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Bed-leveling to get that perfect first layer. Then, there are temperature towers, stringing tests, and bridging challenges. All so that we can get the best out of our 3D printers. The amount of wasted filament and time is enough to fill an entire recycling plant for a year, right!? I’ve often wondered, “There must be a faster, easier way.” Well, now there is! The team at FabControl have released 3DOptimizer (Open Beta).
Why 3DOptimizer was created
3DOptimizer is a unique software tool to tune the main FFF printing settings for open-materials printers. Said another way, it quickly helps you find the best Slicer values. FabControl states that,
“Finding the right printing settings is not easy. Two extreme situations exist at the moment. Either printer manufacturers offer users a black box with predefined printing settings and a limited number of printing materials (closed printers), or printer manufacturers leave the users alone with dozens of printing settings and materials (open-materials printers).
Due to the multifactorial of the printing process, one has to test many different combinations of slicing parameters. 3DOptimizer offers a way to make your testing process replicable and traceable by using a systematic testing framework. In 3DOptimizer, you can test up to 28 different parameter combinations in a single print, and, thus, determine the optimal printing settings much faster.”
I contacted one of the team members, Krišs Bērzkalns. He shared that it “started as an in-house tool at a 3D printer hardware manufacturer. Once the tool proved to be useful, it was decided to branch out as a separate company and develop the software further.”
How the Software Works
First, 3DOptimizer has you select a testing target; stronger, faster, or better. In other words, if you are looking for mechanical performance from your prints, choose strength. Instead, want shorter printing time without sacrificing success rate? Faster. Or how about the best appearance quality? Better. From there, the wizard sets up tests for as few as four core settings:
- First-layer track height vs first-layer printing speed
- Extrusion temperature vs printing speed
- Retraction distance
- Bridging extrusion multiplier vs bridging printing speed
As a result of the selected testing target, most values are pre-populated to match your goal. Next, the wizard generates g-code that creates a series of parameter combinations in the same print. Ergo, you can visually see the impact each setting makes. Then, you choose the best parameter combination; which is used in the next test. Once all tests are complete, a configuration file is generated for you to download and import into Slicer software. Currently, in Open Beta, 3DOptimizer supports Cura, Simplify3D, and PrusaSlicer. Here are images of my tests, which I used GST3D filament to run.
- Optimize printing settings for any material/printer combination
- No simulation – real-world tests, giving you settings that work for your exact machine
- Save time – total time for all 12 tests is approximately 4 hours
- Download tuned settings as Slicer configuration files
- Use a repeatable, logical approach
- Identify trends – instantly see how core changes affect printing results
- Save material – using a 0.4mm nozzle, all 12 test use only about 25m of filament
- Share and distribute settings you combine
Don’t wait, act now before it’s too late!
Because 3DOptimizer is only in open-beta until end of March, sign up now! Until then, everyone is more than welcome to try it out and give feedback on how to improve it. While FabControl tests it extensively in-house, real-world feedback and real-life use cases will help improve it even faster. Krišs also shared that they are currently working on adding custom g-code beginnings and ends. This will allow for more customizing, like adding auto bed-levelling or presenting the finished print. Remember, the main goal is to eliminate the hours of guesswork usually associated with FFF/FDM process development.
If you want to learn more about the impact different Slicers have on your prints when using the same settings, read my article about the Artillery Genius.