Teton launches Smart Slice simulation 3D printing tool

The software automatically optimizes slicing parameters for 3D printers, reduces print iterations and provides near instant feedback on the viability of a user’s project.
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Teton Smart Slice

Photo Credit: Teton Simulation Software

After four years of development, Teton Simulation Software (Layramie, Wyo., U.S.) has officially launched its Smart Slice for Ultimaker (Geldermalsen, Netherlands) Essentials simulation tool for optimizing 3D printer performance. According to the company, the initial product is launching in Ultimaker's Cura Essentials Marketplace. The product currently works for fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printing for plastics and polymers, but other variations are in the works.

According to the company, the solution was created to reduce uncertainty around part performance in the FFF additive manufacturing process. Because a number of factors can influence print quality, end users typically have to perform numerous build-and-break iterations, which, Teton notes, wastes material, and increases print times. 

Comparatively, Smart Slice reduces waste, print time and overall cost. Integrated into Ultimaker’s Cura Enterprise and built on Teton's cloud technology, Smart Slice software uses FEA analysis within the slicing environment to automatically provide optimal strengthening settings for a given print, eliminating the need to iteratively test actual prints. The tool validates a print configuration in advance, adjusts the slicing parameters that can influence part strength and then provides that data so the final print can be completed.

“We are addressing an acute problem that is focused on the number of senseless iterations that happen between building a model, testing it to see if it will work, and then running that over and over again on the printer until we get it right,” says Teton CEO Mike Kmetz.

According to Doug Kenik, vice president of product at Teton, no one knows how to design for FFF. The question of what the structural integrity of the part that will come out on the other end is what Teton has honed in on by using an optimization algorithm to evaluate all of the slicer settings in one’s slicer of choice, and yielding the fastest print. While easy to use, and providing fast results, Kenik says it still meets performance requirements.

Ideally, notes Kenik, all of that information would be in the CAD system, but end users often don't have access to CAD or don't know how to use it very well. Smart Slice is said to provide a bridge to optimize the machine settings for producing the part prior to manufacturing via a plug-in for the slicer and can work with any STL files. 

Moreover, Kenik says, Teton believes that Smart Slice can reduce the number of print iterations required to obtain a good part. Traditionally, Teton has seen anywhere from 5 to 50 iterations for a part—and Teton believes it can take that down to two, saving users hundreds of hours.

According to Teton, the product is being rolled out jointly with Ultimaker, as Teton took advantage of the open source capabilities of Cura. Paul Heijmans, senior vice president of software at Ultimaker points to Teton’s Smart Slice as an exclusive marketplace plugin for Ultimaker Essentials users.

30-day free trial of Smart Slice is available. Introductory annual subscription rates are also available.