What is 3DOptimizer?
Before we can talk about what is included in the expanded refresh for 3DOptimizer or how it can help you improve print quality quickly, it’s helpful to understand what it is. Valdis Takeris, Chief Operating Officer for FabControl shared this, to highlight the purpose behind 3DOptimizer:
“3DOptimizer is a new software tool for developing 3D printing settings. It is made to help battle the number one issue with failed prints and bad results from 3D printers — wrong printing settings. 3DOptimizer works with most FFF/FDM 3D printers that support gcode, including customized and self-built machines. It is available as an online service…
The main benefit of 3DOptimizer is to improve the output from existing printers and to adopt new materials quickly. It saves time and helps get to working settings quickly — in a few hours and using only a few meters of filament. It guides users through a series of tests that help evaluate multiple parameter combinations at once.
In this way — by printing tests and selecting results that work best, process parameters are tailored for the particular machine and material. This is not simulation, but real-world printing, so correct settings can be developed also for machines and materials that are custom, non-standard or off-spec. The output of 3DOptimizer is configuration parameters for slicing software — users can download configuration files for the most popular slicers or enter the parameters manually in to any slicer.”
This clever bit of web-based software streamlines and organizes the tuning process. So, it helps get the best prints from any 3D printer and filament combination fast!
Every maker has printed test models multiple times chasing after the perfect settings. Whether it’s benchies, temperature towers, torture tests, or any variety of calibration cubes. No doubt that thousands of kilograms of plastic have been wasted as a result! Valdis states it this way:
“There can be different printing settings that allow a part to be printed, but the results can be very different. With predefined or standard settings, performing a printed part might be less than optimal. With 3DOptimizer, users can develop settings for mechanical strength, visual quality. Or short printing time and get the best results possible from a particular printer and material combination. We hope to increase everyone’s expectations of what we can achieve with low-cost 3D printing, given a properly developed printing process.”
“This project is based on research by Dr. Georgijs Bakradze. It started internally in a 3D printer company — we needed a systematic way to make new materials work. We know what it takes to achieve best results from FFF technology. You need to bring materials, science, hands-on 3D printing, hardware and software experience together, and spend more time. We quickly saw our software could help most users of 3D printers spend less time on trying to “dial in” their setup. It’s good to hear that it does.”
My initial impressions on the expanded refresh for 3DOptimizer seemed underwhelming. But that was just quickly glancing at the look and feel of the website, which hadn’t changed virtually at all. The first thing that stood out to me happened when starting a new test session. They provided support for many more 3D printers. During beta testing, 3DOptimizer only had templates for a handful of the most popular printers.
Think Creality Ender series, Prusas, and Anet A-series. FabControl have since added support for Anet E-series, Anycubic, Creality CR-series, Monoprice, Raise3D, Ultimaker, and more! Of course, you can still create a custom printer profile of your own. That includes both Delta and Cartesian style printers. Custom gcode scripts are easy to add (very helpful for Auto Bed Leveling probes or restoring manually adjusted bed meshes).
Here’s a list of several other updates Valdis shared with me:
- Guided testing mode decides for you [on] which tests to run and in which order
- New Help Center with step-by-step instructions, video overviews and example images for each test
- New de-retraction and coasting test
- Support for COVID recovery efforts
- A lot of minor fixes and compatibility improvements, including Ultimaker 3 support
- [Expectation] to have a new test [soon]. Named “Test 0: Z-offset”
The Help Center additions were excellent. I really appreciated having video overviews to reference. Also, the example images made sure my personal results for each test were within expectations. Let’s look at some images of 3DOptimizer’s expectations and my results:
How Do You Improve Print Quality Fast?
You sign up to use 3DOptimizer! Anyone visiting FabControl’s website for this amazing gem qualifies for a free, one week trial of 3DOptimizer. But remember what I told you earlier. As one of Inov3D’s readers, you get a special offer. As a reward for getting this far, you will get a 200% increase in trial time! After signing up for the initial free week, sign into your account. Then, click Full Access ( located next to your e-mail address in the top right corner). After the page loads, scroll down to “Redeem a voucher”. Enter INOV3D-STOPCOVID and click “Redeem”.
*Note, this code will only be valid through August 21st*
Congratulations! Now, you have three weeks of access to the expanded refresh for 3DOptimizer. Most importantly, a huge “Thank You!” to the 3DOptimizer team for this offer. We all know how critical improving print quality is when it comes to prints that need to remain as sanitary as possible. Have an idea about fresh ways to help fight against the spread of COVID-19? Want to share your own personal results after using 3DOptimizer? Leave a comment or join us on Facebook and get in the conversation!
I’ll be using 3DOptimizer to improve print quality on my WeeDo ME40Pro Dual extruder printer soon.