If you recently purchased Simplify3D or Creatr Software and are having trouble getting started in using it, please consider these recommendations and reminders.


Prepare yourself for a learning period of roughly a month to learn what the print settings do....

We all want to un-box the printer, plug in the power cable, load a model, slice it, start it, and expect to see a great result. However, most of the time, this isn't how 3D printing works. Print settings in the 3D slicing software will need to be adjusted. Learning which ones, where they're located, and how much to adjust them can be tricky at first. When planning to purchase a 3D printer with software, you really should consider a learning period. If you're using Simplify3D, remember that they have their own technical support and tutorial website to help speed your training along. Here is a good training reference article with links to Simplify3D support: Simplify3D Print Settings Tabs Explained by Simplify3D's Own Customer Support. Please keep in mind that Simplify3D is a great software but that they support several other brands and models of 3D printers; not all advice that they offer works well with our specific brand. We are weekly working on providing new training resources for Creatr software; check Materialise Software Solutions


Don't forget to get the latest print profiles....

We at Leapfrog do not expect you to just enter random values for your printer (as certain configurations of these settings could really damage your printer). That's why we provide general starting place print profiles for you online. Creatr software (commonly called Materialise - though Materialise is actually the name of the company that designed the software) has the option with a build in Update button in the Edit Profiles area. Our Support website has Simplify3D profiles based on the model of the printer, since print profiles are not universal, but designed for specific 3D printer models, filament types (and which extruder they are going to be loaded into), and desired layer thickness. 


Start slow and simple....

Remember, you're not taking a brand new car to a back road and opening it up to push it to its limits here; you're learning how to use a new 3D slicing software and/or printer. Even using our provided print profiles for the first time can lead to failed prints. This is because every model has specific setting requirements. If you know that your Creatr HS can print up to 18000mm/min, that doesn't mean that you need to start printing at that speed right away. Your primary goal should be to get some good solid prints under your belt before becoming the Speed 3D Print Production Guru. The best way we have found to do this is to start with a slow and simple test print. For example, if you use one of our 200 micron print profiles that has the print speed set to 9000mm/min and are not getting good results, before you shout, "BAD PRINTER!!!" try slowing the printing speed by half (4500mm/min) and see if you get better results. A good rule of thumb is "Smaller more complex .STL model printed at smaller layer thicknesses need slower printing speeds." ("Slower" as in slower than our base-line print profiles suggest.) Even if you've had some sort of additional training, we cannot stress enough this recommendation. Remember, that once you establish a good quality print at a slower speed, you can always start walking up the speed settings on subsequent test prints. 


Double check for contradicting configurations....

Contradicting what?!? All we mean by this is that it is a good habit to look for any settings that either work against a different setting or against some layout for the printer. Instead of going on and on about this, it's best if we just provide just a few examples of things that we've seen happen in Technical Support tickets (by the way, if you need to open a new ticket, click here; we'd love to help you!):

  • Simplify3D's FFF Build Volume settings (G-Code Tab) exceed the printer's actual build volume dimensions. Wrong build volumes could cause the print head/bed to attempt to travel further than their limit.
  • Simplify3D has the option of having multiple setting assignments (called "processes") at one time; if the settings in these tell two conflicting settings, it will cause crazy behavior commands in the .GCODE file that is created (i.e. one process says that the right extruder is to be set at 240º at layer 1, and the other says that the right extruder needs to be 220º at layer 1.) If you are trying to print with two processes while in the learning phase, the concepts in the "Start slow and simple..." section apply here. When you're ready to try multiple processes, yeah, we have an article or two for that.
  • The printer has filament loaded in the right extruder but all the settings indicate that you will be loading the filament in the left extruder.
  • No/incorrect temperature setting is set for a certain kind of filament.
  • Print speed is set to 30000mm/min... Well, we hope to provide you with a printer that prints high quality prints at such a speed one day, but currently we do not offer such technology. Please refer to your model's specifications for max printing and max traveling speeds.
  • You want to print while connected to the PC, but you haven't told the printer to allow it (specific to HS series models).
  • Using the lowest recommended temperature settings in a room with cold ambient temperature, under the draft of an air condition vent, or next to an open window with cold outside temperatures or windy conditions. Remember that your extruder's heat cartridges are working as hard as they can to keep the nozzle as hot as you set it in the slicing software; printing with a cold ambient room temperature can cause issues to include clogged nozzles and failed prints.


Use our Solution Articles and Technical Support ticket system....

We are here for you! We are constantly updating and adding to our knowledge database with a variety of tips, troubleshooting, and training solutions that will speed your process along faster. Don't just browse the articles for your 3D slicing software, but also get to know your printer by seeing how perform various maintenance and calibration operations. Who knows, you may find .GCODE files that make maintenance tasks easier, or learn something about a print setting improves the quality and speeds up the printing time just a bit more. Reaching our Support Home Page is fast, easy, and may save you time from opening a new technical support ticket.


We of course offer our main troubleshooting through our ticketing system, and we would love to assist you in resolving an issue with your 3D printer. We encourage you to leave as detailed of a description of the issue as possible when opening a new ticket. Though such descriptions as "Printers broke and I need you to fix it. Thanks, Bob" are based from understandable frustration, they don't really help us resolve the issue quickly.


-Questions to Answer When Writing Your Ticket Description-

  • Which 3D slicing software are you using?
  • Which filament type(s) are you using?
  • Which extruder(s) have the filament(s) that you are using?
  • What are the temperature settings that you are using in the 3D slicing software's profile settings for both extruders and the heated bed?
  • Do you see the issue happening both when printing connected to the PC and in Stand-Alone (UBS memory stick) mode? (This question applies to only certain models.)
  • Software license issue - did you purchase a voucher or request a 30-day trial voucher (certain software programs)

Printer Serial Number and Product Type are two very important properties to include in a ticket. If you do not provide them originally, you'll most likely be asked to provide it (causing at least 2 unnecessary responses).


Finally, you have the option when creating a ticket to upload files to the ticket. Because we do not really offer on-site technical support, being able to visually see an issue helps us to understand the initial issue and focus in our aim on troubleshooting steps that really pertain to the issue. Therefore, by adding some of the following to the ticket, we will be able to help you troubleshoot faster:


-Examples of Files to Attach to a New Ticket-

  • Digital photos of poor quality prints, damaged/questionable printer parts, or information on the printer itself.
  • Screenshots of settings, errors, or buttons/windows that you have questions about.
  • Videos of you walking through a process and seeing the error happen.
  • Original purchasing invoice and current shipping address (in case we determine that a replacement part needs to be sent, it saves the time of 2 responses by sending that up front).
  • Simplify3D .FACTORY file (found under the File menu)
  • .STL file if .FACTORY file is not an option.

Regarding files and our system - Our ticketing system has a limit of 15 MB per response. If you feel that your total file size is larger than 15 MB, it will not send in our system. To avoid this, please use a free file sharing website to upload your file(s) and then just send us the download link in the ticket.


Conclusion....

There will always be more that we'd like to suggest when it comes to using your new 3D slicing software (because we like helping you out), but the only thing that we'd like to emphasize further on for now is this: most of the issues that the technical support team hears about are 3D slicing software related. When you are confident in your knowledge of the print settings of the 3D slicing software, you are able to know how to better troubleshoot a issue should one arise.


We thank you for checking out our Leapfrog 3D Printer technical support solutions online! If you were unable to fine a solution in our database, please feel free to open a new support ticket by clicking the following link: I want to open a new support ticket.