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Anycubic Photon Slicer – 4 Best Alternatives

Picture of Michael Ohl
by Michael Ohl
Jun 20, 2019

Anycubic Photon Slicer – 4 Best Alternatives

Interested in exploring if there are more slicers to use with the Anycubic Photon? Check out these alternatives ready for you to install and use now.

Anycubic Photon Slicer Anycubic Photon and LCD Slicers

A resin print on the platform.
A resin print on the platform. Source: Leo Gregurić / All3DP

The Anycubic Photon is a great entry-level SLA 3D printer. It has everything you need to get started right out of the box, including the Anycubic Photon Slicer (on the included USB drive). This default slicing software is pretty decent, generating models sliced in the .photon format rather than G-code.

FDM vs Resin Printer Slicing

The typical G-code file for an FDM 3D printer contains coordinates for a print head (or print heads) to travel to, the speeds at which to move the head, and how much filament to extrude. As you can imagine, this is a bit different with an LCD printer, which relies on an LED screen to project UV light, which cures photosensitive resin.

A .photon file is completely different from a G-code file in that it is made of many “images”, each a representation of a very thin cross-section of the model. Each will eventually become a layer of the final model when they are cured.

The slicer included in the box, however, is not the only option to get .photon files to print on your Anycubic Photon. In this article, we explore some alternative slicers that bring new features for working with the machine.

1

Anycubic Photon Slicer Chitu DLP Slicer

Chitu DLP Slicer default view.
Chitu DLP Slicer default view. Source: Chitu DLP Slicer

Chitu DLP Slicer is the software that Anycubic rebranded to make the Anycubic Photon Slicer. If you are familiar with the Anycubic Slicer, you’ll be right at home with this. The usage is straightforward, and the only difference between this software and the Anycubic Photon Slicer is the name and some settings that need to be tweaked to match the Photon’s (resin cure time, for example).

Pros

  • Familiar interface
  • Small learning curve
  • Custom support generation
  • Supports Windows & Mac

Cons

  • Slower Slicing
  • Cure times not as accurate
  • Not available for Linux
2

Anycubic Photon Slicer ChituBox

Chitubox slicer in action.
Chitubox slicer in action. Source: ChituBox

Chitubox, from the creators of Chitu DLP Slicer and the Anycubic Photon Slicer, is a more advanced program with some added features. Some of the enhancements of this software are network printing, wide machine support, and a different interface with a dark theme.

While this software requires special setup to use with the Photon, it is well worth the effort – many of the features here cannot be found in the Anycubic Photon Slicer, making it suitable for more advanced users. Earlier versions had slicing errors, but as of version 1.4.0, past issues (such as inverted walls) are not as common, anymore.

One disadvantage of this choice is the account creation requirement, even for the free version.

Pros

  • Faster slicing speed
  • Solid support generation capabilities
  • Hollowing command (with drain hole creation)
  • “List” feature for working with multiple models
  • Ability to auto-arrange models on the build plate
  • Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux

Cons

  • Requires an account to download
  • Doesn’t show build area of the machine
3

Anycubic Photon Slicer Photon Open Slicer

MeshMixer with the Photon Open Slicer running.
MeshMixer with the Photon Open Slicer running. Source: MeshMixer

The Photon Open Slicer is a command line tool that can also be used as a plugin for MeshMixer. It leverages the power of MeshMixer for supports, model repair, and more – this makes it unique among the other slicer options. Community-maintained projects, however, generally require a bit more setup, and this is no exception.

This slicer was designed in Python 3 and runs in the command line. It has been turned into a SeshMixer plugin to give it a graphical user interface and capitalize on the features of MeshMixer. Through MeshMixer, we get access to many advanced features such as plane slicing, joining multiple parts, hollowing models, adding drain holes, and automatic repair of damaged files. The supports generated by MeshMixer are also highly regarded by the community.

That isn’t without its own drawbacks, though. MeshMixer requires more work to set up, and adjusting slicing parameters using a command line tool is complicated, thus this option would not be suitable for those new to resin printers.

Pros

  • Many powerful features
  • Very good support generation
  • Automatic file repair
  • Available for Windows & Mac

Cons

  • Slower slicing than other options
  • Complicated setup
  • Requires knowledge of MeshMixer to use
4

Anycubic Photon Slicer Formware 3D

Floor structure in Formware 3D.
Floor structure in Formware 3D. Source: Formware 3D

Formware 3D is the only commercial offering on this list at the moment. The software has two non-free license options, each with a 30-day free trial. For the money, this software includes a lot of the advanced features from other software such as hollowing objects, adding drain holes, repairing damaged meshes, and automatic arrangement on the build plate.

But there are a few things that really make it stand out, such as automatic print orientation to optimize for the least number of overhangs, for example. Another impressive feature is the floor structures, which enable increased usage of Z-volume when printing many smaller objects.

Although, one major drawback of this software is its slicing speed – keep in mind that both the slicing and file conversion to the .photon format can take a long time.

Pros

  • Hollows models and adds drainage holes
  • Advanced support generation and editing
  • Floor structures utilize more of the Z-axis
  • Visualizes overhangs and islands well

Cons

  • Floor structures will use a lot of extra resin
  • Slicing is very slow
  • Requires a more powerful graphics card
  • Some features aren’t intuitive, such as scaling or selecting single models

Feature image source: digitaltrends.com

License: The text of "Anycubic Photon Slicer – 4 Best Alternatives" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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