Create G-Code for MEW Using Standard Slicers
Welcome to our step-by-step tutorial on how to create MEW GCode using standard slicers. Whether you’re new to 3D printing or MEW technology, this guide is designed to simplify the process for beginners. We’ll explore how to design and prepare your 3D model, configure slicer settings, and post-process the generated Gcode. As we explained in our previous tutorial “Introduction to G-Code programming for MEW”, this approach is ideal when your desired geometry aligns with pre-defined patterns commonly found in slicer software.
Why Use Common Slicing Software for MEW?
Before we dive into the “How to Create MEW GCode Using Standard Slicers” tutorial, let’s explore why using common slicing software can be advantageous:
- Ease of Use: Utilizing common slicing software is an excellent starting point for newcomers to MEW. It offers a relatively quick and intuitive way to create Gcode.
- Low Learning Curve: The learning curve is not steep, making it suitable for beginners. It provides an ideal entry point for those new to MEW technology.
Now, let’s break down the step-by-step process of generating MEW Gcode using this approach:
Prerequired Software and Tools:
Before we begin, ensure you have the following software and tools ready:
- 3D Modeling Software: Any CAD software capable of exporting models in STL format.
- Slicer Software: You can choose from various slicer programs, such as CURA (free), Simplify3D (paid), or others that suit your preferences.
- Text Editor: An advanced text editor like Brackets is recommended for Gcode post-processing.
- MEW 3D Printer: A compatible MEW 3D printer like NovaSpider.
- NC Viewer: For Gcode visualization, you can use an open-source tool like NC Viewer.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE to create MEW GCode with standard slicers:
Once everything is ready, you just have to follow the steps described below. Enjoy the process!
Step 1: Getting Started with your 3D model (CAD).
- Prepare an STL File: Start by creating an STL file representing the final sample’s volume. This process is straightforward and well-documented online. Typically, you begin with a 3D CAD model and save it in STL format.
Step 2: Working on your Slicer.
- Configure your printer in your slicing software. Launch your selected slicer software (e.g., CURA or Simplify3D). Before diving into slicing settings, ensure your slicer software is configured to match your MEW 3D printer’s specifications. This includes specifying your printer’s bed dimensions, extruder type, nozzle position, and Refer to your printer’s manual for these details.
- Import the 3D model. Load your STL model into the selected slicing software. Beforehand.
- Configuring Printing Parameters. In this phase, focus on configuring parameters for a successful MEW print in your slicing software:
- Shell Thickness: Set the shell thickness to zero, effectively removing the outer layer.
- Layer Height: Adjust the layer height to match the desired fiber diameter wherever applicable. Ensure consistency, as some slicers distinguish between outer, inner, and intermediate layers.
Pay attention to the settings related to movement speed, accelerations, and temperatures, as these may need adjustments based on your MEW process.
- Selecting the Infill Pattern. This will be your sample geometry! Now, select the desired filling pattern from the options available in the slicer. You can often customize the pattern by altering parameters like line spacing, material density, and orientation.
- Determining the Number of Layers. The number of layers generated depends on the volume’s height relative to the layer height setting. Adjust these values to achieve the desired number of layers for your sample.
- Simulation/visualization and Gcode Generation. Before generating Gcode, simulate the design within your slicing software to ensure it aligns with your expectations. Once satisfied, proceed to create the Gcode.
- Generate the GCode file. Once you’re satisfied with your slicing settings, generate the Gcode within the slicer software.
Step 3: Post-Process Gcode (Text editor)Post-processing is essential to ensure a smooth MEW process:
- Text Editor: Open the generated Gcode file using your preferred text editor (e.g., Brackets).
- Sacrificial Printing for stabilization: In this step, we’ll create a stabilization print to account for the initial phase when no fiber is produced and allow the MEW process to reach a stable state. This phase is critical for ensuring consistent and high-quality results. Here’s how to do it:
- Generate a Gcode for a simple structure, often referred to as a “sacrificial print,” using the same process outlined in the previous steps. This Gcode should be designed to serve as a stabilizing element.
- Position this sacrificial print structure adjacent to the main printing structure that you’ve created for your final sample. Ideally, place it to the side or in a location where it won’t interfere with the primary design.
- Once you have an optimal sacrificial structure generated, you can reuse it for future MEW programs. This saves time and ensures a consistent stabilization phase for all your prints.
By incorporating this sacrificial print into your MEW workflow, you ensure that your MEW process stabilizes effectively, leading to more reliable and precise results in your final samples.
- Simplify and clean the GCode: Eliminate any printing commands withing the code that are not relevant to your MEW process, such as certain speeds or non-motion-related parameters.
- Header and Tail Commands: Insert commands into the Gcode file’s header and tail to control various MEW parameters. These may include homing the equipment, establishing a fixed distance between the needle and the collector, setting desired temperatures, voltage control, and pressure control (if using a pneumatic extruder). Keep in mind that commands later in the file may override earlier settings, so maintain consistency.
Step 4: Print simulationFinal Simulation Before proceeding with your MEW printing, run a final simulation using a Gcode visualizer like NCViewer.com, an open-source tool. This allows you to verify the Gcode’s accuracy and ensure it aligns with your project requirements.
While this method on how to Create MEW GCode using standard slicers provides a quick way to generate MEW Gcode for designs that align with standard fill patterns, it can be somewhat inflexible and require extensive post-processing. Every modification demands careful consideration of multiple parameters.
For those seeking more flexibility and control, we recommend exploring the capabilities of the FullControl Gcode Designer. Despite a slightly steeper learning curve, FullControl offers dynamic and efficient Gcode generation, allowing you to easily modify process parameters and achieve superior results. In our next tutorial, we’ll delve into the world of FullControl Gcode Designer, where you’ll discover how to unleash the full potential of MEW by creating highly customized Gcode with ease.
With this beginner-friendly guide, you’re equipped to embark on your MEW journey using common slicing software. Start by experimenting with predefined patterns, and as you gain confidence, explore more advanced MEW techniques to unlock your full creative potential. Happy MEW printing!