I keep seeing posts of problems with prints and often the answer lies in understanding the settings or simple Calibration.
But I equally find there’s a lot of confusion around the Calibration in Bambu Studio and the lack of knowledge about the existence of SoftFever’s OrcaSlicer and how it can help you. There’s lots of help for Calibration, this is to help understand the software in general.
It boils down to understanding “Open Source Software” and “forks” (not the eating kind …LOL), so take 5 minutes to learn, and up your printing game.
TL:DR at bottom.
Bambu Studio - Bambu Lab (BL) totally shocked the 3D printing world with it’s magnificent X1C, AMS and P1P systems. One of the core things they brought to the table was the amazing Studio software, a fusion of the existing Prusa Slicer, Super Slicer and pieces from Cura Slicer.
What made that all work was the nature of those items; all were Open Source. What this means is the code that makes it work is available for anyone to use and modify to their needs. (I’m keeping it simple folks).
A ‘fork’ is just a term for a branching, related, software that takes another path like a tree branch does. An offshoot.
BL did a fantastic job of taking the best bits and making an easy to use, ready to go software to control the printer, prepare models for printing (Slicer) and even let you watch via a camera. At first, they kept it to themselves, but promised to release the code to Open Source when it was ready, and they did. This weighed heavy for me in my purchase as it showed they kept their word, something that’s sometimes rare in business.
That opened the Studio software up for others to play with (or fork).
SoftFever (SF) - IDK the full history SF played, but he’s been a player in the 3D software game for years and he saw things he wanted to do to enhance Studio. Being a “one man band” he can respond and make changes faster than BL’s design team can as they have to make super sure all’s well before releasing Studio updates. Think Cruise Ship vs Speedboat.
One of the first thing he worked on was Pressure Advance, which BL quickly saw as something they wanted to support and Studio released an update with some of his code (as I understand it) in an update.
SF couldn’t call his product Studio, so he opted for OrcaSlicer. He also added machines besides BL’s X1C, P1P and AMS. That was how I found it before my X1C purchase - he had added a Creality CR-10S Max that I used on my CR-10S to get familiar before purchase, and I found the software was excellent, even better than the Cura I was used to.
Since then SF has released several updates to OrcaSlicer, with the latest including very welcome updates to the Calibration section. This allows users to fine tune the NON BL Filaments more carefully, resulting in fixing many problems people have had with flow rates, temperature, etc.
Here’s his Wiki Calibration page, check out the new items like one click Temp Towers:
BL Studio and OrcaSlicer are brothers in arms. They look and feel alike, both Sync to your BL account and track your projects the same, and can even coexist on your PC or Mac without conflict so you can switch back and forth easily.
Here’s his main page with more info and to download:
So which should you use? Totally up to you. Both are fantastic pieces of software. BL Studio has been fine tuned by the excellent BL Team, SF’s OrcaSlicer offers some welcome updates that will probably be incorporated into Studio once their team vets it all. SF is bleeding edge but he’s quick to respond to bugs and is inherently faster at release. Studio is possibly more stable and is well examined.
Arachne - This is a tech pioneered in Open Source, then incorporated into Cura Slicer. I don’t intend to describe it, I’ll link to a full article with pics that will do that far better than I.
It’s not often realized it’s there and many don’t know about it, thinking it’s just another ‘checkbox’ in the settings. Understand what it is will help you understand the print process, and it’s complexity.
For years we’ve used a certain tech to Slice the prints. Slicing is taking a special file (.STL or .3MF or others) that has the object represented by a mesh and cutting it into layers, then determine the route the hotend needs to take to print. The manner in which this was done has evolved over the years, with many new features and settings added, but the basic routing was still the same.
Arachne changes that. It’s compatible with the settings (except one called Detect Thin Walls), but inherently moves the hotend in a different pattern, smoothing curves and handling tiny areas better, usually resulting in a nicer print, sometimes dramatically better.
The change was big enough that BL Studio and OrcaSlicer both switched to it as standard (default) with the “Classic” method still available as it’s better for some prints. EDIT: BL Studio has not made that change yet.
So, here’s an article on it (it’s an early one, there are changes), you’ve already got a few minutes invested if you got this far, so go read it, LOL!
TL:DR - Bambu Studio and SoftFever’s OrcaSlicer are like brothers, very similar. Studio is more vetted, OrcaSlicer has new changes, bug fixes, and includes many Calibrations to help you tune NON BL Filaments or fix flow issues. Please take a look at the three links for more data.