There are two main applications for managing 3D prints and G-Code generation. Cura is a fantastic application that is seeing a lot of development from the heavy hitters in the industry. Initially developed by Ultimaker, Lulzbot has their own edition of Cura, It’s the default software packaged with thousands of different printers. Slic3r, as well, has seen a lot of development over the years and some interesting hacks. Do you want to print non-planar surfaces? Slic3r can do that. Slic3r and Cura are two sides of the CAM part of the 3D printing coin, although Cura is decidedly the prettier side.
The ability to combine the extensibility of Slic3r with the user interface of Cura has been on our wish list for a while now. It’s finally time. [Josef Prusa] has released PrusaControl, a 3D printing CAM option that combines the best of Slic3r into a fantastic, great looking package. What are the benefits? What’s it like? check that out below.
The release of PrusaControl follows just a few months after the release of Slic3r Prusa Edition. The greatest change in this branch of the Slic3r family tree is the addition of variable layer thickness slicing. In short, variable layer slicing allows for very, very high-resolution prints that are only high-resolution where you want a lot of detail.
The variable layer thickness slicing in the Prusa edition of Slic3r is fantastic. We took a look at one of the first releases, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. In this teardown, I printed a Pokemon that desperately needed low layer height on the top of its head. using the standard slicer settings for a high-resolution print, I got a printed Pokemon in five hours. using low-resolution settings, I got a Pokemon in one hour. With the variable layer height settings, I got a fantastic looking print in just over two hours. Variable layer height slicing is one of the killer features of 3D printing. It allows for high resolution while avoiding insanely long print times. The fact that it took so long for such a great feature to make it into one of the standard 3D printing software packages is puzzling.
However, something is rotten in the state of Slic3r. While this may come as a surprise to any individual who has been using it for half a decade, Slic3r is not easy to use. It’s confusing, befuddling, and ugly. no one would ever accuse the GUI of an open source program of looking good, but Slic3r is pretty bad.
There are exactly two recommended, complimentary applications used to prepare STLs for 3D printers: Slic3r and Cura (Repetier and ReplicatorG are so 2012, and Simplify3D costs money). Newbies are getting 3D printers by the container load, and makers need an application that is easy to use. Cura will be the default application shipped with all new printers. Its ease of use cuts down on customer support, allowing for a lower cost to the consumer. That’s why Ultimaker loves it, that’s why Lulzbot loves it, and that’s why it’s the slicer recommended by the popular $200 Monoprice printer.
So Why PrusaControl?
Despite [Prusa]’s position as one of the leading makers of 3D printers, he’s been a Slic3r fan from the beginning. Slic3r is, after all, slightly a lot more extensible with capabilities for modifier meshes, weirder infills, and odd bed shapes. ease of use indicates lower support costs, though, so the best option is a Cura frontend with the Slic3r backend. That’s exactly what PrusaControl is; it takes the slicing engine from Slic3r Prusa edition and “distils the settings down for the user and put our knowledge to the backend to get the same results.”
Is it for everyone? No, if you’re reading Hackaday, you’re undoubtedly in the 99th percentile of human ambition, capability, and ingenuity. If you’re complaining about a dumbed-down Slic3r, this isn’t for you. PrusaControl is training wheels, and that’s a good thing. We don’t need newcomers to 3D printing to fall on their face all the time.
So What’s in PrusaControl
Given that introduction, what can you do in PrusaControl? Not much, and that’s by design.
The interface is exactly what you would expect from a simplified, Cura-derived slicer. drop an STL on the PrusaControl window, and the model shows up. You can edit printer settings such as material (various brands of PLA and ABS are included, as are some Taulman and E3D filaments), quality, infill, and if supports must be generated or not. There’s a toggle switch for a brim, and besides position, rotation, and scale settings, that’s it. PrusaControl doesn’t have the fancy settings.
The main interface for PrusaControl. Det du ser er hva du får.
The color print interface. After generating G-code for the model, the color print interface allows the user to pause printing to change filament.
There are a few a lot more options, available from the settings menu. These include the UI language, the model of printer, nozzleDiameter, og noen radioknapper for feilsøking. Vil du legge til skriveren til den listen? Du må redigere noen få JSON-filer. Har du en initiativrik ånd, og har du endret din Prusa I3 for en større varme seng? Du må redigere STL-filer som er lagret i dypet på Prusakontrol-katalogen.
Er Prusakontrol svært begrenset? Ja, men det er poenget. Du kan gi noen en ferdigmontert skriver og en kopi av Prusakontrol, og de skal skrive ut på femten minutter.
3D-utskrift er vanskelig. Dette kan komme som en overraskelse for enhver person som har brukt en skriver med tanke på at vi gjorde varmer ut av Nichrom-ledningen. Hvis 3D-utskrift er å vokse noe mer enn det allerede har, må skriverne og mye enda viktigere at programvaren må være enkel å bruke. Hvis vi ikke vil at en 3D-skriver skal bli det 21. århundre ekvivalent av klokken på en videospiller som blinker 12:00, må det være en enkel å bruke skiver.
Prusakontrol er nettopp det. Ja, det er begrenset, men det er poenget.