Netfabb basic is a free software designed with 3D printing in mind. I use it to check and automatically repair bad STL files before printing. The last thing I want is to have a large build fail half way through, wasting time and print material. It also has the ability to open over 20 different CAD formats, making it easy for me to handle the multitude of different files I receive for printing. It can be upgraded to a pro version that allows for many more features but for most of my applications, the free version is great.
The workflow is extremely easy for fixing files for printing. I opened the file I planned on printing and I noticed that the exclamation mark in the lower right hand corner alerting me that there are errors on the part.
The next step is to click the red cross repair button in the upper right hand corner. Netfabb then analyzes the part and displays all the errors in the part. It found quite a few errors including inverted normals, small holes, double triangles, and a few others shown in red and yellow.
The last step is to execute the automatic repair and let Netfabb create a print ready file in seconds. I am left with a file that is water tight and ready for printing.
Netfabb basic has some other tools that I use periodically when working with customer files. It has an easy to use measuring tool, scaling tool, and also has a huge amount of useful information regarding the file you are working with. If you upgrade to the professional version you will have access to a splitting tool, z compensation tool, mesh modification, a 3d print quote tool, a Boolean tool, and much more. Either way, this tool is a great addition for anybody that utilizes 3d printing. Run your parts through the Netfabb basic repair tool before you print and have peace of mind that your files will print without trouble.