IceSL is a Cool Slicer

The mechanical and electronic parts of a 3D printer are critical for success, but so is the slicing software. Slic3r and Cura are arguably the most popular, and how they command your printer has a lot to do with the results you can get. There are lots of other slicers out there both free and paid, but it is hard to really dig into each one of them to see if they are really better than whatever you are using today. If you are interested in the performance of IceSL — a free slicer for Windows and Linux — [DIY3DTECH] has a video review that can help you decide if you want to try it. You can see the video below.

IceSL has several modules and can actually do OpenSCAD-like modeling in Lua so you could — in theory — do everything in this one tool. The review, though, focuses only on the slicing aspect. In addition to the desktop client versions, you can use some features online (although on our Linux machine it didn’t work with the latest Chrome beta even with no add ons; Firefox worked great, though).

One of the things the review was excited about was that the slicer allows you to change settings per layer and it can do adaptive slicing in which it picks layer settings based on the object you are printing. Of course, other slicers can do similar tricks, but — for example — Slic3r requires you to create cubes in a CAD program to define where you want the additional settings to apply (a modifier mesh).

The per-layer settings can be handy. For example, you might want to infill the base of an object but not the top. Higher temperatures on the bed are easy to do like this, too. There is a separate tool to do this in a slicer-agnostics way, but having it built-in is certainly much nicer. If you are too hardcore to use a tool you didn’t create yourself, perhaps you’d like to write your own slicer.

15 thoughts on “IceSL is a Cool Slicer

  1. It is free but it is not Free. Binary-only distribution and a non-commercial restriction, if you want to use it for any business purpose you must contact them to figure out how much money they want. I think that puts Cura and Slic3r pretty far ahead in in the 3D printer hackers community, given the usual preference for open-source licenses.

    1. The authors are at INRIA (the French public research institution) and it is well likely that INRIA has such licensing policy. It is pretty common for academic institutions too. They don’t want companies take their research without paying them a dime.

      I am not familiar with INRIA policies, but from my university research time, releasing something under OSS license can be surprisingly difficult. You have to get a written approval from the legal in order to be able to do it. And usually they have no idea what open source is or think it is giving the stuff away for free and will say “NO!” without even letting you finish the sentence. In my case they weren’t able to come back to me with an answer in several months, so in the end my department head told me to just go ahead and play stupid if someone asks (it was only a set of patches to existing OSS software, so no big deal, but I wanted to have my back covered, in case).

      The “come back to us for any other case” is also typical – universities typically don’t have established licensing programs for their stuff, not realizing how difficult and off-putting it is for the industrial people wanting to actually use their work. So they literally have to set it up every time someone asks, including figuring out the prices. Can take months … Academia literally lives in a different space-time, unfortunately.

        1. Lucky you.

          I was at two large and well known unis in two different countries and at both it was a huge legal hassle requiring sign-offs from both the department heads and legal before anything could be released under any “non-standard” (aka all rights reserved or non-commercial use only) license.

          And the third uni we are sometimes dealing with now is a pain too, because they want to milk money from everything, almost even makefiles required to build stuff or the mere idea of something. Different problem but shows the mindset.

  2. After testing a few applications I bit the bullet and purchased Simplify3D, Have never had an issue with it and find it to be really robust for just about everything. The only issue I have had is of late is in opening a HUGE STL however I also had issues opening it in Mesh Mixer to reduce the faces.

      1. What? Troll much? Painless?

        Ah, you are using the hidden device tree file that redirects to /etc/obscure/whyisitinhere/trolling/dontlookinthisdir/thisisn’tafile

        Add this to your $PATH or

        cat /etc/obscure/whyisitinhere/trolling/dontlookinthisdir/thisisn’tafile
        In double super mode, use unguent and enter job number of the task in question using the farquhar4.7.3 hash. This will launch a kubernetes container of the 5th kind.
        ….

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