Most people hear the phrase 3D slicer and think of FDM 3D printers. Far less thought and information is devoted to resin 3D slicers for SLA, DLP or LCD 3D printers. You need a specially designed resin 3D slicer when 3D printing with a resin 3D printer, and there are far fewer of these software tools out there.
Confused? Don’t be. We’ve researched and tested various SLA, DLP and LCD slicers to find the best resin 3D slicers around in 2020.
- For our ranking of the best 3D Slicers for FDM 3D printing, click here.
- We’ve also ranked the 15 best resin 3D printers of 2020.
Resin 3D Slicing & Printing: An Introduction
Resin 3D printing involves either Stereolithography or Digital Light Processing technologies. They’re very similar — as is LCD 3D printing — with only subtle differences in the use of projectors vs lasers.
- Read our article here comparing SLA vs DLP.
As with all 3D printing, the preparation can be time-consuming. You need to edit the 3D printer models, add supports, and slice the print before you can actually get going.
The process can be far worse if you have to try out a bunch of different slicers before you find one that suits you. So we put together this resource of our 6 favorite resin 3D slicers for SLA, DLP and LCD 3D printing on your desktop 3D printer.
The same dragon head 3D printer file is used in each resin slicer as shown in the images below to show supports look in each program.
Best Resin 3D Slicers for printing DLP, SLA or LCD 3D printed parts
|Resin Slicer Software||Price||OS||Slicing File Formats|
|CHITUBOX Free||Free||Windows 32/64, Mac, Linux||.cbddlp, .photon, .photons, .slc, .zip, .cws (by plugin), .ctb, .svgx, .lgs (by plugin), .phz|
|PreForm||Free||Windows 64, Mac||.stl, .obj|
|Z-SUITE||Free||Windows 32/64, Mac||.stl, .obj, .dxf, .3mf|
|PrusaSlicer||Free||Windows, Mac, Linux||.sl1, .3mf|
|Formware||$149.95 for 1 PC license, more for multiple PCs||Windows 32/64, Mac, Linux||.stl, .slc, .obj, .ply, .amf, .photon, .photons, .cbddlp, .cws, .gcode|
|B9Creations||Free||Windows 32/64, Mac||.cpj, .stl|
This list is not in order — we have just picked 6 resin model slicers we feel are good for your printing needs. It is up to you to decide which slicer works best for you, and for your printing needs!
1 — CHITUBOX Free — Powerful yet free resin 3D slicer
- Fast slicing speed
- Supports STL files and compatible with most resin 3D printers
- Good UX
- Good for generating supports for resin prints
- Requires an account to download
CHITUBOX Free is a powerful but simple to use 3D slicer software made for resin printers. The clean user interface makes it easy to understand, even for beginners. This free 3D software tool can edit 3D models, generate supports, and slice the print according to your needs.
Additionally, CHITUBOX Free can automatically arrange parts to make the most efficient use of your 3D printer‘s build space, so you can print as many parts as possible, and also ensure they get printed correctly.
CHITUBOX Free supports the hollowing, infilling, cloning, mirroring, and scaling of resin 3D prints — which should cover most people’s printing needs. You can generate supports for your print in a single click, though there’s also a number of other support settings for those who want to manually tweak them.
This video below explains the CHITUBOX 3D slicer in more detail:
If you are looking for a low cost printer for resin:
|Name||Build Volume (mm)||Price||Best price available at:||Alternative purchase option|
|Anycubic Photon Zero||97 x 54 x 150||around $200||Gearbest here||Amazon here|
|Elegoo Mars||115 x 65 x 150||$259||Gearbest here||Amazon here|
|Anycubic Photon S||115 x 65 x 165||$400+||Amazon here||3DJake UK & Europe here|
|Longer Orange 30||120 x 65 x 170||$280-320||Amazon here||Gearbest here|
|Qidi Tech Shadow 5.5 S||115 x 65 x 150||$260-300||Amazon here||Gearbest here|
2 — PreForm — Formlabs 3D slicer
- Very good at generating resin part supports
- Works very well with Formlabs 3D printers
- Simple to navigate and use
PreForm is Formlabs’ free slicer software made primarily for their Form 3 SLA printer that uses advanced, proprietary calculations to generate supports and optimize print settings for resin parts. PreForm and CHITUBOX Free have a similar range of functions, including the ability to scale, move, and generate supports for resin models.
It’s built to be scalable, too. You can use PreForm with multiple printers concurrently — for example several Form 3s — and easily send prints to each SLA printer via WiFi. It’s simple to use, and also has a neat one-click print feature. Formlabs printer owners will definitely find this the best resin slicer, and others may too.
3 — Z-SUITE — Zortrax Inkspire 3D slicer
- A one-way operation process UX from importing print to slicing it
- A number of strong effective and advanced functions
- Comprehensive display information
- Comes with self-built model library
- Menu layout could be improved
Z-SUITE is Zortrax’s comprehensive slicing and 3D printing software which is optimized for the Zortrax Inkspire — one of our top resin 3D printers — and compatible with third-party LCD 3D printers. Z-SUITE features a number of powerful advanced tools, including automatic triangle mesh repair, the ability to detect thin walls which could be at risk of deforming, and highlights any overhangs.
As with most other SLA 3D slicers, Z-SUITE has the ability to hollow out, infill, clone, and rotate models. You can automatically generate supports within the slicer which match the part’s geometry, and can also be manually edited if necessary. Like with Formlabs’ PreForm, you can use Z-SUITE with multiple Zortrax as part of a 3D printing farm and print many prints simultaneously.
More premium resin printer options:
|Name||Build Volume (mm)||Price||Best price available at:|
|Formlabs Form 3||145 x 145 x 185||$3,499||Dynamism Store here|
|Zortrax Inkspire||74 x 132 x 175||$2,650||Amazon here|
|Peopoly Phenom||276 x 155 x 400||$1,999||Matterhackers here|
|Flashforge Hunter||120 x 68 x 150||$3,499||Amazon here|
4 — PrusaSlicer
- Clear, if basic UX
- Supports STL file export
- Experienced in 3D printing having dominated the RepRap 3D printer industry for years
- Large community of Prusa users
- UX could be considered dated
PrusaSlicer (formerly known as Slic3r Prusa Edition or Slic3r PE) is Prusa’s own in-house developed slicer software based on the open-source project Slic3r. With the release of their Original Prusa SL1 resin 3D printer in 2018, they’ve added masked SLA (MSLA) mode into PrusaSlicer.
PrusaSlicer provides editing functions to scale, rotate and cut prints. Supports can be generated automatically and then edited manually under “points” mode. Various settings including print, material, printer can be tweaked depending on your needs, with Prusa printer owners overall finding the resin 3D slicer very useful.
5 — Formware
- Advanced support generation and editing
- Specialized for 3D printed jewelry applications
- Expensive: costs $150 for one license
- Beginners could find it difficult to use
Formware was founded in 2014 after initially starting to sell jewelry online back in 2013 with their consumer brand. Unlike the other resin part slicers on this list, Formware isn’t free — instead it costs $149.95 for a license for a single computer.
For the price, you get a stellar 3D slicer tool specialized for resin printing, such as to make jewelry or dental implants. You can hollow, infill, add holes, mirror or scale prints with ease. Formware’s error detection is also very useful for avoiding wasting time with failed prints. It is most definitely a premium resin 3D slicer, with advanced tools suited to more advanced makers.
6 — B9Creator Software
- Customized supports
- Easy editing process for parts
- Fewer updates
- UX could be improved
B9Creations were one of the first 3D printer companies to experiment with deskop DLP 3D printing as it became democratized. Since then, a variety of other 3D printer companies have joined the market and created their own 3D slicers for printing resin parts.
B9Creations’ software is easy to use for basic resin part editing, like laying out, orienting and generating supports. They’ve been teasing a new 3D software program too, which will hopefully expand and bring innovative new features to resin printing.