5 Best Additive Manufacturing Software of 2022

Last updated on by Editorial Staff
list of Additive Manufacturing Software

There are many different types of software out there for additive manufacturing, and it can be tough to decide which one is the correct choice for you.

We’ve put together a list of the five best additive manufacturing software programs of 2022 to enable you to make the right decision for your needs.

What is Additive Manufacturing Software?

Additive manufacturing software allows users to create or edit 3D models and convert them into instructions for a 3D printer. Additive manufacturing software typically offers a wide range of editing features and the ability to export files in multiple formats compatible with different types of printers.

In addition, some additive manufacturing software solutions include additional tools like parts assembly, simulation, and performance analysis.

Here are 5 of the best additive manufacturing software programs of 2022

1. Ansys

Ansys Additive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS) is a comprehensive suite of software tools that enable engineers to design, optimize and validate parts and assemblies for additive manufacturing.

Using it, engineers can predict how a part will perform when printed using various additive manufacturing processes, identify potential problems early in the design process and make changes to avoid them.

Features include

  • Process simulation: By using process simulation for metal Powder Bed Fusions, Directed Energy, Deposition, and Metal Binder jets, users can identify and minimize the risk of build errors and ensure high-quality parts.
  • Topology optimization: Ansys Topology Optimization produces design insights in real-time, which drives lightweight design possibilities faster. That helps reduce waste and increase efficiency while still meeting design requirements.
  • Printability checking: The software checks for potential problems that could occur during the additive manufacturing process, such as porosity or delamination.
  • Data acquisition and management: Ansys AMS helps manage the data associated with additive manufacturing, including process settings, build files, and post-processed data.
  • Structural analysis: The software includes tools for analyzing the structural integrity of additively manufactured parts.
  • Directed Energy Deposition: Ansys AMS supports the Directed Energy Deposition process, which is used to build parts with complex geometries.
Project toolbox of Ansys
Project Model of Ansys

Our opinion

Overall, we believe that the benefits of Ansys AM far outweigh the drawbacks. Ansys Additive manufacturing software is a powerful tool that can help engineers design and simulate complex mechanical systems. It is also very user-friendly, despite the learning curve.

Price:

“The vendor does not provide pricing details. Contact the vendor directly to get details.”

  • A free trial is available.
  • Ansys simulation software license courses are free for students at every level.

Likes

  • Ansys AM enables engineers to efficiently and accurately design and simulate complex mechanical systems. Doing so helps them validate designs, reduce prototyping costs, and bring products to market faster.
  • Ansys AM allows users to study how different materials behave under various loads and conditions. As a result, it can help users select the most appropriate materials for their applications.
  • Ansys AM provides an invaluable tool for stress analysis. By using it, engineers can assess the strength of individual components and identify potential failure points.

Dislikes

  • The user interface is not easy as you must learn a lot about this software tool before using it.
  • A high-end computer is required for the premium version, which will be more expensive.
  • There have been reports of occasional crashes.
Language supportIntended usersTraining
EnglishSmall business, mid-size and large businessProvides training in documentation form

2. Autodesk Netfabb

Autodesk Netfabb is a powerful, industrial-grade 3D printing software that helps files get printed by automatically preparing, repairing, and optimizing them for output.

It provides users various options for printing in different scales and resolution levels, supports STL, OBJ, and AMF file formats, and can even generate Gcode. With its easy-to-use interface and comprehensive features, Autodesk Netfabb is an essential tool for anybody working with 3D printing.

Features include

  • Automatic file preparation: Autodesk Netfabb automatically prepares 3D printing files for output, including repairing, cleaning, and orienting them.
  • Support for multiple file formats: The software supports STL, OBJ, and AMF file formats, as well as Gcode.
  • Wide range of printing options: Autodesk Netfabb offers users a wide range of options for printing in different scales and resolution levels.
  • Selective structures: Solid volumes may be filled with custom structures to produce distinctive material properties for your component.
  • Optimization: It assures a maximal load capacity and reduces weight by automatically verifying and modifying lattice and skin elements
Machine part view of Autodesk Netfabb

Our opinion

Autodesk Netfabb is an excellent 3D printing software program. This program helps view and repair 3D designs and other essential activities. It is user-friendly, offers a wide range of printing options, and is more affordable than other software.

Price

Free trial: Available

Netfab offers two types of pricing options; they are

  1. Flex: It is a “pay as you go” offer if you only use the product occasionally. Here you are supposed to buy tokens for your team, which will be valid for 24 hours.
  2. Subscription: In the subscription plan Fusion, 360 with Netfabb Premium offers three pricing options

360 with Netfabb Premium offers three pricing options

StandardPremiumUltimate
The price for the standard plan is $ 240/per year.You can pay $4870/yearNetfab’s ultimate plan price is $13,790/per year
If you’re an existing customer, you can only take advantage of this offer if your current contract has not yet expired.You can pay $13,880 every three years.
Autodesk Pricing

Likes

  • Easier to use than other software programs 
  • Allows for the repair of broken 3D prints 
  • More affordable than some other software programs

Dislikes

  • Usage of RAM is high and occasionally causes lag in operation.
  • File conversion can be difficult.
  • Support from customer service can be spotty.

3. 3dSystems

It is a suite of software tools for designing and engineering parts for additive manufacturing (3D printing) on 3D Systems’ printers. 3D Systems’ software allows users to create and edit 3D models, slice them into layers for printing, and control the printing process.

3D Systems’ ADII is a machine designed with 3D Systems’ additive manufacturing software. It can print parts in multiple colors and materials and has a build volume of 10x10x10 inches.

Features

  • Rapid prototyping: 3D Systems’ solution helps users quickly design and prototype parts for additive manufacturing.
  • Multi-material printing: 3D Systems’ additive manufacturing solution supports printing parts in multiple colors and materials.
  • Connectivity: With an easily scalable, adaptable system, it adapts to rapid material and printing technology progress.
  • Requirement-driven orientation: It orients your part to the build orientation that will minimize support material and build time.
  • Direct metal printing: It offers outstanding build quality for direct metal printing with a broad range of alloys, metals, and plastics.

Our opinion

3D Systems is a great company that offers an all-in-one program to design, print, and package products. However, the process of creating a structure can be time-consuming and difficult.

Price

The vendor does not provide pricing details; contact the vendor directly to get details.

Like

  • 3D Systems’ additive manufacturing software provides a stepping stone for medical device manufacturers to convert digital models into sterilized and ready-to-ship items.
  • Its proprietary cleaning process has a record of high-performance applications delivering particle-free components.
  • It’s an all-in-one program that allows you to design, print, and package products using different types of metals.

Dislikes

  • Creating a structure can be time-consuming and difficult, owing to the need for high levels of design complexity and strict cleanliness standards.

4. Siemens NX AM

Siemens NX additive manufacturing software is a computer-aided design and manufacturing software that enables users to create, edit and mill 3D models. Companies can use the software in the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries.

Additionally, Siemens NX system is equipped with powerful analysis tools, which makes it possible to verify designs before they are sent to production.

Features

  • Integrated build tools: Siemens NX AM builds preparation tools assist with efficiently placing, orienting, and supporting components in the build tray.
  • Structure Validation: It allows the designer to check for printability and then simulate the part’s performance in the field using integrated tools to produce production-ready components.
  • Quality and analytics: It allows you to keep track of the additive manufacturing process, examine the resulting data, and make improvements to parts and functions.
Assembly Navigator of Siemens NX AM
Reference sets in the work part of Siemens NX AM

Our opinion

It’s fantastic for complicated and huge tasks like the auto or aerospace sector since it provides a suitable method of managing and controlling significant volumes of models. However, it is less suitable for small projects. 

Price

It provides a subscription plan or perceptual plan according to project requirements.

The subscription plan varies depending on your business module; it includes different versions of NX CAD and CAM tools for axis milling and turning, and each version offers

Like

  • It is more user-friendly and customizable.
  • It also provides better tracking on who has parts open, who has signed in for each process, and the history of changes.
  • Siemens NX CAD allows for more interactivity with users in the process’s downstream phases.

Dislike

  • It is less suitable for small projects
  • Needs improvements in revision-control

5. Materialise Magics

Additive manufacturing software Magics handles everything from design file preparation to slice determination to build planning and generator setup. Most importantly, Magics ensures that your 3D printed parts meet all the requirements for mechanical performance, accuracy, and surface finish.

It offers unparalleled support for all the major 3D printing technologies and processes, including stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), and powder bed fusion (PBF). Magics also supports various materials, from plastics and metals to ceramics, glass, and composites. 

Features

  • Quality management: It ensures that the components are printable and of good quality by adding features such as automatic fixing, offsets, and lattice structures.
  • Seamless Transition: With precision, chop and orient the material with care and, Convey the information to the machine.
  • Build analysis: Using analysis tools that discover potential problems may help avoid costly building failures.
Tools of Materialise Magics
Quality control tools of Materialise Magics

Our opinion

It’s an excellent program, but it’s a little pricey. However, it needs improvements in integration with other systems. On the other hand, the ease of operation on Boolean and other cut paste is much simpler and happens flawlessly.

Price

The vendor does not provide pricing details. Contact the vendor directly to get details.

Like

  • Highly customizable as we may construct a lattice structure to reduce material usage and build a support system according to our needs.
  • It provides a user-friendly GUI.
  • The quick file and object recovery function is relatively fast and can quickly repair files or objects.

Dislike

  • The system becomes heated while working because of the high space requirement for RAM.
  • Need improvements in integration with other software to export different file formats.

Conclusion

When selecting additive manufacturing software, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and requirements.

For instance, if you’re looking for software that can be used to create detailed models for medical implants or other high-precision applications, you’ll need something with the same editing capabilities.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in using additive manufacturing for prototyping or low-volume production, you may not need as many features. As a result, you can save money by choosing a less expensive solution.