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Everyone has a favorite 3D printer slicer software, ranging from Cura, Pronteface, Slicer, and there are a lot of the free ones that are pretty decent as well.
Despite this, Simplify3D is something else to me, with its premium price of $149 Simplify3D is so confident in their software that right under the price they claim “Try it for two weeks! If you don’t love it, return it for a full refund.” I have to admit that I am quite impressed with Simplify3D.
What comes with your Simplify3D license?
- Powerful Software – the most powerful 3D printing software available, giving you complete control over how your prints are created
- Extensive Support Resources – access industry-leading resources that help you improve your print quality and quickly learn the software
- Full-Time Professional Support Staff – our 3D printing experts are here to help if you run into any problems along the way
- Latest and Greatest Updates – your license includes 1 year of free upgrades so that you can stay up-to-date with the latest improvements
- Instant Online Delivery – download and start using the software immediately after your purchase
Loading The New Simplify3D Slicer Profile
Having loaded the new slicer profile “as is” I immediately set out to calibrate cubes and Benchys using my Ender 3 Pro, CR10S Pro and CR10S5! The process of switching between the slicer profiles for the different machines was a breeze. It is very easy to load the slicer settings and select the machine I want from the drop-down menu. A couple of hours later, I was amazed at what I see. The Cura profile I had before was pretty effective, but the one from Simplify3D was excellent right out of the gate. Not only did it have smoother layers, but all the prints came out excellent! I was blown away. Was this love at first slice?
Taking the time to explore the software, I started to poke my nose into the various menu options. Okay, let’s be honest. The techy world is divided into two types, those who just want it to work, and those who just can’t leave things alone. As a result of my investigation, I discovered that the build plate can contain multiple objects, each using a different slicer setting. As an example, if you are printing a model and you have some smaller, more complex parts, and some larger, less detailed parts, you can adjust the slicer settings for each component separately. It doesn’t matter whether it’s print speed, layer height, support definition, etc. In the slicer profile, each setting can be tailored to each individual item or batch of items, giving the user the maximum amount of control and flexibility.
Simplify3D is loaded with features
The machine control panel is another interesting feature of all slicers and this one can also be found on any slicer. The layout is similar to those of most of the others, but let’s face it, there is only so much you can present the same information in. It is easy to understand and use the machine control panel of Simplify3D. One of the most useful and intuitive features is the Emergency stop button, which halts everything in a matter of seconds. Ideal if you accidentally click on the wrong axis and then nearly crash into your part on the print surface!
The bed leveling wizard was a worthwhile find. I personally use a feeler gauge to level my beds. I tried using paper, but I didn’t like it. Nevertheless, I find it very irritating to keep scrolling through the menu and having to manually move the axes and turn the steppers off. In fact, it does not always give you the same spot every time. Therefore, I was happy that Simplify3D software has a hand tool that helps you move the nozzle to the right place automatically. Making sure that you run around all 4 corners twice, you are able to set up in a delightful spot. In my opinion, it is that sort of useful addition that makes this slicer worth paying for. I mean, at least in my opinion.
Included in the Simplify3D software, there is a wizard for setting up dual extrusion. However, I don’t have a dual extruder printer to test that with. Possibly something to invest in the future?! Reading up on the Simplify3D site I have found that the slicer can support up to 6 extruders!
Another handy option is the support structure settings. They are infinitely customisable! You can add supports remove them or just give the program a parameter and it will stick supports everywhere! Or if you tell it, only from the build surface. This has been handy if you’re printing an item with a thread. It saves picking the supports out of the thread…and trust me that can be really, really irritating!
Yet more Support
Sticking with supports, often it’s a pain to remove them on the underside of objects and they can damage the surface of the print. Simplify3D has an elegant solution to this. In the support menu, there is a section for “Dense Support Layers”. What this does is print a layer or layers depending on your settings between the part and the supports. Now a word of warning this setting can cause damage to finer details, but will in most cases make support damage a thing of the past!
I would imagine you could use the dual extrusion settings to use a soluble filament for your support – I haven’t tried this but I don’t see anything preventing it!
The final support feature I want to include is the ability to create stronger support structures by changing the layer direction inside the support material. When printing something large with a tall support, it is less likely to fail.
One at a time? Not for S3D
The features keep on piling up! Next on our hit list is “Sequential printing”. This is a printing mode that allows you to optimise how multiple parts are printed by allowing you to print parts one at a time. This helps to minimise the stringing that can occur when moving between models.
An important part of this mode of printing is an intelligent software that will detect potential collisions and change the print procedure accordingly. This allows sequential printing to be used with more complicated prints, such as multiple dual-extrusion prints.
Once you’re all sliced, Simplify3D gives you the option to run a pre-print simulation. This allows you to see the exact actions your 3D printer will carry out before you even click start. You can watch an animation of the extruder as it lays down each individual layer. In addition, it shows you the speeds, sequences, and settings that are used for your print. As a result, this gives you the ability to quickly check these settings. All this is designed to stop wasting time on failed prints and simulation to locate potential issues before even loading your Gcode into the printer. Now obviously it can’t account for everything but its a pretty damn good start!!
Finally, I want to talk about the back up that Simplify3D gives. Freely available on their page is the S3D Forum. All manner of knowledge is available here from the most seasoned printer to the newest on the block, with print quality guides and information abound. It’s hard to find a reason not to join!
When discussing Simplify3D a lot of people are put off by the cost. I can understand that.
I personally would like to see them implement some kind of Tiered subscription, where users pay a monthly fee and dependant on the fee get access to a set level of settings. For a small fee, set basic access then increase the features and the cost proportionally to open up more of the advanced features. Similar concepts can be found in CNC software. Even the likes of Microsoft do monthly subscriptions for their MS Office Package. Perhaps something for Simplify 3D’s team to consider?
I’ve barely scratched the surface of this amazing piece of software. I’m hoping that I will be able to continue to use it and continue to find more features. Enabling me to bring you more detailed articles in the future. With the impending release of Simplify3D V5, it’s an exciting time to be interested in slicers!