Idea: condensing printer/filament/printing settings into Profiles
 
Notifications
Clear all

Idea: condensing printer/filament/printing settings into Profiles  

  RSS
Pasubio
(@pasubio)
Active Member
Idea: condensing printer/filament/printing settings into Profiles

Hi all,
I'm a long-time Simplify3D user, lately slicing with PrusaSlicer when needing for some slicer related feature (ex. gyroid infill.)

In my opinion PrusaSlicer suffer a lot from the extreme settings fragmentation, leading to a unprofessional and inefficient printer/filament/printing settings management.

During my extensive experience in the FDM world I learned that successfull operation come from an excellently calibrated marriage between filament, machine, model, and so on.
Thus you'll need a precise combination of settings for a certain goal: I think that combining this settings into a single profile that you can store and recall/modify would be very useful and time-saving for our printing operation.
This solution would also lead to
avoid settings overriding and redundancy.

I know about settings dependancy options, but this options actually mantain the settings fragmentation, specially under the the visual aspect.

Obviously the condesing operation would entail a significant GUI rework (as well as logic rework), maybe letting user to choose if use the classic fragmentation or the new condensed Profiles, but I think that PrusaSlicer would take a big step forward learning from Simplify3D, in this regard.

What is your opinion?

Posted : 29/06/2021 12:45 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: Idea: condensing printer/filament/printing settings into Profiles
Posted by: @pasubio

[...] In my opinion PrusaSlicer suffer a lot from the extreme settings fragmentation, leading to a unprofessional and inefficient printer/filament/printing settings management.

I respectfully disagree. PrusaSlicer is not perfect, but the ability to separate print, filament, and printer settings is one of the primary reasons I keep coming back to PrusaSlicer, even as other slicers add interesting and compelling features. One of the biggest frustrations for me is opening up one of the competing slicers, printing, then realizing the profile I'm using has old startup gcode that I've since modified. If I have 20 profiles I use frequently, I have to go back and edit the same gcode for the same printer in 20 different files. With PrusaSlicer, I modify my printer setting once and that same gcode is applied to every print I make with that printer profile. I find it particularly frustrating when I have to keep multiple profiles that are 95% the same but vary based on things like layer height or nozzle size. I'd much rather keep the 95% of settings that are the same and simply select a preset with a different layer height (print settings) or nozzle size (printer settings).

Like any other personal preference, how you use the tool can affect your views. I do a lot of both technical and artistic printing. The ability to switch modes with minimal effort is important. If I'm working on an "artsy" set of prints, the lack of granularity in settings is less annoying. I save a configuration with the settings I'm using for that specific set of prints -- print, filament, and printer -- and may never use that configuration again. On the other hand, if I want to print a batch of GoPro supports that are just like the batch I printed last year, the ability to select a SINGLE known-good printer and print preset, perhaps with a different filament type, is a godsend. Now if I only printed ONE TYPE of thing continuously -- I once helped out a guy who was starting a 3D printed scenery company for example -- having a single, matched master set makes sense. He didn't want employees and helpers to change anything. 

Personally, I'd like to see settings be a bit more granular, with the ability to associate multiple nozzle sizes with a single printer profile. I hate having to maintain gcode for a dozen printer presets that are nearly identical except for a handful of settings.

The good news is that the functionality you're after already exists in PrusaSlicer. Everybody can have it their way. With a few GUI tweaks, the Prusa developers could make your preferred method easier to use. There are several ways to do this:

  1. If you have a set of print, filament, and printer presets that you want to consistently use, export a config (not config bundle). All of your settings are saved off in a single config file. When you import that config bundle, the print, filament, and printer settings tabs will all be populated with your settings. If any of the imported profiles have the same name as existing presets but have modified settings, they will be shown with (modified) appended to the preset name. You can save them with a different preset name to avoid any confusion. You'd now have a unique "monolithic" profile just like Simplify 3D, Cura, ideaMaker, and the others.
  2. If you save a project file, the result is identical (so far as I understand it) to Simplify 3D's "factory file". The parts, arrangement, modifiers (processes in Simplify 3D), print, filament, and printer settings are all preserved. Here again, if any of the imported profiles have the same name as existing presets but have modified settings, they will be shown with (modified) appended to the preset name. You now have a unique "monolithic" collection just like a Simplify 3D factory (.FFF) file.
  3. The last takes a bit more work, but is quite effective. For some reason, I recently purchased a crappy little Monoprice Cadet printer. This thing has fixed firmware, very little customization, and things like nozzle changes are a lot of work. It prints well, but with very little variation between filaments. In this case, I've created customized print, filament, and printer presets and -- unfortunately manually -- created a configuration bundle. By using dependencies, I have it set so that when the Cadet printer is selected, only Cadet filament and print settings are shown.

In other words -- good news! What you want is achievable without any significant re-writes of PrusaSlicer. A bit of work on the GUI and improvements to make setting up dependencies and naming easier and it would be done. 

[...] I know about settings dependancy options, but this options actually mantain the settings fragmentation, specially under the the visual aspect.

Agreed that it's very clumsy currently. A few options are only accessible by hand-editing config files. If these were exposed in the GUI, maintaining settings would be quite a bit easier for those who work with many printers, nozzle sizes, and/or filament types.

Obviously the condesing operation would entail a significant GUI rework (as well as logic rework), maybe letting user to choose if use the classic fragmentation or the new condensed Profiles, but I think that PrusaSlicer would take a big step forward learning from Simplify3D, in this regard.

I think it's doable, and PrusaSlicer is uniquely positioned to allow users to have it both ways. If print, filament, and printer profiles can be "bundled" easily -- perhaps a dependency created easily by the user from an updated GUI -- we'd both be happy.

What is your opinion?

There you go! I'm not suggesting my way is right and yours wrong. I just want to emphasize that I, and I'm sure many others, have a strong preference to maintain granularity is the way presets are created.  I've got a bunch of notes on the topic here that you might find interesting.

If you feel strongly about this, the most effective way to get in front of the developers is over on the PrusaSlicer GitHub page. Search to see if there is an existing feature request issue, and open one if not. If it gains enough traction (agreement), the developers may take it on. They've incorporated a lot of community-suggested features in recent years. Team Prusa needs to improve preset handling in general, as the existing dependency approach is getting to be very cumbersome. This is a good time to make suggestions.

Happy printing!

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 : 29/06/2021 2:36 pm
Pasubio
(@pasubio)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Idea: condensing printer/filament/printing settings into Profiles

Hi bobstro,
thank you so much for your disquisition about the matter!

PrusaSlicer is evolving faster, the risk is that the sofware will become a mere container for a lot of all mixed up features, loosing usability.
Coming from Simplify3D, the feeling with PE is about perceiving a lot of potential ruined by a lack of a wise software engineering and GUI design.

I'm sure you will comprehend my point of view, and I gladly accept your suggestion to use feature request function on GitHub. I truly hope that PE will become a truly professional slicing solution, but I'm also aware about the extensive work that this hope will require.

Have a good slicing!

Posted : 06/07/2021 7:12 am
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: Idea: condensing printer/filament/printing settings into Profiles
Posted by: @pasubio

[...] thank you so much for your disquisition about the matter!

It's always nice to compare perspectives. I always think of these threads as a discussion, not an argument.

PrusaSlicer is evolving faster, the risk is that the sofware will become a mere container for a lot of all mixed up features, loosing usability.

I'm sure the code base is a nightmare. It was a port from PERL to C++, so probably not a lot of fun to deal with. I'm sure the Prusa development team is dreaming of refactoring the whole thing. That said, it does consistently produce good results now.

Coming from Simplify3D, the feeling with PE is about perceiving a lot of potential ruined by a lack of a wise software engineering and GUI design.

Hmm. Not really sure what you mean here. I have used PrusaSlicer to slice a batch of 300+ prints from the command line, and it does so very reliably. You can reduce the number of options available by using Simple mode which give a more Simplify-3D like interface. I do like having access to as much under the hood as possible on the rare occasion I do need it though. 99% of the time, I make very few adjustments to prints. Once in a while, though, I'm trying to do something unusual or just experiment.

I'm sure you will comprehend my point of view, and I gladly accept your suggestion to use feature request function on GitHub. I truly hope that PE will become a truly professional slicing solution, but I'm also aware about the extensive work that this hope will require.

What do you mean by "professional"? The Simplify 3D interface is certainly dated and not in compliance with current UI practices. Many of the settings are poorly documented, and a lot of "magic" settings still require embedding M20x gcode commands into the start gcode. I bought S3D early on, and fought tooth-and-nail to keep using it, but finally grew exasperated of constantly having to use a spreadsheet to track speed changes. IMO, the ability to develop good, tested, repeatable presets in PrusaSlicer is a huge productivity booster. I've worked with a number of people who use PrusaSlicer to run their 3D printing businesses. I've noticed that many of the commercial and open-source leading products don't look much like other products. Fusion 360 and Blender both have very unique interfaces. Both seem to have thrown away any Apple or Microsoft user interface design guidelines. When you're pushing boundaries and capabilities, it's hard to stick to a tried-and-true interface. Other than perhaps a "more serious" interface, what do you consider to be missing? 

Have a good slicing!

 

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 : 06/07/2021 4:05 pm
Share: