What Makes Simplify3D Worth It?
Simplify3D remains competitive amidst a very competitive market for a reason: it has a lot to offer, including:
- in depth features (which we will go over below)
- consistent updates that sharpen its performance
- the ability to maximize the potential of the 3D printer itself
Simplify3D should be a consideration for anyone who uses a 3D printer in any capacity.
An in depth field of their features can be found on their website, but we will go over some of the key features that have made Simplify3D a household name.
The sheer amount of 3D printers that are compatible with Simply3D’s software is as close to insane as it gets. The compatibility list goes not into 10s or 20s, but into hundreds of 3D printers of all shapes, sizes, and prices. It can also be downloaded by Windows and Mac systems alike.
If you need to switch printers, the software allows access for an easy drop down menu to select the printer by name so that you can start printing your model right away.
In the years of universal charges and “one-size-fits-all” products, it can be easy to undervalue a product that gives you near infinite flexibility. But Simplify3D’s versatility is like a Swiss-Army Knife that is growing consistently in adaptability, and remains one of its most impressive traits.
Another one of Simplify3D’s prized attributes is its speed. Whether you are producing several prints, or are just impatient for the one print, the adjustable speed settings allow you to quickly print while maintaining quality.
One reviewer said that what took another 3D printing software a number of minutes (Cura) took Simplify3D only a “matter of a few seconds”. It should be noted that this review is a few years old, and other software has gained some ground in this area.
Today, though some other software have closed the gap, Simplify3D seems to still have the edge because of its ability to operate with complicated, layered, or fragile objects that need intricate precision.
Even with the speed, the software allows the print to still be delivered quickly. Other software may not be able to boast the same ability to handle both the quality and the speed to the level that Simplify3D does.
If you are making an art or engineering project, chances are speed is not your top concern — as you may only need one or a couple of prints. But for bigger scale endeavors, speed is essential. Either way, it is nice to not have to wait around for long.
Additionally, Simplify3D has gained renown for its support structures, which allow for the print to have some “cushion” that ensures it comes out as smoothly and integrally intact as possible. It seems, however, that the other primary 3D software have caught up adequately with Simplify3D in this regard as well.
Simplify3D offers you the opportunity to look at a three-dimensional figure or object before printing it out. This preview gives you the opportunity to interact with the image, spot potential airs, and make any necessary adjustments ahead of time so that you do not waste a printout.
Why Simplify3D May Not Be Worth It
The biggest knock against the Simplify3D software is the price. Sitting at about $150, the software could hardly be called “a steal.” However, the fact that it is a one time purchase will help put in perspective, particularly if you are going to be using the software often.
But the price can be especially frustrating for some in light of the second reason why the software may not be worth it: there are other similar softwares that are free (more on this below).
A potential saving grace for Simplify3D is that if you are not satisfied, the company will let you return the software, with a full refund, within 2 weeks. In some ways, you won’t know if it’s really personally worth it until you test it out, but the price is a concern for some.
Upon the purchase of the software, you will also be granted a free year of any updates or improvements to the software, which the company implies are fairly frequent. In an industry that is growing daily, this is a nice perk.
As it turns out, there are a lot of free 3D printer alternatives than Simplify3D. If you are not sure what you are looking for, it can be pretty overwhelming, stumbling over a website with 20 free versions of what you are looking for. Thankfully, not all of the software are competitive with the software offered by Simplify 3D. Still, there are a few who are.
The two most popular free software that compete with Simplify 3D are Cura and PrusaSlicer. A point that many have made within the 3D printing community is that, when Simplify3D first came out, it was very far ahead of its competitors, but in recent years both Cura and PrusaSlicer have significantly narrowed the gap.
If it is true that both of the free software have narrowed the gap enough to the point of being highly competitive with Simplify3D’s software, why would you not go for the free one? Both Cura and PrusaSlicer have become highly adaptable to other 3D printers, though Simplify3D holds the edge in sheer number and ease of adjustment.
Further, Cura and PrusaSlicer have also increased their speed in recent years, and done all they can to model features that originally only belong to Simplify3D.
Our Verdict on Simplify3D
So is Simplify3D really worth it in the end? As we pointed to in the beginning, the answer depends on what the extent of your use of 3D printers is. If you run a startup company where you have to print hundreds of objects a day, $150 is probably not going to be a big financial deal burden for you. For others, it will be an unnecessary financial burden.
The reality is that though Cura and PrusaSlicer are very close in ability to Simplify3D — in some features, some would argue they are even — Simplify3D still seems to hold the slight edge in its performance ability, and the ease that it does it with. Overall, however, the difference may be as little as 5-10%.
Unless you are using the software for professional or commercial use (or maybe you have a side hobby that requires the best of the best), then you should go with the free Cura or PrusaSlicer programs — at least to begin with. If you find that they are not as up to standard as you would like, then give Simplify3D a shot. Don’t forget you can return it within two weeks as well. But, at the moment, both Cura and Puraslicer will be good enough alternatives for most people.