Preparing Your First G-code: Introduction to Slicing
To create a 3D print, you first need to create a 3D designs. These designs can be created first with a CAD (computer-aided design) program (see other posts for more informatino on those) and saved as an .stl file. Once you have your .stl file, you can upload it to the Allevi platform to prepare what we refer to as .gcode files. Gcode files convert the .stl file into readable commands for your Allevi printer to create your design, line by line and layer by layer. The process of converting the .stl file to a .gcode file is referred to as "slicing." Read more below to learn about the slicing process and the different parameters that can be controlled during this process.
Create a New Slicing Profile
To begin the slicing process, you will want to create a new profile. Totally new to the printing process? We suggest your first review the "Software Introduction" and "My First BioPrint" to learn the basics about the platform and your printer before preparing your own designs.
Once you select "create a new profile," the basic settings options will appear on your screen.
This setting determines how thin your layers are and should be paired with pressure to get an extrusion line that is accurate to what you design for in your stl.
Print and Travel Speed
Print Speed controls how fast the extruder moves while dispensing material. The slower the speed the smaller you can make your extrusion pressure to enact less stress on cells as , but the longer your print takes. We recommend speeds between 2-6 mm/s for smaller prints, and 8-16 mm/s for larger prints such as an ear or a nose.
Travel Speed controls how fast the extruder moves while it is not dispensing material. This speed can be a little bit faster than your print speed to help decrease print time.
It is best to keep this at 99%. If you want to create a porous design, you will have greater control over the accuracy of that porosity and shape of the pores if you design it in your original CAD file.
This setting determines the pattern with which your extruder will dispense material. Line is the simplest and usually most effective infill pattern, so we suggest keeping this setting on line.
Scale allows you to change the size of your print design, which can be useful if you need to adjust the size to fit into a well plate.
Position Your Design
These settings allow you to rotate your design and adjust the distance from the well plate center to control placement of your print design within a well plate. For most prints, you will not need to adjust these settings.
Save Your Profile
For the majority of prints, you will not need to adjust any of the advanced settings and can simply save the profile for repeated use. If you would like to learn about the advanced settings, please see our post on Advanced Gcode settings.
Once you save your profile, you are ready to slice your design and print!