At MatterHackers we do a quite a bit of 3D printing, usually a variety of multi-part projects and on different desktop-models - so to maintain our sanity we've developed a little tool we call MatterControl. MatterControl allows us to streamline the operation of a reprap-style 3D printer. We just load the files (yes, 'files' plural) to be printed and hit 'print' until we are done.
Of course, it's not always that simple, and we've added all the dials and knobs that it sometimes takes to get your print just right, but that main point is that, with MatterControl, printing is as simple as you want it to be and the focus is on enabling good printing and fast turnaround.
Using MatterControl definitely changes your perspective. One of our interns, who has been printing for weeks but only with MatterControl, recently asked, "What are these .gcode files I sometimes see in the shared folder?" I explained that to print designs we used to have to put those designs into an intermediate format that was specific to the print settings. "Glad we don't have to do that anymore", he said. I couldn't agree more.
MatterControl is now publicly available (as an alpha release) to those that want to upgrade their 3-D printing capabilities. Let us know what you think.