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Slicer for UM1/UM2

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I think Netfabb probably offers the most control, but by all accounts it can be buggy, and is poorly supported - and it's not cheap. I've never used it, but some people swear by it, although I think it can be fiddly to configure.

Kisslicer and Slic3r are pretty similar products, really. One or other may offer advantages in certain situations. One issue with Kisslicer is that, at least as of a few days ago, the lead developer had disappeared offline for a few months, and it's not clear what the future of the product is.

Others on the forum have recently been using another commercial slicing package - Simplify3d, discussed here:

http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/topic/3876-u2-with-simplify3d/

However, I'm not convinced that it offers that much which isn't already provided in a package like Repetier Host (which is an alternative front end for Slic3r).

 

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I'm wondering if Netfabb is supported at all any more... I still use it, but I don't think there's been an update for nearly a year and I've noticed that it is no longer in the Ultimaker Web Store... If you go to the NetFabb website it says to purchase NetFabb for Ultimaker you still need to do it though the UM webstore...

I've found a webpage at software.ultimaker.com that still has the Netfabb download, but that is not the same page that is linked to from the "Our Software" tab so I think it's an old orphaned page. It looks to me now like it is impossible to buy a license key even if you do download the NetFabb installer.

it is a shame because NetFabb is a very good slicer and still produces the best quality around. I often use Cura now because it's slightly quicker and easier to use but nothing I've ever sliced in Cura comes close to the quality I get with Netfabb.

Cheers,

Troy.

 

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I'm wondering if Netfabb is supported at all any more... I still use it, but I don't think there's been an update for nearly a year and I've noticed that it is no longer in the Ultimaker Web Store... If you go to the NetFabb website it says to purchase NetFabb for Ultimaker you still need to do it though the UM webstore...

I've found a webpage at software.ultimaker.com that still has the Netfabb download, but that is not the same page that is linked to from the "Our Software" tab so I think it's an old orphaned page. It looks to me now like it is impossible to buy a license key even if you do download the NetFabb installer.

it is a shame because NetFabb is a very good slicer and still produces the best quality around. I often use Cura now because it's slightly quicker and easier to use but nothing I've ever sliced in Cura comes close to the quality I get with Netfabb.

Cheers,

Troy.

 

I think you still might be able to buy the NetFabb license if you go trough support. However, due to the total lack of support from NetFabb the decision has been made to remove it from the shop.

 

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I don't have any experience of Repetier Host but I can tell you why I like Simplify3D. I prefer the way it’s structured compared to Cura. It uses 'processes' to control all the settings. Each process contains all the information required to write gCode for either the whole model, part of a model or one or more models of the several you may have on the build platform.

 

You can either build all models at the same time or sequentially, like you can in Cura. However because each process can be different it allows you to have models with multi-zone characteristics. Different densities of internal fill, densities of support, levels of cooling, percentage flow rate, in fact any controllable variable, and all variables are controllable. You therefore can apply these controls to different models on the same build platform. You can build one model with 0.1mm layers and a different model with 0.15mm layers and so on. You can even build a model with 0.1mm layers and 10% infill at the bottom, 0.2mm layers in the with 20% infill in the middle and some other combination at the top. You can include as many processes as you want, to build the model or models in any way you want. You get the idea, lots of freedom. You can also change the infill from rectilinear to concentric and so on.

 

It has functionality of Tweak at Z built into the package in a seamless way, but with more functions than TAZ. So you can control bed and nozzle temperatures as well as fan settings by layer within a single process. In additional to that you can also override fan setting with minimal layer time special cases and bridging cases and you can define what a bridge is considered to be.

 

Supports are customisable; you can place them where you want at whatever size, density and angle you want. You can also place them automatically based on overhang angle (that you specify) or adjust the auto placed supports. They work really well. At the moment support material is only vertical, but still its better than Cura support. (I’m not Cura bashing BTW, Cura is great, I’m just explaining why I prefer S3D).

 

Before printing, you get to preview all the gCode graphically either slice by slice or line by line. It shows you all the retracts and rapids and if you have coast selected, you can see these too. The preview is a 3D model that can be sectioned anywhere and each bead of plastic is colour coded for speed so you can make sure the speed is what you want it to be. Soon fan speed etc. will be incorporated into this graphical preview.

 

It also has all the functionality of Pronter face built in.

 

It’s very easy to use and I’m really struggling to find something I don’t like about it. You can almost certainly get all this functionality by using multiple free alternatives, but I found this to be a one stop shop, for everything I need, with a GUI I find easy to work with. I’m producing only geometric engineering models at the moment, nothing organic, but for what I want it’s perfect. I can’t qualify it for organic objects, but it may do those fine.

 

These are only some of the things I like about it, but there are many more. However I’m not selling it and I’ve gone on long enough now.

 

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Interesting Simon; does it have any DECENT support for dual extruders? Do not know how long you have been using it, is it buggy or solid? My stuff is mainly engineering and architectural. The later is easy really but the engineering side, with circular slopes and overhangs (well actually I call then underhangs if they are going from the centre outwards), has and continue to cause me problems with a decent exterior finish on various parts. I tend to use slic3r, just trying RC2 at the moment.

 

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Oh, I should add, I've only been using for a couple of weeks. I haven't found any bugs and I haven't had any crashes, but you know sometimes these things can vary from machine to machine.

 

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Hmn, no telno, postal or email address. No trial software available as far as I can see. No proper user manual it seems. Much as I would be happy to do so for something that gave me everything I wanted, do I really want to pay them 140 bucks???. This one is going to need some careful research!

 

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Simplify3d sounds like it might be worth a try.

Netfabb also supports different print settings at different points in a print, but it is difficult to configure and only supports sections based on Z height. So you can change the infill density, fan speed, temp, etc at different heights of the model.

The main feature I like about NetFabb is the ability to independently control just about every type of line... You can set your inner and outer contour speeds and thickness different so you can do inner contours fast and/or thick and then a slow fine outer contour to create a perfect surface. And it supports different line thickness's regardless of your nozzle size. You can do the same thing in Cura by entering a larger nozzle size than what you have and the result is that it simply pushes more volume out than it normally would which spreads out on the surface to make the line thicker. Again, you can set this independently in Netfabb for different lines so I personally like to use nice thick strong lines on the infill (0.8-1.0mm) which allows for a nice solid feeling model without having to use a really high in-fill density.

The half-height feature is nice too... That basically slices your model at the specified resolution (default is 0.08mm) but then doubles the number of slices for the outer contour so that it is printed at two 0.04 passes instead of a single 0.08mm pass. The infill is still only printed every 0.08mm. This drastically improves the outer appearance and while it is slower than printing everything at 0.08 it is MUCH faster than printing everything at 0.04 but the end result looks just like it was printed at 0.04.

The half-height feature could be integrated into Cura fairly easily I think... and so could the different line thickness and speed options... Cura already allows different speeds for infill and contours... But the configuration to make this work right would greatly complicate the user interface.

Cheers,

Troy.

 

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Hi Yellowshark, I've sent you a PM with the email address of the support chap I've been dealing with but I didn't think it appropriate to post on the forum. He has been very helpful and always responded within 12 hours, allowing for different time zones. They do have a contact page but they don't give out the email. Unfortunately there is no trial version and documentation is only in the form of overview tutorials. You could also try the S3D forum for feedback on dual extrusion. What specifically do you want to know? I could have a look for you and send you some screen shots. Obviously I can't try it out for you though.

Its a pity there's no in depth user manual to look at, I think it would be a good PR tool for them in addition to it being a useful resource to new users. On the upside, it is very easy to use. However you're right it isn't free so you need to make sure it's a good match for your requirements. In my opinion the fact that its costs money to buy is not necessarily a bad thing though. It ensures that they will continue to develop the software and attempt to stay ahead of the competition, otherwise no one will buy it and they'll go out of business. Its a tough market, especially with there being good and free slicers out there like Cura. There has to be a reason to buy it. For me it has, without a doubt, been a very good investment.

 

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Hi Simon, many thanks for the info and your positive statements. I agree, I would rather pay money for this type software for the reasons you state. I suspect I may well take up your offer to ask a couple of questions! but I will have a breeze through the forum tonight as a first step.

Pete

 

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Hi Pete, no problem, ask away, if I can find the answer easily, I'll let you know. The features that Troy has mentioned about Netfabb are also possible, although implementation is slightly different for some cases. I particularly like the fact that you can print both sparse infill and support material in alternate directions for alternate layers, so rather than each layer of sparse infill being a complete square grid, its actually a series of parallel lines at your chosen density. The layer before, and after, the current layer is at 90 degrees to this (or any angle you specify). You can also miss out infill every other 1 or 2 or whatever lines to significantly reduce the internal infill volume. This would be good for thin walled structures where you're not bridging large spans. For support material, this makes it quicker to print and easier to break up. I find Cura support unnecessarily strong.

 

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