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CraftWare vs CURA: Which of These Two Softwares Is Best?

CraftWare vs CURA: Which of These Two Softwares Is Best? | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone

/

March 1, 2021

One of the most recent technological innovations is the 3D printer. The entire 3D printing process requires an advanced software system that coordinates the printing of an inanimate object from a digital model. This software system works to create the 3D printed objects with a numeric mathematical code, G-code. Fortunate for 3D printer owners and users, there are multiple software tools available to meet your 3D printing needs.

There are several software programs to choose from when selecting one for your 3D printer. When selecting your software, it is best to opt for a tool that is designed for your skill level, budget, and, most importantly, your operating system.

Each software has its own pros and cons that will appeal to or deter users alike, but most users agree that CURA is the best option, followed by CraftWare in a close second place. Keep reading to find out why they feel this way and to determine what works best for you.

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CraftWare vs CURA

One of the most restrictive aspects of computer technology is the price tag. If an item or service is priced too high and doesn’t offer enough value, it is less accessible to many users. It may even push potential buyers away from viewing it as an option and toward a more affordable option.

3D printing slicer software can be exceptionally expensive, but there are many free tools available for beginners. There are even some that the most advanced users prefer.

Free Slicing Software Options

CraftWare and CURA are both examples of some of these options that offer their software for free. CURA also offers an annual subscription for an upgraded enterprise version should people seek additional features.

Not all software is designed for beginners. If you are going to be investing a significant amount of time and money into your 3D printer, longevity may be something you need to place towards the top of your list of ‘things to consider.’

For this reason, you may not want to have to learn new software in the new future, so choosing one that will be able to offer more as you become more advanced is something you may wish to keep in mind. This is why users are often torn between CraftWare and CURA. Both are free and highly compatible pieces of software because they are designed for both beginners and experts.

Round One: Comparing the Pros of Each

After you’ve been deterred from expensive price tags, or ones unfit for your skill type, you’ve narrowed it down to the top two contenders: CraftWare and CURA. The first place to start is with the positive things each software has to offer. Fortunately, our team of experts has broken these down for you.

Pros of CraftWare

Even though it is free, the most enticing aspect of CraftWare is how user-friendly and interactive the software is. Each setting option includes a text box with detailed descriptions and additional insight once the setting is highlighted, so users can be sure how that setting will manipulate their print.

Users can preview how each setting will be executed in the print of the 3D model, saving time and money with fewer mistakes and a smaller number of regretted choices. Its visualization tools with interactive support management capabilities are just the tip of the iceberg as to why many opt for CraftWare:

  • Control – Users can scale, move, rotate, and duplicate individual models or multiples at one time, saving time and adding precision with uniformity.
  • Functionality – Compatible with many major operating systems, CraftWare also opens multiple file types and allows other programs to generate, load, and save gcode through its platform.
  • Speed – With increased interactive capabilities, and a plethora of programmed settings to choose from, CraftWare offers the most efficient speeds during build time. The software also utilizes dual-channel communication to communicate with the printer in real-time, making any modifications immediate and seamless.
  • Support – CraftWare offers support all around! The software allows users to find the most optimal build supports and supports all 3D printers by utilizing the standard gcode command set. Additionally, their support webpage offers online resources and articles directly related to user issues to make troubleshooting a breeze.

Pros of CURA

Free and compatible with three major operating systems, CURA offers the widest material choice on the market. Using an open filament system, printing success is maximized by allowing users to print with any 2.85 mm. filament. CURA also comes equipped with many presets. These preset settings make printing a breeze for nearly all printers and materials. Even with presets producing excellent quality prints, the user-friendly system is equipped with many additional tools and benefits:

  • Experience – CURA offers two updates annually, with constant monitoring of the software to ensure protection against viruses and other vulnerabilities to improve security and user experience
  • Slicing Features – print specific applications with a single click, or customize a print with one of their 400 settings and receive regular updates and insight for how to improve the printing process and user experience
  • Integrated Workflow – compatible with all Ultimaker products, CAD plugins, and eight compatible file types
  • User-Friendly – recommended settings to prepare a print in minutes, that vary in speed and quality to suit your individual needs

Round Two: What’s Not Great About CraftWare & Cura

With a process as technical and time consuming as 3D printing, you want to be sure you’re aware of what can go wrong beforehand. Despite all the benefits and fancy features, a program may have, it will be a frustrating experience if it doesn’t suit your needs and perform at a certain quality level. One con can be a deal-breaker, so it is best to know what users dislike about the two software programs before making your decision about which to use. One of these software programs may already be appealing to you or might even sound too good to be true. If you’re asking yourself, “what’s the catch?” we’ve collected those for you, too.

Cons of CraftWare

While excelling in speed, some users argue the quality is slightly less than that of CURA. CraftWare also doesn’t support as many 2D infill patterns as its opponents and only offers the more basic few. An alternative program will be the better fit if users are seeking more advanced patterns such as hexagonal or cubic subdivides.

Cons of CURA

During the printing process, supports are used to keep the print in place and produce an even and precise print by coding. While some software such as CraftWare offers custom supports, CURA users do not get that luxury and have to put their faith in the software. CURA requires the user to trust that the supports are put in the right place, causing excess time on both the build and potential reprinting process. Users also complain that despite the lengthier process, the time estimation in the software is also usually misleading.

Final Round of Comparison Between the Two

CURA and CraftWare are both amazing and innovative pieces of 3D printing slicer technology. Both are compatible with major operating systems and are available for free download. The decision between the two can seem nearly impossible, but the final deal-breaker may be the additional applications and resources each software provides and offers.

CURA offers a free monthly newsletter to keep users in the know regarding:

  • Additional resources
  • New upgrades
  • The latest releases
  • Tips

The main website also offers online resources and videos to help users get the most success out of their 3D printing. CURA’s site allows you to:

  • Watch Webinars
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Chat with experts on getting the most out of your printing experience.

CURA and CraftWare are often compared as the two leading free software in 3D printer slicing. While CURA offers several additional features for their users within the software, some may argue that it offers too many additional features and sacrifices the print’s quality.

Additional Uses of Each Software

Both pieces of technology are great for 3D printing, but many users prefer one to the other for their specific project or career field. Depending on your project, prototype, or career demands, one 3D printing slicing software may better suit your needs.

Additional uses of CraftWare

CraftWare users can be found in several different fields and working on a variety of different projects. Here are a few of the most common ways CraftWare slicing software is being utilized:

  • At Home – Because of its user-friendly technology system, many beginner users can try 3D printing right at home to make any idea come to life as something tangible.
  • Big Industry – For more industrial users, CraftWare offers next-level design technology with the Flow Generation family. This is great for engineers and mechanics.
  • Education – Classrooms are really seeing the benefits of this technology. It is a new and exciting way to expand student knowledge and get them more involved in their learning process. Students are now able to learn through creation in several classes:
  • History
  • Math
  • Science
  • Medicine – 3D printing in the medical field has been a real game-changer in terms of time and money savings. Surgical, orthopedic, and dental professionals are finding CraftWare more and more helpful for more personalized and successful medical solutions.
  • Production and Development – Professional users directly involved in production or design, significantly benefit as this 3D slicing software is great for prototype production and smaller serial production jobs. The advanced features and monitoring system are highly reviewed by professionals, as it can be customized to fit their needs.

Additional Uses of CURA

CURA is trusted by millions of users, who speak over 14 different languages. The application of the CURA software has made the 3D printing world significantly more diverse. This software has made innovative strides in several different fields:

  • Architecture – Architectural models can be designed and printed to capture any client’s eyes. The 3D printed models are especially useful for developing design concepts more quickly and easily than before, as well as experimenting with new structural ideas for weight and mass distribution.
  • Food and Beverage –  With new environmental and client demands, the food and beverage industry is constantly having to adapt. CURA allows food and beverage manufacturers to stay ahead of the game by being able to change to fit these constantly altering consumer dynamics. Slicing software allows manufacturers to design and create prototypes and small production lines faster than ever.
  • Education – Educators are better able to keep students engaged in their learning with the hands-on addition CURA brings to the classroom. Unique learning opportunities in the sciences and arts are better preparing the younger generations for careers in engineering and technology.
  • End-use Parts – 3D printing allows one-time custom pieces to be produced with ease and in no time at all. Manufacturers can produce single custom or replacement parts without having to run large production batches. This saves manufacturers both time and money!
  • Product Development – CURA shrinks lead times, and cuts costs all across the board. Its users experience rapid prototyping and professional solutions for all experience levels.
  • Tooling – 3D printing in the production line gains countless benefits from CURA software:
  • Reduces product variation during the assembly and fitting processes
  • Set up machinery faster with custom jigs and fixtures
  • Simplifies quality assurance
  • Streamlines production processes

Bonus Rounds

Both of these innovative pieces of software technology are available to users free of cost. Even without purchasing expansions or additional features, the possibilities with these programs are practically infinite. For the most expert users and advanced projects, however, there are additional perks from CURA – for a price.

CURA Ultimaker Essentials offers a slightly different program that is designed specifically with business in mind. Designers and engineers are empowered by this subscription that provides their organization with stability and control. Large enterprises experience tremendous growth as the benefits of 3D printing improve consistency and precision while slashing timelines and budgets in half.

Resin 3D Slicing

Most often, when people think of 3D printing or 3D slicing, they are most familiar with FDM 3D printers. In addition to the type of 3D slicing projects CURA and CraftWare can accomplish with FDM 3D printers, 3D printing users are also able to take advantage of other software platforms and slicing software:

  • DLP
  • SLA
  • LCD – involves either stereolithography or digital light processing with lasers
  • Resin – involves either stereolithography or digital light processing with projectors

Like with any 3D slicing software, experimenting and failed attempts are very time-consuming. Editing, establishing supports, slicing, and all of the preparation work is made easy with more common and well-known programs for advanced users and beginners. Having a software that provides a way to visualize your model prior to printing, such as the FDM technology CURA and CraftWare utilize, many users save a great deal of time on their trial and error portion of their project.

Because of the length of time and risk involved in other styles of slicing software, CURA and CraftWare still remain the two top choices of free 3D slicing technology. For users seeking additional customizations, features, and options, choosing a program with integration capabilities is the most promising route.

Compatibility

3D printing software and printers were made to work together, but they also sometimes work well with other platforms. You may wish to use additional features, expansions, or materials that require your software to be compatible with other programs and devices.


CURA is able to integrate its program with other software tools to improve workflow. Take advantage of other design tools such as Autodesk and SolidWorks while avoiding having to acquire, learn, and execute a whole new system each time! Beginners and the most advanced users alike are finding CURA’s compatibility to be one of the most impressive features. It truly allows any 3D model to be crafted exactly how your mind intended it by expanding its completely customizable settings through other platforms.

CraftWare is also highly liked for its integration capabilities. Unlike CURA, however, CraftWare is unable to work directly with other platforms. Instead, it allows the gcodes to be saved and loaded to or from the CraftWare software itself. This allows for easier collaboration while still allowing users to access additional features from other platforms and slicing software.

3D Slicing Software Champion

When deciding on your slicing software, it is best to think long-term. Both CraftWare and CURA are great for users of all experience levels and can be used in many differing industries. CURA offers more customizable features and additional package plans to suit your every printing need for users, with longevity being a priority. Their online support and resource center keeps users growing with 3D printing technology, versus having to adapt later on.

While many users may wish to complete resin projects down the line or try different printing styles, it is recommended to consider if your preferred program works well with others. CURA is highly compatible with external programs, and for users wanting ease and simplicity, CraftWare is often preferred as it does allow some integration between different software programs.

Nonetheless, overall, users agree that CURA’s final print is of a higher quality than CraftWare’s. Extremely versatile and user friendly, CURA is the more preferred and better rated 3D printing software.

About THE AUTHOR

William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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CraftWare vs CURA: Which of These Two Softwares Is Best?

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