Orca Slicer has an easy-to-use but powerful interface and innovative features. Ideal for beginner and advanced 3D printer makers, Orca Slicer has made quite a splash. There are many other slicers, like PrusaSlicer, Bambu Studio, UltiMaker Cura, and Slic3r, so what makes Orca Slicer unique? How do you set it up? Is it the right slicer for you?
Read on, and you will find out! 🐋
What Is Orca Slicer?
Orca Slicer is based on Bambu Studio, which is based on PrusaSlicer, which is based on Slic3r. That’s quite a family tree, but it shows the power of open-source software in the 3D printing community. The GitHub user SoftFever is the mastermind behind Orca Slicer. Since its first commit on July 16th, 2022, Orca Slicer has become a highly-rated community favorite.
Why Should You Use Orca Slicer?
Orca Slicer has an easy-to-use but powerful interface and innovative features. The Slicer has a clean, all-in-one interface, allowing you to position, slice, prep, send, and monitor your print from one interface. Key features include:
- Modern, clean, and easy-to-understand interface for beginners or advanced users.
- Pre-made printer profiles for most all modern 3D printers
- Klipper, OctoPrint, PrusaLink, and Repeater support
- Auto calibrations for all printers
- Precise wall
- Sandwich mode (improved version of external perimeters first mode)
- More granular slicing controls
- Multi-language support
How Do You Download Orca Slicer?
Orca Slicer is free and open-source for all users. Windows, Mac, and Linux installers can all be found on the official GitHub Release page. Scroll down to the “Assets” section under the release notes to find the correct installer for your system.
Free Remote Access And AI Print Failure Detection
Do you want free remote access to your OctoPrint or Klipper portal with unlimited AI print failure detection? Who doesn’t? While waiting for Orca Slicer to download and install, install our OctoEverywhere Plugin OctoPrint or Klipper (it only takes 20 seconds!)
OctoEverywhere’s goal is to empower the worldwide maker community with free essential printing tools. We provide the maker community free and unlimited remote access, free and unlimited AI print failure detection, real-time print notifications, live streams, and more! Join our community and jump in the fun!
Setup Orca Slicer
The setup process of Orca Slicer is simple. Pick your region, pick your printer(s), pick the filaments you want to use, and install the Bambu Network plugin.
It is here you’ll see the first strong point of Orca Slicer. The setup process is simple and has an intuitive yet exhaustive pre-configured printer list. Being able to visually see and select your printer is a lovely touch.
We recommend installing the Bambu Network plugin to set up direct network access to your Klipper or OctoPrint printer.
Connect Orca Slicer To Your Printer
If you want the full all-in-one experience and have OctoPrint or Klipper setup on your printer, connect the printer to Orca Slicer! Connecting the printer is easy. Start by clicking the Wi-Fi button to the right of the printer name.
Now, you will see the printer connection pop-up. Orca Slicer can connect to many different systems; you can see the complete list in the “Host Type” drop-down.
To setup Klipper or OctoPrint, select Octo/Klipper. Next, you need to enter your printer’s hostname or IP address. If you’re using OctoPrint, you will need an OctoPrint API Access Key and put it in the API Key / Password text box.
Even better, if you want to let Orca Slicer connect to your printer securely over the internet, set up our open-source OctoEverywhere plugin and use a Shared Connection URL! Our Shared Connections URLs can replace your printer’s IP or hostname in any software application, allowing it to securely connect to your printer from anywhere! Neat!
Start Using Orca Slicer
Orca Slicer operates like most other slicers. The basic flow is to import your model, position or adjust your model, slice, analyze the output, generate the gcode, and send it to your printer. That might sound a bit complex, but it’s straightforward, thanks to Orca Slicer’s fantastic UI. Here’s a breakdown.
1) Import Your Model
Orca Slicer is compatible with most industry standard models. Many community models are available on popular websites like Printables, Cults 3D, or Thangs. You can also design your own models using software like TinkerCad or Blender.
There’s an easy way to get your model into Orca Slicer… just drag and drop the file into the interface! It can’t get easier than that!
2) Position And Adjust Your Model
Next, you will want to make any adjustments to your model you wish. Adjustments include options to scale your model up or down, rotate the model to an optimal printing position, and adjust print settings such as layer height, supports, brims, and printing speed. By default, the print settings will be tuned to your printer and selected filament. We suggest you use the defaults for your first few prints, and then you can adventure into more complicated printing afterward.
3) Slice And Examine
It’s time to slice! Slicing a 3D model is the process of taking the 3D geometry and converting it into layers and then gcode that a 3D printer can use to print. Orca Slicer uses complex algorithms to convert a model into optimal layers for printing. There’s a lot of hidden complexity, like shell detection, z-seam hiding, and more. But Orca Slicer will take care of that for you!
When your object is done slicing, you will a view as you see above. This view allows us to see what Orca Slicer did to generate the layers and allows you to trace how the object will be printed line by line. The verticle slider on the right allows you to scroll through the layers to see each one. The horizontal slider on the bottom lets you see how each line will be printed; you can see exactly how the entire object will be printed!
The dark gray box shows details about the Line Types that make up the model, how much of the % is that part, and how much time will be spent on each. You can also toggle the visibility of each Line Type. This is useful to understand how strong the object will be and, if you need support, where it will be placed.
4) Export The G-code
The last step is to export the gcode to your printer. Not surprisingly, use the big “Export G-code file” button! If you have a printer network connection setup (see directions above), you can send the g-code directly to your printer and start printing. Otherwise, you can save the g-code as a file to your desktop and transfer it to your printer via an SD card.
5) Monitor Your Print
Orca Slicer has a built-in portal to monitor your prints directly from the program. If you have Orca Slicer connected to your printer via the network (see directions above), clicking the Device tab will show your OctoPrint, Mainsail, or Fluidd interface. Even better, if you have an OctoEverywhere Shared Connection setup, it will work from anywhere!
Even better… let our next-generation AI watch the print for you! Try Gadget, OctoEverywhere’s 100% free and unlimited AI print failure detection. Gadget will constantly monitor your print and alert you if there’s a problem via email, SMS, push notifications, Telegram, Discord, or others!
Orca Slicer Unique Settings
You are now setup, slicing, and printing with Orca Slicer! After your first few prints, it’s time to explore Orca Slicer’s settings to optimize your prints. Slicers have a ton of settings, most of which are shared among all slicing software. But what makes Orca Slicer unique? Let’s look at a few special features.
Modern, Clean, and Power Interface
This isn’t a slicer setting, but it’s something Orca Slicer does well. Many other slicers can overwhelm new users by showing too many options without exploitation. Orca Slicer does a beautiful job keeping the interface clean while still surfacing the most critical settings to users. Don’t get it wrong, Orca Slicer has many in-depth options; they are just neatly organized in background menus.
Precise wall improves shell precision by adjusting outer wall spacing and layer consistency. This means your prints will be dimensionally more accurate, essential for low-tolerance models. This feature is experimental but stable and is a great improvement for your prints.
Printer calibration can have a high learning curve, but it’s crucial for getting the best prints possible. Orca Slicer has a novel approach, building a calibration menu directly into the slicer with calibration tools and guides. These guides are fantastic for new users, with full images and in-depth information.
The calibration menu has tooling and in-depth guides to help you with:
- Ideal filament temperature calibration
- Flow rate
- Pressure advance
- Retraction testing
- And more.
Orca Slicer is a welcome slicer to the maker community’s toolkit. The project is based on a solid foundation but presents a fresh take on the UI and many features. The UI is modern, crisp, clean, and a pleasure to work with. Full end-to-end model slicing to printing and monitoring in one application is a wonderful way to print. The 3D printing community has embraced Orca Slicer, and we are excited to see what comes in future updates. We will update this guide overtime as Orca Slicer adds new features, so keep this page bookmarked!
If you have any feedback, corrections, or think we are missing any key features, let us know in our Discord community!