Exocad, Meshmixer or Blender for Dental. Is FREE software worth it?

Apr 29, 2021 | software

Dental Cad/Cam software like Exocad can have an exorbitant price, that is why I have decided to compare its features with the most popular options today, this way we can know if the price is justified or if there really is a better one. option.

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Alternatives to Exocad and other paid software.

Exocad has been on the market for many years developing a tool that is effective and practical for dentistry. In addition, it has a giant team behind it that is constantly updating and developing the software. However, the business model they use implies a significant investment for the user, which may be excessive for many dentists or dental laboratories.

And although some sites today offer a pirated version of Exocad, there are other more reliable and completely legal alternatives. Some of them are free like Meshmixer or Fusion 360 and others are paid, but at a much lower cost like Blue Sky Bio or Blender for Dental.

Dental Mesh Mixer

Meshmixer is a free program created by the Autodesk company. It is focused on 3D printing, so it has a series of tools to clean, deform and adjust three-dimensional meshes.

Although quite simple to use, it lacks some functions that may be important for digital dentistry, such as importing patient images or generating movement. It is only available in English, although today you can find all kinds of tutorials in Spanish for this Software.

Blender for Dental

It is an extension created for the open source software for 3D Blender animation. The team that developed this extension has sought to create a low-cost alternative to dental cad/cam software that is easy to use and automates design processes.

Read this article, if you are interested. get to know Blender for Dental in depth or purchase this tool.

Comparison between Exocad, Meshmixer and Blender for Dental.

For this comparison we will analyze common characteristics of these 3 software and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5. The final score will reflect the advantages of each option.

NOTE: Although in this post we use Exocad for comparison, these same parameters can be used for any paid software.

Comparativa Exocad, meshmixer y Blender for Dental

Easy to use

Facilidad de Uso entre Exocad y Blender for Dental

The easiest software to use is Exocad, closely followed by Blender for Dental. In last place we have meshmixer.

The main difference between these options is the degree of automation that the tools have so that the lower the score, the more steps will be necessary to complete a design.

Technical support

Soporte técnico de Exocad, Meshmixer y B4D

Here, both paid options have excellent technical support, but meshmixer, being free, does not really have any help, except for what can be found on social networks.

That is why we have given the latter a rating of 1.

Supported Formats

Formatos soportados por softwares Cad/CaM

In terms of formats, all accept .Ply, .Stl and .Obj files, which are common files for digital models, but not all allow importing 2D images or tomography scans.

In this case, it is again a tie for paid software, but Meshmixer falls a little short.

Available Features

Módulos y funciones Exocad y Blender for Dental

Blender for dental comes in second place by not having some tools such as the manufacture of aligners or dentures.

But it is expected that this will change in the future, since these new modules are in the development phase. For the moment we will leave it with a 4.5

Compatibility

Compatibilidad con OS Exocad

Operating system compatibility is a very important factor to consider. In this case we have rated the software that is compatible with Windows and MacOs with 2 points.

Some users prefer Mac and paid software often has compatibility problems with this operating system.

Bookstore Availability

Librerías digitales en los softwares para odontología digital.

Digital libraries are of great help during 3D design and planning. In this category Exocad comes to the fore, since it has a large number of libraries, both for teeth, dental implants and other elements. However, more and more companies have made their component libraries available to Blender for Dental, so that today components from the vast majority of commercial companies are available.

cad cam software price

Precio Exocad comparado con Blender for Dental

This is a crucial factor when considering choosing one software over another. Here, Meshmixer obviously gets the highest score, being free.

However, Blender for Dental, despite being a paid software, has a value that is between 8 to 10 times less than other commercial options, which makes it very attractive if you intend to integrate a digital flow without a million-dollar investment.

Integration

Integración de Software para odontología digital

This section refers to the possibility of connecting the software directly to the milling machine, 3D printer or dental scanner.

Certainly, it is difficult to achieve a perfect score here, since many companies do not allow integration with third-party software or handle closed cad/cam systems How difficult this integration is.

What software for digital dentistry to choose

Comparativa entre Exocad, Blender for Dental y Meshmixer

The final result leaves the battle between Exocad with 4 points and Blender for Dental with 3.8 points, which shows that both software have advantages and disadvantages in different categories, but in reality there is no perfect software.

My recommendation is to analyze the characteristics described and Decide which ones are most important to you. So for example, if you prefer to use MacOs perhaps you could lean towards Blender for Dental or Meshmixer, or if you prefer your software to connect directly to the printer perhaps you should consider Exocad more.

The price is a decisive factor, but it is not the only one to consider, so I recommend that you analyze all these variables and choose the one that best suits your objectives and your budget.

It should be noted that all programs can achieve excellent objectives, but some will require a much greater investment of time or money.

Do not use Exocad Pirate

My final advice in this post is that you do not lean towards piracy. Not only because it means violating a company's authorship and distribution rights, but because with paid software you also receive technical support, updates, training and much more, which is what really adds value to said program.

If your budget is really tight, you can lean towards an option like Blender for Dental, which for a much lower price includes all these virtues. (Look at the official page)

And this post ends here, if you have questions or comments, leave them below and if you want to learn how to use low-cost software and set up a digital flow with 3D printing, don't forget to look at our courses.

7 Comments

  1. Julian Ocampo

    I am a dental technician interested in cad cam without any experience

  2. martin catrini

    Hello Juan, Martín writes to you from Uruguay, could you tell me the steps to follow in installing blender, to then acquire the modules and start taking the courses?… I mean, how do I install blender and from there onwards, thank you, a hug

  3. enrique

    Greetings.
    I am a computer scientist, who is this training aimed at? Can anyone start developing in this work?

    • Juan González

      Greetings Enrique, the courses can be taken by anyone, but some concepts inherent to dentistry, such as anatomy, occlusion or conventional laboratory processes, are not addressed. So there is some knowledge that must be had beforehand. Alternatively, some students have partnered with a laboratory technician to complement these topics.

  4. Jorge Damiani

    Very good article!
    It clarified the situation remarkably for me.
    What type of courses do you give?
    I'm Jorge, from Argentina
    Thank you

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