3D Printing

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This article is an overview of 3D printing with Gentoo.


An extensive list of 3D printing and CAD programs is maintained by RepRap.[1] An email discussion of 3D printing from 2013 may be of interest.[2]

3D printing usually consists of three components:

  • Modelling
  • Slicing
  • Printing


Modeling may be done with a variety of software. The end result is a a 3D model (.3mf or .stl file) which is then "sliced" into a .gcode file. The 3D printer then prints the object using the G-Code.

Modeling software often creates more complex shapes from simpler ones. The simpler software is usually more limited in this regard and allows one to create shapes from dragging geometric primitives (cubes, cylinders, etc.) and then adding or subtracting further shapes from them like sculpting. More advanced software allows scripting aspects of this process.

Some older discussions on SketchUp alternatives and running it under Wine exist.[3][4][5]

Blender (Python) and Unity (Javascript) are fully fledged software packages targeted at the movie industry but provide state of the art sculpting and modelling features. These are predominantly used for organic models.


Slicing has historically been done by the Slic3r or Cura projects. These packages accept a 3D model in the form of an STL files which they slice into layers. A path is then traced for each layer which is the path the printer will finally trace during the print. More recently the CraftWare package has been made available.


Marlin or Klipper are examples of printer firmware. The main difference between these two is that Marlin runs only on the microcontroller from the printer, whereas Klipper also requires a general-purpose computer.

To create a necessary toolchain for a cortex microcontroller (used on most 32-bit Printer mainboards), see How to build a toolchain for arm cortex-m and cortex-r.


OctoPrint is one of the most widely used programs. Previous work was begun to create an ebuild for it, but never completed.

See also

External resources