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How to Choose
Broadly, the purpose of this software is to get the file from the scanner, close the surface file from the scanner to make it a solid and add a base for support, potentially hollow the model, label the model, and move the file to your printer software. While this Digital Workflow Software is not required to print, the benefits in efficiency and ease of use make it highly recommended (especially if you are just starting in-office printing). Here are some items to look for.
Ease of integration with your scan:
Often times direct integration is available with your scanner or there is an easy method for STL files to be uploaded.
With cloud-based storage, files can be uploaded, edited and printed from any workstation.
Look for the ability to add due dates and track printing and fabrication. Also, find a solution that is easily searchable and able to be resorted.
Ability to send to 3rd party labs:
Not all appliances will be made in-house, so see if options are available to export to another lab if needed.
Ability to send to in-house tooth movement software:
Integration is available to directly connect to certain tooth movement software. Upload the files directly into their software without having to save the STL files locally.
Ability to base models:
Free tools like MeshMixer can do some editing functions, but are not cloud based or as easy to learn as some digital workflow software.
Ability to label models:
In terms of labeling directly in the software, MeshMixer does not easily provide a labeling function, so another piece of free software that could be used is 3D builder. Again, this can be done more easily in most digital workflow software.
Ability to export STL files for print or direct integration to your 3D printer:
By using cloud-based storage, a spreadsheet, and free 3D design software, many of these functions are possible, so the main item you are looking for in digital workflow software is simplicity and ease of use.
Compare digital workflow software from AAO TechSelect approved partners.
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