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.
It is always good to have alternatives and not be forced to use only one thing and he same is also very true for 3D printers and their software. If you are limited to using only the software provided by your 3D printer’s manufacturer you may end up disappointed from the device just because of a the software being full of bugs or very limited in terms of features. When we were choosing our first 3D printer we have taken into account this as well and went for a device that is supported by alternative software such as the Simplify 3D among others. Not that the Makerbot Replicator 2 was not supported by other solutions as well back then, but having a software that has some useful extra functionality and features that is recommended by people already more experienced in 3D printing is definitely a plus. Now, a few months later when Makerbot has decided to integrate the MakerWare into their Makerbot Desktop software along with other features is making us rely more on the Siplify3D software more and more. Not that the MakerBot Desktop software is bad, but the whole package is not what a more advanced user that wants to be more in control of the printing process would actually want. It seems that MakerBot is targeting more novice users by trying to provide a simpler and more user friendly software, but many of the people that start with 3D printing quickly outgrow the basic needs and start having more requirements…
This is were the Simplify3D software comes into action by offering wider functionality and more advanced control over the printing process, should you need it, along with support for many 3D printers. With the just released Simplify3D V2.2 update the software now supports even more 3D printers than before, including the newer MakerBot 5th Gen Replicator, MakerBot Mini, MakerBot Z18 among many others. The drawback with Simplify3D is that the software is commercial and you need to buy a license to be able to try it use it, so you cannot just download a demo version that you can try out before you buy. A license for the Simplify3D 3D printing software will cost you $140 USD, a one time price that you have to pay for it that covers future updates. The best thing is that chances are that not only your current, but also your future 3D printer may be supported by the software, so even if you get another device or upgrade in the future you may still be able to use the same software with the new printer. So while it may not be a wise idea to buy the software if you are just starting in the world of 3D printing and are still wondering if it is something for you to dig deeper in, if you have already decided that 3D printing is your thing, then getting a license for the Simplify3D software may be a good idea.
The Simplify3D software is essentially an all-in-one software suite for your 3D printing needs, at least if you have an FDM/FFF 3D printer that extrudes thermoplastic. The software has a fast slicing engine and a very good preview on how the actual print will look like, including a preview of the whole printing process. Simplify3D also offers more advanced and intelligent functionality regarding the support structures, it even allows you to manually add or remove support for models before trying to print them at places that you may consider it will be useful. Another good and useful thing is that the printing algorithms used by the software are probably different as compared to what your original 3D printing software uses. This means that if your original software has trouble slicing a 3D model and properly printing it due to some issues you might have better success with the different algorithms used by the Simplify3D software. When talking about issues with models, the Simplify3D also has some advantages thanks to a few options available for analyzing and reporting possible issues with the models you are trying to print with even the ability to automatically fix some of them. This functionality however is far from perfect and there are other software that offer better and more functional ability to find and repair automatically issues with your 3D models. With all that said we are not going to say that Simplify3D is the perfect and absolutely problem free software for your 3D printer, it still has some issues and things we don’t like, as well as functions that are lacking. The good thing is that the company developing the software is actually listening to what the users of Simplify3D need and want to have available and implement new things based on the user feedback and this is very important to have for a 3D printer software. So we do recommend to check out the features and functionality that the Simplify3D software offers as we have been happily using the software for a while already and will continue to do so, though we are not always and only relying on it for our 3D printing needs.