Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

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mhackney
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Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:42 pm

I'm going to put this post in the V3 forum although I'll make a much more detailed post applicable to all printers at some point in the future.

Now that I have a completely stock Rostock MAX V3 I thought I would put the common slicers through their paces as I developed slicing profiles for each. Here are the setup details.

Five slicers, all the most current versions and all running on MacOSX 10.11.6:
  • KISSlicer 1.5
  • Cura 15.04.6
  • MatterSlice bundled with 1.5.3.6894
  • Slic3r 1.2.9
  • s3d 3.1.0
I tried to use exactly the same slicing parameters across all five slicers. The key parameters were:

.2mm layers (all of them)
3 top and bottom shells
2 perimeters printed inside out if available
extrusion width set to 0.5mm (to match nozzle)
30% straight infill

hotend: 195°C
bed: 55°C
bed surface: PEI

first layer print speed: 20 mm/s
all other print speeds (infill, perimeters, etc): 50mm/s

retract: 1mm
retract/advance speed: 25mm/s (except KISS which allowed me to use 50mm/s retract with 25 mm/s advance)
Z lift: 4mm

Travels: 200 mm/s on X, Y and Z

I sliced my BandAid model and saved gcode for each of these slicers. I used OctoPi to print all of them as it eliminates potential jitters and other print issues related to desktop USB control applications. Two of each were printed in SeeMeCNC's black PLA (except the Slic3r gcode was printed 3 times as mentioned below). The BandAid model is relatively simple but has some features to test the slicer. A calibration model of some sort would be ideal but that will have to wait for the book. Here are the results with the best on the left to the worst on the right. Comments below.

FullSizeRender 50.jpg


KISSlicer: although maybe not as obvious in the photo, the parts were much cleaner, more consistent and had better surface finish on both the perimeters and top and bottom surfaces.

Cura: output some respectable gcode for this model. Interestingly, the bands did seem to be slightly more pronounced than with other slicers on both test prints. Otherwise, it was quite clean.

MatterSlice: the primary issue I had with MatterSlice was that even at the same print speeds (and I verified these in the gcode) the print came out a bit glossier than the others indicating a slower print speed for the perimeters.

s3d: had some artifacts, particularly the "warts" that many see. In addition to the set of defaults I used for the other slicers I did attempt to tweak the s3d parameters to improve things. I was able to get slightly better prints.

Slic3r: is an odd one. You might not be able to see it in the photo but the perimeters were horrible. It looked like the printer might have had a loose belt or arm or joint but that was not the case. In fact, immediately after the first Slic3r print (that was horrible) I printed the KISS code and it was perfect, then the Slic3r code and it was horrible. I scrutinized the gcode and all of the parameters were exactly how I configured them (as described above). I ended up printing 3 just to make sure. I don't understand this at all. I attempted to tweak the slicing parameters to improve things with very marginal success.

Since my V3 is absolutely stock, if you have a stock V3 you can print my gcode files for yourself to test (all except the s3d gcode since their license prevents users from sharing code). I've attached the files here along with the BandAid STL in the zip file.

BandAIdModelAndGcode.zip
(1.2 MiB) Downloaded 124 times


If you scrutinize the gcode and see anything amiss, let me know and I can rerun the print. I tried to be as consistent as possible.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby Polygonhell » Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:03 pm

One thing of note that can dramatically impact outline quality is the extrusion multiplier.
All the slicers use approximations of the extruded plastic to compute how much input filament is needed, IME Slicers don't do this in any standard way, so an estep setting with correct filament diameter on one slicer will pull more filament through than on a different slicer.
Given how simple your model is, you could find one of the cube sides, and look at the amount of plastic pulled through by each of the slicers.
If you really want to compare them at their best, you might want to do a thin wall test piece on each of the slicers, and adjust the extrusion multiplier.

Though having said that IME Kiss > Cura > S3D with some exceptions depending on the print. I've never had the warts issue with S3D, I did have issues with the way it deals with fine details, but I haven't done a lot of printing on the current version, I did recently reinstall it and use it for a couple of prints..

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:36 pm

@Polygonhell, I agree, slicers do not handle the multiplier in a standard way. For this test, I set it to "1" to standardize settings as a baseline. If I were going to use a particular slicer I would continue to tweak and test that one until I understood it inside and out - like I've done with KISSlicer. In my tests and usage over the last few years, s3d is the worst of the lot with extrusion multiplier. It uses it as a band aid to fix or hide other problems. I implemented a very simple slicer and the calculations for extrusion are not rocket science. If you just extrude based solely on the math AND if you have measured your filament, calibrated your extruder and know your nozzle is the right size, you get very respectable results.

I really look for predictability in my slicer. One of the big issues I have with s3d - the technology - is that its path layout is buggy. I posted a "keystone" layout problem a year ago that still exists. Because of that, I can't use it for any of one of the parts on my fly reels.

This was not really meant to be an all-encompassing review of these slicers (as you know) but rather to let folks - especially new Rostock V3 owners - that they can get reasonable results with any of these slicers (except Slic3r for some reason) and to put some stakes in the ground for a basic configuration for each. This test did not have anything to do with infill for instance. And for my work, only KISSlicer has the infill pattern and quality I need. Most slicers treat infill as simply filling up the inside of the model. I look at it as both visual element and a structural element. Off my soapbox and on to more printing!

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby Polygonhell » Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:06 pm

Oh I wasn't criticizing, just trying to explain the poor Slicer result, I do think these sorts of tests tend to favor the Slicer the people doing them commonly use for the reasons you point out. I saw a faceoff on YouTube by one of the better 3D printer channels recently and although Kiss was not in the lineup he rated S3D as the best quality, over both Slicer and Cura,

The problem with extrusion calculations is what you choose to do.
Skeinforge (which no one remembers) originally just used a rectangular cross section as an extrusion profile.
I believe it was Slicer that introduced the semicircles with rectangle in the middle approximation.
I have no idea what Kiss does, but it tends IME to extrude the least plastic for a given setting, I haven't used Slicer in years, but it used to be on the other end of the scale.

I'm much less anti S3D than I used to be. I think it's OK and the interface is good, if I just want to slice something without a lot of fiddling I'll occasionally use it. I still think it's massively overrated, especially the support which people rave about, don't get me wrong I like being able to manually add support (which S3D makes a necessity by not always generating it in auto mode), but the actual way it does support results in awful finish quality. If I compare it to the support on a printer like the UP (with their proprietary software), the UP's finish quality over support is dramatically better, and for obvious reasons if you look at the two extrusion paths.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby moo77777 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:06 am

Would you mind posting your configuration files for KISSlicer? I found your old ones posted back in 2013 (http://forum.seemecnc.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1452) and if those have not changed than I'll go with that but I figure since that was probably done on your highly modded V1 something may have been updated moving to the V3.
Last edited by moo77777 on Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby Qdeathstar » Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:19 am

i haven't used s3d's support, so i can't comment on them but i have used slic3r, cura, matter control, and s3d and i think s3d performs the best overall. Subjectively, the parts seem to prInt a bit better and s3d's supports are a lot easier to manage.... i think i might have tried kisslicer once but couldn't get into its gui... maybe i'll give it another shot.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:41 am

KISSlicer 1.5 files. These need to be put in the same folder with the KISS application and then you restart KISS for them to load.

KISS1_5-RostockMAXV3.zip
(3.9 KiB) Downloaded 216 times
(updated)

A great manual is here: KISS Manual

Get KISS here

Note that KISS is a SLICER only, it does not have an integrated control application. This is one of the many reasons I like (but mostly because it generates much nicer gcode). Check the Show Settings box (lower right of the main window) and ALL of the slicing parameters are laid out at your feet in reasonably logical groupings to manipulate as you please.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby sgraber » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:47 am

Thank you for the slicing profile! I'm going to give it a go on my Eris.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:57 am

What hot end does the Eris have? In general, you should just not grab a profile for a particular printer and use it on another. The hot end geometry is one of the key things that affects retract settings. And if you don't get retract settings reasonably right, you can get all sorts of jamming and oozing problems.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:10 am

Ok, I think I figured out how to share slicing configurations for Cura, MatterSlice and Slic3r. These are attached here. Caveat emptor. I can't really help with loading these into the target slicers as I don't use them for my daily work.

Also, if you do find issues with the configs, let me know and I'll fix and repost them. In some cases - like MatterSlice - I am not 100% sure that what I configured is what got produced in the gcode! It seems to print slower than expected and the final part is glossy to reflect that.

Slic3r Config Files.zip
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Rostock MAX V3 Cura.ini.zip
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MatterSlice Config Files.zip
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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby sgraber » Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:43 am

mhackney wrote:What hot end does the Eris have? In general, you should just not grab a profile for a particular printer and use it on another. The hot end geometry is one of the key things that affects retract settings. And if you don't get retract settings reasonably right, you can get all sorts of jamming and oozing problems.


It uses SeeMe's HE280 hotend and yep, I agree that some tweaking will be involved. It does, however, get me 90% of the way there!

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby moo77777 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:34 am

I made an attempt to work with KISSlicer using your profile and I seem to be having issues with the temperature of the hotend crashing about ~3 minutes into the print and causing throwing an error about a disconnected heater. I can do the same print using s3d without any issues. Any idea what the issue I may be seeing is?

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby morgandc » Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:03 am

Unplug and reseat the hot end from the whip...

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:08 am

@moo777777 - you certainly have some sort of electrical issue, your problem is not the results of a slicer. The KISSlicer profile is set up to print at 50 mm/s by default - you can slow that down with the Precision slider at the lower left of the first tab. It is possible that your s3d profile is slower and the less rapid movement is hiding a connection issue. The suggestion to reseat the HE280 8 pin connector is a good one. The good news is, all power & signal to the HE280 cones through that single connector so it helps with the debugging. Make sure the wires are all well seated in the connector too, although this is difficult after shrink wrapping.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby moo77777 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 10:47 am

This is what I expected the problem to be yet it only occurs when using KISSlicer. With MatterControl or S3D I do not have this problem come up at all, if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be nearly as confused.

Ill recheck the wire whip connector again just to make sure though.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:15 am

Post your KISS gcode and I'll take a look and maybe run it.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby morgandc » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:42 pm

It appears that the kiss profile has a printers copy.ini and printers ini file. The firmware setting for the max is different between the two files, can you clarify?

Thanks!

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:50 pm

Sorry, I must have uploaded a bad set of files. I'll try to fix that now.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:56 pm

It looks like the "copy" is my original copy with support for a number of my printers. Pitch that one, it does not have V3 support. I've updated the file in the post above so it is correct now.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby morgandc » Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:02 pm

Thanks, did the firmware in the printer change from fixed to relative or is the setting not used on the Rostock Max firmware?

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:07 pm

Relative vs absolute is purely a slicer setting. The firmware can handle either via the G90 and G91. I prefer relative because it is easier for me to debug and manipulate the gcode.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby morgandc » Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:15 pm

Thanks, that makes a lot more sense. Amazing how a preconception of what a term is can actually keep you from being enlightened using an internet search.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby ido3dprintz » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:08 pm

Oh the fun of just trying to make it go with no work on my part. FAIL.

Downloaded and installed KISS, copied the profiles from above to the folder and sliced.

There were a few errors I ignored since I figured it was normal (having no idea what I was doing and just hoping for the best)

Loaded the SD card and began to print. My V3 started trying to print in mid air, right from where it was. Epic fail. Oh well. :lol:
8-) n00b in training, willing to learn and absorb all that I can for this hobby 8-)

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:39 pm

What sort of errors did you get? Post the gcode file and I'll take a look. You probably did not select the printer and maybe other profiles once you loaded kiss. You have to explicitly set to the profiles I included in the drop down lists otherwise kiss uses it's "Default" for printer, material, etc.

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Re: Slicer Tests on the Rostock MAX V3

Postby mhackney » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:17 pm

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 7.14.29 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 7.15.19 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 7.14.54 PM.png


Here are the 3 main places where you need to select the configuration from the files I posted above.

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