Slic3r

Almost four years ago, I started my 3D print career on a Leapfrog Creatr. Nobody beliefs me when I tell this machine is still producing great prints. Last week, the first structural problem arrived: the fans became noisy and after some time stopped turning. A little push made them run again, but still very noisy and after some time they stopped again. I mailed Leapfrog and they will sent me new fans. After almost four years of daily use, the fans are finished: seems normal to opqrstu3D, as long as this robot still prints cool stuff.

So, for the moment no printing and some time left to publish a new post. This time about Slic3r. Opqrstu3D uses this slicer because it came with the printer. It’s free software with many options and it’s great. I am an experienced user, but the possibilities are almost endless. By changing Slic3r settings a 3D printer can produce dramatic changes in it’s endproduct. It started with my invention of ‘infill only’, resulting in ‘un3Dprinted’ lights.

thrill © opqrstu3D 2016

Next, I learned about modifying meshes, or using several infill patterns in one layer, a vey graphic kind of 3D printing. You can use different patterns in different densities to create unexpected (un3Dprinted) prints. I used this technique to create a 3D printed Picasso:

Abstract Painting 26, 3D printed by opqrstu 2017

To get this, Slic3r needs to know which part of your drawing gets which pattern and density. You transport this information to Slic3r by using multiple STL’s. If you want five different patterns in your print, you have to feed Slic3r at least six STL’s. To get these STL’s you have to do six drawings. It is a complicated and time consuming method, BUT great results. If you want to know more, follow this link: www.3ders.org

‘Modifying meshes’ works in horizontal direction. This is an awesome tool to create 3D printed graphics, but for my lights, I need to modify patterns in vertical direction.

Slic3r is a great tool, but comes with minimal information about it’s possibilities. I knew there must be a way to change patterns vertically. It took some time to get it right. It is almost like ‘modifying meshes’. Here, you use the STL’s as a part, instead as a modifier. Confusing maybe, but that’s the way it is. I cannot present a link to check this out, because there isn’t. The do this at home, you have to try and fail, try and fail and try.

Modifying infill patterns vertically ©opqrstu 2017

Slic3r modify meshes

Today, there was some time left for new experiments in Slic3r, or designing and printing multiple infill patterns in one print. This only makes sense when you use ‘infill’ as decoration in the design. In this session opqrstu3D designs and prints a coaster, or a thing you put under a glass if you want to avoid direct contact between the glass and a table.

I won’t explain the process, but to give an idea; every infill pattern has it’s own STL.
This coaster contains three patterns, which means: there are at least three designs involved. At least, because I also need a general STL (the object) and a contour STL.
In Slic3r, you load the object.stl and set zero top layers, zero bottom layers and zero perimeters. Next you load the other STL’s. These are the modifiers, they change the settings/content of the ‘object’ anywhere you want. I learned this method from publications of Steve Wood at 3ders.org. He explains ‘modifying meshes’ perfectly in a four-part series. If you wanna know more, follow this link.

Today’s experiment resulted in four very un3Dprinted products. With some fantasy, these coasters look like they are made of some kind of fabric. ‘Modifying meshes’ rules!

Coaster © opqrstu 2017

Printed on 3D4makers PET-G. Five layers, layer hight 0.30 mm

Update

Opqrstu3D was experimenting with ‘modifier meshes’ in Slicr3r to create a Picasso for a network art competition. Today, we proudly present, Abstract Painting 26 3D printed:

© opqrstu 2017

We could check out many more settings, but this is it for Picasso. You can change values for pattern, density and orientation. ‘Modifier meshes’ adds many new possibilities to the fine art of 3D printing. I would like to write more about this, but since we started using Instagram, it is getting hard to spent lots of time on writing decent stories. I can use my time much better at designing, printing and checking out different ‘modifier meshes’ settings. So, the days of this blog are numbered. Once in a while, like today, I will blog some of my achievements, but for following The Opqrstu3D Print Experience daily, Instagram @prdcz is the place to be.

One of the unique selling propositions of 3D design/printing is on demand product design. My greengrocer needed displays to pinpoint his wonderful products and asked if we could design and print the product. We could and did, but … it takes 50 minutes to produce one display. Greengrocer Labes needed 44 displays or 35 hours print time. Expensive displays, It’s just a small piece of plastic. To charge over € 10 a piece, could easily be considered a crime. But is it?

product display © opqrstu 2017

It’s custom made/designed and 3D printed. To check out the price tag, opqrstu3D uploaded the STL to it’s Shapeways shop and guess what? The Shapeways plastic price tag is € 10,06. When I sell the display at this price, I do not earn a penny!

On the display project, opqrstu3D learned two things:
1. My Leapfrog can print 44 almost identical products.
2. It is hard to earn money in 3D printing.