Mar 24, 2016 | By Andre
Before anything is ever 3D printed it has to be sliced. A slice is a file that contains the necessary set of coordinates and extrusion instructions that a 3D printer follows while working its magic. In most cases you’ll need to download slicing software (Makerware, Cura and Slic3r are popular examples) onto your computer and go from there.
But the world is changing. Cloud computing is rapidly growing and web-based devices like the Chromebook and iPad are not far behind. 3D printer slicing software developers are starting to take notice. As we wrote about earlier in 2016, a web-based slicing app is being developed by serial entrepreneur Stewart Allen called KIRI:MOTO. His online tools allow you to import your print-ready STL file with easy drag and drop functionality and export a 3D print ready gcode or x3g file for use in just about any FDM based desktop 3D printer.
It now seems that Sébastien Mischler - a veteran in the open-source 3D printer game - has gone ahead and created SLAcer, a web-based slicer for stereolithography (SLA) resin based 3D printers. And if you consider that there are more consumer grade SLA 3D printers on the market today than ever before, it's come at the perfect time.
The primary reason for his efforts is to make available, for the first time, an SLA slicer without any local dependences. This means no software has to be installed on your system as long as you’re using a web browser compatible with your printer board (Arduino or SmoothieBoard for example).
After taking the SLAcer for a quick run, I noticed it has a lot of features you’d be after with a 3D printing slicing app. Importing any 3D print STL file is as easy as dragging and dropping it onto the screen. Object scaling, rotating, mesh information, build volume declaration, resolution and 3D print resolution options (to name a few) are all present in this beta version of his code.
And while some common features such as support generation tools and uniform scaling capabilities are absent, that’s not the end of the world at this early stage in Sébastien’s development of his code. Also, if I was really eager to make these omissions happen, I could jump into his github and download the source files as he is keeping everything open-source.
Unfortunately for me, I don’t think his code is compatible with my Form-1 SLA 3D printer, otherwise I would have given it a swirl. Fortunately for others, he plans to add network communication, serial communication, refactoring and the ability to export slices in the DXF format for use on laser cutters (something the Kiri:Moto slicer already features).
Sébastien’s efforts are definitely to be commended and I’m excited to see his code grow; either through his own efforts or via a collaboration made possible through his git. With more and more new-generation 3D printing companies resorting to patenting their innovations, it’s nice to see open-source 3D printer developers still flourishing.
Posted in 3D Software
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Sébastien Mischler wrote at 3/25/2016 4:44:23 PM:
Uniform scaling added ;)
Sébastien Mischler wrote at 3/25/2016 1:08:03 PM:
Uniform scaling added ;)
Corey Warren wrote at 3/24/2016 7:50:31 PM:
My own opinion on Desktop SLA printers is yuck! There is so much preparation and post printing work that it isn't fun. The chemicals are dangerous and I just don't want to deal with any of that. For my FDM printers I load the object, slice and hit print. The only thing I may have to do is change the filament if I want a different color.