As a high-end slicer, Simplify3D is rife with complexity. Check out this Simplify3D troubleshooting guide to overcome the most common issues!
Cura is a great slicer, especially for those just starting out. But if you’re looking for a slicer that gives you more control, the ability to better manipulate all three axes, and place supports right where you want them, Simplify3D may be the way to go.
Though there’s a bit of a learning curve, you’ll probably get the hang of it fairly quickly, especially since many of the complex settings stay out of the way until needed. But you’ll need the basics, and that’s where this article comes in. Here are the answers to several frequently asked questions about Simplify3D.
Like Cura, Simplify3D is a slicing program, meaning it takes your 3D model and “slices” it up into layers to be printed one at a time by your 3D printer. Instructions for these layers are generated in a language called G-code, which can be interpreted by your 3D printer.
The standard slicer workflow goes something like this:
In a nutshell, G-code tells the printer how hot to heat the extruder and bed, where the extruder needs to be along the X-, Y-, and Z-axes, what percentage of your 3D model will be solid plastic and how much will be “infill”, how fast to extrude the melted plastic, and more low-level machine settings. These are all instructions your 3D printer needs in order to fabricate the model, and they can be manipulated to achieve different results.
In order to print the model on your specific printer, Simplify3D needs a specific printer profile. Think of it as the dialect that the slicer uses to communicate to your specific printer. Your profile tells your slicer specific things about your printer, things like build volume, the number of extruders, the bed center point, G-code flavor, and more. This information is all embedded in your printer profile.
Simplify3D stores your printer profiles locally, and you can customize your profiles within the Process settings feature on the main window. You can also change filament material settings, print quality, infill percentage, and bed adhesion settings (raft, brim, or skirt).
You can save those changes by either selecting “Update profile” or “Save as New” for a new profile. If you wish to discard a profile, you simply select “Remove Profile”. If you have a custom profile that you’ve downloaded, you can also import that profile from the File menu.
Sure you can! Your profiles are saved locally within Simplify3D, and you can back them up by going to “File > Export FFF Profile”. This will save the profile to your hard drive, and you can easily reload it into the software via “File > Import FFF Profile”.
In Simplify3D, slicer settings can be saved for your model in factory files. Saving these settings will save you time, money, and frustration.
You can open up your design at a later date and reprint or readjust the factory files. You can then share them with others and they won’t have to find the model and set it up for printing.
Factory files are also useful if you want to change the size of your model without having to readjust the supports. They just get smaller with the model as you change the scale. You can’t do that with G-code, for instance.
Sometimes, when you load a model into Simplify3D, it sits in the wrong orientation for printing. In that case, you simply need to flip or rotate it. One way to do this is to go into the edit menu, and select “Place surface on bed”. This is also Ctrl + L (Cmd + L, for Mac) on the keyboard. Then, select the surface and Simplify3D will reorient the model.
To scale a model, you want to look into the model settings panel. Double-click the model, you can adjust it by going into the “change scaling” section. Simplify3D gives you the option of scaling by percentage or by the exact size in millimeters.
Also note that the model settings panel gives you more precise control of changing the position by axis. Just be aware that, if you change the Z setting to below the print bed, anything that goes below the bed will not be printed.
The extrusion multiplier is a setting that allows you to control the extrusion flow rate of your filament. If you check your print and find that the walls of your print are too thick, you can adjust the amount of filament that is extruded within the multiplier settings and try again. You can even adjust it on the fly as the print is in progress, depending on your machine.
Many recent 3D printers can use multiple extruders to 3D print in multiple colors or materials. Simplify3D supports this up to six different extruders. The Dual Extrusion Wizard makes it easy to create multi-extruder print jobs on your 3D printer.
The first thing you want to do is click on your model to be sure it’s selected. The model should change color to indicate that it’s selected.
Once you have the model selected, hold Ctrl and left-click (Cmd + left-click on a Mac) and drag to move the model on the virtual build table. Hold Ctrl and right-click (Cmd + right-click) to scale the model by moving the mouse up and down. You can also rotate the model by holding Alt, left-clicking and dragging side to side. For precision movement, you can double-click on a model to open its custom positioning window and enter exact numerical values.
Before you connect your printer, ask yourself if you really have to. After all, most 3D printers have an SD card slot which you can use to load your 3D model’s G-code onto the printer. Not only can this be faster, but it also avoids unexpected calamities like computer crashes, WiFi outages, or even a loose cable.
However, if you’re printing directly and you’re having problems, then the next step is to make sure your USB cable is properly connected.
Also, make sure your printer is on before you go into the software. That way, the connection is active when Simplify3D loads. To avoid all that trouble, just load your G-code onto an SD card.
(Lead image source: Simplify3D via YouTube)
License: The text of "Simplify3D Troubleshooting: Common Questions Answered" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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