Lychee Slicer Review

on 05.04.2021
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The new hotness in Slicers.

Before I begin this review of Lychee, I have to let you know where I’m coming from when I say what I’m going to say.

In my day job, I fix things. I am very good at this kind of thing. I’m the kind of fixer that once I know the intricacies of a piece of equipment, I can hear and see when something’s going wrong well before it actually fails. I also firmly believe that a field technician should be part of the design team for any equipment. What makes sense to an Engineer in the laboratory usually makes the job harder for the technician in the field.

So when I say THESE GUYS PUT A PROFESSIONAL USER IN CHARGE OF THE PROJECT is an understatement. Everything this application does screams “ultimate pie-in-the-sky wishlist” of a person who prints 3D all day, every day. Everything this professional printer wants and needs to do is present at their fingertips, intuitive and simple. They used the Apple philosophy of “It just works.” The team that wrote this software didn’t just knock this one out of the park, nor did they knock it into orbit. This team knocked this one OUT OF THE GRAVITY WELL ENTIRELY.

I have several issues and bugs with ChiTuBox, the previous most-accepted slicer. After using Lychee, I’m not going back to "Old and Busted" even if you put a gun to my head. Lychee Slicer, written by Mango3d, is as close to perfection (as far as a 3D slicer) as a human can make it.

It starts with the printer drivers for every 3-D printer out there. It continues with the work plate actually showing the head so you know which way things are oriented.
Once you set the printer and the resin you’re using, Lychee adjusts the exposure times and other settings accordingly without you having to do anything.

Next is the fact that when you drop a file on the work plate, Lychee checks the file ala Photon File Validator. Here’s the great part. If Lychee can’t fix it, they suggest you go to Netfabb, run by Autodesk and give them the STL. I have been told that you can get Netfabb to fix it within Lychee, but I haven’t been able to do it. I have a Bull Shark where my pre-Lychee prints the arms would break off if you looked at it wrong. The Lychee-sliced Bull Sharks are rock solid.

If you don’t have to fix the STL file, the process is not only fast, but also easy.

  • Drag and drop the file on to the build plate.
  • Rotate > Auto orientation
  • (Top) Supports
  • Auto Supports > Generate Automatic Supports
  • (Top) Export
  • Export slices > Export slices to file

And that’s it!

Now, if you can’t slog your way through SIX CLICKS, you can always try this method:

  • Drop the file on to the build plate.
  • Magic > I’m Feeling Lucky
  • (Top) Export
  • Export slices > Export slices to file

This is great for the users who don’t want to mess with anything.

But wait! There’s more! (And we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet!)

The process of adding, deleting and editing supports is fast and easy. If you manually add a support, you can either let it go to the plate or to one of the support towers, and adjust them six ways from Sunday. And unlike ChiTuBox, you can save this file and Lychee remembers the parts that are the model and the parts that are supports! So you can save it partway through setting supports and come back to it later to edit the supports.

Rafts also have a lot of options, five for the basic and another five for the Pro version (more on this later).

The Auto orientation function is something that is essential. When you select this option, Lychee will orient the model in all three axis to minimize the number of supports needed.

Now comes the best part!

When the print is on the build plate is in your hands, the next part is EASY.

Using your scraper to get under the raft is a lot easier than with “Brand X.” Pre-Lychee usually I had an urge to grab my rubber mallet to pound on the scraper to get the scraper under the raft so I could leverage the print off the plate. With Lychee, it almost jumps off on its’ own (I exaggerate. Slightly). Likewise, the removal of supports are way easier. Pre-Lychee at least 30% of supports I had to cut to separate the model part of the support from the raft part of the support. Now it’s under 5%.

Now I have to drop the other shoe.

The free version has a 30-second advertisement between when you hit print and it actually prints to the file. You can get rid of it by purchasing the full version. That’s €29.88 ($34.85 in US currency) for the first year, then €47.88 ($55.83) a year thereafter. Frankly, most of us can get by with the free version, but I will be buying a first year’s subscription just because a) I want to evaluate the pro version and b) I want to give them my money because I like their product and I want them to stay in business.

I have heard rumors that sometime in the future you will be able to eliminate the advertisements by purchasing the printer driver for your printer. I have no idea on the when, how much and if it even happens at all. When that feature becomes available, I will gladly give them money for that as well.

Lychee does share one unfortunate charastic with "Brand X" and that is drastically overestimating the print time. I basically ignore what Lychee has to say, then when I hit print on my printer, I look at that estimate Photon is telling me and add 20 minutes to it.

Overall, I feel like singing John Denver (“Almost heaven, Lychee slicer…”) Whomever want to best this product will have quite the task ahead of them. I don’t see any downsides outside of the advertisement, but it really isn’t a downside and I understand the “why” behind it.

Download it and have fun! What are you still doing here?!? Go!

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