Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

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Tinyhead
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Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Tinyhead » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:49 pm

I wanted to try different slicers to see what I could come up with as I was having some stringing problems with my prints. It led me down a bit of a learning path in regards to seeing just what the programs do differently. I tried to set up all three programs (KISSlicer, Cura 14.02RC1, and Slic3r 1.0.0RC3) with as similar settings as I could get them and printed the "Slicing Engine Torture Test" http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:64549. I wasn't looking for anything as particular as a 'torture test', but this seemed to have some cylinders, hard corners, bridging, sloping, thin walls, etc. that I thought would be a decent test. I ended up scaling it down to 50%. I wanted to try and see what the programs would do for any finer details that might be thrown at it. Please keep in mind that I'm sure there are a LOT of people who have each of these programs fine tuned and running much better than I have got them going here. Again, I just wanted to see what each would do with the same settings. Maybe someone else could learn from it.

First was KISSlicer.

IMG_3786.JPG
Tested using KISSlicer


There was a thin wall on the back of the print that barely printed. It was full of holes and had partially collapsed. The cylinders up front were hardly standing in some places. It was as though chunks were missing from the sides for some reason. Nearly half way through the cylinders in some areas. It didn't matter if it was small or large either. The pilars leading up to the bridge were not pretty. Neither was the bridge itself.

I'm not too sure why, but throughout the entire print, the outside perimeter has a small gap to the next one in. It's evident on the cylinders, squares and on the base that the object is sitting on. I don't understand why this happened.

There is a '1.0' written on the peak of the print, but KISS decided to omit the '.' and the bottom of the '0'.

Next up was Cura.

IMG_3783.JPG
Tested using Cura


This one actually turned out very nicely. No gaps, the numbering on top was complete, the cylinders had no holes or anything, the bridge was MUCH cleaner. It even printed the tiny cylinder just below to the right of the '1.0' which was missed completely by KISS. However... it decided to leave out the thin wall along the back and side completely. I suspect that maybe the software decided it was too thin? Whether it be the extrusion width setting or the nozzle size, I'm not too sure yet.

The spiral on this one wasn't the greatest compared to the other two. It came out much wider and flatter. Also, wherever there are 90 degree corners, they seemed much more rounded than with KISS or Slic3r. Overall, this one came out rather decent I thought.

One other thing that I couldn't seem to find in Cura was the infill pattern. I checked in Expert settings and stuff and nothing. Perhaps someone could help if there is a setting for it. It made me sad that I couldn't find one.

Last was Slic3r.

IMG_3782.JPG
Tested using Slic3r


With Slic3r, it at least tried to print everything (except the '.' in the 1.0). It got the back wall and the tiny cylinder on the first square block. The spiral pattern was nice and crisp and the walls were good and thin. The pillars leading to the bridge were excellent and the bridge was so-so. A bit of sag on the first span then the rest went pretty straight. The row of cylinders turned out pretty decent as well. As with KISS, there was a bit of gap in some areas between the outer perimeter and the inner, but it seemed to be primarily isolated to the larger square.

My biggest beef... the stringing. I went through the layers and looked at the paths in Repetier and Slic3r made (by FAR) the most movements. KISS and Cura seemed to be a 'let's go here and here and here... next layer - repeat'. Slic3r was on crack. Tool paths everywhere (and no, random was not turned on). On every single one of my prints where the hot end has to move too far, it leaves strings. I've tried all different speed, retract settings, wipe, etc. but I just can't seem to get ahead. Right off the bat with this test, KISS and Cura had MUCH better results in regards to the stringing.

My conclusion:

I've tried a few prints with KISS and had decent but mixed results. On other prints, my layers almost seem to be slightly off from one another giving a very rough feel to the prints. This doesn't happen with Cura of Slic3r. Perhaps it would be good for large prints, but with the smaller objects, I don't think I'll be running to use it too quickly. I know a lot of people on here swear by it, but the fact that it's no longer supported and given my mediocre results... it just might not be for me.
Cura was great. Except for omitting that wall (again, that could be a limitation of the software - and is likely the same in KISS and Slic3r, but I just didn't hit that limit with the last two) everything turned out pretty nice. I'm sure with some fine tuning I could get the corners more squared up and it would be good. The program itself has been very quick at slicing files as well. I really enjoy the interface and being able to view the files on the bed as well as the tool paths and everything. I know these things can be done in repetier, but it's just as nice to get it done in the slicing software.
Slic3r is the program I've used most to date as it was the one that was 'taught' in the manual. I very much like the wide range of settings it provides. Slic3r gave the cleanest lines and sharpest details, but it was marred by the stringing from, what I suspect is, just too many movements. I know there are many many times where the hot end will zip around the print and drop a myriad of 'dots' before continuing to do it's other business of perimeters and infill. But each of these dots is just another chance for it to leave it's mark and make my prints look like a hairy piece of 5hit.

I think I'm going to start using Cura more often. Slic3r for solid items that don't require moving from item to item. KISS... as a last resort for me. At least right now. Obviously learning takes time. Just wanted to share my experience so far.

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Captain Starfish » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:07 am

Thanks, @Tinyhead - that's a great review.

My experiences of KISSlicer were brief, brutal and unpleasant - I'm sure it came down to dodgy settings bred from ignorance on my part but the resultant G-Code had my Max impersonating a jackhammer trying to commit hare kiri. And the output was rubbish, blobs and crap everywhere.

Cura was OK but just didn't quite get what I wanted in terms of tuning. Printing in ABS means a wipe with a brush dipped in acetone just flashes the cobwebs away.

Slic3r is still my go-to even though the dots and the "spider on crack" random jump and string carry on has me alternating between chuckling at the insanity or quietly raging in the corner "HOW HARD IS IT TO DRAW A DAMNED CIRCLE, YOU CRETINS!?"

Fancy posting up the settings you used for the three apps?

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Flateric » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:44 am

Best slicer on the market is easily worth the coin too, Simplify3d Creator.

Fastest too. My print immediately showed a noticable improvement.
"Now you see why evil will always triumph! Because good is dumb." - Spaceballs

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Eaglezsoar » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:18 am

Flateric wrote:Best slicer on the market is easily worth the coin too, Simplify3d Creator.

Fastest too. My print immediately showed a noticable improvement.

Flateric, you are the first to say that. Other reports from our users indicate the Creator is not ready for Prime Time
and suggested not to purchase it at this time. I refuse to purchase it until he offers a trial period which he will not
do.

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Captain Starfish » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:28 am

^^ this. Your post, flateric, got me all excited so I did a search and a fair few links came straight back to SeeMeCNC forums which were, erm, less than flattering reports.

Still, I'd second a Creator forum here if only to have something at which I can have the occasional schadenfreudey chuckle.

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby mhackney » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:44 am

I've had a forum member with SImplify3D slice one of my reel parts to my specs. I was not impressed with the printed part. There was noticeable seem line right down the circular plate - a highly visible part of the reel. The pillars were not bonded effectively and some other issues. Even though the configuration was for a Rostock and the parameters I provided, I still had to play some tricks to get enough material - the extrusion was very thin but the gcode clearly showed a .4mm nozzle and "1" for modifier or whatever it's called. It was bad enough that I'll sit it out for now.

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Tinyhead » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:32 am

Captain Starfish wrote:Fancy posting up the settings you used for the three apps?


Using PLA
Layer Height = 0.2mm
Print temp = 190C
Wipe = On
Perimeters = 3
Top/Bottom layers = 3
Infill = 20%
Extrusion widths = 0.6mm
Speed = 25mm/s
Jerk = 10
Retract = 5mm @ 50mm/s
Z-lift = 0.1mm
Last edited by Tinyhead on Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Flateric » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:00 pm

I was the one who originally posted that the software was not ready for prime time. It was not at that time, it is now.
"Now you see why evil will always triumph! Because good is dumb." - Spaceballs

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Eaglezsoar » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:22 pm

Flateric wrote:I was the one who originally posted that the software was not ready for prime time. It was not at that time, it is now.

They actually expect us to throw down $150 for software that we can't even test for two weeks? No, Thanks.

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Re: Small-scale testing Cura, KISSlicer and Slic3r

Postby Flateric » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:10 am

I don't even bother with any other slicer anymore.
"Now you see why evil will always triumph! Because good is dumb." - Spaceballs


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