3D Printing: Slicing with Non-Planar Geometries

Updates:

  • 2022/04/25: added single photo with various 20mm cube prints
  • 2022/04/01: rewording to avoid confusion of “planar slicing” with non-planar geometries
  • 2022/03/26: finally published
  • 2022/03/25: adding “Benefits of Non-Planar Printing” and “Blind Spots of CAD Systems” and “Scale and Functional Quality”
  • 2022/02/18: getting ready to publish
  • 2022/02/15: adding different slicing geometries and the resulting G-code
  • 2022/02/12: starting write-up

Introduction

After researching non-planar slicing using planar slicers it was obvious to find a way to slice with any kind of geometry, and it meant to step back and formalize slicing procedure in a general manner like “Universal Slicing” – and look at the procedure of slicing itself.

Two classes were defined:

  • Class 1: using a geometry, either planar or non-planar, and slicing with a static slicing path
  • Class 2: slicing with variable slicing path and/or variable slicing geometry while slicing

This document/blog-post features a solution for Class 1 Universal Slicing.

My video Non-Planar 3D Printing: Slicing with Non-Planar Geometries goes through this information in an animated form, this is the textual form.

Slicing with Non-Planar Geometry (Class 1 Universal Slicing)

When using a static planar slicing vector one usually uses a plane, hence the term “planar slicing”, yet, there is also the possibility to use a non-planar geometry and slice in a planar direction (introducing ambiguity what planar and non-planar slicing actually mean). Regardless which slicing geometry is used in this procedure, the thickness of the sliced layer stays the same.

Slicing 20mm cube with wave-like geometry

In order to explore non-planar slices, using a wave-like geometry composed by Bezier curves and slice a 20mm cube:

Note: OpenSCAD is used solely used as 3D viewer, the slicing itself is performed by an experimental slicer.

Routing a single non-planar slice

A single slice is routed to wall/perimeter and infill extrusion:

There are several approaches to achieve this:

  • slice non-planar, map single slice 3d to 2d, route with 2d offsetting, and map back to 3d space (MetatronSlicer)
  • map entire mesh and slice planar, and map routes or resulting G-code back again (EnochSlicer)

and likely other more complex means.

Non-planar Printed Wave-like Sliced 20mm Cube

Preview of the complete G-code:

Preview the non-planar G-code of 20mm cube sliced with wave-like geometry

and a brief and fast printing simulation showing the entire print:

The computed G-code printed with a 3D printer, e.g. an ordinary 3-axis FDM:

Non-Planar 3D Printing: 20mm cube sliced with wave-like geometry (1x speed with a few skips)

and produces output like this:

left-to-right: wave-like geometry itself, progressive state of 20mm cube sliced with wave-like geometry at 0.25mm layer height

Implementing Non-Planar Slicing Geometries Slicer

The illustrations and actual G-code above were produced by two new in-house slicers which are in early development (2022/03):

20mm cube sliced with wave-like geometry
left-to-right: MetatronSlicer (0.0.7), EnochSlicer (0.0.2)
  • MetatronSlicer: boundary-based (BREP / OpenCASCADE) and voxel-based (OpenVDB) geometry engine, performing true non-planar slicing, and LabSlicer performing routing and G-code creation; slower slicing yet precise G-code
  • EnochSlicer: mesh and G-code transformation approach, fast slicing yet less accurate G-code

The extrusion precision is still rough, but overall concept and algorithms have been proven to work.

Results & Achievement

This work as presented here resolves a long pending issue of slicing meshs “non-planar”, or general “non-planar slicing” with all its inherent ambiguity – consider it as given that

one can use any 3D geometry with sufficient upper “surface” to slice a mesh with

and create printable G-code for 3- and 5-axis FDM:

  1. using a block as planar blueprint
  2. hemisphere, convex
  3. hemisphere reverse, concave
  4. cone, slicing conical like for Rotating Tilted Nozzle
  5. wave-like defined via Bezier curves
  6. wave-like defined via NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) curves
  7. tilted plane, slicing for belt printer with 45° tilted XY frame toward Z belt
  8. pimple-like

Along with volume segmentation as presented previously and conical, cylindrical and spherical slicing now any kind of slicing geometry can be used.

As pointed out in Universal Slicing, this “Planar Slicing with Non-Planar Geometries” is Class 1 of Universal Slicing whereas Class 2 covers changing slicing geometry and/or flexible slicing path along the slicing.

Limiting Non-Planar Height for 3-axis FDM

When using non-planar geometries to slice a model also non-planar G-code is produced and possibly significant Z motion occurs, and when printing with an ordinary 3-axis FDM 3D printer it may be suitable to limit the Z motion aka Z amplitude to 2-3mm in order to avoid part-cooler or other parts of the print head to collide with the already printed part:

left column: wave-like slicing, right column: hemisphere slicing
top row: full range, bottom row: limited to ~3mm Z amplitude

Future blog-posts will go into further details implementing Universal Slicing using those two slicers MetatronSlicer and EnochSlicer.

Regarding naming the slicers: Metatron is an archangel in jewish mythology – consider an “angel” as a fundamental intelligence, and in esoteric context Metatron is the being responsible for Form or Geometry itself – separating one into many in a spatial manner; whereas Enoch as a human, who ascended to become the archangel Metatron. I use those names in deep reverence for these two projects.

Blind Spot of CAD Systems

Current CAD systems (2022) neglect or actually are unaware of the inner vs outer structure – because only one kind of the “structure” is known, e.g. a piece is designed because of a certain function, which defines its outer form, e.g. a wrench to use a simple example – but how about the inner structure? This isn’t defined in the CAD, it is defined at the manufacturing stage, yet with 3D printing this can be described and designed even in a parametric way as well, the slicing or general 3D printing stage with different materials.

We require 2 or 3 abstraction layers to design a functional piece:

  1. the functional description (doesn’t exist yet)
  2. the inner structure (description how material is deposited in Additive Manufacturing, e.g. the infill geometry as of with FDM, incl. non-planar printing, or lattice structures as with SLA or SLS)
  3. the outer structure (e.g. mesh, boundaries)

So far CAD systems only covers the 3rd point, the outer structure.

The functional description is almost non-existent in the CAD world, and only becomes some attention when Finite Element Analysis is made and the form is changed, it is kind of hidden in plain sight.

In future blog-posts I will address and elaborate on these issues further.

Scale and Functional Qualities

To put the flexible slicing geometry in the grander context of 3D printing engineering:

3D printing engineering starts at nanometer scale (10-6mm) with material science level, over to filament composition at 1 to 10 micrometer scale (10-2mm) such as fibers, inner geometry where slicing geometry & procedure and infill geometry define strength properties at millimeter scale (100mm), and outer geometry with the shape of the object itself provide the final stage of mechanical properties.

This entire “scale chain” as a whole defines the mechanical property of the final 3D printed object.

That’s it.

References

Misc: XYZdims State 2022/02

Updates:

  • 2022/02/20: finally published
  • 2022/02/08: ready to publish finally with some delay
  • 2022/01/28: not yet published, removed Universal Slicing details for future blog-post, added more photos and illustrations
  • 2022/01/16: starting write-up

Introduction

Aside of the technical detailed filled blog-posts I like to start to post about the larger context of my inner motivations doing XYZdims.com – this is the first post “XYZdims State 2022/02”:

More Slicers

Recent in-house developments having more slicers to experiment with, in regards of slicing techniques as well lay the ground for more complex slicing and mapping/transformation operations to support arbitrary non-planar slicing (coming soon).

LabSlicer: The Mother

Big Picture of XYZdims – State 2022/02
(click on it and then zoom in, it’s a large image)

As I was working with Slicer4RTN and wrappers like Cura-CLI-Wrapper and Kiri:Moto Slicer (CLI wrapper), and adopting Mandoline fork – I realized I need to have my own slicer, so in November 2021 I started from scratch, as I thought I need to know every detail and so I exposed each step or stage:

  • mesh: load mesh, vertices & faces
  • slice: slice layers into sets of polygons
  • route: route the layer polygons with walls, infills etc
  • gcode: convert routes to G-code

A “lab(oratory) slicer” or simply LabSlicer was born – I defined each stage: API and file-format it takes in and spits out.

After a couple of weeks I had slicing into polygons, and routing of walls, basic infills, skirts, brims and eventually intermediary top & bottom layers resolved, and I was able to generate printable gcode:

Meanwhile LabSlicer as of version 0.1.5 has matured to print complex models reliably but rather performs slow compared to Slic3r or Cura.

As of 2022/02 I’m even use LabSlicer and its relatives (featured below) for productive 3D prints.

Vox3lSlicer: Voxels

Aside of LabSlicer I began to develop Vox3lSlicer which utilizes internally the OpenVDB voxel library, in order to slice planar and in the future non-planar as well, and also permit to slice voxel-based models efficiently.

A few tests with OpenSCAD Logo model (~20mm height) with various amount voxel samples, from low resolution to high resolution:

and with defined voxel sizes:

As LabSlicer matured and LabSlicerCore library came to life, Vox3lSlicer (2011/11) utilizes the stage route and gcode of LabSlicerCore to actually produce printable G-code.

Testing the retraction code and settings of Vox3lSlicer, rotating the model in order to avoid support structure altogether:

VoxGLSlicer: OpenGL Slicing

Early VoxGLSlicer tests

As I was looking for other slicing procedures I came across OpenGL-ST-Slicer, which utilizes a clever OpenGL setup with GLSL (Shader Language) to render a mesh to a framebuffer with the volume information, and so slicing is done solely in the GPU almost instantly – I extended this approach and glued it together with LabSlicerCore and I was able to produce also printable G-code – VoxGLSlicer was born (2022/01).

Due the limitation of the internal framebuffer width & height the resolution of the slicing changes with the size of the model aka “relative resolution”:

model width [mm]pixel size [mm] @ 2560 pixels
200.008 or 8 μm
500.019 or 19 μm
1000.039 or 39 μm
2000.078 or 78 μm
5000.19 or 195 μm
10000.39 or 390 μm

and just for illustration about “pixel size” related to a ~20mm model:

3 Slicers

After a few weeks coding (2021/11-2022/01), I was able to raise 3 slicers, each with their unique slicing approaches to create printable G-code, by having a common API and use symbiotic advantage of each other:

LabSlicerVox3lSlicerVoxGLSlicer
meshmesh.py1) multi-format mesh importeropenvdb STL importermesh.py1) multi-format mesh importer
sliceslicing mesh to polygons (vectorizing)slice voxels into polygons (vectorizing)screenbuffer into polygons (vectorizing)
routeroute polygons to routesLabSlicerCore’s routeLabSlicerCore’s route
gcodeconvert routes to G-codeLabSlicerCore’s gcodeLabSlicerCore’s gcode
+ traditional slicer with polygons
+ all stages fully implemented
– slow slicing2)
+ fast slicing
+ flexible resolution
+ reliable
+ fast slicing
– fixed screenbuffer size
– relative resolution

All three slicers are very experimental and play a significant role for the next step – Universal Slicing.

Footnotes:

  1. mesh.py is loading/saving 3d meshs/models and some simple manipulations tuned toward my use cases
  2. mesh slicing not yet optimized

So any optimizing of routing (wall, infill, intermediary top/bottom layers etc) and gcode optimizing all three slicers benefit from.

YAGV & Nautilus Thumbnailer Supporting ArcWelder

After the implementing G2/G3 emulation for gcode2png as part of the G-code thumbnailer, I also added it to G-code viewer yagv fork of mine:

Print3r

And just for sake of giving a bit of context, adding ArcWelderLib in the pipeline of Print3r via the configuration:

# first declare new post-processor named "arcwelder":
post_arcwelder = ArcWelder %i %o
# optionally, define it to be active (all the time):
post = arcwelder

or optionally enable it on the command-line:

% print3r print cube.stl --post=arcwelder

That’s it for now.

References

Misc: Formnext 2021 Review

My first Formnext in 2019 I realized there was no way to explore the expo in 1 day only, so I reserved for Formnext 2021 (Frankfurt, Germany) 4 days fully (November 16-19). Although the expo was smaller than in 2019, it was still massive to explore. I’m not even sure I saw all of the 600+ exhibitors despite roaming the two halls (12.0 ground floor, 12.1 first floor and 11.0 ground floor only) multiple times.

Inhouse Developments: ZPlusSlicer & 5DMaker

I presented my inhouse developments of ZPlusSlicer and 5DMaker for the first time in public (otherwise just illustrated in About: Big Picture), as of November 2021, it’s not yet published or otherwise documented.

About 40+ samples I handed out and alike amount some brief documentation (on paper) on ZPlusSlicer and 5DMaker (5MF processor) – both in early stage of development, and the “overhang stairs” a proof-of-concept of the benefit of both new conceptual layers on top of traditional slicing. By spring 2022 I will publish more publicly on both products once they matured to Beta stage.

Notables

  • Ultimaker: they didn’t have any booth, yet their machines were placed at many booths, resellers kind of represented them – combination of dominance and absence
  • Makerbot wasn’t there
  • Markforged considers itself as startup but outsiders consider them as big player already – impressive integration of machine, material and slicer, yet, all closed down; hard(er) to integrate with 3rd party software
  • nScrypt micro-dispensing on cylindrical or spherical surfaces, PCB 3d printing and pick-place SMD components:
  • Krause DiMaTec showed its EDDY 3D printer, slow Z axis, but quite affordable at ~8K EUR for the machine with 600 x 600 x 600mm build-volume, and the 3D metal printed hotend was quite an eye-catcher:
  • Duplex3D printer: two nozzles starting to print on upper & lower side of the build plate, once reached some distance, the plate is removed (!!) and 3D prints continues in both Z directions (the front glass is very glaring so not many details, also the representatives didn’t want to me to take too close photos):
  • Prusa Research released its Prusa XL – a Core XY based printer, I took a few photos with a lot of small innovations:
    • 360 x 360 x 360 mm build volume
    • mechanical pressure-based Z calibration built into the printhead (nozzle probes mechanical on the build plate)
    • segmented heating of build plate, heat there where the part is located
    • new printhead with geared filament drive motor
    • optional tool changer
    • optional foldable air-draft prevention
    • pricing from 2.5K EUR to 3.5K EUR
    • pre-order, delivery Q2/Q3 2022 (!!)
  • Modix as sold by 3Dmensional:
    • 600 x 600 x 600mm build-volume
    • fully enclosed
    • DIY kit or fully assembled
    • pricing 3.5K EUR (kit) to 6K EUR (assembled)
  • TreeDFilaments: 55 different materials
  • Kimya: materials too, great (paper) catalogue with detailed information on how to print their filaments and use-cases

Formnext 2021 Impressions

People vs Companies

Although all the companies appear quite anonymous, if you spend more than just a few minutes, and are able to talk to some technical skilled people – aside of the sales representative – you will notice “normal” people with the same passion like you and me: 3D printing enthusiasts, who turned their hobby into a professional passion, either as a startup or joining a bigger company to explore 3D printing further.

The most worthwhile and interesting interactions were the ones I had with little business aim but technical exchange on new slicing methods and algorithms, new G-code extensions or pre-/post-processing, and new hardware designs in particular 4-axis approaches by different individuals and companies based on my slicing software and hardware designs they found via my YouTube videos – which was quite a revelation for me.

Covid & Expo

As of November 2021, Covid-19 isn’t over but I was glad to explore Formnext 2021 in person, a “2G event”, means, either one had to be vaccinated or recovered from Covid. The first days most people worn masks, by each day less and less – me included, as it was hard to talk with the mask on and hear each other properly even standing close to each other due the overall noise level in the halls.

Mood

Certainly the overall mood was great among the exhibitors and visitors as well – professional interest, respectful cordial interactions – less noisy than in 2019 which was more hectic due more visitors overall. Tuesday (1st day) and Friday (last day) had less visitors, whereas Wednesday and Thursday was quite overwhelming and significant more visitors.

At last, some impressions of Frankfurt (Germany) itself . . .

That’s it.

References

3D Printing: Mandoline Slicer

Updates:

  • 2021/09/16: publishing this blog-post finally
  • 2021/09/04: 0.8.6: supporting OFF, OBJ, AMF, 3MF and 3MJ in addition to STL
  • 2021/04/11: 0.8.5: more tests and Makefiles added
  • 2021/04/06: 0.8.4: SVG export working with example, various bug fixes
  • 2021/04/04: 0.8.3: first print actually working (extrusion calculation fixed, removed most un/retract for now)
  • 2021/04/02: starting write-up
20mm xyzHollowCalibrationCubeV2 sliced with Mandoline 0.8.5

Introduction

Since I started to develop on the conic slicer slicer4rtn for the RTN, and starting to work on the more complex PAXSlicer for 5-axis printer like PAX option. So I was searching for a slicer to adapt for future projects to have more control of the slicer stage and learn of the actual details and so I came across Mandoline Py, a slicer coded in Python utilizing at its core pyclipper and at first glance it was well thought out, clean code, yet not many comments but function names and variables were explanatory – I was quite impressed by Revar Desmera, who was able to put this together in such a consistent manner.

There wasn’t much information available otherwise, and the author did not reply to my emails, so I looked at past closed issues at github, which gave me a bit background information, and the challenges Revar faced.

So, after a couple of weeks pondering and waiting for Revar to respond, April 4 2021 I began to adopt it and push it forward to become usable for me. I will document all future changes (or possible a fork of it) on this blog-post.

Features

  • purely written in Python, compact source code, easy to read & understand
    • vector.py: base vector operations
    • point3d.py: x,y,z to index to x,y,z
    • line_segment3d.py: two points making a line, with caching
    • facet3d.py: three points making a triangle/facet, with caching
      • facet.slice_at_z(z)
    • geometry2d.py: uses pyclipper
      • provides path operations like offset, union, diff, clip, paths_contain (point in paths)
      • makes infill patterns like lines, grid, triangles, hexagons
    • model3d.py: STL reader & writer, OBJ, OFF, 3MF, AMF, 3MJ reader
      • indexing points, edges and facets
      • model.slice_at_z(z, lh) results in polygons/paths
    • slicer.py: slicing the model
      • generating perimeters
      • generating support
      • generating adhesion (skirt, brim, raft)
      • generating solid & sparse infill
      • pathing: coordinates perimeters, support, adhesion, infill paths
      • converting paths into Gcode (or SVG)
    • __init__.py: main entry point of mandoline program:
      • process arguments
      • load model and relevel, apply model operations (scale), check manifoldness
      • slice model
  • slice model into Gcode to print via FDM 3D printer
  • slice model to SVG slices (very experimental) for debugging purposes and possibly to post-process to pixel-based slices for SLA or SLS 3D printer (not yet tested)
  • load mutiple configs in sequence with -l config.ini, e.g. printer specifics, material settings
  • simple to query features/settings with -Q <term>

Usage

% mandoline
== Mandoline Py 0.8.5 == https://github.com/(Spiritdude|revarbat)/mandoline-py
usage: mandoline [-h] [-o OUTFILE] [-n] [-g] [-v] [-d] [--no-raft] [--raft] [--brim] [--no-support] [--support] [--support-all]
                 [-f MATERIAL,...] [-F FORMAT] [-l OPTNAME] [-M OPTNAME=VALUE] [-S OPTNAME=VALUE] [-Q OPTNAME] [-w]
                 [--help-configs] [--show-configs]
                 [infile]

positional arguments:
  infile                Input model filename (STL).

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -o OUTFILE, --outfile OUTFILE
                        Slices model (STL) and write GCode or SVGs to file.
  -n, --no-validation   Skip performing model validation.
  -g, --gui-display     Show sliced paths output in GUI.
  -v, --verbose         Show verbose output.
  -d, --debug           Show debug output.
  --no-raft             Force adhesion to not be generated.
  --raft                Force raft generation.
  --brim                Force brim generation.
  --no-support          Force external support structure generation.
  --support             Force external support structure generation.
  --support-all         Force external support structure generation.
  -f MATERIAL,..., --filament MATERIAL,...
                        Configures extruder(s) for given materials, in order. Ex: -f PLA,TPU,PVA
  -F FORMAT, --format FORMAT
                        Set output format (gcode, svg)
  -l OPTNAME, --load OPTNAME
                        Load config file, containing <k>=<v> lines
  -M OPTNAME=VALUE, --model OPTNAME=VALUE
                        Set model manipulation operation(s) (scale).
  -S OPTNAME=VALUE, --set-option OPTNAME=VALUE
                        Set a slicing config option.
  -Q OPTNAME, --query-option OPTNAME
                        Display a slicing config option value.
  -w, --write-configs   Save any changed slicing config options.
  --help-configs        Display help for all slicing options.
  --show-configs        Display values of all slicing options.

examples:
   mandoline cube.stl
   mandoline -l myprinter.ini cube.stl
   mandoline -l myprinter.ini -S layer_height=0.3 cube.stl
   mandoline -l myprinter.ini -l petg.ini -S infill_type=Triangles cube.stl -o test.gcode
   mandoline -Q skirt


Download

https://github.com/Spiritdude/mandoline-py

Formats

Gcode

By default Mandoline slices STL into 3D printable Gcode:

% mandoline -l y3228.ini hollowCube.stl -S layer_height=0.3 -o test.gcode
== Mandoline Py 0.8.4 == https://github.com/revarbat/mandoline-py
Loading model "hollowCube.stl"
Loading configs from "y3228.ini"                                              
Slicing starting
+ Random offset -78,34
- Perimeters
- Support                                                                     
- Raft[ ], Brim[ ], and Skirt[x]                                              
- Infill (Grid)                                                               
- Pathing                                                                     
- Export GCode to "test.gcode"                                                
Took 0.85s total. Estimated build time: 0h 08m, filament used: 1.394m         

SVG

Mandoline (0.8.4+) also supports slicing into SVG, for debugging purpose and possibly can be post-processed into PNG to feed into a SLA or SLS 3D printer (no support-structure included yet).

% mandoline hollowCube.stl -o test.svg
== Mandoline Py 0.8.4 == https://github.com/revarbat/mandoline-py
Loading model "hollowCube.stl"                                              
Slicing starting
- Perimeters
- Export 66x SVGs to "test-*.svg"                                             
Took 0.23s total.       

Issues to Resolve

  • model slicing problems:
    • 3D Benchy incomplete, get more linient or auto-fix regarding non-manifolds:
      • 3DBenchy.stl loaded with manifold checking, 10x “non-manifold hole edges”:
        • Z = 9.087, 5.87
      • when disregarding that check with -n, then it results in various warnings “Incomplete Polygon …” which results in missing slices – major degration of 3D print
      • sliced with many warnings (Incomplete Polygon at z=... => missing layers) @0.2mm layer height: 240 layers, 4.011m with 1.75mm filament
      • sliced with many warnings (=> missing layers) @0.25mm layer height: 192 layers, 4.461m with 1.75mm filament
      • -M scale=0.5 with
        • @0.2mm layer height with warnings (=> missing layers): 120 layers, 0.674m with 1.75mm filament
        • @0.25mm layer height with warnings (=> missing layers): 96 layers, 0.634m with 1.75mm filament- fixing
    • Voron Design Cube v7 wrong sliced layers without warnings
  • random crashs of pyclipper: I noticed a basic model with random_pos=True enabled slices correct and another time when moved to another position fails to slice
  • properly do un/retract:
    • find out if perimeters/walls are crossed, if not, do not un/retract no matter what TYPE of extrusion is done
  • allow case-insensitive settings:
    • infill_type
    • support_type
    • adhesion_type
    • bed_geometry
  • brim, raft and skirt properly done (*_width vs *_lines and *_offset)
  • bottom_layer_extrusion_width
  • bottom_layer_speed
  • top_layer_speed
  • wall/shell/perimeter_speed
  • resolve “shell” vs “wall” vs “perimeter” in source variables, source comments and config
  • infill_type=Hexagons doesn’t work reliable, often infill is missing entirely
  • support 3MF, 3MJ input format beside STL, since 0.8.6: obj, off, amf, 3mf and 3mj
    • properly support multi-volume -> multi-material -> multi-tool
    • 3MF: examples, Debian package: python3-savitar, since 0.8.6 using XML parser
  • clean up multi-nozzle setup, remove GUI, remove material config but hand it over to a collection of .ini files to be selectable with -l my.ini … (not yet finalized how to achieve simple multi-nozzle config easy)
  • testing, testing and testing more
  • future developement
    • integrate geometry3d union, intersection for segmenting sub-volumes
    • analyze geometry from non-planar slicing perspective
    • integrate non-planar slicing: tilted, cyclindrical, conic and spherical at a deeper level
    • mature it to become optional for PAXSlicer 5-axis slicer
    • process metadata from .3mj either piece, sub-volume or face exact within the slicing (tool changing, fill density, slicing settings etc)

Changes

  • 2021/09/04: 0.8.6:
    • experimental OFF, OBJ, 3MF, 3MJ support
  • 2021/04/08: 0.8.5:
    • cli: -S shell_speed=s [mm/s]
  • 2021/04/06: 0.8.4:
    • SVG output: supporting slicing to SVG, using “-o test.svg“, very experimental
    • intern: model.scale([x,y,z]) implemented
    • cli: support for -M scale=s or -M scale=x,y,z
    • intern: fixed vector.py normalize() and __truediv__() supporting STL with bad normals
    • un/retract enabled again in code
  • 2021/04/04: 0.8.3:
    • cli & extending configs:
      • cool_fan_speed_{min/max}
      • cool_fan_full_layer=2, e.g. starting fan after e.g. layer 2 is reached, first layer is 0
      • start_gcode and end_gcode and new config type ‘str‘ as well
      • skirt_lines=3 only considered if skirt_layers != 0
      • gcode_comments=True|False: adding various useful info in Gcode
      • random_pos=True|False: randomize position of model on the build-plate
    • all the config included in Gcode given gcode_comments enabled
    • intern: carrying over ‘typ‘ (‘type’ in python 😉 ) of the extrusion in _raw_add_paths, to refine the retract/unretract, this allowed to
    • have output Gcode more descriptive with ;TYPE:.. like PERIMETER, INFILL, PRIME, BRIM, SKIRT, SUPPORT etc, given gcode_comments is enabled
    • cli: support -l or --load to load more configs (e.g. per printer, or material)
    • cli: support -Q <term> partial match
    • output “filament used …[m]” at the end of slicing
    • most un/retract disabled for now to confirm extrusion calculation working
    • prints simple models like 10/20mm cube and xyzHollowCalibrationCubeV2

References

3D Printing: Kiri:Moto CLI Slicer

Updates:

  • 2021/09/27: -l <conf> to load configurations (experimental)
  • 2021/08/27: software released on github
  • 2021/08/09: KiriMotoSlicer 0.0.4: -h <term> to query settings, setting extruder.0.*
  • 2021/08/08: KiriMotoSlicer 0.0.2: usage output (help), preliminary integration into Print3r framework
  • 2021/08/02: starting write-up

Introduction

Kiri:Moto is a browser-based slicer, which can be also installed locally using NodeJS. Stewart Allen developed it and even provides a command-line interface (CLI) example as well src/kiri/cli.js. I extended it further into kirimoto-slicer so I could use it in conjunction of Print3r.

Requirements

  • Node 13 or later (use nvm to switch quickly between different versions)
  • UNIX platform (Linux, etc)

Download

git clone https://github.com/Spiritdude/KiriMotoSlicer

Installation

make requirements
sudo make install 

requirements clones original grid-apps (Kiri:Moto) whereas install installs KiriMotoSlicer (kirimoto-slicer) executable system-wide.

Usage

KiriMotoSlicer 0.0.4 USAGE: [<options>] [file] ...
   options:
      --help                        this usage help
      --help=<term>                 show settings matching <term>
      -h <term>                        "       "
      --version                     display version and exit
      --verbose                     increase verbosity
      -v or -vvv                       "       "
      --output=<fn>                 force output filename
      -o <fn>                          "       "
      --load=<conf>                 load configuration (lines of <k>=<v>, or experimental JSON as grid-apps/src/dev/*)
      -l <conf>                              "                "                      "
      --setTemperature=<s>          include set temperature extruder & bed in gcodePre (default: true)
      --bedOrigin=<x>,<y>           set origin of bed (use with --outputOriginCenter=true) (default: [0,0])

   slice configuration:
      --processName=<v>             set process name (default: "generic")
      --sliceHeight=<v>             set slice height (default: 0.25)
      --sliceShells=<v>             set slice shells (default: 3)
      --sliceShellOrder=<v>         set slice shell order ["in-out","out-in"] (default: "in-out")
      --sliceLayerStart=<v>         set slice layer start ["last","center","origin"] (default: "last")
      --sliceFillAngle=<v>          set slice fill angle (default: 45)
      --sliceFillOverlap=<v>        set slice fill overlap (default: 0.3)
      --sliceFillSparse=<v>         set slice fill sparse (default: 0.2)
      --sliceFillType=<v>           set slice fill type ["vase","hex","grid","gyroid","triangle","linear","bubbles"] (default: "gyroid")  
      --sliceAdaptive=<v>           set slice adaptive (default: false)
      --sliceMinHeight=<v>          set slice min height (default: 0)
      --sliceSupportDensity=<v>     set slice support density (default: 0.25)
      --sliceSupportOffset=<v>      set slice support offset (default: 0.4)
      --sliceSupportGap=<v>         set slice support gap (default: 1)
      --sliceSupportSize=<v>        set slice support size (default: 6)
      --sliceSupportArea=<v>        set slice support area (default: 1)
      --sliceSupportExtra=<v>       set slice support extra (default: 0)
      --sliceSupportAngle=<v>       set slice support angle (default: 50)
      --sliceSupportNozzle=<v>      set slice support nozzle (default: 0)
      --sliceSolidMinArea=<v>       set slice solid min area (default: 10)
      --sliceSolidLayers=<v>        set slice solid layers (default: 3)
      --sliceBottomLayers=<v>       set slice bottom layers (default: 3)
      --sliceTopLayers=<v>          set slice top layers (default: 3)
      --firstLayerRate=<v>          set first layer rate (default: 10)
      --firstLayerPrintMult=<v>     set first layer print mult (default: 1.15)
      --firstLayerYOffset=<v>       set first layer YOffset (default: 0)
      --firstLayerBrim=<v>          set first layer brim (default: 0)
      --firstLayerBeltLead=<v>      set first layer belt lead (default: 3)
      --sliceSkirtCount=<v>         set slice skirt count (default: 0)
      --sliceSkirtOffset=<v>        set slice skirt offset (default: 2)
      --sliceLineWidth=<v>          set slice line width (default: 0)
      --outputTemp=<v>              set output temp (default: 210)
      --outputBedTemp=<v>           set output bed temp (default: 60)
      --outputFeedrate=<v>          set output feedrate (default: 50)
      --outputFinishrate=<v>        set output finishrate (default: 50)

      --outputSeekrate=<v>          set output seekrate (default: 80)
      --outputShellMult=<v>         set output shell mult (default: 1.25)
      --outputFillMult=<v>          set output fill mult (default: 1.25)
      --outputSparseMult=<v>        set output sparse mult (default: 1.25)
      --outputRetractDist=<v>       set output retract dist (default: 4)
      --outputRetractSpeed=<v>      set output retract speed (default: 30)
      --outputRetractDwell=<v>      set output retract dwell (default: 30)
      --outputShortPoly=<v>         set output short poly (default: 100)
      --outputMinSpeed=<v>          set output min speed (default: 10)
      --outputCoastDist=<v>         set output coast dist (default: 0.1)
      --outputLayerRetract=<v>      set output layer retract (default: true)
      --detectThinWalls=<v>         set detect thin walls (default: true)
      --zHopDistance=<v>            set z hop distance (default: 0)
      --antiBacklash=<v>            set anti backlash (default: 0)
      --outputOriginCenter=<v>      set output origin center (default: false)
      --sliceFillRate=<v>           set slice fill rate (default: 0)
      --sliceSupportEnable=<v>      set slice support enable (default: false)
      --firstSliceHeight=<v>        set first slice height (default: 0.25)
      --firstLayerFillRate=<v>      set first layer fill rate (default: 35)
      --firstLayerLineMult=<v>      set first layer line mult (default: 1)
      --firstLayerNozzleTemp=<v>    set first layer nozzle temp (default: 0)
      --firstLayerBedTemp=<v>       set first layer bed temp (default: 0)
      --firstLayerBrimTrig=<v>      set first layer brim trig (default: 0)
      --outputRaft=<v>              set output raft (default: false)
      --outputRaftSpacing=<v>       set output raft spacing (default: 0.2)
      --outputRetractWipe=<v>       set output retract wipe (default: 0)
      --outputBrimCount=<v>         set output brim count (default: 2)
      --outputBrimOffset=<v>        set output brim offset (default: 2)
      --outputLoopLayers=<v>        set output loop layers (default: null)
      --outputInvertX=<v>           set output invert x (default: false)
      --outputInvertY=<v>           set output invert y (default: false)
      --arcTolerance=<v>            set arc tolerance (default: 0)
      --gcodePause=<v>              set gcode pause (default: "")
      --ranges=<v>                  set ranges (default: [])
      --firstLayerFanSpeed=<v>      set first layer fan speed (default: 0)
      --outputFanSpeed=<v>          set output fan speed (default: 255)

   device configuration:
      --noclone=<v>                 set noclone (default: false)
      --mode=<v>                    set mode ["FDM","SLA","CNC","Laser"] (default: "FDM")
      --internal=<v>                set internal (default: 0)
      --imageURL=<v>                set image URL (default: "")
      --imageScale=<v>              set image scale (default: 0.75)
      --imageAnchor=<v>             set image anchor (default: 0)
      --bedHeight=<v>               set bed height (default: 2.5)
      --bedWidth=<v>                set bed width (default: 220)
      --bedDepth=<v>                set bed depth (default: 220)
      --bedRound=<v>                set bed round (default: false)
      --bedBelt=<v>                 set bed belt (default: false)
      --maxHeight=<v>               set max height (default: 300)
      --originCenter=<v>            set origin center (default: false)
      --extrudeAbs=<v>              set extrude abs (default: true)
      --spindleMax=<v>              set spindle max (default: 0)
      --gcodeFan=<v>                set gcode fan (default: "M106 S{fan_speed}")
      --gcodeTrack=<v>              set gcode track (default: "")
      --gcodeLayer=<v>              set gcode layer (default: ";LAYER:{layer}")
      --gcodePre=<v>                set gcode pre (default: "M107                     ; turn off filament cooling fan\nG90          
            ; set absolute positioning mode\nM82                      ; set absolute positioning for extruder\nM104 S{temp} T{tool} 
    ; set extruder temperature\nM140 S{bed_temp} T{tool} ; set bed temperature\nG28                      ; home axes\nG92 X0 Y0 Z0 E
0          ; reset all axes positions\nG1 X0 Y0 Z0.25 F180      ; move XY to 0,0 and Z 0.25mm over bed\nG92 E0                   ; z
ero the extruded\nM190 S{bed_temp} T{tool} ; wait for bed to reach target temp\nM109 S{temp} T{tool}     ; wait for extruder to reac
h target temp\nG92 E0                   ; zero the extruded\nG1 F225                  ; set feed speed")
      --gcodePost=<v>               set gcode post (default: "M107                     ; turn off filament cooling fan\nM104 S0 T{to
ol}          ; turn off right extruder\nM140 S0 T{tool}          ; turn off bed\nG1 X0 Y300 F1200         ; end move\nM84           
           ; disable stepper motors")
      --gcodeProc=<v>               set gcode proc (default: "")
      --gcodePause=<v>              set gcode pause (default: "")
      --gcodeDwell=<v>              set gcode dwell (default: "")
      --gcodeSpindle=<v>            set gcode spindle (default: "")
      --gcodeChange=<v>             set gcode change (default: "")
      --gcodeFExt=<v>               set gcode FExt (default: "gcode")
      --gcodeSpace=<v>              set gcode space (default: true)
      --gcodeStrip=<v>              set gcode strip (default: false)
      --gcodeLaserOn=<v>            set gcode laser on (default: "")
      --gcodeLaserOff=<v>           set gcode laser off (default: "")
      --extruders.[0..<n-1>].{extFilament,extNozzle,extSelect,extDeselect,extOffsetX,extOffsetY}=<v> set extruders (default: [{"extFilament":1.75,"extNozzle":0.5,"extSelect":["T0"],"extDeselect":[],"extOffsetX":0,"extOffsetY":0}])
      --new=<v>                     set new (default: false)
      --deviceName=<v>              set device name (default: "3D Printer")

   examples:
      kirimoto-slicer cube.stl
      kirimoto-slicer cube.stl -o test.gcode
      kirimoto-slicer -v cube.stl --sliceHeight=0.1
      kirimoto-slicer cube.stl --extruders.0.extNozzle=0.5 --sliceHeight=0.42
      kirimoto-slicer -h slice
      kirimoto-slicer -h .

Internals

Kiri:Moto distincts:

  • shells (aka perimeters, walls)
  • solid fill (like bottom and top layers)
  • sparse fill (aka fill)

As of 2021/08 Kiri:Moto doesn’t distinct support structures on bed or everywhere, so it can only be enabled or disabled with --sliceSupportEnable=true or false.

Smart Help

KiriMotoSlicer supports ~100 settings (as compared to Cura with over 500 settings) which can be queried with --help=<term> or -h <term>:

% kirimoto-slicer -h slice
query settings for 'slice':
      --sliceHeight=<v>             set slice height (default: 0.25)
      --sliceShells=<v>             set slice shells (default: 3)
      --sliceShellOrder=<v>         set slice shell order ["in-out","out-in"] (default: "in-out")
      --sliceLayerStart=<v>         set slice layer start ["last","center","origin"] (default: "last")
      --sliceFillAngle=<v>          set slice fill angle (default: 45)
      ....

% kirimoto-slicer -h shell
query settings for 'shell':
      --sliceShells=<v>             set slice shells (default: 3)
      --sliceShellOrder=<v>         set slice shell order ["in-out","out-in"] (default: "in-out")
      --outputShellMult=<v>         set output shell mult (default: 1.25)

Examples

xyzHollowCalibrationCubeV2 (allows 0% infill without support) using --sliceFillSparse=0

Visualized with gcode2png.

Fill Types

20mm cube:

Fill type 'vase' and 'bubbles' are listed as available but don’t work yet.

Conclusion

As of 2021/08 I’m quite impressed with Kiri:Moto. It goes different ways than the most other slicers, for example:

  • first layer outline is printed extremely slow
  • first layer filling is printed fast
    • other slicer print first layer outline & filling slow
  • shells/walls are printed inside out with increased speed, other slicers slow down shells/walls
    • the result in my case are very clean walls, as the emphasis is on fast contineous extruding than slow extruding

I also noticed there is little retraction done by default, fast motion to continue filling where other slicers retract & unretract more often.

So, the print with basic forms sliced looks good so far, and with just 100 settings it’s easy to learn and memorize, compared to Cura with over 500 settings.

While I like a new and usable slicer be available, the downside is that JavaScript use was once promising, but as of 2020/2021 it has become a mess as Browser JS and Node JS have diverted immensely, and the entire “Async Hell” has just driven forward with async / await / promise / then non-sense – it is really software development gone wrong for a decade. On the upside, JavaScript makes the slicing engine accessible and easier to extend than with verbose C++ or rudimentary C.

Print3r Support

As of version Print3r 0.3.8 the KiriMotoSlicer is supported, using slicer independent settings (write the profile once, use multiple slicers).

% print3r --printer=ashtar-k-2-pax --random-placement print --slicer=kirimoto xyzHollowCalibrationCubeV2.stl --fill-density=0
== Print3r 0.3.8 == https://github.com/Spiritdude/Print3r
print3r: conf: device /dev/ttyACM0, Ashtar K 38x30x33 PAX #2, build/v 300x300x330mm, nozzle/d 0.4mm, layer/h 0.25mm, filament/d 1.75
mm
print3r: slice (kirimoto) part <xyzHollowCalibrationCubeV2.stl> to gcode: prepare, reposition [145,116], translate 145.0,116.0,0.0, reposition [128,211], slice, done.
print3r: print: 0h 14m elapsed, eta 0h 00m, 100.0% complete, z=20.00mm, layer #80, filament 0.93m
% 

Configurations

Configurations can be stored line-wise like:

# is a comment
sliceHeight = 0.25
sliceLineWidth = 0.45

and optionally you can load JSON formatted configuration as in grid-apps/src/dev/*

kirimoto-slicer -l my.conf test.stl
kirimoto-slicer -l grid-apps/src/dev/Creality.Ender.3 test.stl

References

3D Modeling: FreeCAD2Any

Just a brief announcement of a small Python script for command-line use (CLI) which allows to convert FCStd (FreeCAD Standard file-format) to

  • STL
  • IGES
  • STEP
  • Brep
  • AMF
  • OFF
  • OBJ
  • 3MJ

which I primarely use to bring FreeCAD into the 3D printing framework with Print3r.

Platforms

  • Linux/Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Download

https://github.com/Spiritdude/FreeCAD2Any

References

  • Print3r, makes use of freecad2any in order to pre-process FCStd, IGES, STEP and Brep files

3D Printing: Non-Planar “Balcony” Overhang with 3-axis FDM Printer

Updates:

  • 2021/05/02: adding overhang-inout with 5 segments, with conic inside- and outside-cone mode
  • 2021/05/01: adding tilt sliced overhang segment variant as comparison
  • 2021/04/29: video uploaded and blog-post published
  • 2021/04/27: first successful tests with vertical nozzle (3-axis FDM printer)

Introduction

The past few months and weeks I focused on the non-planar slicing, and the first tests with sub-volume segmenting and thereby mixing planar and non-planar sliced G-code worked as simulation, and now in actual prints.

One of the benchmarks are 90° overhangs in different directions, and I printed with vertical nozzle on an ordinary 3-axis FDM printer, therefore I prepared the G-code with a new tool (in-development) which coordinates segmenting and planar/non-planar slicing of sub-volumes, and the conic sliced segment was sliced with 25° conic angle so it remains printable with the vertical nozzle unlike the simulation where a 4- or 5-axis FDM printer is required:

Gallery

Conic Sliced Overhang Segment

The simulation as reference:

and the actual print process with vertical nozzle on a low-cost 3-axis FDM printer:

Excerpt of the actual printing process with brief annotations:

Tilt Sliced Overhang Segment

Just for sake trying out, instead of conic sliced overhang segment, tilt sliced and 45° Z rotated to nicely extend to the maximum overhang position:

and the actual print of a slightly lower model but with the same features:

Comparing Tilted Sliced vs Conic Sliced Overhang Underside

Overhang In/Out: 2 Overhang Conic Segments

5 segments (bottom to top): z-planar, conic (inside-cone), z-planar, conic (outside-cone), z-planar

And revisiting the Overhang In/Out Model, which features ingoing and outgoing overhang, segmented into 5 sub-volumes:

  1. bottom: z-planar
  2. ingoing1) overhang: conic (inside-cone mode)
  3. middle: z-planar
  4. outgoing1) overhang: conic (outside-code mode)
  5. upper: z-planar

1) when dealing with conic slicing, the direction of overhang matters when deciding the mode of conic slicing, e.g. outside-cone or inside-cone.


and the actual print, a half of the model so the printing of inner overhang on the lower part of the model is visible:

Conclusion

It took me a few days to tune the 3-axis FDM printer to print in acceptable quality of this Overhang Model No 5 and also Overhang In/Out Model. A strong part-cooler was mandatory, well adjusted print temperature and slow perimeter as those extrusions align horizontally without vertical support; and it worked: the main idea is to segment and limit the overhang part to ~2mm thickness – a quasi “balcony” – which still allows a classic vertical nozzle with part-cooler to print such, and then switch back to planar printing again.

Vertical nozzle with part-cooler printing conic sliced overhang – a “balcony” – working with narrow margins

Detail settings: the conic overhang was sliced with Slicer4RTN with following settings slicer4rtn --slicer=cura-slicer --speed_wall=10 --speed_wall_0=10 --speed_wall_x=10 ... and since the Z-axis motion is limited to 4mm/s (M6 threaded rod, 1 rotation => 1mm) the overall printing speed is slow enough to provide acceptable print quality.

References

3D Printing: Sub-Volume Segmenting & (Non-)Planar Slicing

Introduction

In order to take advantage of 4- and 5-axis non-planar FDM1) printing (e.g. tilted, conic, cylindrical, spherical) the model may be segmented and then dedicate slicing methods can be assigned to such sub-volumes.

A few basic examples combining planar and non-planar slicing methods on sub-volume segmented models illustrating the possibilities printing without support structures:

  1. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) also known as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)

T-Model: 2 Segments: Z-planar & Conic

Utilizing novel conic slicing as introduced by ZHAW researchers in 2020/2021:

T-model segmented into 2 sub-volumes, sliced z-planar and conic (outside-cone mode)

Conic slices can be printed with 4-axis Rotating Tilted Nozzle (RTN) although printing the Z-planar sliced part might not give goods surface results but rather using a 5-axis Penta Axis (PAX) printhead to cover both cases easily.

T-Model: 3 Segments: Z-planar & 2x Tilted

Using non-rotating but tilted sliced (like used with belt-printers) but in two distinct directions:

T-model segmented into 2 sub-volumes, sliced z-planar and twice tilted in opposite directions

Tilted slices can be printed with 4-axis Rotating Tilted Nozzle (RTN) but the first Z-planar part, as mentioned above, might not provide sufficient surface quality, whereas a 5-axis Penta Axis (PAX) printhead can print both segments easily.

T-Model: 3 Segments: Z-planar & 2x X-planar

A more classic planar approach but with different planes as reference, first Z-planar then twice X-planar in different directions:

T-model segmented into 3 sub-volumes, sliced z-planar and twice x-planar

X-planar printing requires either 5-axis Penta Axis (PAX) printhead or the ability to tilt the bed.

Overhang In/Out: 2 Segments: 2x Conic

Lower part is sliced with conic slicing with inside-cone mode to print in-going overhang, whereas the upper part is sliced with outside-cone mode to cover the out-going overhang:

Overhang in/out model segmented into 2 sub-volumes: lower part is sliced conic (inside-cone mode) and upper part conic (outside-cone mode)

This model covers the classic case of 4-axis Rotating Tilted Nozzle (RTN) application: rotating 45° tilted nozzle printing in two different modes (outside-cone and inside-cone); a 5-axis Penta Axis (PAX) printhead also can print such.

Overhang Out No 5: 2 Segments: Z-planar & Conic

Another overhang piece, stretching out into one direction; the lower part Z-planar, and the overhang conic (outside-cone mode) with an offset to align better with the lower segment:

Overhang Out No 5 model segmented into 2 sub-volumes: z-planar at the bottom and overhang segment conic (outside-cone mode)

Overhang Out No 5: 3 Segments: 2x Z-planar & Conic

Perhaps a more realistic approach using the conic part as a “balcony” just for the overhang part sufficiently thick to carry next segment and switching back to Z-planar:

Overhang Out No 5 model segmented into 3 sub-volumes: z-planar first, then conic (outside-cone) building a thin “balcony” as support for the z-planar part on top again

Early tests have shown the thickness of the conic overhang “balcony” depends on the actual length of the in-air overhang, where print speed, part-cooling capacity and extrusion consistency determine the geometrical accuracy. More examples with “balcony” printed with 3-axis FDM printer followed.

Conclusion

Unlike with ordinary Z-planar slicing, it may be suitable to dedicate a particular slicing method and orientation for sub-volumes in order to take advantage of the possibilities like avoiding support structure, particular strength properties or surface quality.

This of course opens a wide-range of possibilities and complexity therefore:

  • where to segment
  • which slicing method to use
  • in which orientation the slicing is performed

but I think it’s worth it, in particular when a piece is printed more than once like with small series manufacturing / production.

The examples have been produced with various slicers and combined with a new application coordinating the segmenting and dedicated slicing methods, which currently (2021/04) is in development; it also involves a new file-format describing the segmenting and its slicing settings. The segment positioning was done manually as a start, but I expect with more experience and research some cases can be detected automatically.

Sub-volume segmenting is just one approach to take advantage of 5-axis FDM printing, another is continuous slicing along the form.

References

See Also

PS: All animations I combined in a short 3min video: Mixing Planar & Non-Planar Slicing Methods for 3D Printing Overhangs without Support Structure (YouTube)

3D Printing: YAGV: Yet Another G-code Viewer Fork

One of the oldest standalone G-code viewers yagv (Yet Another G-code Viewer) I forked and added following features:

  • ported to Python3
  • new color scheme (white background)
  • parsing G-code comments, determining wall, infill, support structure and render with different colors
  • support for Slic3r, PrusaSlicer, Cura/cura-slicer, Mandoline and Slicer4RTN (non-planar)
  • panning implemented (properly works with zoom and rotation)
    • same mouse button layout as OpenSCAD
  • more test G-code included in tests/

Example of non-planar G-code:

Download

https://github.com/Spiritdude/yagv

Note: I opened a Pull Request (PR) but not sure if it’s accepted.

See Also