Hello guys! I am doing a internship in at Printr. they asked if I liked to make a post about their cloud printing platform Formide, their slicer Katana and their 3d printing dongle the Element. I wrote up a bit about this and even though we edited it a bit to not have it look like it was written by a child. I hope you like it and hope you give it a look as well. For the small company it still is it works actually really well. Thanks for the time and feedback

Testing out Formide - Wireless 3D printing a Spiral Chess set
Project summary
3D printer - Ultimaker 2 Go
3D model - Spiral Chess set retrieved from Thingiverse
Support - none
Print duration - 4 hours

Hey guys, I’m Otto, 3D printing freak from Amsterdam! I’ve been browsing around on 3D printing forums and have noticed that there’s no active community around Formide. There are also not enough resources on how to print using The Element. So I decided to test it out. After a long day of looking at the top rated posts on Thingiverse I finally settled on this spiral chess set that i retrieved from Thingiverse (www.thingiverse.com/thing:470700), as its design sparked my curiosity and the set seemed like a challenging project to put Formide to the test.

How I started out

  1. I connected The Element to Formide (www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKqjLu_EfVE)
  2. I connected my Ultimaker to Formide (www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqcxoG2YmPQ)
  3. In Formide I navigated to Library and uploaded the Spiral Chess 3D model from Thingiverse

After I set up The Element and added my Ultimaker to Formide, it was time to deep dive into the meat of the matter: slicing the 3D model with Formide’s slicer Katana.

How I created a custom sliceprofile for the Spiral chess piece
The great thing about Formide is that it already has pre-configured slice settings for (some of) the 3D printers The Element is compatible with. That made it very easy for me to start slicing my model. I chose the Ultimaker 2GO normal quality preset and additionally changed some of the advanced settings. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to Manage and click on the sub-menu Sliceprofiles
  2. Click on Add a New Sliceprofile in the top right corner
  3. Select Ultimaker 2GO normal quality in the select a sliceprofile from one of the presets field
  4. Give your custom sliceprofile a name in the Sliceprofile Name field
  5. Click on Advanced to customize the sliceprofile settings

Image 1: Advanced settings for creating a custom slice profile

As you can see in image 1, you can click on the grey boxes under the Advanced tab to change the settings to your liking. There are two preset slice profiles for the Ultimaker 2Go on Formide, a normal quality and a high quality. I adjusted the settings of the normal quality sliceprofile for it to become a middle ground between these two, as the high quality sliceprofile is actually made for bigger prints than these chess pieces. So here are the results of some experimenting with the settings:

  • Fan: The advanced fan mode is only applicable to larger models, since it increases the fan speed according to the time it prints a layer. For this print I turned off the advanced fan mode and simply left the fan at 100%. I left the rest of the settings at default.
  • Raft: Considering there were no issues with either removing the model from the build plate or with the model not sticking to the bed, I don't need a raft for this print
  • Infill: we set the infill percentage at 15% and left the other values at default.

Image 2: the lower part of the top bowl is prone to overhang and floating

  • Support: As you have probably noticed, the chess pieces have a quite complex structure, which could result in print issues with floating and overhang at the lower part of the top bowl. To prevent this from happening, I could add support material below this part. However, as it is difficult to remove this material from the inside of the chess pieces, I have decided not to add any.
  • Skirt: In order to get the filament flow going it is generally advisable to use a skirt. However, as the Ultimaker does not need a skirt to get the flow going, I did not use it.
  • Movement → Combing: when combing is enabled the printer will try to avoid all gaps and open areas in the model to prevent issues with stringing and oozing. Since my model has a lot of open spaces I turned on combing for this print.
  • Movement → Ooze Shield: The ooze shield is meant for dual extrusion so the printer can clean the nozzle before starting the print. Since this project does not include dual extrusion I left this turned off.
  • Movement → Print speed: I reduced slightly compared to Formide's Ultimaker presets since this specific model has a lot of small detail which turn out better at lower speeds. For the same reason I turned off Apply Smart Speeds. I left the remaining parameters at default.
  • Bottom: To get the best print quality you need to have proper first layers. For this print I used 5 bottom layers, all at 100% infill and with a layer height of 200 in order for us to have a sturdy and thick base to print the model on. The first layer speed is set at 20 mm/s, so the plastic has enough time to cool before the rest of the print has started. For this print I have turned off the layer delay since this feature is only helpful for parts with a small first layer footprint while adding massive printing times. The layer extrusion width can be increased if you notice your first layer is not sticking properly or has issues with bonding between the layers. However, for this print I left it at default.
  • Top: I set layer height at 150 and set the number of layers on 6 in order for the spirals to have a solid structure. I also left solid mode turned on in order for my layers to have a solid structure.
  • Retraction: I set retraction amount at 3.5k micron and the retraction speed at 25mm/s. These settings have been calibrated using Formide's retraction tutorial and work really well for this specific printer. I left the rest of the settings at default.
  • Multiextrusion: not applicable for this print
  • Layers: I left these at the default values
  • Gcode: I left these at the default values
  • Brim: A brim adds more footprint to your model by first printing out a few lines outside of your model. By using a brim you increase your models’ base size and therefore have less chance of your model letting loose of the bed. For this print I have used a brim with 15 lines because my models are fairly small and my printer does not feature a heated bed.
  • Skin: Your skin overlap is the amount of overlap your printer does between the infill and the outer lines of your print. If it’s too low and you will notice gaps between the infill and the outer lines. If it’s too high the infill lines will become visible from outside of the print. I left this at the default value of 30%.

After some playing around with the settings, my prints have come out pretty clean after having sliced them with Formide’s cloud-slicer. Pretty cool. Despite this, I must say that I had some minor issues with wifi connectivity and the setup of The Element. Overall I’m pretty satisfied. What do you think of Formide and have you ever tried their slicer? Drop answers in the comment section, I’m curious!