Slicer Programs

In this page you will find basic introduction of how to use slicer programs to prepare your model for printing in 3D printer. 

Like with CAD modelling programs, there are multiple ways to do something and achieve end result. Also there are different softwares and names for the programs, but overall they all look the same and include same commands. In this topic we will look through all the basic menu points witch are used in different slicer programs. 

After some experience you also can do some finetuning in different submenus, but for the beginners its not so important. You can discover them later and make necessary  adjustments.

Slicer porgrams and G-code

When you are using Slicing software, you are converting your 3D CAD model into a set of instructions for the 3D printers.

G-code is a language that humans use to tell a machine how to do something. With 3D printing, g-code contains commands to move parts within the printer. 

Simply put- slicer 'slices' the 3D model into thin layers and coordinates for printing head (nozzle). Also it describes how each layer should be printed- printing speed, layer height, infill type and size, temperature etc... 

Almost all slicer programs will use pre-programmed default settings and all you need to do is maybe to change quality and infill settings. We will look closer each menu point in below sections.

Nowadays many CAD programs (Fusion 360, SolidEdge, Solidworks, Autocad...) has their own slicer software build in. They do the same thing, but their layout is different and according to this they are little bit difficult to use.

G-code is the programming language for CNC machines. Like all codes,  it consists lines of code that are organized in blocks. Each block controls one CNC machining operation. For example in milling machines it controls cutting operation with a specific tool, spindle speed....  In 3D printer code controls extruder speed, nozzle and fan temperature, movement and so on...  

G-code looks difficult and if you don't have any programming experience it is so 🙂. But luckily all of that programming is done by slicer program- you just have to insert you parameters and code is generated!

Different Slicer programs

In this topic we look different slicer programs. 

There are dozens of them, but we will look 3 most widely spread ones- CURA-,  CREALITY-, and PRUSA slicer. If you know their working principles and layout, you will be able to use all others as good.

Ultimaker Cura

It is most widely used slicer software and that is for reason. 

Its menus are intuitive and easy to understand. 

If you are beginner in 3D word, this should be your first slicer program!

Creality Slicer

Creality slicer is second most common 3D slicer program that you can find. It has all the same menus and layouts as Cura, because it is based on Cura slicer! It is main program, when you are using Creality 3D printers- program uses some special features what are special for Creality printers. Because  Creality printers are very widely spread and you will definetly use them in some point of your 3D printing career. 

All the good things are same are same as Cura slicer, so lets talk about inconvenient things:

Prusa Slicer

Prusa is company who makes quality and professional 3D printers. They cost a little more (about 1000 EUR), but they are considered as one of the best ones to use in home and hobby category.

Because Prusa printers are more professional, then their Prusa slicer program also has more features.  All the menu points are same, but layout is little bit different. There are 3 modes - SIMPLE/ADVANCED/EXPERT. If you use Simple "menu" then almost everything is same as Cura and Creality. Advanced and Expert menus opens up more settings, but you should not change them unless you know what to do 🙂

Lucky for user, all the settings are prefilled and just for learning purpose you should look them.

Prusa is very good program with a lot of features, but at the beginning this might be also the problem and distraction.

In the example videos very basic commands are used- open file, move, change size, change infill and finally slice model. Only "export g code" isn't used because it is usually done to SD card witch then goes into 3D printer. 

But as you can see in the short videos, they all look and do the same thing. There are some minor differences. For example in Prusa you cannot open file but instead inport file, but can be learned very quickly.

You don't need to have a 3D printer to use slicer software. Just download one and start experimenting. You can find downloadable .stl/.obj files in the internet.  

Using Slicer software

This is Cura layout. As you already know, all slicer programs look the same. Thatswhy we will look basic commands and menu points on this layout.

You can understand, that in the middle is your 3D printable object. Lets divide screen into 3 parts.

LEFT MENU - change object size, orientation, place

On the left side there are 4 main menu points:


Another aspect when placing your model on the heatbed is model strength. Model is weaker alongside X axis- layers way. If you wish stronger part in any direction, use model placing wisely! 

TOP MENU - change printer and make fast (and most used) changes

Top left- file, edit, view - menus like any other program. Includes settings and save and so on...

Printer name - your printer name. Important, because it will define your printing area (like 20x20x20 cm) and other basic settings. You can add them manually or find right one in the list.

For example- Like we know, all slicer programs place object in the center and starts printing there. If g code is generated for printer 40x40 cm heatbed and this program is used in 20x20cm printer (g code is universal), then print starts just in one corner. More advanced machines will recognise its parameters and will stop, but cheaper ones may destroy nozzle or rubber belts and more....


Top center is for filament type (PLA) and nozzle size. 0.4 is the main nozzle size in 3D industry, so don't change it unless you know what to do 🙂 Same is with filament type. In settings you can add filament of almost every manufacturer in the word and if selecting right one, all the basic setting will be automatically added. 

Top right is for fast and main settings. 

QUALITY- printer layer height. 0,2 mm is OK and standard. Thinner layer means more unseen layers but also more printing time. When choosing low layer height (0.1 and less) be sure that your printer is also capable of that!!

Image source:

RIGHT MENU - quality and advanced settings

This advanced menu is sometimes hidden and activate when you press to select something. 

As you can see, there are really 3 things to manipulate- layer height, infill and material. Also maybe top/bottom layers and material temperature.

Lets look them close:

QUALITY- like said before, less layer height = better quality = more printing time!


WALLS -  here you can change wall thickness. If you wish more strengt on your model, this is the setting to change. Remember- thickness is connected to nozzle. Standard wall is 0.8 mm, next option is 1.2 mm (add extra nozzle diam). Most cases standard 0.8 is OK.

INFILL- this is another setting where you can manipulate your model strength. More infill makes it more durable, but adds printing time. Optimal and enough for most of cases is 20%. 

There are also different figures of infill. Most of them are the same and manipulate little bit printing time. 

For example, CUBIC makes little cubes inside and therefore makes little air pockets inside- keyholder for boat!

All infill types are based on engineering fundamentals- more triangular shaper in every direction means more strenght!


SUPPORTS- Supports are meaningless printouts considering final model, but are essential when you wish good guality. Adding and modifing supports needs really good understand of your printer and different settings.  This Aquaman figure is quite hard to printout. It has many extruding parts and figures. This model without supports will be very bad and ruined.  when we move slicer up and down, we can see that spear and hands will be printed starting in the middle of air. ..  This is very bad situation and needs extra supports. 

Remember- printer will print supports like all other plastic, so it will make your printing quantity largel and therefore add extra time for printing!

You can download and try different models, how to check your printer capability (LINK)

Overall rule is, that hangouts over 45 degrees needs supports. Also bridges/crossings over 15 mm long need special attention.

Below is example of testing bridging capabilities- lower is 15 mm and so on. You can see layers dropping when there is bigger cap. 


In this video we look Ultimaker Cura slicer program. 

We use all basic commands to prepare 3D model for 3D printer. 

Remember, you cannot make any drawing editing changes to the model in slicer software- only size manipulations and mirroring.

TIPS for using slicer program

3D printing is not as easy as handling a regular laser printer. Understanding how a 3D printer works is a necessary for high-quality printing. 

Like any working machine, the 3D printer must be maintained and adjusted from time to time. For example the print bed must be at the correct height and in plane level. Usually errors and bad quality printouts are complex failures - there is rarely an error in one parameter. 

Start printing with something simple like a 20x20 mm cube, check that it is the right size, shape and quality, then move on to more complex objects. Don't expect the first prints to come out right away. Test, test, test. Do not start with specific and complex materials- use PLA and ABS!

Printing errors and troubleshooting

Here you can find "Simplify3D"  webpage, wich is very heplful at the beginning- all the errors and troubleshooting is very well described!