Articles on: SimplyPrint features

3MF splitting feature (Bambu Lab)

In this article, we'll go over the SimplyPrint 3MF plate splitting feature in SimplyPrint.

What is "3MF plate splitting"?

Some printers - notable Bambu Lab printers - store their print-files ("Gcode files") in a .3mf file. A 3MF file works the same way as a ZIP file; it's a file, with multiple files and potentially folders inside!

Now, when a 3MF file is imported into SimplyPrint, we scan it to determine which kind of file it is;
Is it a 3D model? (3MF files is originally a 3D model file extension)
Does it contain any printable files? (Gcode files)

If it does contain any Gcode files, the next step is to determine if it contains more than 1. If it does, what SimplyPrint will do is ask you to split the 3MF file into multiple chunks / different files.

This is done to ensure that each printable file in SimplyPrint is 1 file; 1 file is one print. This helps ensure compatibility across hundreds of different printer brands, and in our opinion, it's simply the right and most intuitive thing to do.

We do get why it's possible to save one file with multiple printable files inside; it makes it possible to store an entire project that consists of multiple printable items, in one single file! But, when imported into SimplyPrint, you already have ways to make "projects"; simply create a folder for the files!

How does it work?

3MF splitting is actually quite simple! Inside the 3MF file, there's a folder called Metadata. In this folder, there are multiple printable "plate" Gcode files.

When you import a 3MF file with multiple printable files inside, you'll be asked to select one or multiple files to proceed with, depending on the context (e.g. if you're in the "Start print" context, you can only start one file, but if you're saving files, you can select multiple).

After your selection, we actually discard the original file, and create a new one per plate you chose to proceed with / save; we copy the original file, but remove all files that are related to the other plate files. This means that we remove the thumbnail, a "md5" hash file for the print and the "plate JSON", so all you're left with in each file, is the thumbnail and the Gcode file for the given plate, as well as any project-related files, that don't only relate to a single print plate, but to the project as a whole.

Naming the different files / plates

When presenting you with the 3MF splitting choice, we do our best to suggest a good name for each plate.

If you have entered a name for a plate in your slicer, we will use this name. But, if no plate name is specified, we'll look for the names of the 3D models that were sliced, which is found in the metadata in the 3MF file. If there's only one model, we'll simply call the plate the name of that one model! If there are multiple models on the plate, but all the same name, we'll call it [model name] (x[amount]). And lastly, if there are a bunch of differently-named models, we'll call it [model 1 name], [model 2 name], [model 3 name] etc.

Updated on: 26/05/2024

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