I've been hearing good things about Simplify3D (most of them on the 3D Printing Today Podcast which I should really record another segment for). But the price tag kinda kept me away until I decided to update to the latest version of MakerWare hoping all the little problems I've been dealing with would go away only to have MakerWare refuse to launch under any condition. And since my options were do no prints until Makerbot helps me or get another slicer I went with the option that would result in my being able to print again in this decade. I tried MatterControl before but didn't like it, and Christmas was good to my Etsy store, so I decided to take the plunge and get Simplify3D.
Simplify3D is good. It's not perfect and despite myself I'm still going to need to get MakerWare up and running for a while, but I think I'm going to be using S3D for the lion's share of my 3D model prep. It's slicing is so fast and it's preview mode is so light that EVERY print gets it and there's no reason it shouldn't. But the real reason I'm going to lean heavily on S3D in the future is right here:
As I said there are a few things that MakerWare does better. The UI in MW is better. That's not critical but I hope over time S3D adopts a more object based layout and includes some keyboard shortcuts. Also it would be nice if S3D worked better at lower resolutions because when I'm doing slicing by remoting into my computer on my tablet some buttons fall off the bottom. But again, that's not critical. And I've noticed problems with S3D doing the thin walls of soap stamps making me getting MW back up and running very important.
What is critical is that Simplify3D is crap for dual extrusion printing and I need spurs. Spurs are something MakerWare does where it identifies areas that are too thin to get a perimeter line in and out of and instead fills that area with a single line thick wall. I used this accidentally when I printed some jumping game pegs and the result was amazing. I also use this when making soap stamps a lot. Most people who don't have access to spurs tend to sour grape them but they are critical to many things I do. And the strange thing is I've seen S3D in preview mode doing something suspiciously spur like when doing a fill layer.
I find it ironic that Simplify3D can get a better print out of my Makerbot printer than Makerbot can. I guess I'm grateful to Makerbot for doing such a bad job at what they do that they forced me to discover this.