end of this read, you will gain a profound understanding of the critical role slicers play in transforming your 3D models into tangible masterpieces.

What Is a 3D Printer Slicer?

At its core, a 3D slicer is a software application that serves as a critical intermediary between your 3D model and the printer. It takes your digital design, typically in STL or OBJ format, and slices it into thin, horizontal layers – a process known as slicing.
This slicing is not merely about cutting the model into layers. The slicer also calculates and incorporates a myriad of essential printing parameters. These include layer height, infill density, print speed, and support structures. Each parameter is meticulously adjusted to ensure the final print's fidelity to the original design, strength, and aesthetic appeal.
In essence, the slicer translates your 3D design into a language that the printer can understand, generating a G-code. This G-code is a series of instructions that guide the printer on how to construct each layer, including the path for the nozzle, speed of movement, and where to deposit material.

How Does a 3D Slicer Work?

The operation of a 3D printer slicer software starts with the user inputting all the necessary information into the slicer. This includes data about the 3D printer and the digital model. After loading the model, typically in file formats such as STL or OBJ, the slicer software kicks into action.
  1. Layer Slicing: The slicer divides the model into thin, horizontal layers. This slicing is done based on the layer height you choose – a smaller height results in more layers, offering finer detail but increasing print time.
  1. Path Generation: For each layer, the slicer calculates the most efficient path that the printer's nozzle should follow to create that layer.
  1. Support Structures: If the model has overhangs or is complex, the slicer software will generate support structures to ensure the model's stability during printing.
  1. G-code Generation: The final step is the creation of G-code, the language that 3D printers understand. This code contains detailed instructions for every movement of the printer, including where to move, how fast to move, and where to extrude the printing material.
  1. Preview and Adjustments: Before printing, most slicers provide a preview of how the print will look, layer by layer. This step is essential for identifying potential issues. Users can go back and tweak settings if needed, ensuring optimal print results.

3D Slicer Software Recommendations

Choosing the right slicer for 3D printing is crucial for bringing your projects to life. Here, we recommend some of the most popular and efficient slicer software in the market, suitable for a range of users from beginners to advanced enthusiasts.
  1. Cura Slicer Software
This slicer is a popular choice compatible with most 3D printers. Developed by 3D printer company Ultimaker, this software is open source and free to use. Cura supports most 3D file extension formats, making it convenient and accessible for users. Its ease of use and comprehensive range of tools make it ideal for both beginners and professionals.
  1. ideaMaker Slicer Software
ideaMaker is a product of Raise3D and was primarily created to work with their printers. However, it has been optimized to work with a variety of FDM printers available on the market today. It offers advanced settings and options that allow users to achieve complex printing tasks with ease.
  1. Simplify3D
This software is comprehensive and versatile, working well with almost every printer. It's a premium solution targeted towards professional users, offering an extensive set of tools and features. Simplify3D is compatible with many 3D printing profiles and allows the addition of specific models not listed, eliminating the need to switch between different slicer software.
  1. AnkerMake Slicer Software
At AnkerMake, we've co-created this user-friendly, open-source software in collaboration with 3D printing enthusiasts. Our AnkerMake Slicer is ready for anything, offering easy print settings for quick slicing and expert settings for complex prints. Our reliable parameter presets for all AnkerMake printers and filaments are rigorously tested to ensure dependable print results. Additionally, our AnkerMake 3D Printer Slicer Software supports remote control and monitoring of prints. You can transmit and control print jobs, view the current printing status via the monitor, check print task progress. This makes it an excellent choice for those who value convenience and control in their 3D printing endeavors.


At AnkerMake, we're passionate about pairing exceptional slicing software with top-notch 3D printers. That's why we're proud to offer our top-of-the-line 3D printers:

AnkerMake M5 3D Printer: Step into the future with our AnkerMake M5 3D Printer. Designed for speed and precision, it reaches up to 500 mm/s while maintaining a 0.1 mm precision. Our M5 isn't just fast; it's smart too, with AI camera monitoring and hub connectivity for a hassle-free printing experience. Enjoy features like auto-created timelapses and 7x7 auto-leveling. The M5's sturdy aluminum alloy structure and spacious 235x235x250 mm³ print volume are complemented by its user-friendly assembly, making it a revolutionary choice for any 3D printing enthusiast.
AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer: Meet our AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer, where efficiency meets craftsmanship. The M5C raises the bar with its high-speed printing of 500 mm/s, a customizable one-click button, and multi-device management capabilities with our AnkerMake app. Precision is at its core, offering 0.1 mm accuracy and a robust 35 mm³/s extrusion flow. Built with a durable full aluminum alloy structure and featuring 7x7 auto-leveling and an all-metal hotend, the M5C is crafted to deliver quality and reliability in every print.
We at AnkerMake are dedicated to enhancing your 3D printing experience. Our M5 and M5C printers are more than just machines; they're gateways to unleashing your creativity and bringing your ideas to life.


In wrapping up our discussion on "What is a slicer in 3D printing?", it's evident that slicers are the linchpins of the 3D printing process. They act as the translators, turning our designs into reality. This exploration into their functionality and software options equips you with the knowledge to make informed choices. Remember, the right slicer can significantly elevate the quality of your prints. As you delve deeper into the world of 3D printing, let this understanding of slicers guide your journey towards creating more precise and refined prints.


Here are some commonly asked queries on what is a slicer in 3D printing.

Do 3D printers come with slicer?

Not all 3D printers come with slicer software included. A slicer is a separate software application that converts 3D models into instructions that the printer can understand. Many manufacturers recommend specific slicer programs that are compatible with their printers, and some may provide a download link or a license for a particular slicer as part of the purchase. Additionally, there are several free and paid slicer programs available online that you can use with a wide range of 3D printers.

Is it possible to 3D print without a slicer?

Technically, it's impossible to 3D print without a slicer as 3D printers don't work directly with 3D model files. A slicer is essential because it translates 3D models into commands/instructions that the printer can understand (commonly known as G-code). Without these instructions, the printer would not know how to replicate the model layer by layer.

What is the benefit of using a slicer?

The slicer software offers several benefits to 3D printing. First and foremost, it translates a 3D model into a language that the 3D slicer printer can understand, making printing possible. Beyond this fundamental role, slicers also allow users to customize various print settings such as print speed, layer height, and support structures. This capacity enables users to optimize their prints for precision and quality, based on their unique needs and the limitations of their particular 3D printer.