What is your thoughts on providing 3MF files?

At first I thought being able to download not just the model file but also all print settings with it would be great…
Then I realised that all this only actually works if you do have a properly matching filament in your printer.
If the model was created using red silk PLA but you only have standard red you are already stuffed.
Not that it matters much as long as you have a proper profile at hand to use.
Which made me think and wonder…

The benefit for the user isn’t really as big as the advertising suggests, so why bother with uploading the 3MF files or even the GCode file for a model?
For example I downloaded the model of a large puzzle box.
The provided 3MF files to get the "best’ results would have resulted in wasting over 40m of infill alone, plus a ton of suppor material.
Changing the infill settings and model orientations resulted is a filament saving of over 60 meters…

After checking a few ‘supported’ hosting sites I learned that providing these 3MF files gives you more hits, more satisfied users, more chances to see your model promoted and much more…
None of this however addresses the actual purpose of most sites requiring you now to upload the model, the 3MF file(s) AND detailed images of the printed model.
So just creating a good model won’t cut it these days unless you also have the matching printer to prove it works.
All those site try to implement clear guidelines for posting successfully.
A clear structure that can be checked with ease by bots to have the results analyzed by a simple AI.
These updated files to give our printers a better default configuration change due to user feedback.
Like by you agreeing to share all those details for the purpose of quality control and improvements…
OR by having it all included and verified with the models you upload so freely…

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All good comes at a price or can be used for bad things - or so we say when it comes to developing new technologies…
How do you make sure that YOUR product performs better than the rest these days?

  1. Great customer support is a good start.
    Sadly this seems to be limited for supporting you with the purchase of a new machine.
  2. Better quality than the rest of the pack.
    Sadly quality these days and for 3D models is limited to the actual 3D files but NOT how to get them printed out.
    By MAKING your users share it all it is surprisingly easy to tune your machines and consumables…
  3. More choices, mode models, more ideas…
    Our hosting services make sure that there is a model for everyone and for every possible need.
    And finding what you need, even if you won’t know yet that you need it means you have to spend quite some time on these sites.
    These nice ads you keep seeing provide revenue…
    Those cookies left behind that make it so easy for you also allow for easy tracking of your habits and likes…
    The more people you can bind, be it as creators or to just download, the more money you make…

Does that mean all is bad and we get fooled all the time ?
Depends on how you see it…
There is some benefits for good creators…
The real benefits however are always with the hoster and supported companies.
Take the weekly competitions…
All you ever get is a coupon - something that does not cost the company or hoster a single cent…
Competitions where you can score a new printer or such are rare but if they happen they created many thousand entries and often millions of hits on the contest page in the first week alone.
Sure, winning a big box full of filament is great…
But what do you thing is made by the hoster and company from you winning entry ? :wink:

I am an old fart and have seen this approach in many variations and it was always for the same goals…
Like when Microsoft ‘invented’ voice control for Windows.
I remember how most of our office workers wasted their hours trying to teach the voice recognition system ROFL
Reading out Microsoft provided texts until the thing eventually got it more right than wrong…
Early systems on our personal navigators or phones did the same.
Remember the times when you could teach your phone to react to the SPOKEN names of the entries in your address book ?
Today this learning is done with an AI - an AI that learned how to do it from what we manually provided in the distant past.

MAKE THE USER DO IT FOR YOU…
A bit like playing beta tester to get the latest something before anyone else.
And like those there is no real benefit, no real gain for the user.
At least the beta tester has a chance to see their name listed in the credits, to get a discount on the software or in some case to get the new release for free.
We all comply and take part in this game…
The question is for what team we are really playing when sharing our creations and settings so freely …
Just saying…

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I think I speak for all of us here when I say… huh?

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It’s much easier to upload just one file. Having to create an export folder then export parts of an assembly one by one, make sure all the file names are correct is quite painful in some CAD packages. For example in FreeCAD if you type a filename in the export save dialog, it keeps that file name for all subsequent exports and it’'s very easy to overwrite existing files. If I don’t want to use any settings the uploader has applied, I place a disc on the bed then add the 3mf file and select geometry only.

Then I realised that all this only actually works if you do have a properly matching filament in your printer.
If the model was created using red silk PLA but you only have standard red you are already stuffed.

First of all this is a misconception, you can download any 3mf and simply resync your filaments, you don’t need to use what the model uses…

no real benefit, no real gain for the user.
what team we are really playing when sharing our creations and settings so freely

It seems your real agenda is to call the company greedy and say the user rewards are too little? To which I strongly disagree - they are more than generous and the current rewards are so good I don’t think they’re even sustainable. I am a small creator and have earned a new printer without even winning any contests.

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I might be my misconception but it does not change the fact that the machine setup should not be automatically changed when opening those files.
Especially for new users this keeps causing problems all over the place judging by what I find online.

It is not about an agenda or greed either…
If you check correctly it is about the concept and how it is implemented.
When the 3D printing started to not just become affordable enough for most people but also reliable enough there was only a few options to spread your creations to the general public.
From there we got saw a lot more upload options for a short while.
But they all either started to include some sort of rewards program, like contests and loyalty points for uploaded or content or the number of download for a model…
Only to see how all but a few now are either in the hands of of printer manufacturers or fully teamed up with them.
YES, there is users like you and many others getting a real benefit for the participation…
BUT: How many users get these benefits and how many are there overall who not only registered to download but also upload their models ? :wink:
I merely pointed out how the game is actually played and what the real goals are.
Keep in mind here that the western world still tries to drag China into a war that will never happen and they also claim that basically everything connected to the internet that comes from China is a potential risk ROFL
And so far all of those things coming from China ended up to be a dud in the long run, like Temu or AliExpress…
Not to mention all their dongled hardware and almost all of those apps for to control their many WiFI or BT controllable devices from the playstore and their QR codes coming with unwanted and undeclared calling home and data collection features…
So forgive me for being a bit overly skeptical here when it comes to the intentions and business models of Chinese companies…
No offense and I do appreciate your feedback here.
Hopefully we can keep exchanging our thoughts in a good manner here as my goal really isn’t to just create only negative impression here.

I rather like the print profile system and what Bambu has done with Bambu Studio. I like makerworld and what it brings to the table. Not just the rewards, but how well integrated it all is. I print stuff from the phone app all the time because I can, because I’m not afraid of it. Turns out, it works pretty well.

Especially being a designer that puts together more complex designs. It lets me get everything organized for the end user, so they have everything ready to print. they don’t need to fiddler with orientation, making sure they have enough of a given part, or whatever. They are free to change settings if they so please. And for me, as an end user, printing other people’s complex prints. There was a fiddly little model someone did that I wanted to print. I was skeptical of it’s printability for a few reasons, but I decided to trust the designer and what they setup, and boom, it printed nicely.

As for all the China stuff, I think that’s a red herring. You want to make all these arguments about companies hovering up your data, then maybe you need to consider not using Google(ly-eyes), Microsoft products, Facebook, and just about any modern company you can name. I’m not saying that Bambu is peachy clean, but this argument is weak against the realities of the modern world and how most large corporations operate. It makes it a disingenuous argument because you aren’t out there screaming to the roof tops about all of the American corporations abusing your data. You’re cherry picking because what, China? This whole hobby was risen on the back of China.

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Right, it seems the real concern is data collection because its a Chinese app. He should direct his concerns towards Tiktok, which is in no way a “dud”.

I think maybe you should have researched more if you didn’t realise all the security and privacy concerns surrounding Bambu Lab, which were all present the day it was introduced. It doesn’t overly worry me, but if it did there’s plenty of 3d printers out there which you don’t need any internet connection to print with.
@cartyski the tictoc ban is just the US wanting to ban anything they can’t control the media output of. But that’s another topic not for this forum

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3MF is not just about uploading your parameters for (and) the print file, which you can then exchange at will. You can also save time and resources if you familiarise yourself with the concept and take advantage of the benefits.

For example, you have designed a part that contains a hole and you want to make your great design available to thousands of other users. But you don’t know exactly what hole size the user needs, as this can change? What options do you have?

  1. you tell the user exactly which pipe size he needs, for example.
  2. you create several models with different hole sizes.

That’s not exactly very flexible, is it?

What convenient option would you have with 3MF:

You leave the hole closed and add a modifier / negative part that you position where you want the hole to be. Specify a standard size. Other users can now load your 3MF file and define the hole size themselves and print it directly. And all this without having to edit the model again in a CAD programme. You can create dozens of hole sizes in a model on the fly and then send it directly to the printer.

Try to explore the possibilities of 3MF and make good use of them. If this is not possible or useful for your model, then only upload STL. That’s how I do it. However, I don’t do it that often. I also use 3MF to give inexperienced users the opportunity to quickly create a good model by predefining layer heights etc. and only having to print the model without having to worry about the right settings. Sometimes it is just a bit of support structure that is difficult to remove with the default settings and where I therefore readjust the settings.

Best regards!

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Given the choice, I will always download the STL so I can use the print settings that I want. When I do have to download a 3MF, I will often export the STL and the load that back in, which is often easier than fixing up the 3MF to the settings I want.

There is no harm in providing 3MF files for those that want them, as long as the STLs are provided as well.

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I initially pushed back on using the Bambu “Print Profiles” (3MF files), but after digging into them more I see that they have many advantages over just using STL files. Especially for novice printer users.

For instance, I had a rather large part that I had to print several times before I got it right. The STL file never changed, but the slicer settings for it needed a lot of experimentation. There was a 160mm diameter base ring, some 90mm tall curved spokes that met at a central hub. To minimize print time, and at the same time get strong, good looking spokes, I ended up using the Layers to change the infill percentage and print speed just for the spokes, and reverse the wall order. This took a lot of experimentation with tree supports and other options before I got this right. Also the supports were a pain to remove, so I used the Support Painting to split them into two halves so they were easier to remove. By posting a 3MF file for the part I could tie this information to the part, and save another maker from having to go through the same pain, time and filament waste.

I also see Bambu’s ability to apply different print settings to every part (object) on a print bed as a real advantage. It allows a user to generate one print job (gcode file) that optimally handles each part on the bed. So I can print more parts at the same time, minimizing the number of jobs that I need to run. Slicers that only support global settings mean that I need to create a separate print job for each part that requires unique processing. This kind of information is not supported by STL files, or by other slicers for that matter.

So I believe that there are several advantages to 3MF files over just using STL files:

  • Learning what print settings (support, orientation, etc.) to use for complex parts comes with experience, and a 3MF file (especially Bambu’s) can be very useful for helping someone new to 3D printing to be successful on their first try.

  • Multiple plates help minimize forgotten parts.

  • Parts don’t need to be rotated to their optimal print orientation.

  • The printing options for each part can be optimized on the same build plate.

  • It is easy to drag parts from plate to plate if you want to change colors of parts, or if you need to reprint a part that breaks or fails. And their print settings move with them.

The disadvantage of a closed system is that you can’t hack it to your liking. But I believe that 99 percent of people who use 3D printers don’t have the skills to do that. They are just interested in having a successful print, not experimenting with printer optimizations. I did a quick survey and less than 5% of the people that download my designs, also post designs. This implies to me that only a small percentage of people who download files know how to use a 3D modeling program. Which makes sense, because they can be expensive, are complicated and have huge learning curves. It wouldn’t surprise me that the same percentages applied to users that want to hack a printer slicer or firmware.

The advantage of a closed system is that it can support proprietary features that make the system easier to use, and help ensure more successful prints, like: known filament characteristics, RFIDs on filament spools to convey those characteristics to the printer and the slicer, well characterized hardware; printers, nozzles, etc., known slicer idiosyncrasies/features, custom 3MF files, etc. You have to work within the constraints of the system, but assuming it is well designed, it can lead to simpler, faster, and more successful printing.

You can get to the same place using STL files, but it will take you longer.

With that said, a lot of poorly configured or organized 3MF files get posted, which means going back to the STLs and generating your own settings. Especially when dealing with non-Bambu filaments. Filament settings are critical for a successful print, and sometimes even the Bambu settings may need tweaking.

And relative to how my data is used by Bambu, I don’t know. If you are concerned, then use their local network option. But given my experience with people at Bambu that I know, I have no reason to suspect that they are using my data for anything more than improving their product. Exploiting your data in other ways is bad for business. There are many conspiracy theories, but you do see relatively few documented cases of this, and it never ends well for the company doing it. And these few cases do not justify making blanket statements about all companies of a particular nationality. I believe that most companies are just trying to offer a good product for a competitive price, and make a profit doing it. The bad press associated with data misuse is never good for the bottom line. And every company that I have ever worked at has made it clear that if an employee is caught doing this, that they will be fired. And I’ve seen that happen.

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This is a joke/troll right? I have used nothing but 3mf and have been able to tweek ANY setting (including filament, printer, and nozzle) on every model? I don’t see how anyone can say the using a 3mf that is set to use a different filament type causes you to be ‘stuffed’? Just asking. BTW, I don’t have an AMS so maybe I’m missing something.

You’re not missing anything. It is just as easy. I’m not sure I get the complaint people have either. It’s super easy to just select the settings you want. I have my presets all saved, so if I’m not keen on a designer’s setup, I just select my own from the drop down list, and boom, bob’s your uncle, and I’m in business. When it comes to filament, it’s just as easy too. I’ve never had an issue with filament selection. I just select the filament I have loaded and click print. If I print from the app, it’ll let me select the filament I want to use, and I hit print.

On mcmaven’s note, about setting things up special. I had a unique situation with a multi-color print, where it wasn’t bridging across like it should because the piece in question was a different color. Being able to adjust the settings for just that piece allowed me to force the bridging. If someone just took the STL files, they’d have to fight with that issue. I’ve had other multi-color stuff too where I set it all up within Bambu studio. Painting and stuff, I mean. Not everything is broken up into multiple objects. So with some stuff, you can start from the STL, but you’re starting at a big dis-advantage.

I have some designs where the left and right are mirrors of each other, and despite stating this in the description on other sites, I still get messages asking where the other side is. With the 3mf bambu studio files, I’ve never got that question.

It seems to me the people most likely to complain about this stuff is the old guys that are used to having to tweak every setting and their grandma’s settings too. They’re so engrained with the way that previous slicers worked, with all the leg work that had to constantly be done on previous generations of printers. It’s just not as much of a thing on the Bambu system. I mean, I don’t even flow calibrate any filament. I just roll with it. I’ve had a great time. I use very stock settings often enough. I rarely change settings from other designers. they printed it, so why can’t I? I’ve seen some odd setups, sure, but it’s nothing to throw them to my stock settings, and half the time it’s nothing to just roll with it. Get over myself and how I think everything should be setup and trust that other people are capable too.

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Can’t you just open the 3mf file and click the revert button next to profile to undo any changes? In addition resync filaments?

I agree with the other about the following 3mf issues.

  1. payload vulnerability
  2. 100% of the time, I modify the profile for my nozzle size, filament brand, AMS filament type, color location, and the settings I know work best for me or what should be set for the particular model.
  3. Loading up the 3mf profile and exporting the model isn’t enjoyable.
  4. STL should always be available or STEP(preferred). However, STEP may not always be an export method for people.
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I’m one of those old guys that was used to having to adjust all the knobs in order to print anything. When I first starting using MakerWorld, I thought the 3mf profiles were ridiculous and pointless, so I would only download the stl’s or pull the stl’s out of the 3mf download.

I eventually came around after I came to the realization that almost everyone using MakerWorld had the same or similar printer and that the settings could also be used on mine. Now I pretty much only use the the designers profile for all my prints from MakerWorld and tweak if necessary. But this only really works in the Bambu Labs/MakerWorld ecosystem. Using a 3mf filled with other users printer settings would be a no go on other platforms due to all of the various printers out there.

I think the environment Bambu has setup has a lot of potential; particularly for new users to 3D printing. This gives them a “safe” environment to start their 3D printing journey and learn from the more experienced users by seeing how they setup their profiles for successful printing.

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Honestly didn’t really know what I was getting myself into with the X1C. My first project on my X1C was a 3dsets r/c truck though! So many parts. It introduced me to Bambu Studio in a good way. In how to setup colors, setup plates, setup larger projects. 3D Sets does provide 3mf files with everything laid out, but it’s only a single plate per a file, so there’s still like a ton of files. Quickly realized the value of Bambu Studio and being able to organize things as a project. It didn’t take long to expand my lineup of Bambu printers, and I got into the groove of how to efficiently coordinate and work with different filaments.

Bambu Studio could use some UI improvements still. There’s a few things I understand now, but as a beginner it’s not always obvious. This is part of the problem with the old school crowd coming in too, is that the program doesn’t do well enough to show how it wants to be operated. It’s not always straight forward how things should be operated. Some things are just, why? I get it, but it could be better.

One of the things I really really like about this whole ecosystem and community is that there’s a lot of users that don’t have any cad experience, that may not even have a computer, but this is all very accessible to them still. As designers and tinkerers we’re so used to being in the thick of it and feeling like this is how it’s suppose to be. I think it’s brilliant though. I put a lot of focus in my design and print profile setups for that crowd! I want to encourage it and grow it. I’ve always been keen on that idea of bringing on demand manufacturing into the home, and there’s really no reason someone has to be an experienced designer or computer user. Part of it was that we as a community share and support each other. I just freakin’ love 3d printing.

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As a Cura user, I absolutely love Bambu Studio/Orca Slicer. It honestly didn’t take me long to adapt to the layout. All the built in tools and project management have made my workflow so much more enjoyable and efficient.

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it does feel like we’re definitely one step closer to this being a reality with the Bambu ecosystem. Being able to create profiles that we know should work on a users printer brings confidence that your design will work on their end.

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