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Repetier Host Vs. Cura: Pros & Cons Of Both

Repetier Host Vs. Cura: Pros & Cons Of Both | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone

/

March 2, 2021

The 3D printing community is growing, and as a result, there are now several different 3D printing software from which to choose. Two of the more popular 3D printing software programs are Repetier Host and Cura. They are both highly rated and free, so how do you know which one is best for you?

Cura is the most popular 3D printing slicer in the world. Cura is designed to be easy to use, but that also means you may be limited with more complex prints. Repetier Host targets a more professional 3D printing audience. It has greater ability but requires more adjusting on the part of the user.

The difference between Repetier Host and Cura comes down largely to the skill level of the user. Both are trusted 3D printing programs that can get the job done, but they are created for slightly different target audiences. Keep reading to discover the differences between these two programs and the pros and cons of each!

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Table of contents:

Repetier Host

Repetier Host is a 3D printing software made by Repetier and is designed for a more advanced 3D printing audience. Repetier Host is free software that can help you with your professional 3D printing projects.

How Does Repetier Host Work?

There are four basic steps that a project goes through to be printed in Repetier Host.

1.     Object Placement: To begin, you will import a 3D model onto the virtual bed. From here, you can rotate, size, and even duplicate the object.

2.     Slicing: After placing the model on the virtual bed, it is time to start slicing. Repetier Host comes with four default slicers: Slic3r, Slic3r Prusa Edition, CuraEngine, and Skeinforge. However, you can add almost any other slicer that you want.

3.     Previewing: Once the slicing is done, you can preview your project to check for errors before wasting time and material on printing. Reviewing your slicing can be as detailed as checking every layer, or you can simply check the object by area.

4.     Printing: After previewing, you can finally print your project! Printing can be done directly through a wired connection such as a USB, an SD card, or wirelessly through the Repetier Server.

What Features Does Repetier Host Have?

There are a lot of different things you can do in Repetier Host. Far more than we can cover here, but we will highlight a few exciting things that this 3D printing software will allow you to do.

Virtual Print Bed

When putting models in Repetier Host, they are placed on the virtual print bed. This allows you to rotate and resize the model. You can even mirror and duplicate the objects. The virtual print bed allows you to place multiple objects at a time, which you can then print simultaneously.

Velocity Painting

With velocity painting, you can print patterns and even pictures on the surface of your 3D objects.

Velocity painting works on the principle that the faster the extruder moves, the thinner the extrusion. Using high contrast images, Repetier Host tells the extruder to print bright areas slow and dark areas fast, which changes the thickness of the extrusion and creates an image.

Repetier-Informer App

3D printing is not a fast process. As much as we may want to stay and watch our object develop layer by layer, we probably do not have time. Luckily Repetier has the Repetier-Informer App to give you updates on your printing while you are away.

If you are 3D printing for professional purposes, then the ability to stay informed throughout the process is crucial. The Repetier Informer App will keep you updated no matter where you are.

Benefits of Repetier Host

Repetier Host is designed to handle professional 3D printing jobs. Many of the benefits Repetier Host offers are thus geared towards assisting with big complex printing projects.

Multiple Extruders

Repetier Host can control a staggering 16 extruders at once. This makes it possible to print projects with multiple colors and multiple filaments at the same time. It can also show these colors in the preview, allowing you to see a complete visual of your project before printing.

Multiple Slicers

As we have already mentioned, Repetier Host comes with 4 slicers, and you can add many other slicers as well. Because of this, Repetier Host can function with almost any 3D printer.

Multiple Prints at Once

Perhaps one of the most convenient and unique features of Repetier Host is the fact that you can print multiple items at once. If you can fit it on the virtual bed, then Repetier Host will allow you to print multiple parts at once.

This benefit can be incredibly useful when printing multiple smaller pieces that will piece together to make a bigger project. For companies that use 3D printers to create specific parts and equipment, this can be a huge time and money saver.

Beloved by the RepRap Community

Repetier Host is the preferred software of the RepRap community. This is a large community of 3D printer users. If you are interested in being a part of this community or want advice from this large group of users, then know that they use Repetier Host.

The approval of such a large community of avid 3D printer users speaks of the high quality of Repetier Host. If you were worried about the quality of this 3D printing software, then rest assured because it is well tested and widely used.

Limitations of Repetier Host

Nothing is perfect, and Repetier Host is no exception. Repetier Host is a great 3D printing software, but it does have some drawbacks.

Difficult to Use

The biggest issue with Repetier Host is that it is not designed for beginners. Getting your projects to turn out well will require quite a bit of adjusting. From picking the best slicer to manual control of your G-code, Repetier Host requires you to know a bit upfront to get the best experience out of this software.

Does Not Repair Input Files

Part of getting any 3D print to turn out well is the 3D model. Because slicer programs do not create 3D models, these models have to be imported as files, with the most common being STL files.

If something is wrong with these input files, then your project is in trouble. Unfortunately, Repetier Host does not have a function to repair your input files. You will need to use another software to correct your STL files or ensure that the software you use to create them always exports correct files.

This downside ties back to the fact that Repetier Host is created for more advanced users. There is an underlying assumption that you will be using the correct files, to begin with and that you know how to correct such files on your own.

Quality

While Repetier Host does not have quality issues exactly, it can be a potential problem. If you want the highest quality printing results, it helps to use the newer slicers within Repetier Host. The use of older slicers has been known to produce less than stellar 3D prints.

Repetier Host: Pros and Cons Summary

This table provides an easily visualized breakdown of the pros and cons of Repetier Host.

Repetier Host is a software for those who are ready to take the next step with their 3D printing. Beginners who try to use this program will likely run into issues, but for advanced users and especially companies that make professional use of 3D printers, Repetier Host is a great software.

Cura

Cura is a slicer software from Ultimaker. It is currently the most popular slicer software in the world. Cura is the preferred software for most 3D printing hobbyists. It has a large range of capabilities, but it is not designed to handle huge intricate prints.

How Does Cura Work?

If you sit down with your computer to 3D print something using Cura, these are the steps you can expect. Instead of immediately heading to Cura, you will first need to use some sort of CAD software to design your model.

Once you have completed your model, you need to get it to your Cura software. Luckily Cura offers many plugins that allow for seamless integration with CAD programs such as Siemens NX, SolidWorks, and AutoDesk.

Once you have opened your file in Cura, you can make adjustments using either their recommended settings or the massive amount (over 400) of setting options. Then you simply print and enjoy your 3D object.

What Features Does Cura Have?

When it comes to printing Cura has three main features to help you achieve the best printing experience possible.

Intent Profiles

Cura’s intent profiles allow you to make a selection based on what the object you are creating will be used for. The various intent profiles are visual, engineering, and draft. These different intent profiles will automatically give you different setting configurations best suited to your object’s applications.

·       Visual: This profile focuses the most detail on the surface appearance of your object. The mechanical properties and productivity are average, but the dimensional accuracy is quite low.

·       Engineering: This profile focuses on dimensional accuracy and mechanical properties. Surface quality and productivity are not prioritized.

·       Draft: The sole focus of draft intent is productivity. Everything else is lowered to produce the object faster.

Recommended Mode

The people who make Cura, Ultimaker, know a thing or two about 3D printing, and they have provided their know-how in Cura to help you out with your 3D printing needs. Cura comes with recommended printer settings that, with a few basic adjustments, can get you printing quickly.

The recommended mode gives you slider tabs to quickly alter infill, adhesion, and support. It also allows you to choose between a profile intent or to leave it on default.

Immense Customization

If you are the type of person who wants control over your printing, Cura has got you covered. Although you can make use of the recommended settings for fast printing, if you select the custom option, you will have over 400 different options. You can fine-tune your project to your heart’s content.

Benefits of Cura

Cura has several advantages that have made the software stand out to reach the high levels of popularity it enjoys today.

User Friendly

The intent profiles and recommended mode help even beginning users have a successful print. The over 400 other customizable options let the most advanced user be as detailed as they like. With Cura, you can print things quickly or spend hours playing with the options until you get the perfect setup.

Excellent Support

There are a lot of factors that go into 3D printing an object, and thus at some point, you are likely to have questions. Cura has a large community and a responsive customer support system. When you do run into questions, there are easily accessible people who can help you figure out the answers with Cura.

Plugins

Cura has a large variety of plugins available that can increase what the program can do. The most popular plug-ins allow you to integrate with CAD programs so that your 3D models are always readable by the slicer.

Besides being able to integrate with many CAD programs, plugins can do things like convert measurements to the metric system and ones that allow the program to work with printers other than Ultimaker.

Updates

3D printing technology is fairly new, and thus it is still changing rapidly. The company that manages Cura, Ultimaker, stays on top of this technological evolution by providing Cura with frequent updates.

Patches, new plugins, and other general items are added regularly to the Cura software. With Cura, you do not have to worry about your software becoming out of date. Updates ensure that Cura is always performing at its best for you.

Repairs Files

If the files of the 3D objects you import are incorrect, then the print is doomed to fail. Cura will repair the files you give it, which can help prevent a lot of printing errors before they happen.

Limitations of Cura

Cura is wonderful and has several great features, but it also has some limitations that can be a serious drawback depending on what you are trying to print.

Dual Extruders

Cura can handle two extruders at a time, which for most 3D printing you would be doing at home is more than enough. However, Repetier Host can manage up to 16 extruders at once, which indicates the immense gap between what Cura manages and the extreme end of 3D printing complexity.

Intermediate Users

Although Cura is excellent for both beginners and advanced users, people with a middling skill level may feel left out with Cura’s features. The program goes from holding your hand with recommended settings to throwing you in the deep end with over 400 options. If you are intermediate, you may find this 0 to 60 approach frustrating.

Single Slicer

While Cura works great, it is not a program designed to be an all in one solution.  Some other programs, including Repetier Host, allow you to choose between multiple slicers, but with Cura, you will only have a single option.

Cura: Pros and Cons Summary

Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of Ultimaker’s Cura 3D printing software.

Overall Cura is a quality slicer that will produce excellent prints when used correctly. However, Cura is suited best for beginners and hobbyists because the program is not designed to handle large and extremely complex prints.

Comparison of Repetier Host and Cura

Which software is better? As we said in the beginning it depends on who is using it and for what it is being used.

Repetier Host is a harder program to master and requires a working knowledge of 3D printing before you can start to get results. This is a program to be used for professional purposes. It will allow you to print multiple objects at once and print objects with many colors. Repetier Host can do a lot, but you better know what you are doing if you want it to work.

Cura is a beginner-friendly program for the 3D printing hobbyist. It has recommended settings, the ability to repair files, and frequent updates to ensure that you can create a successful 3D print. However, this ease of use comes at the cost of being able to handle highly complex prints.

Conclusion

Repetier Host and Cura are both great 3D printing software, and they both come with a huge pro: being free! If you are new to 3D printing, Cura is a great place to start, but if you are ready for a more advanced program, give Repetier Host a try.

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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Repetier Host Vs. Cura: Pros & Cons Of Both

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