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I'm looking for suggestions for 3D design software which support designing multi-material parts.

I will be printing on a multi-extruder machine based on RepRap firmware. The printer will handle the files when given a proper g-code file. Slic3r will produce a proper g-code file given the right input. STL seems to be single-material, so I am looking for something like AMF files, or any alternative.

My question is, what is available for 3D design software which will produce a geometry file which slic3r (or some other slicing software) will properly process? I'm not asking for opinions on which software is best.

I believe this is my first question in any StackExchange forum, so if I have trespassed on community standards, it was not my intention.

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    $\begingroup$ Cura merges 2 STL files, and can be printed for 2 materials. Like printing PLA or nylon with extruder 1 and PVA with extruder 2. $\endgroup$ – 0scar Mar 26 '18 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ I'm still waiting hopefully for my Kickstarter kit to arrive - it's a resin-style printer which supports rotating among up to 4 different color reservoirs. But to your needs - there are multi-head extruders which will handle any material, as Oscar says. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Mar 27 '18 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ My problem isn't the extruder or printer, it is finding a workflow that allows "easy" design of multi-material parts, and "easily" rendering those parts on an appropriate printer. $\endgroup$ – cmm Mar 27 '18 at 18:38
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You do not necessarily need a specific design tool, you can use any tool you want to create your multiple material product. It is the slicer software that manages the materials by assigning the correct extruder. E.g. Cura is able to join 2 STL files that fit together and assign each part a specific extruder and thus material. Please read more here for instructions

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @Oscar. I have the Cura instructions you linked. So far, I have been using RepetierHost and slic3r. I will install Cura tonight. It seems that the key step is the "merge models" step, and coming to understand the constraints on merging. I'll try answering my own questions with Cura directly. $\endgroup$ – cmm Mar 26 '18 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Oscar. The setup probably wasn't right, but I tried "combining" three nested parts, with the thought of printing each in its own material. Using Cura, I could add the three STL files to the build area. I could not position them nested within each other (even through the were non-intersecting). Cura would move them apart to correct my error. When I tried the "merge" option, it dropped them on top of each other so they had overlapping walls, and I couldn't adjust their relative positions. I will need to make a better test case. $\endgroup$ – cmm Mar 27 '18 at 18:41

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