A guide to using Markforged Eiger 3D printing slicer software
This guide discusses Markforged Eiger software and how to get the most from it.
Within this guide we shall be running through the basics of setting up files to be 3D printed with Markforged Eiger software on Markforged printers.
We have compiled a quick video that you can view within the link below, or you can stick with this blog where we shall be running through the same process.
Importing the file into Eiger
The first step is to bring the file into Eiger by clicking “Import STL” from the top right of the screen. You are then able to browse for the STL file and import it from the dialog box that appears in the middle of the screen.
When the STL file imports into Eiger you may find that its not in the correct orientation. Lets solve this by using the tools built inside Eiger, orienting the part correctly before its 3D Printed.
We can use two different orientation tools to rotate the part. Either select onto a face to be parallel with the build platform, or use the manual rotation tool. The orientation shown below will be the most suitable for the part in question. Layers are now forming in the optimal orientation for strength and insertion of continuous fibres.
Printer and materials
We shall now look into changing the printer and material choice in the panel on the right of the screen. Starting in the “General” tab, we shall select the material choice of Onyx (nylon with chopped carbon fibre) a reinforcement of continuous carbon fibre, and it shall be printed on the Industrial series printers.
Moving to the “Settings” tab, we can confirm the layer height which shall be 0.125mm. This layer height is automatically selected when printing with fibre. We are able to control further details regarding the print, such as whether support material will be used, the scale of the part and build plate adhesion tricks.
Another interesting item is the “expand thin features” option. If we are not seeing thin walls during the internal view, then we can preserve them. However, this does come at the expense of some dimensional accuracy.
The last tab is the infill, if you are in need of a reminder as to what infill is, see the image below. Infill is the amount of material that is used to fill up the inside of the part. We can see this below by the triangular pattern.
These options are all controlled by Eiger, and only allow for a certain amount of changes to be made. These are due to the amount of testing that Markforged has done with the materials, and are therefore the recommended settings.
Internal view is where Eiger is a little different to your normal slicing software. We access this view via the bottom right of the screen, which brings us into a different environment
Within the internal view we get the same information in the top left of the screen- print time, cost, etc.
However we are now able to access a timeline at the bottom of the screen. Within this timeline we can add in information for the printer at specific layers.
By selecting a few layers we are then able to introduce fibre reinforcement. We select “Use Fibre” and then “create group”.
We are able to introduce two different versions of fibre into the parts; isotropic or concentric. However what do these mean, and why would we choose one over the other?
Concentric Fill reinforces the walls of the part, preventing the walls from deforming. This helps helps reinforce from bending around the Z axis.
Isotropic fill simulates a traditional laminated carbon fibre pattern, effectively creating a unidirectional ‘sheet’ of fiber on each layer. The Isotropic Fiber fill pattern helps resist bending in the XY plane because any bending forces applied in that plane will generate a tensile load on at least some of the fibers, which are strongest in tension. Isotropic Fiber can also be used to set up sandwich panels to increase torsional strength.
Another great option inside the internal view is the ability to flick between 2D and 3D views. Within 2D we are able to control not just the use of fibre, but also pausing after layer, and scanning after layer. Pausing after a layer allows us to insert components in to create captive nuts. Scan after layer uses the inbuilt laser to run a quality control check that can be viewed within Eiger during/after the print.
Furthermore, a 2D view of a layer with continuous fibre reinforcement allows us to change and edit the settings that have been applied.
All thats left of this run through of Eiger, is how to print. No matter if were inside the internal or part view, we can access the print icon in the bottom right hand side of the screen. We are then able to move the parts position around on the build platform, and change its rotation. We can add in other parts to fill the bed with, all while the left hand side of the screen re-evaluates costs and print time.
When we click “Print” in the bottom right of the screen we are controlling two options; “Print Now” or “Add to Queue”. Adding to queue allows for us to send multiple jobs to the printer, so that we can print them when the machine/ ourselves are ready to do so. Furthermore, we are ensuring that prints can quickly be started after the last to ensure a fast turn around.
There is no better time to own a 3D Printer, being able to continue to manufacture while the country is on lockdown is vital. The ability to print high strength parts via Markforged printers with the ease of Eiger could be a massive help to your business.
During these tough times we would love to help your business find ways to save money. To speak to a 3D Printing expert, call us on 01926 333 777 or check out our contact us section.