Different Settings for Different Regions of a Model
Today we are going to teach you how to use different slicing settings for different regions of your model. This is a unique feature of the Simplify3D Software and it gives you the power to configure the perfect settings for every location on your part. It also opens up many interesting possibilities such as varying density, changing mechanical properties, or even different surface finishes. A great example of how we used this technology is the “Gnome Weeble” model by cerberus333.
When we printed this model, we were able to configure the bottom spherical section with 90% infill density and 5 perimeter outlines. This created a very strong and heavy base. We then printed the top gnome section using a 10% infill density with only 2 perimeter outlines. By doing this, the base of the model was heavily weighted which allowed the weeble to rock back and forth on a table without falling over. Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down!
Configuring Different Settings for Different Parts of the Model
Import the model into the Simplify3D Software. Feel free to scale and position it as needed (if you need help, please read our Importing and Manipulating Models tutorial). We will be configuring two different FFF settings, one for the base and one for the knot, but first we need to determine where the transition between these regions takes place. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the cross section viewer built into the software. This will allow us to slice the model in half to look inside it and then move that slice plane to find the exact location we are looking for. You can find the cross section tools by going to View > Cross Section. We will want to move our slicing plane up and down along the Z-axis, so make sure the Z-axis radio button is selected. After you have done this, click to turn on the Enable Cross Section option. To find the exact position of the base-to-knot transition, move the Z-axis slider left and right to move the virtual slice plane up and down. We want to position where the square base ends and the knot begins. In our case this location was at 5.53mm. Make a note of this number. We will need it later.
Now that we know where the transition between our two regions will take place, we can start configuring our FFF settings. Add a new FFF process and call it “Bottom Base” so that we know it will refer to the lower section of our model. Configure the FFF settings exactly as you want them for the base of the model. You might want to click the Show Advanced button in the bottom left of this window if you have not done that already. We chose to use a single layer skirt to prime our extruder, 20% infill to make sure the top of the platform is well supported, and 0.3mm layer heights since the vertical sidewalls can be printed very quickly at this setting. Once you have everything configured how you want it, click on the Advanced tab and look for the Layer Modifications section. You should see two options in this section labeled “Start printing at height” and “Stop printing at height.” These are the options we will use to constrain a single FFF process to a specific region of the model. In the case of our “Bottom Base” process, we want to STOP printing at a height of 5.53mm. Enable the “Stop printing at height” option and enter 5.53mm for the location. Once you are done, click Save so that we can start configuring the second process.
We will be repeating this exact same process for the top section of our model. Add a second FFF process and call it “Upper Knot.” This process is going to start printing several millimeters above the build table surface. It will start where our first process ended, so disable rafts and skirts for your second process (they would only be used on your first process which is flat on the build table). For the remaining settings, we used a finer 0.15mm layer height to achieve a smooth surface finish and set the infill percentage to zero so that this region would be printed hollow. We selected 2 perimeter outlines, and 3 solid top and bottom layers to ensure sufficient wall thickness and a nice exterior appearance. Next, return to the Advanced tab and look for the Layer Modifications section. This time we will be using the “Start printing at height” option. We want this process to start printing at 5.53mm so that it picks up where the first process left off. Enter these values and then click Save.
We also want to use a continuous layer-by-layer printing mode to merge the two processes together. After you click OK, the software will intelligently merge both of your FFF processes together to create the perfectly tuned settings for our model. It’s that easy!
In our simple example, we only changed a few select settings like infill percentage or layer height, but the software gives you the power to change literally every single slicing setting in the program, making the possibilities endless!