Switching to Simplify 3D

It’s been about 3 months now having switched from using either Cura or Slicr for my 3d printing slicing to using Simplify3D, and it’s been awesome. You couldn’t pay me to go back. If you’ve never heard of it or never looked into it, go check it out. Seriously, head over to https://www.simplify3d.com.

You’ll probably look at the features list and go “Meh, other software has most of that and it’s not $150”. Go read some reviews or watch some youtube videos. This software is 100% worth it.

It’s FAST

It sounds trivial, but especially if you’re working with high poly count objects (pretty much anything out of ZBrush), it sucks to try to import something into your Slicr and have it either crash, or you have to go walk away and make a cup of coffee while it struggles to slice it. Have to do that a couple times? Find a good movie to watch. It just sucks, and coming from an animation background and not a CAD background, I basically stopped trying to print anything I’d done in Zbrush, which limited what I could make.

In comes Simplify3D. No more waiting (I mean a little, but seriously it’s almost nothing). Check out the image below, a screenshot from Simplify3D. It’s a model exported from Zbrush, about 960k polygons of Maui’s magic hook from Moana.

In Simplify3D, it took about 10 seconds to slice it on a 2010 iMac. It’s a slow machine, and it did just fine. I did the same thing on my 2015 iMac using Cura (two machines in the same room) and it took several minutes. Doesn’t sound huge, but in the span of a minute I could try out several different settings for slicing until I found one that worked great. To do the same thing in Cura — I’d be there a good half an hour.

It just prints better

It sounds weird, or it did to me originally, but it just flat out prints better. I have fewer issues in printing (most now due to me not leveling my print bed correctly), fewer drips when traveling, and just smoother prints. Yes you can probably get similar settings out of others, but look at how simple this is.

There’s a ton of settings here if you really want to dive into it. But honestly, 90% of my time is spent choosing between ‘Fast’, ‘Medium’, and ‘High’ using the presets, and then toggling the checkbox next to Generate Supports. That’s it, and it’s way better than anything I was getting before.

Let’s talk about supports. If you’re doing stuff with supports, you need to be using this. The generated supports are better placed, you can manually edit them, and they print soooo nice. They’re easy to break off afterwards, and when they do, it’s like a little accordion. Here’s an example of an elephant themed sunglasses stand I made for my wife, a before and after removing the supports on it.

It totally came off in one clean piece. How cool is that?

Of course, there’s a bit of a trade off with these awesome supports. First off, it’s not the fastest thing in the world printing these supports. Second, if you’re not careful, they’ll use up a ton of material. But personally, I’d rather waste a little extra material on some supports over having to reprint several times because a support failed. That’s all I got. I know it’s expensive, but if you’re into 3d printing and your printer will allow it, I definitely recommend giving it a try.