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20 reasons you need an online slicer

With most communication and work going online and remote why shouldn’t your slicer too?

By: Uffe Aalborg

For the last ten years, slicers for 3D printers have as default been software that you needed to download to your computer, in order to start converting your stl. files. However slicing technology is becoming more advanced, and this has enabled online slicers. In this post, we give you 20 reasons why you should switch to an online slicer.

1. No installation

Do you still trust any random person on the internet to install pieces of software on your computer that has access to all your files and devices? Well, maybe you shouldn’t. Sandboxing has been a trend for a long time and has been fully embraced by most mobile platforms, and for a good reason. Guess what is another thing that is sandboxed with no access to your private files or hardware? Websites.

2. It will make your sysadmin happy

Installing software is a minor annoyance or a small security risk for a private person. For someone trying to deploy and maintain hundreds of computers in an organization, it’s an absolute nightmare. Web applications need no deployment apart from making sure all your PCs run an up-to-date browser, which you should anyway.

3. Your slicer is always up to date

Speaking of keeping things up-to-date, this is yet another thing you need not worry about when it comes to web applications. Since the application is running on a central server it can be maintained and updated whenever necessary. You can rest assured that you always get the latest version every time you load the website.

4. It’s fast

Another benefit of things running on a server (or rather a beautifully orchestrated ever-shifting collection of compute nodes, also known as a cloud), is that the speed and complexity of the calculations are not limited by the device you’re using. Want to run advanced 3D repair algorithms on your files to improve the quality of your prints? Use a complex model to predict the printer’s behavior and enable faster print times? These would take years on your smartphone, but with the right combinations of servers, it’s done in a matter of seconds.

5. Easy sharing and collaboration

Online services enable and encourage collaboration and communities. We’re working on tools to allow people to collaborate on creating and sharing the best settings for certain combinations of material objects and printers.

6. It’s 2021

Seriously, who uses desktop applications anymore?

7. You can use it on your phone

The processing power of smartphones, however impressive it is, just simply not enough to do the expensive calculations required to slice an object. More and more manufacturers offer apps to manage your printers but nearly all of them are missing an important piece: slicing. With an online slicer, this is no longer a problem.

8. You can use it on your Chromebook

Chromebooks took the education market by storm for mostly the same reasons as the ones outlined in this article. So what happens when you’re stuck with a laptop that only has a web browser, but you need to print? You use an online slicer

Chromebook + Realvision Online = ♥

9. You can use it on any operating system

Android✓, FreeBSD✓, iOS✓, Linux✓, macOS✓, OpenBSD✓, Windows✓, netBSD✓, Solaris✓, Your toaster? – If you can port Firefox, Chromium, or any other Webkit based browser, then by all means ✓.

10. It follows you around

Software licenses are normally linked to a single device. With an online service, your license is linked to your account and you’re free to use it wherever, whenever.

11. It keeps you and your team organized

If you ever heard the question (or maybe even said it yourself): “Does anyone know who has a good config for this filament?” in your organization you need an online slicer. A central server means a single source of truth. Everyone in your team works from the same configs, files, and workspaces. Changes are sent to everyone immediately. Productivity increases, errors are avoided, managers get happy.

12. It’s distributable

Thinking about getting entrepreneurial? How about a business that operates self-service 3D printers in malls, like a vending machine? How would you like to set up and distribute hundreds of Windows PCs across the world, and make sure they are up to date and virus-free? I’m not sure about you but I’d rather just have a simple tablet pointed at a website instead. Or maybe not even that (see next point).

13. It’s programmable

Most functionality of our slicing core is available through an online API. This means that in our hypothetical vending machine scenario using this API you could take full advantage of our online slicer, without even having the tablet and the full site. You could, for example, have only a single physical button (and a slot for coins).

14. It’s customizable

This ties nicely into our next point. Unlike traditional software web applications are by design modular. This means that the back and front-end are neatly separated and are fully interchangeable. Want to use your own interface with our engine? ✓ Want to use our interface with your engine? ✓ Want to integrate some steps between, before, or after? ✓ Want us to whip something up for you in a matter of hours? ✓

15. You get better customer support, fewer bugs and an improved experience overall

Writing an application that works on a server is a lot simpler than writing one that works on every possible combination of hardware and software available on the market today. What this means for you is that web apps tend to be significantly more stable and reliable than their desktop counterparts. It also allows us to react to support requests faster and push fixes for problems instantly and to everyone.

16. It makes you and your organization smarter

An online slicer allows for the usage of statistics and analytics to be gathered. These, in turn, can be used by us to speed up development and by you to make better decisions and learn about how you use your printer. Win-win.

17. It’s less scary

Software is scary, websites are fun. My 85-year-old grandma has no problem surfing the internet and using any and all websites with ease. She does, however, call me for help any time she accidentally opens a program that is not her web browser.’

18. It gets used more

This ties in nicely with the previous point. Since web browsers and websites are so readily available, inviting a ubiquitous they get used more. In fact, most companies see a significant rise in the number of interactions and the usefulness of internal tools when they move them to a web-based app.

19. It is cheaper in the long run

Development and maintenance costs for a web application are significantly lower than a traditional desktop application. The costs is also shared not only by you but all other users. Because of this online services tend to be significantly cheaper in the long run for the end-user than traditional software.

20. It’s free

You can print most things with the free version of the slicer, and then upgrade when you are experienced enough.

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