How does Slic3r work?

http://makezine.com/projects/getting-started-with-slic3r/

This is the source I’m using for Slic3r basic tutorials. I’ve been searching for different tutorials, and this is the most specific and relevant one. However, this tutorial is designed for older version Slic3r. I couldn’t find any tutorials that’s about the newest version. It’ll still be fine since the basic functions will be the same. The tutorials mentioned about many different features of Slic3r. I’ll only include the important ones into my blog.

  • The first subset of Print Settings is “Layers and Perimeters”. The “Layer Height” is the distance the Z-platform (or extruder) moves between each layer. So, a smaller layer height will generally result in a better looking, smoother part, but will also take longer to print. Anywhere between 0.2 and 0.3mm is probably a good place to start.
  • The “First Layer Height” is exactly what it sounds like, and can be entered in mm or % (a First Layer Height of 50% will be half of the standard Layer Height).
  • Remember: a print with layer height 0.1mm will have twice as many layers as a print with a 0.2mm layer height, and will therefore take twice as long to slice and print.

I’ll prefer with a thinner layer height so that the result will be better looking and smoother. I’ll still need to confirm with Mr. Lancett to decide what we need.

  • “Fill density” is the percentage of each layer that will be filled in with plastic (0.2 = 20%). You shouldn’t have to go above 60% for any reason, unless you want a really dense part. 20% fill is just fine for your everyday prints, but adjust at will and play with the parts once they’re complete to feel the difference in structural stability.
  • A density of 0 will only print the perimeter(s) of your part, so it will be completely hollow.
  • The “Fill Pattern” is the path that the extruder takes when doing the infill. These don’t have a huge impact on structural stability of the part. The “Top/bottom fill pattern” is the pattern used on the top and bottom solid layers.
  • The advanced settings give you even more control over the infill, although I don’t think I’ve ever touched them. “Infill every 2 layers” will alternate between layers of filled (with the fill density you chose) and hollow. “Infill every 3 layers” will have two hollow layers between every filled layer, etc. I’ve always left this at 1, the default.
  • You can also choose to insert a solid layer every __ layers, for extra stability. The “Fill angle” is the angle at which the extruder will do its filling paths, based on the axes’ orientation of your machine. I don’t see how changing this will affect your part very much, but it may have varying levels of impact based on the Fill patterns you use.
  • I typically leave “Only retract when crossing perimeters” unchecked, as is default. We’ll learn about retraction soon, and then this will make sense.

I’ll also keep the fill density as 0.2 since I don’t want a really dense part. I’ll play around with the fill density. It’s not as significant in printing, though it changes the pattern of the layer and the aesthetic of the case.

  • Now onto speed! “Perimeter speed” is how fast the perimeters will be printed. 50 is a good place to start. “Small perimeter” speed is how fast small features will be printed. This is typically slower than your normal perimeter speed, to give the plastic more time to cool down.
  • “External perimeters” are the outer perimeters of your part — the most important ones. I’d start with a speed similar to, if not exactly the same, as the standard perimeter speed, and go from there.
  • “Infill” speed is how fast your machine will print during the infill stage. Since clean lines and extreme accuracy aren’t paramount here, crank it up! The speed I’m using here, 80 mm/s, is quite conservative, especially for the Ultimaker, but it’s probably a good place to start.
  • “Solid infill” speed is how fast the solid infill layers will be printed. These paths are more important than your everyday infills, so keep this slower than your standard infill speed. Don’t bring the speed down too much, however, since 100% infill layers take awhile.
  • The “Top solid infill” speed is how fast the top, 100% filled layer(s) will be printed. Since it’s important that these look nice, keep this speed lower than your two other infill speeds.
  • “Bridges” are used to fill in a gap, where the extruder stretches filament between two walls over air. If the gap’s any greater than around 0.5″, you’re going to get drooping, no matter how fast you move, but moving quickly will prevent anything major. Printing material and nozzle temperature will have an effect on plastic droop during bridging.
  • “Travel” speed is the speed at which your machine will move between two extrusion points. Since you’ll never be extruding at this time, you might as well crank up the speed here as well. I’d recommend starting at 175 mm/s and moving up from there. Machines that use a light, Bowden extruder (like the Ultimaker) can move as quickly as 300 mm/s.
  • “First layer speed” will modify how quickly your machine prints the first layer. I’d start with 50% and go from there. Read the second part of Rich’s tutorial on getting your first layer to stick.

This seem to be one of the most important part of printing. I should keep it the same as what it suggested.

  • Now we’re moving onto the second main tab, “Filament Settings.” Your machine probably came with some plastic, or you may have bought some other spools in different colors or materials. Your filament is advertised as being 3mm or 1.75mm in diameter, but that’s never quite right.
  • So, take a caliper or micrometer to your filament at a few different positions, and average your readings. Input them into Slic3r with more accuracy than I did here (ex: 1.69mm or 2.92mm).
  • The “Extrusion multiplier” will simply alter the value you just entered into the “Diameter” box. Unless you have a specific reason to do so, leave this at 1.
  • Extruder and bed temperature are also very important. You can specify a different temperature for the first layer. If anything, run your extruder hotter than usual to start, to promote extra gooeyness and stickiness.
  • For PLA, an extruder temperature of 185 is probably as low as you want to go (This Ultimaker profile is set for PLA printing). For ABS, I’d recommend starting at 220.
  • If you have a heated bed, use it at whatever temperature you feel comfortable with, since anything will help. For PLA, 60 is probably a good place to start, and 110 is good for ABS (although if your bed takes forever to get that hot, dial it down, so you won’t have to wait hours for a print to start).
  • If you don’t have a heated bed, keep the bed temperature at 0. If it isn’t at 0, the print will never start.

I’ll need to check the filament after we buy it. I’ll need to change the temperature into the specific filament type I need to use. Also, the tutorial talked about the bed setting. It could be the reason why the printer couldn’t print my thing last time.

  • Now we can move onto the Printer Settings tab. Before we start with General settings, break out the ruler. Measure the length and width of your print area, and input the results into the “Bed size” boxes. The “Print center” should be half of the Bed length and width, so the print starts at the exact center of the build platform.
  • The Z offset is at 0mm by default, and should be left there unless you frequently change to a build platform of a different thickness. If, for example, your heated glass platform is removable, you can set the Z offset to its thickness so your machine will automatically adjust for it when you slice a part with that profile.
  • The “G-code flavor” should be fine at RepRap (Marlin/Sprinter), but definitely take a look at the drop-down and select the one that most accurately describes your machine. The manufacturer of your machine and the electronics they use will be much more influential in this than I…
  • Leave the “Use relative E distances” box unchecked unless you’re absolutely sure that your machine uses relative positioning. Most use absolute positioning, which states the end point of the current move in the G-code, regardless of where you are.
  • The “Extruders” number should only be changed from 1 if you have more than one extruder on your machine. If so, go back to the “Multiple Extruders” section of the Print Settings tab and mess with those settings.

For the printer setting I should keep everything as default setting beside the bed size, since it’s not a good idea to mess around with it. I’ll need to measure it next week.

  • Custom G-Code is important, and is probably something that the manufacturer of your machine can help you with more than I can. In general, the “Start G-Code” usually includes commands to zero out all three axes, heat up the extruder and heated bed, do some sort of test extrusion, and start the print.
  • The “End G-Code” typically turns both the extruder and heated bed off, zeros out all three axes again, and lowers the Z platform for easy part removal.

For this part I’ll defiantly need Mr. Lancett for help. I should meet with him and figure this section out together, as well as other setting sections.

  • Now we can finally move back to the Plater tab! Load a part by clicking “Add”, or dragging it into the grid on the left. The part will automatically snap to the center of your build platform.
  • You can add additional parts in the same manner, and then duplicate them by clicking “More” after selecting them (selected parts will be red). They’ll be automatically arranged as you add them onto the plate.
  • You can also rotate the parts with the “45° ccw,” “45° cw,” and “Rotate…” buttons. Clicking “Rotate…” will bring up a text box, into which you can enter a specific angle. Scaling is also possible with the “Scale…” button, and works similarly to the “Rotate…” button.

This part is pretty straight forward. I’ll need to use it when I upload my file onto Slic3r. ‘Scale’ may be needed when making the correct dimension of the phone case.


After looking at the tutorial website, I also opened my Slic3r app to check the features mentioned in the tutorial. Some of the more advance settings only appear when I change Slic3r into EXPERT mode.

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