When it comes to 3D printing software, there are only a few good options to choose from. Much of the software on the market remains quite clunky and lacking in many areas. When it comes to slicing a model for 3D printing, this is one of the single most important factors, from the software side, responsible for determining how well an object prints. While more and more software packages for slicing have been coming to market, many of these are cheaply thrown together packages that really offer nothing new or innovative from a consumer standpoint.
This week at CES 2015, I had the opportunity to sit down with co-founder of ToyBuilder Labs Joseph Chiu as he showed me something that his company and FusionTech had developed.
The slicing software is called ideaMaker, and it was officially unveiled on a large stage at CES 2015. ideaMaker is an entirely free software, that anyone can download, and begin using today. While the software has been under development for a little while now, this latest version is the one that they feel is the most complete, and it’s ready for public distribution.
ideaMaker is easy enough for beginners to use, while also being sophisticated enough for highly experienced 3D printer users, providing for advanced settings to allow for manual manipulation. The software offers model editing, printing settings, and different setting templates for individual models. Other key features are as follows:
- Offers pre-defined profiles for different printing demands, including “high quality,” “standard,” and “speed.”
- Natively-compiled, multi-threaded, highly efficient, and fast slicing.
- Ungroup feature to separate parts inside of assemblies.
- Comprehensive set of repair features for fixing bad models.
- User-friendly interface that is very easy to use. In fact, it only takes four clicks to begin printing.
- Automatic support generation.
- Compatible with more desktop consumer-level 3D printers.
- 64-bit slicing engine.
- Supports slicing of large and complex models.
- Ability to manage multiple 3D printing profiles and then switch between the different settings.
- Ability to view cross-sections of models.
- Ability to repair bad meshes.
Chiu demonstrated the software’s ability to automatically separate parts, in order to create larger parts on smaller desktop 3D printers. I walked away thoroughly impressed with the demonstration, and will definitely be giving this a try when I get back home.
It seems as though I am always running into Chiu at various 3D printing conferences and expos, and he is always one of the most friendly guys I speak with. He and his wife founded ToyBuilder Labs, and they have been running strong for quite some time now. They offer some really great deals on some quality 3D printers. I am always impressed by what I see them printing on these machines.
What do you think about ideaMaker? Have you given it a try? We’d love to hear your feedback. Discuss in the ideaMaker forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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