All 3D printers require a companion computer software to operate them. Some of them use proprietary software; others are dependent on free open source engines, while others rely on off the shelf market products.
It is entirely up to you and your requirements to determine what is needed for that perfect 3D printed object. Basically, 3D printing slicing software has the ability to control each and every aspect of the 3D printing process. A very powerful paid slicer is Simplify 3D. But is Simplify3D worth it?
A slicer has the ability to translate 3D models into instructions and code that your printer will be able to understand and use. The more well-defined the instructions, the better the end results. This is why even a relatively simple software upgrade would be able to make a huge difference in the overall quality of your print.
As a matter of fact, the overwhelming majority of experts tend to agree that 3D printing software is one of the most impactful elements that affect print quality. Sometimes their importance even supersedes the 3D printers they operate.
This is the part where the Simplify3D comes into the picture. This is a state of the art slicer engine that beats most of its competition hands down.
Perhaps, this is why it has been pitted against the venerable Cura. After all, Cura too, is considered to be arguably one of the oldest and most respected slier engines available today.
Is Simplify3D worth it?
Think of the Simplify 3D slicer software as a simple slicer engine, albeit on steroids! It has just about all the bells and whistles you will need for some serious 3D printing. Here, you can find all the features you will want to control both your 3D printer as well as individual print processes.
For example, it will allow you to optimize any3D printing model as well as to troubleshoot the whole of the printing process, itself. Add to that the fact that it really is an ultra-fast slicer. For example, if it takes you minutes to slice a file through Cura, you can do the same on in Simplify3D in a matter of seconds only. In this aspect, it definitely beats Cura in the Cura vs Simplify3D debate.
Very High Compatibility Range
Simplify3D currently supports almost 95 percent of the desktop 3D printers that are available in the market today. (At least, as per the company’s claims). The engine’s 3D Printer Compatibility List reads like the who’s who of the industry. As of now, it comprises of over 120 individual 3D printers. Apart from that, this engine is also fully compatible with the Marlin, FlashForge, Sprinter, XYZprinting, Sailfish, Repetier, and MakerBot firm wares.
Interactive Preview Feature
This is by far and large, the single most impressive features available with the Simplify engine. Thanks to this feature, you will be able to preview the whole range of the print process live, right on your system’s screen. Alternatively, you can also easily jump to any particular section you want. It is also possible to get the software engine to show you only a single layer. Alternatively, you can also enable the engine to effectively build up the whole model while displaying it layer by layer.
This engine will display all of the travel moves as well as the movement of the tool head of the printer. You can even get it to display the retractions if you want. The software has the capability to display the desired feature type. This includes support, travel, ooze shield, infill, as well as the exact movement speed. What it will show will depend entirely on your choice.
This feature will also allow you to effectively check each and every step of the 3D printing process right there on your screen. In the long run, it will help you to troubleshoot and optimize both your 3D printer as well as the model you want to build with special regard to layer height.
Dual Extrusion Wizard
The wizard effectively simplifies the configuration of dual extrusion prints when it comes to two-color builds. If you own a dual extruder equipped printer, you will see that the engine will automatically create an ooze shield by default. This shield is a sort of envelope whose purpose is to help ensure that any leaking or oozing of the filament will be attached to the shield instead of your 3D model. You can easily adjust the system settings in the “Edit Process Settings” section. This setting will also help take care of the support structures.
Choice of Infill Patterns
Simplify3D has half a dozen different infill patterns. This way, it is possible to configure the interior of the 3D build to your exacting needs.
The Optimized Multi-Part Print mode
This engine supports 3 separate modes that can be used when you are in the process of 3D printing multiple models simultaneously.
The Single Process Printing Mode
This mode can help print identical or near-identical builds at the same time.
The Multiple Process Mode
This is a continuous printing mode that can help print several builds that require different settings simultaneously.
Sequential Printing Mode For Multiple Processes
In this mode, the slicer engine prints multiple layers of a 3D build before it moves to the next model. In the long run, it will substantially reduce the movements’ in-between the different builds. Furthermore, it will result in a more uniform and cleaner surface finish. Moreover, this procedure reduces warping as well.
Here, it is pertinent to note that not every 3D printer can possibly support sequential mode. For this mode to become operational, it is imperative for the print head to be able to move downwards without having to touch those parts of the build that have already been printed.
This will always depend on the top clearance of the printer’s print head. Apart from that, it will also depend upon the total distance between the various models. In fact, the greater the total distance, the higher will be the probability that the sequential printing process will be completely successful and you will get to build the models just the way you like.
Is Simplify3D better than Cura?
Simplify3D is considered to be one of the very few truly premium slicers available on the market. It is ultra-fast and absolutely loaded with amazing features that have been specially designed for professional-level 3D prints only.
Cura on the other hand costs absolutely nothing since it is free software and it is the official slicer engine of the Ultimaker Company. It is also an all-time favorite the hobbyist, cosplay enthusiast, students, and free open-source fans. It is renowned for being a very easy to use slicer engine.
This is because it can be easily enhanced with loads of plug-ins that are available free of cost. They have been made by the members of the Cura community.
Let us take a quick look at a few of their salient features and compare them to each other:
A good layout must always be very clean and legible. It has instantly recognizable icons and buttons; it would make the engine very intuitive.
At first glance, both of these slicers tend to display very nice and clean layouts. They all have similar tools for importing the different models. While it is true that Cura has much bigger icons located on small toolbars, Simplify3D on the other hand has tried a wholly different approach. Its left panel enables the instantaneous management of all of the imported models along with their relevant processes.
The buttons for not just positioning but also scaling models have been affixed on the right-hand side of Simplify3D. In the Cura engine, however, they only appear whenever a model has been imported.
Simplify3D boasts of a fairly large overlaid window that is very useful for adjusting the various printing parameters. In fact, all of the customizable settings as well as processing options have been very neatly divided into different tabs, for a grand total of one dozen tabs.
These include tabs for different layers such as the bed temperature, infill, supports, and even allowing a highly streamlined workflow. You will be able to see individual print parameter displays by the simple expedient of hovering the mouse over the tab to see a small description of the action taking place.
Here, Cura has come up with an entirely different approach. It has presented the print settings panel in a small side window which occupies a very small part of the main interface. All of the parameters in the side window panel are highly customizable. This way, you can choose for yourself the most used and relevant tabs on your 3D printer.
Yes, Cura too also displays the various settings descriptions whenever you hover the mouse on the tab, but these descriptions tend to be a bit lengthier when compared to Simplify3D.
Is Simplify3D a one-time-only purchase?
It is possible to use the software for a single system at any one point in time. For example, let us suppose you own both a laptop as well as a PC. In this case, while you can install the engine on both, you will be able to use it at only a single location at one time, not both. This is because the software is sold on an individual license only.
Does it improve print quality?
Yes, Simplified 3D can aid in significantly optimizing build quality. It does that by providing a higher degree of control over desktop 3D printers.
Who is it good for?
It is good for all top-notch professionals who need extremely exact builds for their professional work such as machine parts and other applications. It can also be used by highly dedicated cosplay enthusiasts who want to make the most realistic builds possible.
Who is it not good for?
If you are on a budget, this is not what you should get because there are plenty of free resources available. Apart from that, its overkill for anyone who is new to the world of 3D printing and just wants to explore it as a hobby. It is also not suitable for children and students either.
If you are in the market for a really expensive state of the art 3D slicer engine that will give you the very highest level of quality possible then this is the right software for you. However, if you are only looking for a simple slicer engine that will work fine on your budget machine ,you may use Cura.