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OT: 3D Slicing Software

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  • OT: 3D Slicing Software

    Christmas arrived and Santa brought a new toy: a 3D printer! (Well, he actually only brought the order confirmation, the printer is due in via FedEx on January 3rd.)

    So to get ready for its arrival, I've been reading up on 3D printing and downloading test .STL files. I thought a quick survey of your favorite slicing software would be of value. For CAD, I use both Alibre (Alibre, then GeoMagic, then 3D Design, and now Alibre) and Fusion 360.

    PS: Creality CR-10 300 x 300 x 400
    Last edited by KJ1I; 12-25-2017, 03:52 PM. Reason: Spelling
    Kevin

    More tools than sense.

  • #2
    Cura works, and is free. Fusion 360, and Autodesk Inventor for that matter, come with Print Studio for free. Well, you can download Print Studio and it works in both. At first glance, Cura is a lot easier to use. There are a bunch of others but I'm too cheap to try.

    The slicer will need to be configured for your printer. There's a lot of power in slicer settings... bit of a learning curve.

    In Fusion 360, when you "Make" you can either leave the "send to 3D print utility" box checked and it will look for Print Studio. Uncheck the box and it will save an STL file. That STL file can be used in any slicer, including Cura.

    David...
    Last edited by fixerdave; 12-25-2017, 01:07 AM.
    http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      Cura is nice. We use it with our printers and haven't had the need to try anything else. I really like the algorithms it use to create support structures for "floating" objects.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by fixerdave View Post
        Cura works, and is free. Fusion 360, and Autodesk Inventor for that matter, come with Print Studio for free. Well, you can download Print Studio and it works in both. At first glance, Cura is a lot easier to use. There are a bunch of others but I'm too cheap to try.

        The slicer will need to be configured for your printer. There's a lot of power in slicer settings... bit of a learning curve.

        In Fusion 360, when you "Make" you can either leave the "send to 3D print utility" box checked and it will look for Print Studio. Uncheck the box and it will save an STL file. That STL file can be used in any slicer, including Cura.

        David...
        You can also have the Save as Stl dialog run a script or other slicer executable. The script needs to call the slicer program with the parameters output by Fusion 360. I use slic3r. It's also free.

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        • #5
          Id just use what the maker of it recommends at first, you'll have enough going on without having to dig round strange configs using something they dont document. Once your more comfortable with everything, you'll be in a better place to know what you want, and then just try everything.
          I use cura as a back end slicer, but I have octoprint installed on a beaglebone black (its like a raspberry pi, except its reliable) as a networked 3d printer print server, so I just make a stl, then upload it to the octoprint server using whatever computer I'm using to generate or download the stl on and slice it on there. No bespoke installs, extra software or having to leave the main computer on for the duration of the print, plus I can wander off and watch its status from the tablet in the shed for the same print job.

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          • #6
            Simplify3D gets high marks but is $150 bucks. I bought a copy to use with my CNC machine. Free is nice but I feel that the very creative people that do this stuff we all use should be rewarded in a way that keeps the product getting better. This seems to be the case with Simplify3D, it keeps getting better all the time.

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            • #7
              I also use Simplify3D. Well worth it.

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              • #8
                Thank's, that's great info. I just took the time to read the downloadable manual and it recommends either Cura or Simplify3D! So I'll install Cura and put Simplify on the wish list.
                Kevin

                More tools than sense.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                  I also use Simplify3D.
                  Same here. Haven't tried any other slicer software, but this one works well, and gives you a lot of control over the output. My only complaint is that I can;t make it talk directly to my Makergear M3 printer (which is WiFi based), and instead have to save the g-code to disk and then upload it from the printer's webpage. YMMV.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tmarks11 View Post
                    Same here. Haven't tried any other slicer software, but this one works well, and gives you a lot of control over the output. My only complaint is that I can;t make it talk directly to my Makergear M3 printer (which is WiFi based), and instead have to save the g-code to disk and then upload it from the printer's webpage. YMMV.
                    I use sneaker net, copy to card, walk across. I'd rather not use the tether feature, more reliable.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KJ1I View Post
                      ...
                      Creality CR-10 300 x 300 x 400
                      Me too on the CR-10 ... got one for Christmas. Son and self got to pull it out from under the tree, assemble and make it go on Christmas day. From open box to start of first print was less than an hour.

                      I had spent some time in previous weeks getting to know the Cura slicer. It is friendly as installed; seems to be undergoing steady improvement.

                      Cura is easy to use; select your printer from the drop down. Import (for me) a *.stl file, but other types are supported also. Very visual, shows all the material as it will be laid down; there is a slider that lets you view the output layer by layer ... excellent feature and is educational as to how the printer goes about its craft.

                      By default there are heaps of settings, all as checkboxes and drop downs to the right of the graphic display. Hover mouse over the setting and a human understandable popup of the feature is presented ... descriptions are nice.

                      Once you understand the default set of options, dig into the preferences and add into that settings area a whole lot more ... some of which are termed "experimental" which I think is the community term for "what do you think of this".

                      Does the CR-10 make good prints. I gotta say YES I am seriously impressed. We scaled a couple of files down in the slicer (one to just 20% of its size) so that the print time would be quicker ... impressive detail regardless.

                      I am no expert separating one printer from another and this is my first printer. I made my choice on the consensus that the CR-10 is best bang for buck right now.

                      Merry Christmas.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Norman Bain View Post
                        Me too on the CR-10 ... got one for Christmas. Son and self got to pull it out from under the tree, assemble and make it go on Christmas day. From open box to start of first print was less than an hour.

                        I had spent some time in previous weeks getting to know the Cura slicer. It is friendly as installed; seems to be undergoing steady improvement.

                        Cura is easy to use; select your printer from the drop down. Import (for me) a *.stl file, but other types are supported also. Very visual, shows all the material as it will be laid down; there is a slider that lets you view the output layer by layer ... excellent feature and is educational as to how the printer goes about its craft.

                        By default there are heaps of settings, all as checkboxes and drop downs to the right of the graphic display. Hover mouse over the setting and a human understandable popup of the feature is presented ... descriptions are nice.

                        Once you understand the default set of options, dig into the preferences and add into that settings area a whole lot more ... some of which are termed "experimental" which I think is the community term for "what do you think of this".

                        Does the CR-10 make good prints. I gotta say YES I am seriously impressed. We scaled a couple of files down in the slicer (one to just 20% of its size) so that the print time would be quicker ... impressive detail regardless.

                        I am no expert separating one printer from another and this is my first printer. I made my choice on the consensus that the CR-10 is best bang for buck right now.

                        Merry Christmas.
                        Depends, for my uses, no heated bed and no PEI print surface are a no go.
                        All 3D printers will soon collect dust unless you are good with 3D cad like fusion360. In my opinion, they are an accessory to your main hobby that is 3D cad. Once you can make your own models for stuff around the house or what ever needs you have, only then have you unlocked the true usefulness of a 3D printer.
                        95% of what I print, PLA is no good for.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                          Depends, for my uses, no heated bed and no PEI print surface are a no go.
                          ...
                          Not saying your statement is not true; but just to clarify, the CR-10 DOES have a heated bed. The controller also allows setting the temp as it should ... displays the current and target temp ... very tidy.

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                          • #14
                            While PLA is good for toys and trinkets, the CR-10 will print in both ABS and nylon. And can't we say that most of our toys, err tools, are "accessories" to our "main" hobby? I don't really need a lathe, it doesn't produce income, but it does make it easy to maintain all the OPE we use on our acreage, as well as support my interest in ham radio, model railroading, shooting, woodworking, gardening, photography, and cooking. The same goes for the mill, the welders, the plasma cutter, the band saw, the sandblaster, the parts washer, and on and on. The 3D printer is just one more tool in the Home Shop Machinists' tool kit. I already know that I will be using the printer for making patterns for casting in aluminum and brass, since that is one more interest I missed in the above list.
                            Kevin

                            More tools than sense.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KJ1I View Post
                              ...The 3D printer is just one more tool in the Home Shop Machinists' tool kit...
                              Agreed, I was surprised how quick it went from curiosity/toy to just another tool for fixing stuff. And, the filament I've found most useful is the one I never even heard about before I bought the printer... TPE-80A, the rubbery stuff. Made a replacement strain relief for my old router, a knob for the patio door, oversized wheels for my kid's lego train, etc.. It's a pain to work with but it solves so many problems. That said, PLA has (so far) worked for guitar hangars, shelf brackets, curtain rod holders, and toys for my kid. It's been a year since I bought the printer and the only thing I've had fail, strength-wise, has been the guide wheels for the patio door screen. It's still running on a replacement set made of the same stuff. I certainly wouldn't call PLA useless.

                              David...
                              http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

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