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Ilios 3D Suite Description

Ilios 3D Suite previewIlios 3D Suite is a computer controlled software which was developed specifically for simple and quick preparation of a 3D model as well as its direct printing on Ilios 3D printers. Currently the Ilios 3D suite is supported on the newer Ilios Electronics with the Ilios Control board for direct printing from a computer through a USB cable. Additionally Ilios 3D Suite can export an .i3d file which can be copied onto a USB storage device such as a USB Stick or a memory card and printed directly with Ilios UI enabled 3D printers, without the need for an external computer.

In this description we shall go through all the features Ilios 3D Suite has at the time of writing this article. Please note that additional features may be available on newer versions of the software, which will be added to this article accordingly as updates appear for all users. These update shall be announced in the Ilios News section of the website as well as in the Forum, under the corresponding category. Make sure to check out these sections often to stay up to date with the latest functions and additions, to make your Ilios 3D printing experience better. We are always listening to your suggestions regarding additions and new features, so if you have an idea, please don't hesitate to share it in the Forum.

 

Once you initially start Ilios 3D Suite, a window shall appear with the Ilios Logo and a selection list with all available Ilios 3D printers. Choose the printer you have from the list and press OK to proceed. This window is required to set the initial build area of the software and adjust some parameters so you have much less to set up when preparing for a print.

Initial software startup

Main Software Interface

Below you shall find all the main sections of the Ilios 3D suite. We shall go through each one based on its number so you have a complete understanding of how each feature operates.

All navigation and viewing is done with your computer mouse. For rotating the view use CTRL and the Left mouse button. For Panning the view use CTRL and the Right mouse button and for Zooming in and out of the view use the Scroll Wheel.

1 - Main Workspace

The workspace in which all other actions are taken. Information about the model, the model it self as well as all other functions take place within the main workspace.

2 - Build Area

The bounds of the workspace represent the absolute area within which a model can be printed. This area is defined by the projection setup within the Prepare window in Resolution, VAT as well as the Z-Height settings which determine the overall build area of the 3D printer. Please note that the build area of the Ilios Ray 3D printer is fixed to its specifications.

3 - Orthographic - Perspective View

You can choose which view mode you need by pressing the same button and toggle between Orthographic and Perspective views. This can be handy when you need to check absolute positioning of a model within its space where the Perspective will give a better viewing representation but might confuse some when it comes to depth within the build area.

4 - 5 - 6 - Left, Top & Front View

To navigate the viewing camera to the Left side of your build area, use the button numbered as 4 in the description. For the Top View use the button labeled 5 and for the Front View use the button labeled as 6. Note that you can toggle between Perspective and Orthographic views in any camera orientation and adjust the view by using your mouse.

When using the View Side selection, the camera is accommodated with a smooth view transition which helps orient your self within the 3D space and doesn't disrupt the overall preparation experience.

To check in which orientation you currently are, note the color of the icon. The one which is currently selected will always be Grey/Colorless.

7 - Model & Build Information

An information window can be found on the Right Top corner of the Main Workspace. this information window displays the overall Volume of the model in cm (squared), Polygonal Count, Length, Width and Height of the model, Approximate material needed in Liters and the approximate build time.

8 - Help

The Help button will navigate the user to this website for the latest information about the Ilios 3D Suite.

9 - Orientation Gimbal

The orientation icon in the Left Bottom corner of the Main Workspace will help you orient your self within the 3D space. Additionally this icon provides each Axis (X, Y and Z) to ease the Translation of the model if you need to move or rotate it since these axises are visual representations of the directions and orientation of all aspects within the Ilios 3D Suite.

10 - Open Project

The Ilios 3D Suite can open an already prepared Ilios 3D Project from those previously saved, which will include all models as well as their orientation within the build area and all settings for the print.

11 - Save Project

If you would like to save all your work including settings and model orientation within the build area, you can do so by using the Save button.

12 - Import Model

By using the Import button you can add 3D models to the build area. Ilios 3D Suite currently supports OBJ, STL and PLY file formats.

13 - Remove Model

You can delete/remove a model from your project by using the Remove button. You can also use the DEL key to remove a selected model.

14 - Move Model

By using the Move button, you can move the model within the X and Y orientation. You can also reset the position to its original values by using the reset icon within the Move window. You can also use the M key to bring up the Move window and move the selected model.

15 - Rotate Model

By using the Rotate button, you can rotate the model within the X, Y and Z orientation. You can also reset the orientation to its original values by using the reset icon within the Rotate window. You can also use the R key to bring up the Rotate window and rotate the selected model.

16 - Scale Model

You can resize the model by using the Scale function. Resize the model in all directions by locking each orientation or scale each direction manually and separately from the other. You can also reset the size of the model to its original values by using the reset icon within the Scale window. You can also use the S key to bring up the scale window and scale the selected model.

17 - Ground Models

Upon Import the model is automatically constrained to the absolute bottom of the build area. However, during rotation and movement of the model as well as its scale you may need to ground the model once again to the absolute Zero of the build area. Use this button to Ground the model.

18 - Model Platform

For best adhesion to the build area of the 3D printer, it is always recommended to position your model on a platform, approximately 1 - 3mm thick and approximately the same diameter as the overall model dimensions. The Model Platform function creates this platform for you automatically if you didn't make one within your 3D modeling software. You also have the option to adjust the platform height by using the available slider. You can also disable the platform (default) if you already made one in your 3D modeling software.

19 - Shell

A very useful function for those who want to save up some material or make the model hollow for structural integrity. The Shell function shall take a solid model and make it hollow inside. You can adjust the thickness of the wall by using the slider.

The Shell function used in the Ilios 3D Suite is much more complex than a standard "shellification" since it uses advanced mathematical algorithms to smooth out the interior of the model and not just push out or in the internal polygons based on their orientation.

20 - Supports

The Ilios 3D Suite uses a Semi-Automatic support system. This eliminates any unwanted automated supports which may get in the way of your print and waste material. The support creation is very simple and the only action needed is to click with your mouse on the area where the support needs to be created. The length of the support, its orientation and position will all be made automatically. You can control the overall diameter of the Tip, base and middle of the support to optimize each one as needed or leave it in their default values.

21 - Control

The Control window allows you to set up the Serial port through which your Ilios 3D printer is connected, set the speed as well as control printer functions from your PC. Please note that the Default settings are recommended.

The control functions within Ilios 3D Suite are meant to be used as the Basic control functions. More advanced control functions for Ilios Ray will be found within the Ilios Ray UI, through its touch-screen and do not require a PC to be used. This is also true for all other Ilios 3D printers which have an Ilios UI module and functions corresponding to the specific Ilios 3D printer can be accessed through the Ilios UI Touch Screen interface.

Lift Up and Down will move the Ilios 3D Printer's lift in increments of 1/4 of the overall distance each time the corresponding button is pressed.

The Home button will move the Lift to its highest position or lowest each time the same button is pressed.

The Preview button is used to calibrate the projectors for Ilios Photon or Ilios HD Kit and will preview a calibration image on the projector or on both projectors if the "Dual" function is selected within the Prepare window.

Tilt and Slide shall move the VAT based on its capabilities to preform the Sliding and/or Tilting movements if those are available.

Once the Connect button is pressed, the Ilios 3D printer shall initialize and prepare its movements for the printing sequence. It is important to use the Connect button in this window. If the "Print" button is pressed within the "Prepare" window then settings shall be used which have been saved within the project file or the Default values shall be used if these settings remain unchanged.

22 - Prepare

Ilios 3D Suite Prepare

The Prepare window contains all settings which apply to your specific 3D printer. It is good to note that some features or options may be different or absent based on the 3D printer selected.

Material

The first row of settings is dedicated to the SLA resin used for your printer. You can add or remove resin brands as well as name them as needed. Each resin has the "Start" value which determines for how long in Milliseconds and how many initial layers shall be printed. This is done so that the initial layers adhere better to the build platform of the lift. The Layer parameter determines for how long each normal layer should be exposed for in Milliseconds. You can alter these settings for each resin and choose the one you need from the list before you begin your print. Default values for a typical material would be 18000,10,5000

Material Parameters for Ilios Beam, HD Kit - Laser, Ilios Ray

For Ilios 3D Printers which use a laser setup, the Material settings are different from the default "Milliseconds" criteria. Due to the fact that we print with a laser beam and not expose the entire layer at the same time, the exposure works a bit different. We still use the 3 parameter values but it is not longer in Milliseconds. The values define for how long the laser will expose each pixel of the layer as it progresses in "Microseconds". For a typical material the values would be 14,2,8 which would mean that the initial 2 layers of the print will expose the laser on each pixel for 14 microseconds and the remainder of the layers shall be exposed to 8 microseconds for each pixel.

The values are directly related to the print speed and quality so make sure to Save/Remember the values for each material you use. You can adjust the values as needed but have in mind that Over exposing a bit the layer is always better than Under exposing it. If the values are too low and the laser doesn't have enough time to solidify the layer then every consequential layer will be as weak as the previous one and this may cause bad prints. The values also give you the freedom to adjust the print for almost any SLA resin and use different materials. Values given above are an approximate defaults so make sure to adjust the values as needed based on the results you get and tweak each setup for the material you have. It would be difficult to set a predefined array of values as each Laser, Printer and assembly is different and since the light is controlled with accuracy on on Ilios 3D printers, each 3D printer is unique and has slightly different results.

Printer Settings

The second and third rows of values and settings are dedicated to the 3D printer used. By choosing the corresponding 3D printer from the list, these settings and values change. When an Ilios 3D Suite project is saved, these settings are saved as well for each 3D printer in the list.

The Z-Height determines the height of your Ilios 3D printer build area. The default height is 18cm. For those who upgraded to the Z-Plus which produces 38cm build height or the Z-Ultra which produces 50cm build height, the corresponding selection from the list should be made. This is true for the Ilios HD Kit since Ilios Photon and Ilios Ray have a Fixed Build height.

For the Ilios HD Kit and Ilios Photon, which use a DLP projector, the corresponding Resolution can be chosen. This resolution determines the quality of each slice as well as the Aspect Ratio of the build area.

If Ilios Ray is your 3D printer then the Resolution is determined in DPI (dots per Inch) and you can select between 150dpi, 300dpi, 600dpi or 1200dpi for the best results.

The Dual option is only available for the Ilios HD Kit and is used if 2 projectors are available and are connected to the additional 2 Video outputs on the computer graphics card. A Graphics card with at least 3 display outputs is required for this feature to function properly.

The VAT dimensions determine the overall size of the build area as well as its aspect ratio and will be reflected in the Main Workspace when preparing a 3D Model. These values are only visible for the Ilios HD Kit since Ilios Photon and Ilios Ray have a fixed build area.

Layer Height determines how thick each layer shall be. The smaller the value is, the higher the resolution and quality of your model shall be. Since each layer thickness value is smaller, more layers are created and the 3D print will take longer to complete.

Tilt and Slide options are available for all 3D printers. The Detach option which removes the finished model automatically from the Build area is only available for Ilios Ray. You can choose what functions you want the 3D printer to perform based on your needs. If in doubt, leave these values in their default configuration.

The Material Cartridges are only available for the Ilios Ray 3D printer. By choosing each cartridge you can select from which materials the model shall be made. If one cartridge runs out, Ilios Ray shall take resin from the next one. When all cartridges are depleted, Ilios Ray shall notify the user and once new material is inserted the print shall continue from where it left off.

The Pigment option is only available for the Ilios Ray 3D printer. By clicking on the Pigment icon, you can choose which color you would like your model to be. Ilios Ray shall mix the appropriate pigments within the Color tanks to achieve this color and in turn shall mix the resin with this color to achieve the final result.

The Pigment function can also be used to mix the resin within Ilios Ray cartridges with other chemicals which shall be located within the Pigment tanks. Ilios Ray shall mix the corresponding liquids based on the color values to produce a homogenous mixture for the printing cycle.

By clicking on the Print button, Ilios 3D Suite shall connect to the Ilios HD Kit or Ilios Photon and begin the print cycle based on the settings chosen within the Control window.

The print function is not needed for Ilios Ray since Ilios Ray can be controlled through WiFi as well as Ethernet and uses much more advanced control features which are available within its User Interface.

The Export button will generate an I3D file which can be saved on a USB storage device such as a USB Stick, Memory card or Even an external hard drive. If your Ilios 3D printer is equipped with the Ilios UI module then you can plug the storage device into its USB port and by choosing the exported model from the list, print it directly without requiring a computer.

Shortcut Keys

ALT + Left Mouse Rotate Viewport
ALT + Right Mouse Pan Viewport
Mouse Scroll Wheel Zoom In or out within the viewport
M Key Move Model - Enables the Move window and allows to move the model within the X and Y Axis by Dragging with the Left Mouse button
R Key Rotate Model - Enables the Rotate window and allows to rotate the model within the X,Y and Axis by Dragging with the Left Mouse button
S Key Scale Model - Enables the Scale window and allows to scale the model proportionally by Dragging with the Left Mouse button
DEL Key Delete Model - Removes the selected model from the scene
CTRL + T Model Transparency - Activates the transparency filter on all models within the scene
CTRL + Left Mouse Add Support - Adds supports based on the parameters chosen within the Support Window
CTRL + Right Mouse Remove Support - Removes the selected support
Written by Demetris Zavorotnitsienko

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