Slicer Shootout Pt. 4

One of the other models that Make Magazine used in their 3D Printer reviews was Cushwa’s Owl from Thingiverse.  I thought it would be a good test for the slicer comparison as well, something more sculptural than geometrical.  This was printed straight from Thingiverse without any cleaning or modification other than scaling it down 60% to save time.  I have two KISSlicer prints because I accidentally ran one scaled at 50%.  Since I still had hairspray and kapton on the bed from trying to prevent warping in the Torture prints, the Owls were stuck pretty hard.  I broke the Cura print just above the talons trying to get it off, so that isn’t a printing artifact down there.

The Owl has some challenging texture in its feathers.  The tips are largely unsupported, which gets complicated in the lower half of the body since the perimeters have a bit of overhang due to the body widening from the talons up to the middle of the chest.  An additional challenge is the unsupported underside of the beak which needs support to print properly.  It’s another chance to see how the slicers deal with a bad situation.  The back of the owl is a smooth, even curve which provides a good contrast to the texture in front, and the top of the head is a shallow dome, which can be challenging.

OwlsBetween the Slic3rs, 072b seemed to do the best at overhangs, with few loops at the feather tips and under the beak.  However the surface of the feathers is cleaner in 097, especially in the upper chest.  The upper chest is also very good in Cura, but it suffered a lot in the inward slope toward the talons.  Not a lot of dropped loops, but it’s possible that the perimeters aren’t laid out with enough overlap between layers to maintain a consistent alignment.  KISSlicer has the smoothest surface on the feathers and maintains it the best in the underside of the body.  There are a few misaligned layers however.

Owl FacesKISSlicer also handled the underside of the beak best, but had some odd lines across the face.  They are happening at the same spot in both prints, so it isn’t some random wiggle from the printer, unless there is something about those layers that is difficult for the printer to execute properly.  Those misaligned layers are very similar to the ones above and below, so there shouldn’t be anything unusual about those spots. Cura is inconsistent there as well, with Slic3r handling it the best.

Owl_2 SplitSlic3r 097 is the clear winner at the back of the owl with no blobbing or misalignment.  Slic3r 072b has the blobbing from perimeter ends, and KISSlicer has a visible seam as well, though it was mostly flush to the surface.  It also had a few odd perimeters that were shifted in X, recessed on one side and sticking out the other.  It looks like layer shift, except the rest of the layers are in the right place.  It also happens in the same places for both prints.  Cura failed here with a bunch of bad layers.  It is possible that there was an issue with the Z axis of the printer because it looks a little like squished layers.  If so, it was intermittent enough to not show in the other prints.

Owl 3 SplitCura looks like it overextruded a little bit at the top of the head, yet still left some gaps, and the tufts are a bit rough.  Slic3r 072b has perimeter starts in the middle of the tufts, which 097 hid better.  The perimeters are a little uneven in 072b which 097 improves on, but still left some gaps.  KISSlicer has the most steady lines and solid fill.

It’s a close call between Slic3r 097 and KISSlicer for the owl, only because of the way KISSlicer handled the back.  There is a new version coming out soon however, and I’ll have to see if it shows any improvement in this model.


9 thoughts on “Slicer Shootout Pt. 4

  1. Hi,
    This post has me wondering if a re-topology of any design’s mesh might be the answer for getting high quality slicing..

    First a bit of a background.. I’ve uploaded over 160+ designs to ( and according to the dashboard over 90% of my designs were 3d printed by thingiverse members – Now, i’ve noticed that my designs which are mainly high-poly, “organic”,complex surfaces have been 3d printed with high quality over the past year by thingiverse members.
    You can see here on my flickr account those 3d printed designs :

    My point is this.. i’m using a Pro software to prep my designs for 3D printing – my technique creates a new re-topology of my original mesh with a somewhat symmetrical triangles.. so could this have enabled a clean, fast geometry slicing ?

    Why not do a test – take any of your test STL files and have them checked and cleaned with Netfabb’s cloud service and see how it affects the slicing and quality of the print.

  2. Netfabb cloud and basic don’t really do a retopology, at least not that extreme. The original Tinkercad and Netfabbed meshes are almost identical. The original mesh gave a slightly better print. It would be interesting to see if the columns improve with symmetrical triangles rather than the tall thin kind,

    The Owl mesh is pretty clean and symmetrical as you describe. What baffles me is how things that look like printing error are not consistent between slicers. Those misaligned threads from KISSlicer don’t appear from the other slicers, and they don’t show in Repetier’s 3D gcode preview. The preview shows the seam caused by travel moves to or from the perimeter, but not those lines, which show up in the same place every time, even if the model is a slightly different scale.

    • I did, which varied the results a bit. It gave Slic3r a leg up since it can run the fan for cooling and bridges, and SF39 doesn’t use it at all. I think the only cooling that was needed however, was the top of the owl. You can see how much it helped bridges at the top of the cube.

  3. Ian would really appreciate if you could share your settings for Slicer for the new Solidoodle S3 for both .1 and .3 or if you could give us link for the profile so we can load and work on.
    Also your settings for KISSLICER will be excelent.

  4. Really great post! Thanks a lot for the huge work!
    As a complete newbie, I tryed to slice a pretty simple stl file using Slic3r, it takes forever (> 30mn), while with Kisslicer it takes no more than 30 sec… that’s strange… anyway, can you please publish your Kisslicer settings for Solidoodle3? Thanks a lot… regards

  5. Hello,
    I need help. My Solidoodle 2 prints instead of circles ellipses at any speed. This is especially noticeable in small diameters. A narrowing of the axis of Y, X-axis corresponds to the size. Please tell me what I can do to calibrate.
    Regards Greg

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