Radish
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:28 pm

Time to go open source

I've used S3D since 2017 and it is the reason 3D printing is still my hobby: it's the only slicer that enabled me to successfully print using my Wanhao i3 Duplicator Plus.

I've moved on from the Wanhao to a pair of Bambu Labs printers (X1C and P1S, also 3 AMS units) and upgraded to S3D 5. I contacted support and got a multimaterial profile (max 4 colors though). After numerous prints with S3D v5 I find it to be underwhelming compared to Orca Slicer and more difficult to work with. For example, the fact that filament profiles are not a separate thing seems crazy now that I've build a library of calibrated filament profiles (Orca Slicer's built-in filament calibration routines are very convenient).

Also underwhelming is the frequency of S3D updates. S3DJason has said, "After the V5 launch we released more updates in that 12 month period than any other year in our past...For the last few months, the team has been focusing on our next major update." People don't want to wait for twice-a-year major updates (5.1.2 was released almost 6 months ago); we want smaller improvements more frequently. I've been testing the new scarf seams feature in Orca Slicer (via nightly builds) and the results are beautiful. It will take a year or more for such an improvement appears in S3D...or it could be in the next release. Who knows? There's no roadmap, no announcements, no transparency. Just this forum...with a sticky "we're hiring" post from 2015. :lol:

I think S3D has a lot going for it but the pace of development can't keep up with the open source competition. Slic3r, PrusaSlicer, Bambu Studio, and Orca Slicer have a common codebase so features and fixes flow between them. The 3D printing community contributes to all the projects, and Prusa Research and Bambu Labs both have engineers working on the software.

I would love to see what the community could do with S3D. Personally I think the whole codebase should be made open source while it's still a somewhat relevant slicer because let's face it, S3D falls further behind every day. How crazy is it that you have to contact support if you want multicolor printing? In a commercial software product no less!

The owner of S3D may have a different opinion about releasing the codebase so maybe "open core" is a more palatable option: base features are open source with a commercial premium version. Either way, I'd like to see S3D survive and I don't believe that's possible unless there are drastic changes in the development model.
Sir-Tiddlesworth
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 29, 2023 2:19 am

Re: Time to go open source

I think you've hit the nail on the head regarding transparency.
These sporadic releases followed by radio silence will keep driving people away.

Simply having a fortnightly or monthly blog post to say "This is what we've been working on" would do wonders for people's confidence in S3D.

I loved S3D and still have a soft spot for it, but it increasingly feels like a dead end.
S3D-Jason
Posts: 1398
Joined: Sun May 31, 2015 6:01 am

Re: Time to go open source

We've been working on making faster updates, and as was mentioned above, our rate of updates after the V5 release was faster than any point before. So yes, there's always room to improve further, but this was positive progress for our team.

Over the last few months our team has been working on the next major update to the software. The major updates have far more features and changes than smaller incremental releases, so they generally take longer to complete. We will certainly try to keep everyone updated on what we can announce as that gets closer.

Personally, I think it's great that there are BOTH open-source and commercial softwares. They are very different models, and you could argue benefits to both approaches. We know many customers are coming to S3D because they are unhappy with what they are getting from other programs. I also know some of most innovative features in S3D were only possible because we do some things completely differently than everyone else. I'm not sure it would innovation if every program out there just shared the same core.

That being said, I know the team is very interested in knowing what features our customers want to see next. They do a great job constantly reviewing and compiling that feedback to plan future releases. If there's a specific features like "scarf seams" which you think would make a great addition, please open up a feature request thread in that sub-forum so we can see how many other users are interested in that same change. I think that will be a far more effective way to get those suggestions in front of our development team.

PS - we do currently recommend contacting our team directly for some of the Bambu AMS setups, since there are many different configurations of those systems. The profile needs to change depending on how your AMS is attached, how many AMS units you have, and so forth so our team helps make sure we get each customer the correct settings.

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