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How To Change a Model’s Orientation in Slic3r

To improve the printing quality, make the process more versatile or reduce printing time, you can change the model's orientation in Slic3r.

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Most people who use 3D printing slicing engines know about the Slic3r software. Using Slic3r is easy, but if you’re printing using a complex model, it can be time-consuming. To improve the printing quality, make the process more versatile or reduce printing time, you can change the model’s orientation in Slic3r. 

Here is how to change a models orientation in Slic3r: 

  1. Disable the “auto-center” function. 
  2. Position it around the axis using the “rotate” option. 
  3. Rotate it along the X or Y axis using NetFabb. 
  4. Use RepetierHost software for smoother rotations. 
  5. Change the printing layer height.

By changing the model’s orientation and adjusting it according to optimal settings, you’ll be able to reduce your printing time. It can also help you print more complex models more accurately. However, depending on which version of Slic3r you’re using, you may find it difficult to change the model’s orientation, which is why this article will discuss different ways to do so in detail. 

1. Disable the “Auto-Center” Function

Before you can start manually repositioning a model’s orientation in Slic3r, you’ll need to disable the auto-center function in the software. This function automatically places the object in the center of the printer bed. Even if you reposition the model to a different orientation, the auto center function will move it back to the printer bed center. 

To disable the auto center function, go onto the “File Preference” area in the Slic3r software. Untick the “Auto-Center” box to disable it. Once this is done, you’ll be able to position the object to be printed on any part of the printer bed. 

2. Position It Around the Axis Using the “Rotate” Option

By far, the easiest way to change a model’s orientation in Slic3r is to use the “Rotate” option. Simply right-click on the object and select the rotate option. You can use this option to rotate the object on the X, Y, and Z models in the latest version of Slic3r

However, you’ll have to do this manually if you’re printing an irregular object, and it can be quite tricky. There’s no way to get it perfect if you’re rotating it manually, but you can set it close to where you want it with trial and error. If you want to work with a better interface, try out TinkerCAD or Cura. 

Another thing to keep in mind when using the rotate option is that not all versions of Slic3r support multi-axis rotation. Older versions only support rotation around the Z-axis, which isn’t beneficial for changing the model’s orientation. 

3. Rotate It Along the X or Y-Axis Using NetFabb

If your Slic3r software doesn’t have the option to rotate along the x- and y-axis, you can do it in Netfabb. This program makes it easy to change the orientation of a part of the model that’s in STL format. 

When using NetFabb to change a model’s orientation, import the part you want to change in STL format. Use the shortcut Ctrl+R to bring up the rotate option. Once this is done, you can rotate on any axis through visualization. 

Since it’s much easier to rotate on the z-axis in Slic3r, only use NetFabb if you’re going to turn on the x- or y-axis. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out the tutorials on NetFabb. These will walk you through the process step by step.

4. Use RepetierHost Software for Smoother Rotations

RepetierHost software provides a smooth interface to rotate your 3D models in any direction. It works in conjunction with Slic3r, rotates the object, and slices it in the same plane. What makes this software better than other positioning software is its interface. You can move the object in any direction with simple arrows. 

To change the orientation of the print model with RepetierHost software, select your desired axis of rotation (x, y, or z) and click on “Rotate Object.” Input the values of the axis according to your desired level of rotation. For example, you can rotate it 90 degrees to change the face or 180 degrees for a half-circle rotation. 

This software makes the process of changing a model’s orientation in Slic3r much easier. It also saves the parts in STL and even has the Slic3r option in the interface. 

5. Change the Printing Layer Height

If nothing else works, you may have to resort to either changing the printer layer height or printing the model on its side. This will only work if you need to rotate the model 90 or 180 degrees and won’t work for complex models. 

The orientation won’t change even if you rotate the model around the z-axis on a slicer. If you’re working with a model that can’t be side printed, consider using alternate rotation software. 

Use a Slic3r Alternative

If none of the aforementioned methods change the model’s orientation in Slic3r, try out an alternate printing software instead. Cura is the most popular alternative, and it’s also an open-source program. However, while the interface is beginner-friendly, it doesn’t have the same orientation capabilities as the latest Slic3r model. 

TinkerCAD and AutoCAD are two other alternatives that are helpful in changing a 3D printing model’s orientationTinkerCAD doesn’t have the finer orientation features present in AutoCAD, but it gets the task done nonetheless. Unless you’re doing industrial-level, detailed 3D printing, TinkerCAD is the better option. 

However, don’t forget that the latest Prusa printers are compatible with Slic3r. Since the latest Slic3r release gives you easy repositioning options, you shouldn’t worry about getting the proper orientation for your 3D printing model. 

Final Thoughts

Slic3r is an effective software for creating G-code files from STL parts. Changing the orientation of a Model in Slic3r is simple and effective, provided you have the latest software version. 

You can change the orientation of a model in Slic3r by using the rotate option or through supporting software like NetFabb or RepetierHost. Try Slic3r alternatives like TinkerCAD, AutoCAD, or Cura if the standard methods don’t work.

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About Ben

I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.