Anyone Tried the IdeaMaker Slicer ?

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royg
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Anyone Tried the IdeaMaker Slicer ?

Post by royg » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:35 am

A Review

I recently came across the IdeaMaker Slicer software from Raise3D inc. (https://www.raise3d.com/pages/ideamaker)

I decided to give it a try, as I'd seen some pretty good reviews of it. For a piece of free software (but not Open Source Software), it is very well featured, with some features only found in commercial slicer software such as Simplify3D.

Although specifically IdeaMaker is designed to work with Raise3D's own brand of 3D Printers, they have left the application open to allow the user to configure other brands of printer. Configuring the Tarantula in IdeaMaker was no harder than doing the same operation in Cura or Slic3r.

The best feature that has caught my attention is the ability to manually add support where you want it. It also has the usual automatic supports features, but with a lot more support options than I've managed to effectively use so far.

The user interface is pretty good, with an easy to use and uncluttered work area.
IdeaMaker-MainWindow.jpg
The Gcode Preview functionality is also pretty good, although it is not quite as intuitive to learn to use as the main edit window.
Gcode Preview Window.jpg
There is a well featured STL file repair menu, with both an "Automatic Repair" option, as well as six manual repair options.

The performance of IdeaMaker is good. No obvious bugs in the program (that I've come across yet).

I run IdeaMaker on Linux. I haven't tried it on Windows 10 yet as the only Win10 system that I have is a VirtualBox client running on a Linux Server, so any performance review under VirtualBox wouldn't be representative of someone running IdeaMaker on Win10 running as the nativeOS.

On my Intel i7 powered Laptop, IdeaMaker runs well, with very quick Slice and Gcode file creation - under two seconds to slice and export the Gcode file for the object shown in the above screen shots. However, out in the Workshop, I'm using a small Celeron powered Intel NUC to provide me with network file access, web browsing, email, etc. Just to see what would happen :geek: , I loaded IdeaMaker onto that system (the CPU specs of the NUC are below the minimium specs recommended by Raise3D), IdeaMaker runs OK on the low powered NUC - displaying an STL file and working with it result in normal normal response times. The only time that the NUC struggles is when slicing and exporting a Gcode file - with the object shown in the above screen shots taking more than two minutes to slice and export. So, the moral of the story is, if you are going to use a low powered computer for IdeaMaker, choose one that at least exceeds Raise3D's recommended minimium specifications.

Any Traps ?

There was one trap I encountered the first time I attempted to print a file created with IdeaMaker. After Home All Axes completed, all axes started moving very very slowly. Examination of the Printer Configuration Wizard shows that there are three values that MUST to be changed to suit the Tarantula. The values are probably required for Raise3D's printers, but the settings will slow the Tarantula right down. The Values are "E-Step per mm" which must be 0mm,and "X-Axis Compensation" and Y-Axis Compensation" which must both be 100%.
Screenshot from 2017-08-05 18-18-02.png
The only other potential trap is that you must edit the Start Gcode and End Gcode provided by default by Raise3D, as at least one of the Gcode values used must be unique to the Raise3D printers, and caused an error on the MKSBase 1.4 board. I copied in my known working Start and End Gcode from Cura, and all went well then.

Conclusion

Is IdeaMaker worth trying ? I think so, even if just for the ability to manually add supports only where you want them, and to then be able to save that modified STL file (with manual supports) for export as an STL file to use in your normal Slicer software (in my case Cura or Slic3r).

I hope that information is useful.

Regards,

RoyG
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Re: Anyone Tried the IdeaMaker Slicer ?

Post by Lee » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:16 pm

This is interesting. I will definitely give it a try when I get my printer back up and running.
Printer: Tarantula w/ OctoPi on Pi Zero
Firmware: MK4Duo
Slicer: Simplify3D

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