I had worked professionally with 3d printer back in the days when the technology was new… was the first color one in my country and when there were just a few in the world. Basically it had a software that converts the 3d model + you can adjust it there before printing. After that it takes quite a few hours, it was powder/glue based (lays a layer of powder, then glue on the right spots, then powder, then glue and so on till the details is printed. It slices the model to layers.
I haven’t been too impressed with the quality of FDM printers, but after seeing the results of the SLA process from the Formlabs Form 2 in that project I mentioned, I’m really interested in that particular printer:
Not bad, but I never worked with SLA to give some first hand experience about drawbacks/positives. Also worth mentioning that the printer I worked on costed 50 000$, it was not exactly home class 3d printer.
I gave AutoCAD a 30 day trial and LOVED it – I really wanted to use it for furniture design. But it was much too expensive to justify, particularly since most of my woodworking tools are currently in storage.
The one I worked on had the option to import from both (actually, quite a lot formats). It was hardly made for class fun mini projects and was not small either (could print the entire battle buss model in one go).