We all know that hacker that won’t use a regular compiler. If he’s not using assembly language, he uses a compiler he wrote. If you don’t know him, maybe it is you! If you really don’t know one, then meet these two. [Nathan Fuller] and [Andy Baldwin] want to encourage you to write your own 3D slicer.
Their post is very detailed and uses Autodesk Dynamo as a graphical programming language. However, the details aren’t really specific to Dynamo. It is like a compiler. You sort of know what it must be doing, but until you’ve seen one taken apart, there are a lot of subtleties you probably wouldn’t think of right away if you were building one from scratch.
Slicers have to determine what each slice of the 3D model looks like and create Gcode to represent those layers. The Gcode then drives the printer. Why build your own slicer? Well, we never really need a reason before we do things like this around here. But if you insist, think about how your own slicer could allow you to experiment with different types of support structure generation, infill patterning, and other details.
Granted, a lot of slicers are open source, so you could start there, too. However, those are usually mature products full of features and it can be difficult to figure out how to insert your own code into them (with the possible exception of writing a Cura plug in).
We’ve covered slicing tricks like variable height layers, before. We’ve also talked about using scripting languages to munge the Gcode output from a slicer. We even have our own tool for merging Gcode with different options (like layer height). What tricks do you like to use when it comes to slicing?
Thanks to [smerrett79] for pointing this one out.