Simplify3D, a slicer for professionals?
Simplify3D is a slicer designed to help you import a model from platforms such as Thingiverse, modify it to your liking, then send it to your 3D printer as G-code so that the object can be printed. Unlike some other slicing solutions such as Cura, the software is not intended for beginners but has been designed for professional use and teaching due to its complexity. Another reason why the software is mainly intended for professionals is its cost. A license for two computers costs about 180 euros, while most other slicers are available for free download. Yet Simplify3D is now widely used: what makes it so popular?
The software is available in 5 different languages, is compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems and supports .STL, .OBJ. and .3MF file formats. It is also possible to import templates that can be downloaded on specialized platforms. Simplify3D can be used with 90% of 3D printer models currently available – so we advise you to check before buying the slicer if your printer is one of them. As mentioned at the beginning, the software is particularly suitable for users who already have some experience with 3D printing and who wish to work on models in more depth – please note that there is no trial version of the slicer. Simplify3D is also used for educational purposes to demonstrate the possible complexity of a slicer software and its functionalities.
The functions of Simplify3D
According to the software developers, it is possible to halve the printing time by using Simplify3D (compared to other slicers). Another time-saving advantage is that the slicer supports dual-extrusion 3D printers to create identical or different models. When printing different parts, it is possible to choose whether both models should be printed continuously or whether a certain part of one model should be printed first and then the other model. This saves a considerable amount of time.
Simplify3D allows modifications to be made to the models themselves before actual printing. It differs from other software in one essential point: via version 3.0 and the “variable settings wizard” feature, you can use the software to divide your model into different parts and make changes to these parts independently of each other (see GIF below). This sub-area processing is very useful because it allows you to adjust the thickness, filling and surface structure as required. You can also set the print speed, temperature and much more for each subarea individually. The subareas are shown in different colours in the preview so that you don’t lose the thread. The reason for this is not only the increased customization, but also possible savings that might result from reducing the material thickness in corresponding zones.
The software also offers the possibility to adjust the thickness of support structures at different locations, which saves material. It will allow you to remove the support more easily, without damaging the final part. At the same time, the software has the possibility to independently add optimal support structures. It is also possible to create and save your profiles, which allows to access the settings you had defined earlier.
Simplify3D also gives you the ability to support much more complex and accurate models than other software. This is made possible by the “dynamic feature size”, which allows the user to choose the amount of filament to be extruded for each section. Another option that should also lead to an optimal result is the printing of a kind of protective shield that should wrap around the already printed section if a different colour is used on the second model. This can lead to considerable savings, as printing errors can be avoided.
The preview mode offers another possibility to avoid defective parts. The printout can be previewed in real time and it is possible to go from one sequence to another easily.
Therefore, the advantages of Simplify3D are numerous, in terms of time and cost reduction, but also in terms of the material used. The risk of error is also reduced thanks to the precise preview mode offered by the slicer. However, we advise you not to invest in this solution if you do not have experience with slicers as you will not be able to exploit its full potential. You can buy a license HERE at 178,80€.
Are you ready to use this software? What do you think about this slicer? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Sign up for our free weekly Newsletter, all the latest news in 3D printing straight to your inbox!