Using Slic3r allows you to fine tune the different controls, or parameters, for your printer which is helpful when using the Discov3ry. Some of the more important settings include nozzle diameter, layer height, print speeds, Z retraction and more. In a future post we will share the slicer settings that we have to found work well for various materials. In the meantime, if you are curious, please visit our forum for notes on the successes and roadblocks encountered during our first time printing with silicone, icing, and other materials.
There are other slicing software programs you could use such as Kisslicer (they have a free and PRO version for $42USD) or Skeinforge.
Some 3D printers use proprietary closed slicing software that give limited access to the control of parameters. This may pose a problem for compatibility with the Discov3ry. Fortunately, there are some work arounds for the most popular printers. For example, Makerbot's modified gcode (.X3G file types) produced by Makerware, which can also be produced using open alternatives like ReplicatorG and this fellows X3G/GCODE converter on Thingiverse. Ultimaker offers its customers an open source slcing program called Cura.
Our personal favourite for sending gcode to the printer, Repetier Host, is a newcomer since the days of using pronterface on my RepRap. Repetier Host is a pleasant addition to the open-source arsenal of 3D printing software. It is a cross platform program that handles everything from fitting your 3D files on the bed platform to editing your gcode in line. Repetier Host even integrates with the API of your favourite slicing algo, Slic3r in our case, so all of the printing prep takes place in a single window.