We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
Simplify3D has just announced a new major release version 3.0 of their universal 3D printing software bringing a lot of new features and improvements, including support for many new devices. We have been using the Simplify3D (commercial 3D printer slicer) for quite a while along with our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer for quite some time already and it has always been a good alternative to the standard MarkerBot Desktop software. The Simplify3D software offers more flexibility and features, allowing the more advanced users to have much more control over the printing process than standard stock slicers usually allow. So always a good to have if you are having trouble printing a model using your stock slicer software that came with the 3D printer you are using. Not to mention that due to the very large number of supported devices you can change your 3D printer in time and most likely still have it compatible with the Simplify3D software.
The new features in Simplify3D 3.0 include:
– Dual Extrusion Wizard: The new Dual Extrusion Wizard simplifies the steps involved in configuring a dual extrusion print. With only a few clicks, users can create a beautiful two-color part. Depending on the type of model, users can choose from a variety of “ooze shield” shapes, which will surround their part during construction and provide crisp, sharp definition between colors.
– Infill options galore: Simplify3D now boasts six infill pattern options, including the popular honeycomb and triangle infill patterns. The new variety of patterns allows users to configure the interior of their part exactly how they want it, whether the goal is to achieve high strength requirements or for stunning aesthetic results.
– The fastest slicer gets 3x faster: Simplify3D has always been known as the fastest slicer available. New state-of-the-art algorithms in Version 3.0 result in slicing speeds more than three times faster than the previous version. This enables an impressive time savings compared to other 3D printing software. Faster slicing helps with complex models and multi-part jobs, but it also allows for faster iteration. Combined with our realistic animated Preview Mode, this allows our users to make small settings changes and instantly see how they will affect the final print.
– User-friendly interface updates: The interface has been revamped so that frequently used tools are more intuitive and easier to use. Model manipulation is easier than ever before, and new grouping options make it incredibly simple to work with multiple parts. An “undo” button saves time and frustration while new keyboard shortcuts improve navigation. The Preview Mode has also been enhanced with multiple coloring options so users can visualize their build sequences by speed, active toolhead or feature type.
– New settings boost quality: Simplify3D 3.0 provides dozens of other new features to improve print quality, such as Avoid Crossing Outlines, which alters the movement of the toolhead to reduce excess oozing, and Non-Stationary Retractions, which helps reduce defects (a.k.a. “blobs” or “zits”) on the outer surface of the print. These fine-tuning controls improve even the most challenging prints, and make the difference between a good print and an excellent print.
– Smarter printer profile system: Anyone who has modified their print settings to get the best results knows the importance of saving successful settings. Simplify3D 3.0 provides a brand new printer profile system that simplifies the process of adding and saving profiles. For owners of multiple 3D printers, this streamlined profile system greatly simplifies the workflow. In addition, to make sure the profiles are always up-to-date, the desktop software communicates with a new cloud-based storage system to receive instant updates for the hundreds of pre-configured printer profiles that are available within Simplify3D.
– Support for 25 new printers: Simplify3D is committed to universal compatibility, and previously supported more than 100 printers worldwide. In the latest release, they have added 25 new pre-configured printer profiles: Bonsai Lab BS01, bq Prusa i3 Hephestos, bq Witbox, DeltaMaker 3D Printer, FusionTech ideaPrinter F100, gCreate gMax 1.5 XT, German RepRap PRotos V3, German RepRap X350, LulzBot Mini, LulzBot TAZ 5, Malyan M180, Mankati Fullscale XT, MendelMax 3.0, Printrbot Plus Single, Printrbot Plus Dual, Rostock MAX v2, Sharebot Kiwi-3D, Sharebot NG Dual, Sharebot XXL, Solidoodle Press, Solidoodle 4, Solidoodle Workbench, Tumaker Voladora, Ultimaker 2 Go, and Ultimaker 2 Extended.
The latest update of the software slicer for 3D printing on MakerBot’s products – MakerBot Desktop 3.7 adds some interesting new features that might be what more advanced users were waiting for quite a while. The new version comes with Custom Profiles for the 3D printer where you not only have the Quick Print Settings page like before with only the most basic options such as Quality, Layer height, Infill percentage, Number of shells and Raft and Supports along with temperature for the extruder. It seems however that the extrusion speed and travel speed are no longer available in the Quick tab, but are only accessible via the Custom profile tab, so that could be a bit of inconvenience when working with some more exotic materials and do not need other more advanced options besides the speed.
Now there is a new tab called Custom where you can create custom presets with much more detailed and advanced options available such as the ability to set separate speeds for different aspects for the printing process, or different types of infill pattern aside from the standard hexagonal one you have multiple other options, or to print with higher quality the outer shell of a model and use thicker layer height for the infill for example. There is also much more user control available for the way that Rafts and Supports are being printed, should you wish to play with these settings and so on. The only thing missing however is a detailed descriptions of all of the new options available to the user to play and experiment with. Looking at the various settings it seems that with MakerBot Desktop 3.7 you might get some more additional features accessible that are not even present in the Simplify3D software. The Simplify3D commercial slicer package that is loved by many advanced 3D printer users thanks to the wide support for different devices and a the many advanced features available to the user to play with.
The retro 8-bit game graphics from our childhood or young years does bring some great memories and it is cool to 3D print some cult shapes from back then or maybe create something new. Or maybe you just want to make a 3D version of the favicon of your website or blog to give as a present to readers, the 16×16 pixel grids that favicons use sure do bring some memories of the 8-bit graphic times as well. Even though it sounds simple to design a 3D model of something that is 16×16 pixels with cubes for example, when you try to do so in a traditional 3D modeling software you can easily find it is not that easy as you though. Here comes a nice and very useful web-based tool called Extrudifier that can greatly simplify your quest to turn 2D 8-bit graphics into a 3D printable object and give you an STL 3D model that is ready for printing.
Extrudifier is a HTML5 application that enables you to create 8-bit pixel designs that can be exported into 3D models ready for 3D printing. The tool uses a simple and effective approach by providing you with a 16×16 grid where you need to click to make a square black (filled) or leave it white (empty) – it is just like when designing a favorite icon, however even simpler as here you have only a single color. Then you need to set the dimensions of the full objects that you have drawn – width, depth and height, and the software will automatically generate the model in either SCAD format or STL. You can also save and load your designs in a Grid file, so that later on you can modify your designs via the Extrudifier should you need to do so.
We have designed a cute 8-bit cat face as a test design and it has worked quite well, however we need to mention something important that we have noticed. Sometimes the STL exported models from the Extrudifier tool might not be solids and that can cause you trouble when you try to print them. There is an easy fix if you notice that as an issue when you import the STL file in your 3D printer’s slicing and printing software – you can use the free web-based 3D model repair service from Trinckle that we have already covered. It will automatically detect that your 8-bit graphic design is not a solid 3D model and will fix it providing you with a downloadable STL file with the repaired model. So time to try out printing an 8-bit Alien Invader, a Pac-Man, a Super Mario mushroom or a star and whatever else you might think of could turn out to be a cool 3D printed pixel art. The only drawback is that the Extrudifier does not have support for more than a single color print, but multi-color 3D printing with devices that melt thermoplastics is still a bit of a problem.