Musings and Experiments on the Art and Science of 3D Printing

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Why I love KISSlicer top 10 list

By Michael Hackney → Friday, November 10, 2017

Here is my complete top 10 list of why I love KISSlicer.
and my #1 reason for loving KISSlicer is...

Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #1

By Michael Hackney →
Well, here we are at my top reason for loving KISSlicer. By way of background, I want to go on record by saying I'm at expert at slicing - and not just with KISS. My g-code background goes back 17 years on CNC milling machines. I learned how to write g-code by hand and to manually modify g-code produced by CAM applications (the machining equivalent to a slicer) to get better results.

So when I made the move (~10 years ago) to 3D printing and slicers, I was comfortable. More importantly, I had already learned how to analyze g-code in order to see what's "good" and what's "so-so". These skills carry over to slicer generated g-code. And there is a difference between good paths and not-so-good paths even though the end result (print) might look nearly the same.

I've spent 1000s of hours studying slicers and their g-code. I'm expert with all the major players: Slic3r (and Prusa Edition), Cura, MatterSlice, Skeinforge, Craftware and Simplify3D to name few. I've also developed slicing utilities to generate code that current slicers can't - like a 3D printed fishing fly, an SVG file to g-code utility and programs to combine layers from multiple g-code files to get exactly the results I want.



The one thing I can say is that, without a doubt, for those willing to truly understand the slicing process and the resulting g-code, KISSlicer is by far the most predictable. And that, dear readers, is my Why I love KISSlicer: reason #1 - Predictability. When I slice a part in KISS, I know what I'm going to get. When I tweak a parameter, KISS doesn't do weird/inexplicable/stupid things, it does what I expect it to do, predictably. I'm not going to go through a litany of stupid slicer tricks here but I have models and configuration examples for every slicer in the list above that result in g-code that simply defies explanation - and not just slicer crashes but legitimate, head-scratching, whydeydodat? examples. Thank you KISSlicer, I'm really looking forward to the next great thing!

Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #2

By Michael Hackney → Thursday, November 9, 2017
I thought long and hard about Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #2. This one could easily have been my #1 reason simply due to the amount of time it saves me managing my own settings and sharing my settings files to help others.

I'm sure you guessed it - reason #2 is individual settings files! This one is so simple but so BIG. No longer are all of my Printer (14 of them) settings glomed together in a single file like other slicers do. No longer are all of my Style settings, my Material settings or my Support settings crammed together (with the Printer settings of course) into a single mega-settings-file. Now, I can copy, save, and restore individual files for each of my 100 or so settings. And regarding "restore", KISSlicer's Reference settings keep a safe copy of all my settings so they can't be inadvertently (or advertently) changed!

This feature is so cool and powerful that I talked about it for almost 20 minutes in KISSlicer Tutorial: Settings, Profiles and Projects – Oh My! It's worth the watch to learn how to use these capabilities to maximum advantage.


Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #3

By Michael Hackney → Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Wizards! I love KISSlicer's new Wizards. There are Wizards for setting up your printer, print styles, materials, and supports. And there are tuning Wizards to tune temperature, flow rate, PreloadVE and destring.

I was a little skeptical when I beta tested the Profile Wizards but as I demonstrated in my Getting Started with the Wizards video, they produce quality results. I now use the Materials wizard to set up new materials most of the time. And if you are setting up a new printer from scratch, check out KISSlicer: 2 minutes and 45 seconds from launch to print for any new user!

Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #4

By Michael Hackney → Sunday, November 5, 2017
Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #4

Rounded infill. 'Nuff said...






Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #5

By Michael Hackney → Friday, November 3, 2017
My reason #5 is a doozy! this one could actually be divided into four or more individual reasons – but I'll put them all together in reason #5 because I have a few others waiting in the wings!

So what is reason #5? Advanced string and blob mitigation features, that's what! All slicers have features specifically developed to help minimize or eliminate print artifacts like stringing and blobbing. KISSlicer takes these to a new level and even its normal g-code paths minimize the number of hops and other movements that cause problems. But on top of that, KISSlicer includes this set of arrows in your string and blob mitigation quiver:

  • Wipe
  • Destring (aka retract)
  • Minimum Jump and Trigger (for Wipe and Destring)
  • Z-lift
  • Loop Order
  • Join Loop with Seam Depth and Seam Gap configuration
  • Jitter and Angle
  • Corner seam placement
  • and yes, my favorite blob and string mitigation feature of them all – Preload
(I guess the list is a little longer than four!)

You can learn a lot more in my two-part series:

and:

and more will be coming in future tutorials and posts!

Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #6

By Michael Hackney → Thursday, November 2, 2017
Adaptive Layer Heights is a new feature in KISSlicer 1.6 and it's, well, it's sublime as you are about to learn – and why I love KISSlicer: Reason #6!

When Slic3r Prusa Edition 1.33.3 introduced its Variable Layer Height feature earlier this year, it was very well received. Now, those steppy looking top layers on curved parts could finally be smoothed out by decreasing the layer heights in only those areas. So, you get the advantage of thinner layers where they are needed without paying a big penalty in much slower print speed.

Little did the world know that KISSlicer had a new feature up its sleeve! KISSlicer 1.6's Adaptive Layer Heights feature is conceptually similar but completely different! In Slic3r's implementation, the user has to manually create the layer height changes and gradients – a bit of a pain and the user has to have a lot of knowledge to know when they get it right. KISSlicer completely automates the process of smoothing out these curved areas with thinner layer heights – that's why it's called adaptive layer heights.

Here is a screenshot that shows a part sliced using typical .2mm fixed-height layers on the left and with the new Adaptive Layer Height feature from .1mm to .2mm on the right. If you zoom in and look at the very top of the hemisphere, you'll see the layers in the adaptive slicer are much closer spaced and the curvature is much smoother.
But don't take a screenshot's word (!?) for it, here's a photo of the parts that were printed from the slice shown above. (By the way, KISSlicer's Lock Paths feature let me slice these parts using different slicing parameters and then save a single g-code file to print.)
As you can see, the layers on the right are thinner and the curvature is much less stepped in appearance. That's Variable Layer Heights at work.

Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #7

By Michael Hackney → Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Changing print speeds for perimeters, infill, and shells in other slicers drives me bonkers. For one thing, the current speed settings are not clearly visible, you have to dig into the slicer's configuration screens/panels to see what they are set to – usually 2 or 3 mouse clicks to get to them. To deal with this, I see a lot of people create a new setting for every speed they use and add the speed to the name of the setting, something like this:

50% straight infill - 50mm/s

This clutters up their slicer settings with lots entries – simply so they can see what their current print speeds are.

So that brings me to Why I love KISSlicer: Reason #7 – setting, changing and managing print speeds is really simple and intuitive. Consider:

Not only are the speeds clearly displayed on every settings panel (highlighted in the red box in the screen capture), KISS even shows the max flow rate – arguably a much more useful bit of information. When you want to tweak your print speeds – maybe to improve print quality a bit or simply speed things up to print a part quickly – simply slide the Speed Slider shown in the blue box. Of course, the speed and flow settings automatically update so you get immediate feedback.

Some users moving to KISS from other slicers get lost when it comes to setting speeds because they've been coerced into a particular way that slicer does it. So, to make that transition easier and to further describe the power of KISSlicer's speed management, I created this tutorial video: All About Speeds.