Both Repetier and Slic3r represent the
open source and free end of 3D printer
software. They both present an un-ending
list of parameters that will help you fine-tune your machine. All of these parameters
can also be overwhelming.
While there are other open source
programs available, I have found these to
work with most 3D printers. Since they are
so popular, the settings for your printer should be readily
Repetier (shown in Figure 6) is your portal into the
Slic3r software. Once the 3D object is loaded, you use
Repetier to call up Slic3r to set your slicing parameters.
Slic3r (shown in Figure 7) is where you will set all your
slicing parameters covered in the next section of this article.
Once set, you actually use Repetier to start the actual
Once sliced, you can review the layers, then use the
printer controller (Figure 8) to prep your printer and send
the sliced gcode commands to the printer. As Repetier
sends the commands to the printer, the object is displayed
as a virtual representation of the print.
The Repetier software can be found at
www.repetier.com. Slic3r is included with the download.
Creator Host and Slicer
Creator from Simplifi3D is a commercial software
package that sells for $125. The folks at Simplify 3D created
this package to make the software side of 3D printing
somewhat easier. It's an integrated package that has some
very advanced printing features.
One such feature that I have not seen in any other
software is called “coast.” It tells the printer how long to
continue to print while it waits for the extracted filament to
stop extruding plastic. This is particularly helpful when
dealing with a less than perfect extruder, and will help you
produce some remarkable prints.
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