An interview with the creator of Slic3r

When in Rome, most people visit great works of art, see masterpieces of architecture, or simply try to convince random tourists that a modern recreation of naval battles in the Colosseum would be really cool and somebody should really get on that. [Andrew] had a different idea, though. He thought meeting up with Slic3r developer [Alessandro Ranellucci] would be just as educational and entertaining as visiting a basilica and thoughtfully decided to film his interview for all to see.

Whenever a file of a 3D object is sent to a 3D printer, the object must first be converted into GCode – the language of lines, circles, and computer aided design that all 3D printers speak. To convert 3D objects to GCode, every piece of 3D printer software from Pronterface, ReplicatorG, and Repetier must first ‘slice’ the file up so the object can be printed one layer at a time.

As the lead dev for Slic3r, [Alessandro], a.k.a. [Sound] goes over the current happenings of his STL to GCode converter – he’s even getting a little support from the very cool people at LulzBot – and the future of Slic3r. There’s still a lot of work to be done optimizing the current software, improving the user interface, and getting rid of all those nasty edge-case bugs.

For as much as we at Hackaday focus on the hardware half of 3D printers, it must be said the current state of the art in desktop manufacturing wouldn’t be where it is without [Alessandro] and other software devs. There’s still a lot of room for improvement – try printing a single wall thickness cylinder without a seam, for example – but without software projects like Slic3r, 3D printing wouldn’t be where it is today.

Comments

  1. MonkeyBoy says:

    I’ve had the pleasure to meet Alessandro and visit his cave and meet his friends. He’s really a clever guy with a very important project.

  2. Wulfnor says:

    Its really nice that Sound i starting to get some attention and momentum in his project. I really like the work that hes doing, and where Slic3r is going. Well sometimes there are some bugs and regressions but hey… :)
    Keep up the good work Sound.

  3. daid303 says:

    Sound is awesome, great guy! And Slic3r is very good. And that’s what I’m saying as someone who is developing a competitive piece of software (Cura). (But I’m more focused on the GUI and usability side of things, and less on slicing speed)

  4. xorpunk says:

    The important thing to realize is you only see so much stuff on 3D printing because of marketing, not because it’s new or all the fanatics have intelligent and/or practical uses for it…

    Notice how nobody is designing solutions for under $300…

    • Matt says:

      Two years ago, you could have said exactly the same thing, but changed the $300 to $1000. Technology changes. Parts cost X amount of dollars. In a few years time, they will be approaching $300.

      If you think it is just marketing, why don’t you post a list of parts that cost less than $300 and how long it would take to build. 99% of the parts are off the shelf components, and labour costs money if you want them prebuilt. Let us know how you go.

    • simcop2387 says:

      They haven’t hit $300 yet, but they are getting there, http://printrbot.com/shop/printrbot-jr/ That’s the cheapest I’m aware of, and it’s a little small in printing area compared to others, but it’s definitely getting there. It’s entirely a war of attrition on the parts used and getting mass production of things.

    • xorpunk says:

      I don’t post a build cause I’m in a place in the world where your only option is to salvage and RE, and nothing I can find has things like nozzle, PP tubing, and most importantly stepper motors…

      Not to mention the logistics of finalizing such a project with the coding, on my schedule. Although If I could sale units, which I couldn’t because of sourcing, I could cover the investment…

      Put me in a place where you can mail-order or buy the stuff, and I’ll beat $100. It’s a 2 axis machine that factors delays for for fulfillment and uses 3D topology displacement in layers, it’s actually 4 decade old manufacturing tech…

  5. simcop2387 says:

    This really makes me wish I could finish the work I promised to do for him for rafting in Slic3r, not as needed anymore with repraps but some people still want them for some situations.

  6. Mac says:

    Here is a good video of the slic3r application being used.
    youtube.com/watch?v=9KhfJsxju1c&feature=g-high-u

  7. The printer on the left looks like a small computer fan is blowing towards or away from the printer mechanism … anyone know why? Thanks!

    • ftkalcevic says:

      I’m not exactly sure which fan you are talking about, but fans are generally used for two reasons: 1) blow on the plastic as it is extruded to cool it quickly, and 2) cool the motors – the motors can get exceptionally hot because of the heat rising from the extruded hot end.

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