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Steve123
(@steve123)
Eminent Member
Tree supports

Could someone from Prusa please comment on what the plan and timeline for integrating tree supports into slicerPE is?

Posted : 30/03/2019 11:54 pm
kieran.s4
(@kieran-s4)
Re: Tree supports

Agreed. Apparently Cura has it now for FDM printing. Chuck (CHEP) had a YouTube video about it. Really good feature.
It's there in beta for Slic3r PE 1.42 for SLA, so the code is there. It surely can't be much of a stretch.

Posted : 31/03/2019 5:10 am
Steve123
(@steve123)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
Re: Tree supports

Yes, agreed. I was just looking at Cura when I posted the message. When I got my Mk3 last summer, I tried Cura. They had beta tree supports then as well. It looks to me there has been a big improvement with Cura tree supports since then. I eventually settled on SlicerPE because the quality of the print was better than Cura. At the time I experienced small layer shifting and imperfections with the output of Cura so I abandoned it. However, the supports were an order of magnitude better than SlicerPE. Maybe two orders of magnitude better. Really, not even comparable, Slicer being a complete fail by comparison. Nevertheless, I have used Slicer since then and avoided printing anything that required supports.

Since then I have come to realize the problem I experienced is more likely related to the complexity of the STL file I was using at the time when comparing the two slicers. I can make the MK3 go bananas if I slice a large STL file. At the time I did the comparison, I was using a very high resolution setting in Fusion360 to generate my STL files. I am not sure why the size of the STL should even matter except that it would take more time to slice. Generally, the actual resolution of the printer is largely determined by the layer height. But for some reason the SlicerPE doesn't properly spatially filter the X-Y g-code and the end result when you ingest a large STL file is a very large g-code file with sub micron tool movements. Sending a large amount of g-code to the printer causes problems because the printer cannot process the g-code fast enough and keep up. This brings up another point, SlicerPE, Cura, etc. should tell you when the printer cannot keep up with the g-code stream. And, the printer should also tell you when it cannot keep up. So, this is the issue that what was causing the print artifacts I encountered last year with Cura.

FWIW, the slicer should also be able to alert you when you have features in your STL that cannot be accurately rendered by the slicer. You shouldn't have to waste your time printing something they should be able to tell you about in advance.

Getting back to the supports, SlicerPE supports are not very good. They are almost always very difficult to remove, create an unacceptable surface finish on overhangs, etc. Prusa Research promised improvement last year but as far as I can see we haven't seen anything yet.

I have watched a Youtube video demonstrating a better way to move the support enforcer around in 1.42.0. So I guess it is true there has been improvement with the UI. The former UI (1.41.3 and earlier) is a disaster in this respect . For any 3D company to even claim 1.41.3 has a usable UI when it comes to supports is telling of how much importance they give to them. Even in its new 1.42.0 form it is terrible, (improved from "disaster" I guess). Geez, it's not rocket science in this day and age. There are existing 3D engines that can be used for the UI. Examples include the FreeCAD engine or the Fusion360 engine (I forget which one it is but Fusion360 has its roots in an open source 3D engine) instead of re-inventing their own version of a 3D UI.

In a nutshell, Prusa Research should be improving the user experience and that means SlicerPE needs some major attention. PR sold 80,000 printers last year. So I think that suggests they might have a few bucks to invest into the software. If they have cash flow issues preventing them from taking on too much then they should abandon the SLA printer and maybe the multi material unit and focus on the MK3 and SlicerPE.

Posted : 31/03/2019 4:25 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Re: Tree supports

For any 3D company to even claim 1.41.3 has a usable UI when it comes to supports is telling of how much importance they give to them. Even in its new 1.42.0 form it is terrible, (improved from "disaster" I guess).Prusa forked an existing slicer (Slic3r) and has made significant enhancements to it over the last year. The original open source version was very clunky to work with. Slic3rPE is not perfect, but Prusa has invested a lot of time and effort into it to where it rivals the only real commercial contender for hobbyists, Simplify 3D for $150, and all while keeping it open source.

I have no problem removing supports with a 0.25mm Z gap. Other slicers have the same issues with supports.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 31/03/2019 6:26 pm
ed
 ed
(@ed-3)
Reputable Member
Re: Tree supports

I'm with Bobstro, I tried S3D for a week and decided there was little in it for me to justify $150 vs free... The only thing S3D has that I like is the ability to ad custom supports. I know Slic3rPE has a kludgy ability of doing so but it's presently too much of a hassle for me to use.

There's also Pathio Slicer that's in Beta now that looks promising, https://pathio.xyz . I can't say much for it as you have to be online to use it and our production computers are not online so I won't be trying it anytime soon.

Posted : 31/03/2019 8:03 pm
Steve123
(@steve123)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
Re: Tree supports


Prusa forked an existing slicer (Slic3r) and has made significant enhancements to it over the last year. The original open source version was very clunky to work with. Slic3rPE is not perfect, but Prusa has invested a lot of time and effort into it to where it rivals the only real commercial contender for hobbyists, Simplify 3D for $150, and all while keeping it open source.

I have no problem removing supports with a 0.25mm Z gap. Other slicers have the same issues with supports.

Agreed. I like the open source model as well. I seriously considered the Zortax M200 (and the Mark Forged) before settling on the MK3 because I did not like the idea of the closed software ecosystem. I do not use S3D though I spent quite a bit of time evaluating whether or not to use S3D. From what I have learned studying it, I think at one time S3D had a significant advantage. Now however it seems to me the progress Ultimaker and Prusa have made with Slicer combined with the lack of progress by S3D has made S3D irrelevant.

Prusa Research has an enormous potential for growth to be a $1.0B company. Usability of the printer is something that needs attention to realize the growth potential however. They have made a lot of progress. Better supports is one area that I would like to see improved.

I had a quick look at Pathio when the announcement was made. It doesn't appear to me there is anything useful there yet. Maybe in another 12 to 18 months. Meanwhile, Slicer will continue to evolve ...

Posted : 31/03/2019 9:03 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Re: Tree supports


[...] From what I have learned studying it, I think at one time S3D had a significant advantage. Now however it seems to me the progress Ultimaker and Prusa have made with Slicer combined with the lack of progress by S3D has made S3D irrelevant.
That about sums up my feelings. I purchased S3D v4 for $150 back in April 2018. v4.1 was released, immediately followed by 4.1.1. I can't say either update made much of a difference. Meanwhile, Cura and Slic3rPE have largely caught up on features, although S3D still has more intuitive support features. Cura and Slic3rPE have jumped ahead on other features. S3D v5 is due out, but will be a paid upgrade.

Prusa Research has an enormous potential for growth to be a $1.0B company. Are you basing this on analysts reports, or a gut feeling?

Usability of the printer is something that needs attention to realize the growth potential however. They have made a lot of progress. Better supports is one area that I would like to see improved.Prusa has taken Slic3r way beyond its original capabilities in recent months. They've stated their goal is to eventually merge the "user friendly" features of PrusaControl into Slic3rPE, and they seem to be moving there steadily. It's not going to look like a native Mac or Windows app in the end, I suspect, but usable enough. Meanwhile, they are not generating additional income from Slic3rPE itself, so I can understand why updating it to support the new printers they actually do generate money on is a priority.

I had a quick look at Pathio when the announcement was made. It doesn't appear to me there is anything useful there yet. Maybe in another 12 to 18 months. Meanwhile, Slicer will continue to evolve ...You might want to check out IdeaMaker from Raise3D as well. It's not open source, but it is free. It takes a bit to figure out, largely due to poor documentation, but it is impressive. Their custom supports are very similar to S3D, and the recent version supports adaptive layer heights that seem to rival KISSlicer's. It's maddeningly lacking documentation and some features, but it really fills a gap in other areas. If anybody needs a working Mk3 profile, I'll happily share. More info here.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 31/03/2019 11:42 pm
ed
 ed
(@ed-3)
Reputable Member
Re: Tree supports

I'll take the profile if you don't mind. It will be a couple of weeks before I get to play with it but it never hurts to see what it's about.

Posted : 01/04/2019 3:22 am
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Re: Tree supports


I'll take the profile if you don't mind. It will be a couple of weeks before I get to play with it but it never hurts to see what it's about.

I've exported and uploaded a dump of several configs. I'm not sure which you need precisely, but there should be enough in that file to get you started with a basic 0.40mm nozzle with PLA on the Mk3. IM is a bit different than most in that you have printer profiles and filament profiles. Most of the stuff we associate with print settings can be customized under filament (which is a pretty slick way of doing it).

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 01/04/2019 4:38 am
david.j19
(@david-j19)
Eminent Member
Re: Tree supports


Could someone from Prusa please comment on what the plan and timeline for integrating tree supports into slicerPE is?

It would be great if this were incorporated into Slic3r, however as a work around it can be done in mesh mixer. You can generate support in mesh mixer and either export the whole STL including the support trees or you can export just the support as a seperate STL and load your model and support into slic3r as seperate items.

Posted : 01/04/2019 1:59 pm
ed
 ed
(@ed-3)
Reputable Member
Re: Tree supports


......
I've exported and uploaded a dump of several configs. I'm not sure which you need precisely, but there should be enough in that file to get you started with a basic 0.40mm nozzle with PLA on the Mk3. IM is a bit different than most in that you have printer profiles and filament profiles. Most of the stuff we associate with print settings can be customized under filament (which is a pretty slick way of doing it).

Thank you!

Posted : 01/04/2019 8:56 pm
Steve123
(@steve123)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
Re: Tree supports



... you can export just the support as a seperate STL and load your model and support into slic3r as seperate items.

I wasn't aware you could export the support separately. Thanks for the tip! I may re-visit mesh mixer.

I would be great if you could round trip from Slicer to Mesh Mixer and back. This may be another consideration for Prusa.

Posted : 06/04/2019 7:00 pm
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