Simplify3D

simplify3d_logo_rUp until this point I used Cura 2.x, which met all of my STL to G-code slicing needs. But the caliper battery tray project demanded more.

I needed to print supports for the battery tray project components because the shape could not be laid flat on the print bed. Cura, like all decent slicer software, could generate supports. However, the Cura-generated supports are a take-it-or-leave-it affair: There is no way to edit the support structure. This is a problem when the structure ends up in an inconvenient place that is dimensional critical and difficult to clean up. Such was the case for one of the fastener holes.

After a few failed attempts due to inconveniently located support structures, I looked for a solution online. The common answer seems to be to leave Cura behind and switch to Simplify3D, so I did. I immediately dove into the part that motivated the purchase: editing supports.

s3dsupports
When tearing your hair out, the Manual Placement feature alone makes it worth the $150 price.

I was very happy to see it worked as advertised! I was able to add and remove supports as needed to make sure I got support where I needed, and avoided supports where the shape is critical and I couldn’t afford to have support material in there.

Another benefit of Simplify3D is the G-code visualization component. Cura had rudimentary visualization but I was never happy with it. My workaround had been to upload the .gcode file to http://gcode.ws for visualization, but going to yet another web site was a huge hassle in my workflow.

Sadly, Simplify3D was not all win. The print rafts generated by Cura worked out much better for my printer than the rafts generated by Simplify3D. Fiddling with raft parameters were to no avail: Cura rafts were much more helpful and peeled off cleaner than those from Simplify3D.

You win some, you lose some, such is the story of an evolving field like 3D printing.

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