Fleetwood Mac puns aside, very little has changed about how we “slice” models for printers in the last 30 years. However, [Stefan Hermann] of CNC Kitchen has a demo that tries to change all that by slicing conically.
For the uninitiated in the dark arts of printing in the third dimension, the canonical definition of non-conical slicing has been to bisect the model at layer height intervals and generate the perimeter and the infill, then output that as g-code. This is easy to implement mathematically and works reasonably well, except when you have overhangs of more than about 60 degrees on most printers. The idea of slicing in a cone rather than a plane isn’t entirely novel as we previously covered RotBot, which offers a vertical axis of rotation and a print head at 45 degrees. What is extraordinary is that the technique [Stefan] walks you through is done with a stock printer without a complex 45-degree tilt and is a software modification rather than a hardware tweak.
[Stefan] references earlier work done by [Michael Wüthrich] of ZHAW School of Engineering, who wrote some scripts that apply the transformation. The slicer is SuperSlicer, a fork of the PrusaSlicer, which is itself a fork of slic3r. The modified g-code is exported and can be sent to a printer of your choice. He even has a link to a pre-sliced model to try it out.
Of course, different printers have different clearance levels, but the Prusa Mini he uses has 16 degrees of clearance with the sensor pushed up. The code is on GitHub. It’s fascinating to note how all these techniques and forks interact and build off each other. Whether tilted slices, conical slices, or something else ultimately becomes the de facto standard, we’re looking forward to more options for slicing.
Video after the break.
Continue reading “Move Aside Planar, I’m Slicing My Cone Way”
It always seemed to us that the Z-axis on a 3D printer, or pretty much any CNC machine for that matter, is criminally underused. To have the X- and Y-axes working together to make smooth planar motions while the Z-axis just sits there waiting for its big moment, which ends up just moving the print head and the bed another fraction of a millimeter from each other just doesn’t seem fair. Can’t the Z-axis have a little more fun?
Of course it can, and while non-planar 3D printing is nothing new, [Stefan] over at CNC Kitchen shows us a literal twist on the concept with this four-axis non-planar printer. For obvious reasons, it’s called the “RotBot,” and it comes via the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, where [Michael Wüthrich] and colleagues have been experimenting with different slicing strategies to make overhang printing more manageable. The hardware side of things is actually pretty intuitive, especially if you’ve ever seen an industrial waterjet cutter in action. They modified a Prusa printer by adding a rotating extension to the print head, putting the nozzle at a 45° angle to the print bed. A slip ring connects the heater and fan and allows the head to rotate 360°, with the extruder living above the swiveling head.
On the software side, the Zurich team came up with some clever workarounds to make conical slicing work using off-the-shelf slicers. As [Stefan] explains, the team used a “pre-deformation” step to warp the model and trick the slicer into generating the conical G-code. The G-code is then back-transformed in exactly the opposite process as pre-deformation before being fed to the printer. The transformation steps are done with a bit of Python code, and the results are pretty neat. Watching the four axes all work together simultaneously is quite satisfying, as are the huge overhangs with no visible means of support.
The academic paper on this is probably worth a read, and thankfully, the code for everything is all open-sourced. We’re interested to see if this catches on with the community.
Continue reading “RotBot Adds A Extra Dimension To 3D Printing, With A Twist”