Simplify3D announced a new partnership with Flashforge, and that won’t be the last.
The Cincinnati-based software company has long been producing a very popular 3D printing management tool. It’s also quite powerful, as it provides a number of unique features and often delivers more reliable results than many other slicers.
It’s quite different from most other slicers, which tend to be directly associated with a particular hardware vendor. In the old days one would expect a new 3D printer to arrive equipped with custom-built software to operate that machine, and that paradigm does persist to some degree today.
However, many desktop 3D printer companies opt for use of very capable open source options these days rather than spending the effort to build their own tools. Why do so when you can get them for free?
But Simplify3D is in another paradigm. It’s not open source, and is indeed a pay-for commercial third party product. It’s something you would normally buy to use with a purchased 3D printer. Currently their cost to purchase is USD$149, quite a bit different from free.
Despite that fee, thousands of Simplify3D customers swear by the product, and I must do so as well. It consistently provides high quality results, very often better than the stock software that comes with desktop 3D printers.
But there’s another benefit to this concept: it spans machines, like the open source options. In other words, if you learn Simplify3D for one machine, you automatically know how to run it for another type of machine. I actually am somewhat disappointed when I test a machine that requires ONLY its own custom made software, because it causes me to spend time learning yet another program.
Because of the powerful nature of Simplify3D, some 3D printer manufacturers have recognized its utility and have begun bundling it in with their equipment at time of purchase, replacing open source alternatives.
This provides a benefit to the customers purchasing the machine, because they effectively gain the powerful Simplify3D software at a discount over what they might have paid if bought separately later, but there’s another benefit.
Simplify3D has been partnering with equipment manufacturers to provide ways for the manufacturer to deliver effective 3D print profiles to their clients through the Simplify3D ecosystem.
One recent such partnership is between Simplify3D and Flashforge, the Asian giant that has produced a wide range of very popular desktop 3D printers for many years. The new partnership not only ensures a great selection of printing profiles specifically for the Flashforge equipment are readily available, but also provides a very detailed startup page on the FlashForge site for new users to make use of.
The startup page takes new users through the process of setting up the Simplify3D software for their Flashforge equipment as well as advice on preparing the hardware and materials for 3D printing.
I see this as a very much more comfortable way for new Western 3D printer operators to get started, as there are times that clear instructions from Asian manufacturers are lost in translation.
3D printer manufacturers seeking easy ways to ensure a great experience with new users might consider doing a similar partnership with Simplify3D.
For Simplify3D, this arrangement further adds more glue to their growing ecosystem. While you may be initially attracted to Simplify3D for its features, you’ll stay for the community and support.