Exciting news in the DIY 3D printing world: Slic3r Beta 0.9.8 has been released... and it doesn't suck!
Slic3r is an open source slicing program (duh... ;) ) that takes a 3D model (an STL) and converts it into a tool path for your 3D printer.
Slic3r is much more user friendly than some of the other slicing programs on the block. Slic3r is also very quick to generate G-Code. Slic3r can generate g-code in seconds, unlike other slicing programs which can take minutes (or hours) to generate a tool path.
So far after testing v0.9.8 on a few prints, I am VERY VERY pleased with the results. The last 5+ releases of Slic3r were burdened by fatal flaws; program crashes, not lifting the z-axis to the correct heights, pimples and rashes on your prints (the Slic3r STD). I actually have not adopted a new Slic3r version since 0.9.1 because of these problems.
This Slic3r release appears to be, fast, stable and intelligent. In my book, all of Slic3r's dirty sins are forgiven I am adopting version 0.9.8 as my new primary slicing program
Slic3r GodFather, Alexrj (aka Sound), recomends you upgrade to version 0.9.8 too:
"This juicy new release contains many bugfixes and improvements. Work focused on stability and print surface smoothness, removing gaps, spikes etc. You're advised to upgrade to this version... or provide a good reason for not doing that. ;-)"
In truth a lot of the features I am gushing over (intelligent narrow path infill etc.) were added in versions 0.9.7 or earlier... the trick is that the nasty flaws in those versions stopped me from using those versions.
I Can't recommend enough that you run over to www.slic3r.org and add Slic3r 0.9.8 to your 3D Printing arsenal.
Also Be Sure To use this calibration guide (a nice hidden gem) to get the best prints from Slic3r: https://github.com/alexrj/Slic3r/wiki/Calibration