Just as in every other industry, there was a time when 3D printing software was relegated to your computer. CAD modeling software from companies like Solidworks, Autodesk, Rhino, and Catia has traditionally been costly – think $10,000 per license, and cumbersome – requiring a highly capable computer. While some of these companies have adjusted to a more modern SaaS approach, others are slower to adapt.
On the slicer side of 3D printing software, programs have also remained strictly on computers. MakerBot Print (formerly MakerBot MakerWare) traces its roots back to the early days of the desktop 3D printing revolution. Over the years, many features such as native CAD import, print preview, and remote printing and monitoring made their way into MakerBot Print, but the program still lived only as a desktop application on the computer. Several popular software products, such as CURA, Preform, and Simplify3D still remain primarily as desktop applications, which require users to manually download updates and may be limited by computer capabilities.