CAM, FlashForge Finder

Q: How does a STL get turned into a file i can print

A: CAM - Flashforge print is the easiest way to get started. 

A: CAM - Cura is also an option, but you need to install profiles and configure (see the profiles at the end of this page).

A: Okay, Simplify 3D also... if you buy it.

The Prusa requires the use of eitherSlic3r PE, Cura or Simplify3D to "Slice" [a type of CAM]  from an STL file to a Gcode file.

There are setting to control the material properties and aid building the "thing":

Quality: The finer the quality the smoother the surface, and finer the detail. 3X finer takes at least 3X longer to build and slice.

Raft - this is a big plate of loose material attached to the build plate that will support tall objects. 

Supports - Supports can be generated by the slicer or you can add them to your model where needed. Use Support anywhere "undercut" or "overhang" will not bridge to another supported point.

In fill - The interior of most things will be a web of supporting connections to the skin and air. 

Skins -  This controls how thick the outside layers are: 2 or 3 is general good. more skins will stiffen fine details while not increasing build times much.

Temperature - 220C - 240C works best for most things. To hot creates "sag"; to cold cause lack of layer adhesion.

Speed - This is a advanced setting that interacts with temperature. Slower can make "smoother" surfaces on curvey objects.

In most cases Required selections will make the difference between a build sucess and a build failure. Optimizing most of the settings will take a print from "ok" to "nice". 


Designs can be optimized for FDM and here are some videos on how to do that: Maker Faire 2013 Youtube talks