- Dremel Idea Builder will load 3D files in .STL and .OBJ format, and will write them to the 3D20 via USB cable. Idea Builder has limited slicing features, and doesn’t allow the addition of supports or rafts. It can read proprietary .g3drem files and .3dremel files.
- Dremel Digilab Slicer is a restricted version of the open-source Ultimaker Cura slicing tool. Strangely it cannot write .g3drem files or .3dremel files. But it can write .gcode files (a standard across 3D printers and other machinery).
- With the latest firmware, the 3D20 printer itself does understand .gcode files, and will read them properly from its SD-card reader (but not via USB).
- The full version of Cura is free, it is awesome, and there is a plugin that writes to .g3drem format.
The most efficient workflow seems to be to load STL or OBJ files into Cura, slice and edit there, save as .gcode or .g3drem, copy the file to an SD card, and plug that into the printer. There is no need to have a laptop connected to the printer.
Cura also allows fine control of a range of settings for each print, including the layer height, the density of infill in “solid” parts, the speed of the head, etc. For my first print of Lego-compatible helical gears, I used the standard settings: 0.15mm layer height, 10% infill, 200 degrees temperature, 6.0mm per second print head speed. Then I re-read the Thingiverse page from the creator of these objects: he suggests using 0.1mm or 0.05mm layer height and 40% to 100% infill.
- the first attempt was adequate, but didn’t mesh very well.
- the second attempt meshed reasonably, but the teeth stripped within a minute when I attached a motor.
- the third attempt awaits a Saturday when I can re-print the gears.