What do we mean by “slicing” in connection with 3D printing? Slicing is also an important process in the creation of a 3D configurator.

There are many steps to go from the idea of an object you want to create to your finished, printed 3D part. Slicing is the process of converting your 3D model into a file that your 3D printer can understand. Typically, you export your 3D model from CAD software and then use slicing software to analyze that model and create the toolpath for your 3D orinter in a different file format.

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The term “slicing” is used because additive manufacturing typically uses material layers on top of each other to physically build the part – each of these layers is like a “slice” of the entire model.

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Slicing Software.

There is a lot of high-quality, free slicing software (known as “Slicer”) because 3D printing is originally open source. The most common slicers are Slic3r, Simplify3D and Cura, but each slicer should have several 3D printing features. Each slicer has its own, sometimes complicated, user interface, but there are usually enough tutorials and internet forums to get started quickly.

The alternative to open source sliders are proprietary slicers, usually developed by 3D printer manufacturers. These usually have simplified interfaces for better usability, but may offer fewer options or less detailed control.

Slicing Settings.

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The most important slicer settings relate to controllling the speed at which the plastic is extruded. These key settings are filament diameter, layer height, extrusion width and print speed.

Typically, the filament diameter over the material and the layer height over the part are the same. Then you should set the same extrusion widths and speeds for each feature type (e.g. outer wall, filling etc.). Other slicer settings that need to be mastered to be effective in 3D printing are those that control the creation of the substrate. These enable overhangs and bridges which are critical for pressure parts without having to be subsequently processed.

Testing is the only effective way to create slicer configurations because third-party slicer configurations may not work as effectively on your particular machine. This applies to proprietary slicers and printers such as the SAAM series with automatic cloud slicing with ClCloud. The best tip for creating great slicer configurations is an easy start. Isolate the features you value most, start with the easiest and work your way through to the hardest. You should also validate these settings with as many 3D prints as possible.