Do You Need A Computer For A 3D Printer To Work?

3D printing is a complex task, and a computer is needed to run the CAD software to draft the 3D model, then use the slicer software to convert the file before sending it to the 3D printer, but you don’t need a super good computer.

Most home-grade computers and laptops will work. Of course, higher-end desktop computers are recommended for professionals.

Basic Requirement

To have a simple 3D printer setup, all you need are:

  • Computer – Needed to run softwares
  • CAD software – Needed to create the object
  • Slicer sofware – Prepare model for printing
  • Filament – Materials
  • 3D model – Must have before sending it to the printer
  • 3D Printer – Must have

Please check out our 3D printer guide that lists out printers with SD card, Wifi & cloud capability.

Common FAQ

Does A 3D Printer Typically Come With Design Software?

Most 3D printers nowadays don’t come with design software. We recommend what the professionals use:

  • AutoCAD
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • NX
  • Solidworks

These are the industry’s go-to products. Anyone from beginner students to top engineering firms uses them to make their products.

Try TinkerCAD if you’re new. It’s FREE.

Slicer software is free, the most popular slicer today is Cura. The purpose of slicer software is to convert the 3D model to specific instructions for the printer.

What’s The Easiest 3D CAD Software To Learn?

The easiest 3D CAD software for students with no experience to start is TinkerCAD. It’s free and can quickly get you up to speed before moving onto other more complex software like NX, Solidworks, Fusion 360, or Onshape.

There are plenty of learning resources available on the web, Youtube, and other resources to turn a beginner into a pro.

What Are Some Places To Download Sample Objects To Print?

If you want to quickly test out a 3D printer without messing around with CAD or Slicer software, you can visit to download pre-made files to print.

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