Slice Preview for FDM printers

Slice Preview is a rendering of the actual toolpath data that will be sent to the FDM printer. Use it to get a fully detailed view of the model and support before queueing it. Slice Preview is where you can add Z-Pauses to your job, but primarily it is a tool for inspection. Any changes to the model and support settings must be made from outside Slice Preview. 

Slice Preview includes:

  • Visual display of the toolpaths
  • A vertical slider on the left-hand side of the view for navigating toolpath layers
  • A horizontal slider on the bottom of the view for navigating head moves within a layer
  • The Slice Preview Pane on the right-hand side of the view.

The Slice Preview Panel provides a large set of controls for simplifying and viewing the toolpath.

Play/Pause Animation animates the display of toolpath layers.

Style defines how the toolpaths are displayed in Slice Preview.

  • 2D Preview represents the path of the printer head at the layer height
  • 3D Preview uses the tool path width (not editable in GrabCAD Print) and slice height to create a 3D representation of the material deposited by the head as it moves along the toolpath. This requires more graphics processing power and is not available when you have your Graphics Quality set to Low. 

Layer Range defines which layers of toolpaths are displayed in Slice Preview.

  • All Layers displays all available toolpath data
  • Up to Layer display layers up to the layer selected on the Layer slider
  • Single only displays the layer selected on the Layer slider
  • Single and one above displays the layer selected on the Layer slider and the layer above it.
  • Single and one below displays the layer selected on the layer slider and the layer below it.

Select Layer works in tandem with the Layer slider. As the Layer slider is adjusted up and down, the Select Layer input box updates to reflect the current layer. If a layer is entered in the input box, the Layer slider will jump to that layer on the slider. The layer input can be no higher than the number of layers specified next to the input box.

Head Moves works in tandem with the Moves slider. As the Moves slider is adjusted forward and backward, the Head Moves input box updates to reflect the head position on the toolpath. If a move is entered in the input box, the Moves slider will jump to that position on the toolpath.

Display enables turning on and off different slice preview elements.

  • Model Material controls display of model material used for the model, supports, and base.

    When slice height Style is set to Adaptive, Model Material updates to include the slice height and color key for the nominal slice height (lighter color) and the adaptive slice height (darker color)

  • Support Material controls display of support material used in supports and the base.
  • Seam Visualization controls display of seams on model contours
  • Layer Highlight controls highlight of the layer selected in the Layer slider. This option is disabled when Layer Range is set to single.
  • Z Pause Highlight controls highlight a layer that has a Z pause. This option only appears if the tray includes a Z pause.
  • Stabilizers controls display of Stabilizer features. This option only appears if the tray being reviewed includes a Stabilizer feature.
  • Anchors controls display of Anchor features. This option only appears if the tray being reviewed includes an Anchor feature.

Adding a Z-pause

FDM prints can be paused between layers so that users can swap material colors mid-print or add an insert. 

  1. Go to Slice Preview.
  2. Select the desired layer using the arrow keys or the vertical slider on the left.
  3. Click "Add Z Pause" to insert a pause at the start of the layer. The pause is added to the Z Pause Highlight list and marked on the Layer slider with a diamond. 
  4. To remove a pause, select the layer and click "Remove Z Pause", or highlight the pause in the Pause list and select the delete icon. 

Hint: Add Z-pauses just before printing. Z-pauses are attached to a layer, and changes that affect layers (example: slice height) result in Z-pauses being removed automatically.

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