Learn how to plate and slice 3D files using the graphical Slicer plugin.
Your MakerGear M3 shipped with an additional plugin called Slicer, which adds the plating function to OctoPrint for MakerGear.
Sometimes the orientation or size of a model may need to be changed. Thanks to the Slicer plugin, you change orientation, scale models, or even add additional models to the print bed using OctoPrint. Because a 3D printer’s bed is sometimes called a build plate, this functionality is usually called plating.
To enable the Slicer plugin, simply navigate to Settings, then Plugin Manager, and clicking the circle on the right of the Slicer listing. After enabling the Slicer plugin, you should be prompted to restart OctoPrint.
The interface is fairly simplistic, offering an easy, intuitive experience on most computers. However, many mobile devices are not powerful enough to run this feature.
You may find that you need to adjust the orientation of some models on the bed. 3D models downloaded from the websites, for example, may have been saved in the wrong orientation and will therefore be printed at a less-than-ideal orientation. Let's take a look at how to rotate a 3D model when using the Slicer plugin.
After clicking the Rotate button, you’ll see a menu and some additional controls. You can either enter the number of degrees you want to rotate along each axis, or you can click and drag the colored rings around the selected model in order to rotate it.
To make sure the model is in contact with the bed, change your view angle by right clicking and dragging the bed or any other part of the frame. Clicking Lay Flat will adjust the rotation of the model a little more to place the closest flat surface against the bed (this may not always be optimal, see below).
When you wish to make a 3D model larger or smaller, you can easily scale it using the Slicer plugin. The second button from the top is Scale. If you want to make the model twice as large, enter the number 2. If you want the model to change size uniformly along all three axes, leave the Lock option checked. I’ve added a second Benchy to the illustration below as a point of reference.
Removing a model:
The button with the large X will remove the selected model (highlighted in green). The next button will remove all models. Let's just get rid of the larger 3D model now.
Creating Duplicates and adding models:
The last button contains an option to duplicate the selected model, which creates a copy of the selected model in it's current state. We can also add another model by simply clicking the magic wand button on the file listing.
At the bottom of the tab, you can select your slicing engine (currently, CuraEngine is the only on-board slicing engine available on the MakerGear M3), slicing profile, post-slicing actions, and the filename to store the resulting GCode file. There are also Basic and Advanced settings if you wish to alter (i.e. override) some of the settings within each slicing profile.
Other Slicing software, such as Slic3r (intentionally spelled with the number 3), Cura (different than CuraEngine installed on OctoPrint), and Simplify3D have faster, easier-to-use interfaces, which also offer many options beyond the basic slicer-related settings and operations.