We must admit it’s been a busy time for us lately with the latest Z-SUITE update in focus. As we’re really eager to innovate our product offer, we’ve spent hours and hours developing our slicing software. Today’s news is no different from what we regularly provide you with. We’ve prepared something you cannot say “no” to – the Z-SUITE 2.1 update, available as a public beta version for you to try out. It’s packed with groundbreaking features and brand-new functionalities which you can test prior to the release of the final version. Read on to learn more about what this breakthrough update has to offer.
Keep Tabs On
Have you ever wanted to multitask with several projects simultaneously and compare different settings for the same model without having to open the Z-SUITE in a new window? We bet you have. And we know you’ve been waiting for such a feature. From now on, at any point of preparing a given model, you can add a tab and either begin working on a completely different project or try other print settings for the same model. As with any website browser, you can add a new tab simply by clicking the “+” icon next to the already open tab. Once you have multiple tabs open, it’s easy to switch between them and, most importantly, they function independently so it’s possible for you to work with several 3D printers at the same time. See the video below.
Watch Your Steps
And since we’re talking about preparing a model for 3D printing, the whole process has been systematized and divided into steps for your convenience. The progress bar, which is displayed at the bottom of the screen, has made working with the Z-SUITE 2.1 software an even more manageable task, especially for those who are new to 3D printing with Zortrax devices. It indicates which stage you are currently working in and because of that you have full control over the whole process – you will always know which settings are yet to be adjusted without forgetting anything. You can always go back to the previous step or forward to the next one without losing the already specified settings.
There are four separate steps you have to go through in the Z-SUITE 2.1: MODEL, ANALYSIS, SUPPORT and PREVIEW.
A Quick Fix
The first step is always to load the model saved in the .stl format (or any other supported). But in the Z-SUITE 2.1 this isn’t just a regular loading of a project. As you know, every 3D model’s surface is a set of triangles, called a triangle mesh. The more complex the model, the more triangles it’s composed of. And because some projects, depending on their design, have incomplete or damaged meshes which may have a negative impact on the 3D printing process or even make it impossible, we’ve implemented a tool which automatically edits and fixes those defective meshes. This happens simultaneously while loading the model. As a result, the risk of having a failed or low quality print is significantly lowered. This step still allows you to change the model’s basic settings, such as its position, size or arrangement in the workspace view, as in the previous versions of the Z-SUITE.
As Thin As a Wall
While discussing problems with failed prints, we need to bring up the second step of working with the latest Z-SUITE update – the Analysis. A 3D model that looks excellent on the screen may not be a good project at all. It may have areas which haven’t been designed properly and are very likely to fail while 3D printing. That’s why, besides editing and repairing the triangle meshes, the Z-SUITE 2.1 also checks whether the design has walls which are too thin to be printed. If, after the Analysis step, your model has a section marked red, it’s a sign that there are walls thinner than 0.4mm and, due to the minimum wall thickness requirements of Zortrax printers, may not be printed at all. Once you generate the .zcode, those non-printable structures won’t be included in the preview. If you encounter problems with too thin walls but you don’t want to give up on 3D printing this particular model, use special software for designing 3D models to correct its structure prior to loading the model into the Z-SUITE 2.1. The Analysis step is, however, optional. If you’re sure your model is well-designed, you can move on to the next step.
Enjoy the Full Support
This next feature is by far the most anticipated feature of the update. The third step of preparing a model in the Z-SUITE 2.1 brings the option which allows you to manipulate the position and even the amount of the support structures on your 3D models. Apart from the automatic support option which you already know from the previous versions of the software, we’ve implemented a manual support editing option making it possible to add and remove the support structures. There are three types of support which you can generate: EDGE, POINT, FACE. You are now able to add the support along the edges of overhanging parts of your model (edge type) or at any selected place on your model (point type). With both these types you can also set the thickness of the added structure. The face type automatically adjusts the support to the chosen triangle on the surface of the model. Just select a place on your model (edge, point or face) and click on it to add the support. Unlike the former versions, the Z-SUITE 2.1 generates the preview of the support before slicing the model. Similarly, you can remove some of misplaced or redundant supports, even those generated automatically, all at once or individually. So, now you have the freedom to experiment with the amount of the support structures, for example you can delete them from those areas of the model that are hard-to-reach but don’t necessarily need a lot of support. On the other hand, if you’re an inexperienced user, generate the support with the automatic option to be sure your model doesn’t fall through.
A Profile Worth Keeping
We’re sure you’ve printed different models with the same settings many times. But we also know it could have been a bit irritating that every time the printing profiles needed to be built up from the beginning. Well, you no longer have to do that as we’ve made it possible to save your best printing profiles for later or for different models without memorizing or putting down all the settings. The Z-SUITE 2.1 allows you to collect and store customized profiles which you can test and print with as many times as you wish. We’ve also gathered several ready-made profiles with default settings for different types of models which will be used for various applications. Such a solution saves you a lot of time and comes in handy when you want to gain even more repeatability.
To Be Developed
With a redesigned user interface and customizable printing profiles, the Z-SUITE 2.1 has become an even more helpful tool for 3D printing with Zortrax devices. However, what you receive today is still a work in progress released for testing and feedback. We are open for your suggestions which will be invaluable for us and for further development of the program. Feel free to report any issue that you find – use the Report a bug option in the Help section. Also, if you think something is missing and should be available in the final version, just let us know through the Feature request option. We will certainly consider every suggestion.
See the full list of new functionalities:
- introduces tabs that allow containing multiple projects in one window,
- divides preparing a model into four individual steps,
- introduces an algorithm for repairing incomplete and damaged triangle meshes,
- introduces thin walls analysis,
- introduces new option of editable support – adding and removing (point, edge, face),
- introduces fully customizable printing profiles,
- updates the graphical user interface,
- introduces tooltips for each option.