The Bambu Slicer goes well with how fast and good the Bambu machines are. It has a lot of features, is easy to use, and produces high-quality prints. Still, it's not perfect and has some flaws of its own.
OrcaSlicer comes into play at this point. OrcaSlicer adds some interesting features to the basic Bambu Studio. You get more printer presets, more detailed print settings, and a bunch of other advanced tools that all make 3D printing better.
This page will talk about everything OrcaSlicer. What it is, why it exists, and why it is a good option to its original source. Hold on to your boats because we're going to go deep into OrcaSlicer and look at it in detail.
What is OrcaSlicer?
When a programmer begins to use a BambuLab 3D printer, the result is OrcaSlicer. Realizing the original slicing program falls short of their expectations, they set out to develop their own replacement.
Except for the slicer, almost all of the Bambu environment is pretty closed-source. The PrusaSlicer is a fork of the original SliC3r program, and the Bambu Studio is a fork of the PrusaSlicer. If Bambu Labs wanted to use its slicing software, it had to be open-source.
Someone was bound to make their own version of the Bambu Studio at some point. And as it stands, a user called Softfever made OrcaSlicer as a fork of the Bambu Studio slicer. It's one of Bambu Slicer's most famous forks, and users rate it highly.
OrcaSlicer takes a great slicer and makes it even better with a few small changes. At first, the Bambu Studio and OrcaSlicer won't seem too different from each other. But once you start using it, you'll start to enjoy the small add-ons that all help improve the quality of your 3D prints.
A Glance at the Features
Let's take a quick look at some of the unique characteristics of OrcaSlicer, which help it stand out from Bambu Studio.
- Additional Printer profiles
- Custom printer profiles
- Auto calibrations for all printers
- Sandwich(inner-outer-inner) mode - an improved version of the External perimeters' first mode
- Precise wall
- Multi-plate option
- Calibration Menu
- Support Klipper Exclude Objects natively
- Klipper support
How to Download and Install OrcaSlicer
OrcaSlicer is well-documented and should be easy for even first-time users to run. We'll show you how to download and install OrcaSlicer on your machine fast.
- Go to the OrcaSlicer Releases page on GitHub. The latest one will be on top.
- Scroll down until you get to the part called "Assets."
- Click on the Zip file that will work on your machine. Download the Win64 zip file if you're running Windows.
- After you've downloaded the file, you need to open it and run the orca-slicer.exe file. The OrcaSlicer will open on your screen.
- That's it for setting up the first time. The next step is to set up the slicer for your 3D printer.
Setting up OrcaSlicer
When you run the.exe file for the first time, a Setup screen will appear to help you set up the OrcaSlicer. Setting up is easy and takes only about 4–5 steps.
Step 1: Set the Login Region
Choose the location where you will use your 3D printer. Your login location and account location are only detected by BambuLab 3D printers. Therefore this information is only relevant to those machines. They should both come from the same place.
Step 2: Choose a 3D printer
OrcaSlicer has a large number of 3D printer settings that are already set up. You can choose the printer from the menu or set up a Klipper or Marlin 3D printer the way you want it. We've chosen the Ender 3 V2 3D printer for our needs.
Step 3: Select the Filaments
OrcaSlicer lets you choose from a number of filament types. You can choose the kind of material that works with your 3D printer. All the settings for temperature, diameter, and other things linked to these profiles will already be in place. This will make it easy for you to slice the models.
Step 4: Install Bambu Network Plug-in
With the Bambu Network Plug-in, you can connect wirelessly to your 3D printer. It works well with both Bambu and Klipper 3D printers and makes it easy to connect to your printers from anywhere.
Step 5: (Optional) Sign in to your BambuLab account
If you have a Bambu 3D printer, you can access it through the Bambu Handy app by logging in to your BambuLab account. It gives you full control over your 3D printer and lets you handle the machine from other devices.
If you do not have a Bambu 3D printer, you can skip this step. In this case, the account won't be very useful.
All done. You are now ready to use the OrcaSlicer to start your first 3D print.
When you are done setting up your printer, you will go to the slicer screen. We'll quickly show you how to send your first 3D model to the printer and how the process works.
Step 1: Load your Model
On the main screen, you'll see a New Project option. Create a new project. This will bring up the screen for slicing. On top of the slice window, you'll see a menu bar. Click on the icon on the far left. This starts with the file viewer, which you can use to load the model into the OrcaSlicer environment.
Step 2: Select Slicing Settings
On the left, you can change the settings for your 3D printer, its material, and how it slices. If you click on the Whiteboard icon next to the printer name, you can change each setting.
For the slicing parameters, you can select from four different presets based on your printer's nozzle. Also, there are four different sections: Quality, Strength, Support, and Others.
If you are using a printer setup that has already been set up, you can leave them as they are for now. If not, adjust the parameters to fit the goals of your job.
Step 3: Slice the model
When you are happy with the choices, click the "Slice plate" button in the upper right corner. Depending on how complicated your model is and how you want to make it, the slicing process can take a long time. Once the slicing is done, you can look at a preview of the sliced model and check all the details for your print.
Step 4: Export the file
If you like how the sliced file looks, you can send it to your 3D printer. Select the Export Gcode file option by clicking on the down arrow next to the Slice plate choice.
Put the SD card into your computer and save the file straight to the SD card. You can now make the 3D model straight from the SD card.
Step 4.1: Send the File to the Printer
If your 3D printer uses Octoprint or Klipper, you can send the sliced file from OrcaSlicer straight to your printer. You will need to set up your printer's wifi link settings first.
Click on the Wi-Fi icon next to the name of your printer. Choose whether your printer's interface is Octoprint/Klipper or something else. Enter the printer's IP address and test it. If there is an API key or a password, you should also put that in. Click OK and close the window.
You can now send the file directly to your 3D printer. After you share the sliced 3D file, the printer will show a message that says it worked.
Step 5: Print the model
If you use the SD card method, just plug the card into your computer and choose the cut model you want to print.
Using the Device option in the top menu bar, you can open the control window for Octoprint and Klipper. From here, you can choose the file you want to print and start making your 3D model.
All done! So, now you know everything you need to know to make your first 3D model. If the output meets your expectations, you may keep printing with the default settings after adjusting a few simple factors.
OrcaSlicer has a lot more to give than its simple settings. Its advanced mode gives you a lot of other options for slicing, which you can use to fine-tune almost every part of the process.
In this section, we'll look at some important OrcaSlicer settings that make it different from Bambu Studio's standard slicer. The goal is to learn about these settings and tweak them to get the best results from printing.
Before we start, please click the button next to the word "Process" that says "Advanced Mode." It will show you all the settings, giving you more precise control over the slicing factors. Alright, let's get started.
The Precise wall parameter allows you to fine-tune the space between your models' inner and exterior walls. It was made to keep your models consistent and accurate, especially with plastics like ABS that change shape when the temperature changes.
This choice lets you change the flow rate of the extrusion during the printing of both walls. In practice, it should help you make better walls and get the right size for your model.
Z-seam is an inevitable phenomenon in FDM 3D printing. It is a result of excess material extruded by the nozzle during the layer change or retraction move.
OrcaSlicer's Seam Gap feature tries to stop the release of material right before the end of a layer. This should make it less likely that blobs or pimples will show up on the surface of the print and that there will be a Z-seam.
The usual number is 15%, which means that the gap is 15% of the diameter of the nozzle or 15% of 0.4 mm. If you see big blobs on the prints, raise this number by 5–10%. And if you see a space between the layers, you should lower this number.
Wipe on Loops
When the Wipe on Loops setting is used, the nozzle is moved slightly inwards as the layer loop is closed. This is another thing that helps to hide seam lines and is turned on by default in OrcaSlicer. It's best to leave it on unless you find that the quality of your prints is getting worse.
Detect Overhang Walls
OrcaSlicer can tell when your prints have overhangs, and this setting lets it print them at a different speed. This reduces layer drooling and improves the overhang quality.
Initial Layer Travel Speed
You only have one choice for Travel speed in Bambu Studio. In OrcaSlicer, on the other hand, you can set the speed for the first layer.
By making the first layer move at a slower speed, the nozzle can avoid hitting and breaking any unwanted parts. It improves the chances of your first-layer success and is helpful during multi-part print jobs. Keep the speed between 50 and 70 mm/s, or 50% of how fast you usually move.
Setting Acceleration and Jerk
Bambu Studio has a few acceleration settings, but they’re very basic. You can change the speed of the infill, movement, inner wall, and bridge factors with OrcaSlicer. You can also change these factors' Jerk levels right in the slicer.
With these extra choices, you can fine-tune how your print moves to get the best results. Depending on your printer, the numbers will be different, but it's good to know that you can change it to fit your needs.
You can find this setting in OrcaSlicer under "Others." A verbose Gcode essentially just adds a comment to every line of your Gcode commands. It makes the gcode easier to understand and helps you figure out what each word does.
This is great for figuring out why a print job didn't work or why it failed, but it isn't very useful for basic users in other ways. You can skip this one if you want, and you won't be missing out on much.
This tool is useful for printing with Klipper and Octoprint. You can label things and give each model on the build plate a name. If one of your prints fails, you can stop printing the failed model by using Klipper Exclude Objects feature.
It's a nice tool to have because it saves the rest of the models and helps you waste less time and materials. It would be good for you to keep it on.
OrcaSlicer Calibration Menu
Calibration was added to OrcaSlicer with the V1.4.1 update. It’s fairly similar to the calibration menu on SuperSlicer and is a great differentiating factor. The calibration models help you fine-tune your print settings quickly and easily, all from one place.
There’s a temperature tower using which you can calibrate your printing temperatures in one go. Then there are pressure advance and flow rate tests which are helpful for fine-tuning your extrusion settings.
Softfever also has models for checking Vertical Fine Artifacts (VFA) and calibrating the maximum flow rate. Both of these are relatively advanced and need a lot of knowledge about how a 3D printer works.
The calibration menu is a big thing in and of itself, so we'll make a separate article that goes into detail about each part. For now, it's enough to know that OrcaSlicer has a built-in calibration window that makes it easy to fine-tune your print settings.
Remote Printer Control
One other thing that we like about OrcaSlicer is the Printer control feature which it retains from the BambuStudio. The printer control window lets you access your printer's interface from a laptop or computer. This means you can check on and use your printer from a distance.
For example, on our Klipper Ender 3 3D printer, we were able to open the Klipper interface right in the OrcaSlicer window. It's the same as our printer's Klipper interface, and we no longer have to open the browser to use it.
Once your Octoprint or Klipper 3D printer is connected to OrcaSlicer, you can also use OrcaSlicer to access your printer. This tool just makes it easy for users to work with their machines. Even popular slicers like the PrusaSlicer, Cura, and SuperSlicer don't have this feature.
Get more with Obico (The Spaghetti Detective)
Even though OrcaSlicer lets you manage your printer remotely, your reach is capped by the range of your Wi-Fi network. This implies that you can only operate the printer if it and your device are on the same network. When you leave the house, the link is broken.
Here comes Obico. You can use your 3D printer from anywhere in the world with Obico. From a single piece of software, you can track the progress of your print job, run the printer, and record a time-lapse movie of your prints.
There's a function called "tunneling," which lets you connect your Klipper or Octoprint interface to your mobile device via a secure feed. You can use it to view your Klipper interface on the go from your PC, phone, or tablet. It really lets you run the printer from places other than your home.
Obico is great at finding problems as well as being able to be controlled remotely. It uses machine learning to correctly find print failure and let you know right away. You can let Obico automatically pause the print or stop it yourself if the print fails completely.
In essence, Obico is a remote helper for your 3D printing endeavors. It watches the printer for you and makes sure everything is running smoothly. It's a very useful piece of software that can save you a lot of time and money.
There is also the Obico Discord group, which is a one-stop shop for all your questions and ideas. Obico is on the PlayStore and the iOS app store, and you can help us out by giving us a Star on GitHub.
OrcaSlicer is definitely a neat step up over the Bambu Studio. That doesn't mean the Bambu Slicer isn't great; it's just missing some useful tools.
OrcaSlicer is great for printing if you like to play around with your printer and need full control over the process. If you like to keep things straightforward, the Bambu Studio is a better choice.
If you've used the OrcaSlicer before, feel free to tell us what you think about it and how it worked for you. In the meantime, you can try out our Obico program and tell us about your remote 3D printing experiences in the comments.