PrusaSlicer, the Free and Open-Source Slicer for FDM and SLA 3D Printers
PrusaSlicer is a slicer software developed by eponymous 3D printer manufacturer, Prusa. It is based on the earlier open-source slicing software, named Slic3r, though compared to this software, some improvements have been made to meet the new needs of users of FDM and SLA 3D printers with PrusaSlicer. The new software version 2.4.1 makes it easy to prepare 3D files for printing. Available in 14 languages and three different versions – beginner, intermediate and advanced – it is a free and open-source tool, that is constantly evolving to meet user challenges. But what exactly are the features and main functionalities of PrusaSlicer?
The use of a slicer in additive manufacturing is a key step in the process of creating a part. It allows for the careful slicing of the layered model or the generation of print media, when necessary. At the moment, theres a multitude of slicer software on the market, each mostly designed for a particular machine, like, for example, FDM or resin machines. The Prusa Slicer solution has been developed for both of those two processes and it is one of the first slicers that has been adapted to mSLA printing.
The Main Features of PrusaSlicer
The first version of Prusa’s slicer was launched in November 2016, and at that time the software was called Slic3r, Prusa Edition. It finally changed the name in 2019 to avoid confusion with another slicing software developed at the time by Alessandro Ranellucci, PrusaSlicer version 2.4.1 is 100% free and open-source, with a team of 7 in-house developers working on its continuous evolutions. In particular, the software integrates a very clear user interface, where all the functionalities are grouped on a sidebar, to facilitate the operator’s work.
There are mainly functions for adding supports, choosing the layer height for each part, filament and printing profiles – 150 to be precise – but it also has some more advanced features for intermediate and expert profiles. For example, PrusaSlicer offers “ironing”. This brand new function has been developed for all flat surfaces, on which a layer is added to smoothen the part and correct the possible small holes that could occur between the layers. The slicer is also able to calculate overhangs and determine areas where supports are needed.
In addition to that, PrusaSlicer also integrates many painting tools, whether to use for supports, joints or simply for personal room. The “Smart Fill” tool is especially recommendable to give color to a larger area, while the “Brush Tool” is best used to do it manually. Finally, the software includes a gallery of shapes, from a cubes to spheres, including a rabbit or pyramid shapes. The user can update this gallery at any time with own models.
Preparing any 3D file
In terms of compatible formats, the slicer can read STL, OBJ, 3MF and AMF files. Once the model is imported, PrusaSlicer guides the user on the orientation of the part on the plate. After that, the user chooses a 3D printer among those proposed, what material to use and a print profile. The next step is about adding any supports and filling. Depending on the model, Prusa recommends an infill of 15%, as more is not needed, because that would only lengthen the printing time and avoid over-consumption of material, yet enough is needed to provide support for the upper layers. At last, the user can then view the G-Code before printing to check if everything is in order.
Basically, the slicer offered by Prusa is not very different from other solutions on the market, but it will be the most suitable tool to use with Prusa machines. In any case, the solution is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and offers a version for ARM devices and Chromebooks. You can download it HERE.
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