How To Use The New 3D Print Feature In ZW3D 2013

I’m not very fond of press releases that make me think hard. PR people spend to much time saying things in press release they shouldn’t and end up missing the point of it all by a mile. For example, take today’s press release from ZWSoft titled “3D Printing Inspires New Working Style in CAD/CAM Software Industry“. It goes on to explain what 3D printing is and what all good can be done with it. Then there is a picture of a kid playing with a 3D printed toy train followed by a quote from the VP of Overseas Business talking about some “seamless integration” between design software and 3D printers is going to become a trend.

Turns out the point of the press release was a new 3D print feature added to ZW3D 2013. But the press release didn’t explain what it did and how users could use it. Normally I would ignore this press release and find something else better to read. But since this was related to 3D printing, I decided to dig a little deeper. I downloaded a trial of ZW3D 2013 and opened one of the sample files.

I found a new 3D Print command in the File menu. Clicking it showed me this.

Sniffing around the ZWCAD help system I figured that I needed to “Specify the executable program (*.exe) of a 3D printer, and then click OK to print“. I had the software of the Cube printer installed on my computer. I chose its executable file and clicked OK. ZW3D fired up the Cube software and loaded the ZW3D model into it.

I guess ZW3D assumes that every 3D printer software accepts a STL file path at the command line and makes use of that to “seamlessly integrate” 3D printing with ZW3D 2013. This is nice little usability enhancement. I wish the press release had made it more clear.