Add “Support>First Layer Density” Setting (like in Orca)

I was completely new to 3D printing when I purchased an X1C a year ago from Matterhackers. I spent many hours coming up to speed on Studio, and eventually discovered that Studio inherently uses a dense amount of Support for the 1st Support layer, and it is both a PLA, and time waster. I thought for sure there must be a way to reduce it, so I contacted Matterhackers tech support and discussed the issue with them. They had never come across this question before, but could see what I was talking about. So, they said they would research the issue and get back to me. They did, and they discovered this very feature exists in the Orca slicer, which is titled Support>First Layer Density. I switched to Orca at that point to gain this feature, and also discovered that Orca had many more features than Studio.

Now, Bambu has made strides to incorporate features from Orca, but it appears in the latest Studio beta release that this feature is still missing. It would be great if it could be added.

On a side note, there is also the setting Support>First Layer Expansion that sits right below the Support>First Layer Density setting in Orca, but I don’t use (it could be that other users might find it helpful, and might be worth adding at the same time).

One final note, I believe I have noticed that if I use settings in a project that are exposed in Orca (e.g., Support>First Layer Expansion), and then load the project into Studio, it appears to retain those settings even though Studio does not expose the UI control for them.

I don’t think that Bambu is concerned with keeping up with Orca at all. If they did, why do they still omit the much needed calibration routines baked into Orca since Orca V 1.4? They’ve clearly incorporated other Orca features. It’s the one feature that had me switch to Orca in the first place and has so much utility for those like me who often purchase filament on the competitive market.

Bambu’s Motivations

Understanding the motivation contrast between the Bambu and Orca teams may be helpful. The Orca team, comprised of 3D printer enthusiasts, prioritizes quality of life enhancements, user interface enhancements, and innovation. In contrast, the Bambu crew focuses on promoting Bambu.

A great example of this divergence occurred during last summer’s transition from Studio version 1.6 to 1.7 during the launch of Makerworld marked a significant shift. Bambu Studio’s user experience evolved from a utilitarian landing page to one exclusively promoting Bambu Makerworld. You were forced to click past it and there was no option to bypass on launch. Conversely, during the same period, Orca provided an alternative by offering the option to directly access a project page instead of the landing page. In v 1.8 Orca also added the option disabling the splash screen altogether, another user-friendly quality of life enhancement you won’t find included in Bambu studio.

Present in Orca since 1.8
image

Absent from Bambu
image

While seemingly minor, this issue becomes significant when considering that they simultaneously restricted P1 users from reverting to firmware version 1.3, the last truly stable version supporting LAN-only mode. A search in this forum reveals numerous reports by users encountering issues with LAN-only mode, highlighting the severity of the situation. Upon upgrading my printer, instability arose at version 1.5. Attempts to revert to 1.3 were blocked by Bambu, despite widespread reports of issues. Reverting back to 1.4 improved these issues, as documented by others here. However, upon opening a ticket, Bambu denied the request to revert to 1.3 and fully denied the existence of any problem.

Design Intent

So why do these two seemingly unrelated facts matter? Simply because it shows design intent. Version 1.3 P1 firmware does not support Makerworld and at the same time, Bambu forced users to land on the page promoting Makerworld in version 1.6 of Studio. I did find a work around and that was to clear out all settings and not log in. But that severs the saved folders as it creates a separate user profiles which is clumsy.

The Orca slicer can be described as a slicer made by hobbyists for hobbyists. Whereas the Bambu Studio slicer is made to promote Bambu first and foremost. If those two goals don’t align, I’ll leave it to you to imagine which one prevails.

Examples

Another example of withholding innovation is found in the calibration features of Orca. By simplifying the calibration process for filaments not produced by Bambu, Orca inadvertently encourages the defection of users who frequently turn to other brands due to stock-outs at the Bambu store. This is precisely how I began using competitive brands when Bambu was out of stock for basic colors like black, white, red, and grey PLA.

It should be noted that Bambu has paid homage to Orca by incorporating select Orca features that enhance print output without conflicting with Bambu’s marketing. However, the balance of innovation seems to be leaning heavily in Orca’s favor. A prime example is the recent addition of the Scarf Joints feature in Orca 2.0. This feature has now just appeared in the Studio 1.9 Beta, with credit given to Orca as the source of the code.

From the Bambu Github page
image

On a more minor note. Orca is now one release version ahead of Bambu Studio. Whereas release numbers generally do not mean much other than marketing hype, it does hint at a much faster pace of innovation. One would have to believe that a group of unpaid volunteers at Orca should never be able to move faster than the paid team at Bambu, but the features that are continued to be added to Orca are outpacing the Bambu development team.