PrintSYSt (Beta): Great Concept, Not Ready for Prime Time(yet)!

PrintSYSt, the Web Based Slicer

PrintSYSt is an interesting concept.  It is a web based slicer utility for many common printers.  I think that the next major innovation for 3D printing will be something that truly makes 3D printing accessible for everyone.  There are quite a few things that need to fall into place before that happens.  One of those things is seamless slicing, with no room for error.  PrintSYSt is currently in Beta testing.

Web Based for Convenienceprintsyst-slicer view

PrintSYSt is completely web based.  This isn’t just a cloud based service for hosting profiles or print jobs, it actually slices your model!  Just go to printSYSt.com, upload your STL, choose your printer, and you can either save the gcode or save the stl file.  Sounds simple enough right?  That’s their general plan!  PrintSYSt even gives you a percentage for success based on your printer and the uploaded model!  As a lurker and occasional helper on multiple 3D printer Facebook groups, I see plenty of noob mistakes related to slicer configuration.  What if this whole situation could be entirely avoided?  Wouldn’t something like this be the next step toward moving 3D printing into EVERY home?

How Does PrintSYSt Work?

I got a chance to ask Eitan Yona, our lead contact for PrintSYSt, some questions about how PrintSYSt works.  This is what he had to say:

Printsyst AI technology analyzes complex geometries of an object, referring to our large database of models. Using a trained algorithm, based on experts’ experience, it automatically defines the best parameters for printing.  To automate 3D model screening workflow, Printsyst developed a 3D model intent identification algorithm which allows facilitation of 3D printing knowledge without prior expertise.

The algorithm uses many parameters including printer type and brand to predict printing results.  As it is experienced based, you might get different gcode files. The algorithm improves himself during the time as it based on machine learning.  We can support profiles as needed. Therefore, if you require specific profiles, please let us know.

To achieve better results, the R&D team is updating the algorithm constantly (Printsyst development is still in process). Today we able to predict optimal printing parameters according to the model functionality.

How’s PrintSYSt Do?

Well, PrintSYSt definitely makes it easy to get gcode files.  When it works, that is.  The software is in beta, so PLEASE bear that in mind.  Quite occasionally, when I would be uploading models, the software would error out and tell me something was wrong with the model.  I am not sure there are any size limitations for STL files, but it would happen equally between big or small models.

Room for ImprovementAztex Chief

There were also numerous faults when trying to get gcodes.  Typically, on my 3rd attempt at clicking the ‘Print‘ button.. I would get what I wanted.  What I wanted, was a complete Gcode file in the ‘RepRap’ format.  This is important to me, because I use mesh bed leveling.  To call up my bed leveling routine, I need to add ‘M42o S1’ to the startup script in the gcode file.  While pulling gcode files from PrintSYSt, I would occasionally get UltiGCode files.  This language is based around Ultimakers, and was no good for what I wanted to do.

Broken Code..

Sometimes I would get the right ‘RepRap’ style gcode, but it wouldn’t all be there.  Sometimes, it would just send me a partial Gcode that was missing parts of the ending.  I came down to check on the printer a few times, and it would appear to look just like a bad SD card.  The print was partially completed, printer ran a homing sequence and was saying it was ‘Complete’ in Octopi.  I am not sure how this program runs behind the scenes, but hopefully this is an easy fix.  After the first failure, I started inspecting the gcode files that PrintSYSt was giving me to make sure the end code was there.  Check out the Skullys below.

Speaking of end code, I found the end code for the ‘RepRap’ files for ‘Wanhao’ printers never gave the m140 command to kill power to the print bed after printing.  It ran the M104 command to kill the nozzle twice, and this wasn’t a fluke.  PrintSYSt did this on every completed ‘RepRap’ gcode I received.  I will assume this is just a typo in the PrintSYSt config.  Nevertheless, this is a major flaw that needs to be corrected as soon as possible!

PrintSYSt’s Default Settings

I tried a few different printer profiles to get their gcode files for inspection.  It seems that PrintSYSt’s default behavior is to print with a large brim, 0.1mm layer height, 1.8mm worth of perimeters, and finally a relatively high infill.  I would guess around 30% infill or so from comparing it to other prints that I have done in the past.  The CR10 profile would even give me ‘every where’ supports on the faithful SKULLY.   This is totally unnecessary.  The brim isn’t really an issue, I understand why PrintSYSt is doing that.  The randomness of the supports is what kind of surprises me.

Things PrintSYSt does Right

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So, what does PrintSYSt do right?  Well, it’s easy to use.  Like I mentioned earlier:

  1. Upload STL
  2. Choose Printer
  3. Save Gcode
  4. Upload to Printer
  5. Print Gcode

PrintSYSt offers no options, just a few clicks and you’re printing.  This is definitely a step in the right direction for main stream adoption!

If you have problems printing the file, there’s a little chat box that will open with a chat bot inside.  It offers extremely generic advice and is extremely limited in responses.  It would be nice to see this actually catered to the specific printer that you chose during the printing process.  Maybe even add in some printer specific troubleshooting steps with pictures or videos!

How does it Look?

All of these were printed in Eryone Silk Gold PLA filament.  Overall, the quality from PrintSYSt was acceptable.  These were all printed on my Tevo Tornado with Micro Swiss all-metal hotend.  To make sure I didn’t have any issues, I used the Wanhao printer profile.  The Wanhao’s have a direct drive extruder compared to my Tornado’s bowden, but with my All-Metal hotend the retraction numbers should be similar.

Overall, print quality was acceptable, not the worst.. not the best.. but it was the easiest to use!  I have similar flaws and defects that I get from my Cura profiles.  While using Simplfy3D, I don’t get any of these cosmetic defects.  I will assume it has something to do with the way that Cura and PrintSYSt handle overlap or wiping.  I am not certain though.

Conclusion

To summarize, I am excited at the potential that this program has.  It has the potential to be something that is idiot proof and easy to use.  I just hope that all of these bugs can get knocked out before PrintSYST comes out of beta.  PrintSYST is moving in the right direction and I am eager to see how it looks and feels when completed.  As of right now, I can’t recommend it all for beginners, because the apparent flaws that it has towards it’s ending Gcode.  If you want to try out PrintSYSt, remember to check your Gcode!  I will be following up with the PrintSYSt team in 6 months to check on their progress, so be prepared for a followup article.

 

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