It is no secret that the way you build things in your garage is rarely how big companies build things at scale. But sometimes new techniques on the production floor leak over to the hobby builder and vice versa, so it pays to keep an eye on what the other side is doing. Maybe that was the idea behind [Carolyn Schwaar’s] post on All3DP entitled “Beyond Cura Slicer: 3D Printing Build Prep Software for Pros.” In it, she looks at a few programs that commercial-grade 3D printers use for slicing.
The differences in the software we typically use and those meant to work with a dedicated high-end machine are pretty marked, but maybe not in the way you would expect. While you might expect them to have tight integration with their target machine, you might not expect that they usually offer less control over parameters than a product like Cura. As a quote in the post points out, Cura has over 400 settings. Commercial 3D printers don’t have time to tweak those settings endlessly. So the emphasis is more on canned profiles that just work.
Not all of the programs are tied to machines, though. Commercial CAD offerings are becoming more capable with 3D printers and can sometimes slice and send jobs to printers directly. Regardless of software type, though, everyone needs certain functions: design, repair, simulation, build plate layout, and more.
If you are looking for a hobby-grade slicer other than Cura, we’ve been using SuperSlicer which is a fork of PrusaSlicer, which is a fork of Slic3r lately.