Jun 12, 2019

PrusaSlicer – All You Need to Know Right Now

New icon, new interface, new features! Follow along as we explore PrusaSlicer, the newest of Prusa Research's cutting-edge open-source slicing platforms!

Exploring PrusaSlicer Overview

The new UI is quite similar to Slic3r PE 1.42.0, but has changed nonetheless. Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP

The recently released PrusaSlicer 2.0 is a powerful slicing engine built on Slic3r. The successor to Slic3r Prusa Edition (Slic3r PE), this software is completely free and open-source, and offers a huge range of features in an accessible, easily understood format.

Doing away with much of the well-known interface from Slic3r PE 1.41.3 and previous, PrusaSlicer takes on a similar setup to Slicer PE 1.42.0 – Prusa’s test platform for many of the features found in PrusaSlicer. The main controls are now icons arranged across the top and down the left of the preview window. (Don’t worry – hovering over the icons will let you see the name of each feature as you familiarize yourself.)

The preview window shows an accurate representation of the build plate of your chosen printer from Prusa Research, be that the i3 MK3 or the SL1. Automatic presets make choosing settings easy; many users will find that they may not ever need to tweak the more advanced settings.

A slew of new improvements are sure to enhance your slicing experience, with many features now being easier to use than ever.

Exploring PrusaSlicer What's New

Color-coded settings and user modes make using PrusaSlicer more intuitive. Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP

Simplifications abound in PrusaSlicer, making it far easier for complete novices to navigate and use. With three user modes and the green, yellow, and red icons next to each setting, users can easily determine what settings might need changing (and which to leave alone). With an automatic switch from 3D to Preview mode after slicing, users might not even need to switch between tabs anymore, especially if they use an Original Prusa i3 or SL1, for which PrusaSlicer was built. 

PrusaSlicer includes an intuitive new UI, with various enhancements. A plethora of keyboard shortcuts makes accessing settings easier than ever for hardcore typists. New manipulation controls make cutting, scaling, rotating, and moving objects easier than ever, with white guidelines and markers around the object(s) in question. Better graphics means that PrusaSlicer can now show textures on objects far better than previously.

An especially helpful new feature is the Support Enforcer, a new tool that allows users to selectively apply supports to individual objects, as needed.

PrusaSlicer also adopts advanced support for the SL1 MSLA printer – and MSLA resin printers in general – making it one of the first fully open-source slicers that will support practically any printer accepting G-code.

On the tech side of things, PrusaSlicer features completely new source code, porting previous versions from Perl to C++. For the average user, this doesn’t mean much, but for the advanced programmer, this means that you can more easily re-define features to your liking and even contribute to further development. The only downside is that a few features, such as the individual layer preview tab or the ability to print over serial ports, have now been dropped.

There are hundreds of other small improvements, which you can find listed here, and even more under development.

Exploring PrusaSlicer Performance

The crosshairs and click-and-drag features make PrusaSlicer incredibly easy to use. Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP

After using PrusaSlicer for about a week, having switched from Slic3r PE 1.41.3 and 1.42.0, we found that the new features are incredibly helpful, not just new gimmicks to justify another update.

By far the best notable improvement is the implementation of an automatic switch from the 3D View to Preview mode when the “Slice Now” button is pressed. Also very helpful is the automatic G-code generation, expediting the export process and also providing the time estimates, before you export the G-code (also found in 1.42.0). These two features in combination streamline the slicing process very nicely, and we’ve found it saves a lot of time when just slicing files.

The new user modes are also very helpful, highlighting the key settings for changing, and making note of (in Simple mode, hiding completely) settings that newer users might want to play with later, once they’ve gained more experience.

The new UI is very intuitive. We especially liked the “crosshairs” when rotating objects, and the ability to click-and-drag for cutting, rotation, and scaling, rather than fiddling with a numerical setting (which you can still do, if needed).

Our tests of the Support Enforcers also proved very promising, we really liked the ability to only generate supports for one object (or even just a part of an object). This will certainly save a lot of time and material for many users who print objects only needing selective support.

Exploring PrusaSlicer Final Thoughts

The integration of color coding into the preview before exporting G-code is very useful. Source: Emmett Grames / All3DP

Overall, we really like this update to Prusa’s slicer software. All of the new features make PrusaSlicer incredibly easy and efficient to use and add a whole new range of usefulness to the already powerful slicing engine.

Perhaps rivaling premium slicers such as Simplify3D in some of its features, PrusaSlicer is near the forefront of open-source software for makers, on the bleeding edge where many of its features are concerned.

Now easy enough for even a complete novice to use, PrusaSlicer could represent the future of slicers for makers, especially given its continuous support and updates with powerful, adaptable features and a huge array of settings that can be tweaked for the absolute best printing results in practically any situation.

Feature image source: Emmett Grames / All3DP

License: The text of "PrusaSlicer – All You Need to Know Right Now" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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