New Software Aims to Simplify 3D Printing Settings

3DOptimizer works with most FFF/FDM 3D printers that support gcode.

3DOptimizer works with most FFF/FDM 3D printers that support gcode.

3DOptimizer user interface. Image courtesy of FabControl.

3DOptimizer is a new software tool for developing 3D printing settings. It is made to help battle a major issue with failed prints and bad results from 3D printers—wrong printing settings, the manufacturer FabControl SIA says. 3DOptimizer works with most FFF/FDM 3D printers that support gcode, including customized and self-built machines. It is available as an online service here. There’s a free trial available.

The main benefit of 3DOptimizer is to improve the output from existing printers and to adopt new materials quickly. It saves time and helps get to working settings quickly—in a few hours and using only a few meters of filament. It guides users through series of tests that help evaluate multiple parameter combinations at once. In this way—by printing tests and selecting results that work best, process parameters are tailored for the particular machine and material. This is not simulation, but real-world printing, so correct settings can be developed also for machines and materials that are custom, non-standard or off-spec. The output of 3DOptimizer is configuration parameters for slicing software—users can download configuration files for the most popular slicers or enter the parameters manually in to any slicer.

There can be different printing settings that allow a part to be printed, but the results can be very different. With predefined or standard settings the performance of a printed part might be less than optimal. With 3DOptimizer, users can develop settings for mechanical strength, visual quality or short printing time and get the best results possible from a particular printer and material combination.

“This project is based on research by Dr. Georgijs Bakradze. It started internally in a 3D printer company—we needed a systematic way to make new materials work. We know what it takes to achieve best results from FFF technology. You need to bring materials science, hands-on 3D printing, hardware and software experience together, and spend quite a bit of time. We quickly saw our software could help most users of 3D printers spend less time on trying to “dial in” their setup. It’s good to hear  that it does,” says Janis Grinhofs, co-founder FabControl, the company behind 3DOptimizer. 

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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