What is a Slicer in 3D Printing?

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Updated February 10, 2023

If you are new to 3D printers and are shopping around for the best printer you can afford, you may wonder what is a slicer in 3D printing. A 3D slicer is a software program that converts digital 3D models into printing instructions for your 3D printer. It does this by dividing your 3D model into separate layers, which gives you greater control over the final print.


  • A slicer in 3D printing is a software package that converts digital 3D printing schematics to 2D layers.
  • These 3D slicers handle layer height, print settings, print times, support structures, tool path strictures, and much more.
  • There are many free and paid slicer source software applications out there, with many developed by the actual printer manufacturers.

There are many different slicer software applications out there to suit different printer models and printing methods, so keep reading if you are looking for slicer software or free 3D models for printing.

Insider Tip

There are free slicer software packages out there, though the features on offer are slightly reduced when compared to paid offerings.

What is 3D Printer Slicer Software?

As previously indicated, this software helps users define 2D layers within a 3D design. This helps the printer understand how to build your object. The slicer instructions contain parameters such as layer height, speed, and support structure settings, if you are learning what file types 3D printers use.

Slicer software virtually “cuts” the models into a multitude of 2D layers, which can be useful when learning when to replace 3D printer nozzles, as you can adjust the thickness of these 2D layers. Once you have everything set to your liking, the software converts the layers into a blueprint that your printer can read to create your print.

Making the Most of Slicer Software

To make the absolute best 3D objects or models that shift over time (also known as 4D printing), you want to make the most out of your slicer. Here is how to do just that.

Choose the Right Slicer

Your first mission here is to choose the correct slicer for your specific printer. Many slicer software suites offer near-universal compatibility, but it never hurts to check to ensure proper integration. When you download new slicer software, it should tell you what printer models and brands it works well with. Beyond that, most modern 3D printer manufacturers make their own software suites that operate via the company’s network.

Check the Added Features

The primary function of slicer software is to “slice up” the digital 3D image of your project, in addition to determining various parameters for your final print. Modern software suites, however, boast all kinds of added features, so read the fine print. Some of these add-ons include infill options, unique design templates, and much more.

STAT: Every 3D printing technology creates 3D objects by adding material layer by layer. Slicer software is, therefore, appropriately named because it virtually “cuts” 3D models into many horizontal 2D layers. (source)

Use the Demo First

Slicer software is often not free, so take some time to download and try the tools before plunking down some cash. This will help you determine proper integration with your printer and get a handle on the user interface affiliated with the slicer software.

3D Slicer FAQs

How does a 3D slicer work?

The slicing process works by splitting an object into multiple layers. This allows the printer to print layer by layer in various 3D formats.

What are the features of 3D slicers?

3D slicers boast all kinds of features for new users and experienced users alike. There are various printer settings to adjust before making 3D printers, such as the G-code file. There are also infill patterns to choose from and more.

What are the graphic area elements of a slicer?

The graphic elements give you a visual representation of your model and various layers before making 3D prints. This helps ensure high print quality during the 3D printing process as soon as that material hits the printer bed.
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