What software will work with the Discov3ry paste extruder?
Our Discov3ry extruder requires no special proprietary software to operate. In fact, we strongly recommend using open-sourced software packages to operate your Discov3ry extruder, as they typically provide the most flexibility and control of your 3D printer.
Here in the Structur3D Lab we use a slicing software called Slic3r to create the gcode from a 3D file as well as a sending software called Repetier Host to control our 3D printer and run the gcode. We have also successfully used Kilment's Printrun software to send controls to our Felix 3.0 printer.
Using Slic3r allows you to fine tune the different controls, or parameters, for your printer which is helpful when using the Discov3ry. Some of the more important settings include nozzle diameter, layer height, print speeds, Z retraction and more. In a future post we will share the slicer settings that we have to found work well for various materials. In the meantime, if you are curious, please visit our forum for notes on the successes and roadblocks encountered during our first time printing with silicone, icing, and other materials.
Some 3D printers use proprietary closed slicing software that give limited access to the control of parameters. This may pose a problem for compatibility with the Discov3ry. Fortunately, there are some work arounds for the most popular printers. For example, Makerbot's modified gcode (.X3G file types) produced by Makerware, which can also be produced using open alternatives like ReplicatorG and this fellows X3G/GCODE converter on Thingiverse. Ultimaker offers its customers an open source slcing program called Cura.
Our personal favourite for sending gcode to the printer, Repetier Host, is a newcomer since the days of using pronterface on my RepRap. Repetier Host is a pleasant addition to the open-source arsenal of 3D printing software. It is a cross platform program that handles everything from fitting your 3D files on the bed platform to editing your gcode in line. Repetier Host even integrates with the API of your favourite slicing algo, Slic3r in our case, so all of the printing prep takes place in a single window.
Another sending program, ReplicatorG works similarly to Repetier Host with major differences being that it works with the Makerbot X3Gcode and the GUI is not quite as polished. Ultimaker's Cura software also acts as the sending software in addition to its slicing capabilities for their printers. Like I mentioned above, some 3D printers have proprietary code that permits the transfer of the gcode to the printer and may cause some limitations in the integration with certain printers. We are reaching out to some manufacturers to determine compatibility or to collaborate to allow integration, you will know as soon as we do.
What printer are you working with? What are your favourite software options for that printer? We would love to hear from you in the comments section. Happy Making!