What You Should Know About the Lychee Slicer for SLA Printers
Lychee Slicer 3 is a user-friendly slicer for 3D resin printers that allows model designers to exert control over their prints.
Consumer 3D printers use one of two technologies: fused deposition modeling (FDM) and stereolithography apparatus (SLA). The former extrudes molten filament in a layer-wise process, while the latter utilizes a light source, typically a laser, to cure a photosensitive resin as the build surface moves either up or down from the curing area.
The primary difference between these print methods is how the material is deposited onto the build surface: most SLA printers print models section-by-section rather than along a single-layer line, like FDM printers. Because of this, SLA 3D printers typically are not compatible with positional-based slicers that utilize G-codes. SLA print makers have to work with specialized software to slice an object and prepare it for printing.
Mango3D has created Lychee Slicer, which incorporates the functions of basic FDM slicers. Lychee Slicer is an efficient, easy-to-use, and robust slicer that is compatible with many different brands of SLA printers and suitable for use by both hobbyists and professionals.
This article covers the basics of Lychee’s basic and advanced features, the pricing model, and its support availability.
Lychee Slicer can be used as one of three licensing versions: one free-to-use option with limited access to tools and two paid options. The free version has core functionality and might subject users to infrequent ads.
The Pro subscription options allow users to have access to all of the advanced features with no ads with either a monthly no-contract option or a discounted monthly payment for a 12-month period. The no-contract option is around 5 USD per month (converted from euros) while the discounted contract subscription is about 3 USD.
Lychee Slicer supports nearly 75 SLA printers, and setting up the software to work with a supported printer is very easy.
First, navigate to the manufacturers list and select your model. Once your printer is added, import or create a custom resin profile based on what your resin manufacturer provides.
The slicer’s workflow is simple, following these five steps:
Once your settings have been saved, the software will take you to the “Layout” view, where you can load, scale, and orient models for your print bed. The “Magic” and “Measure” functions allow you to quickly repair and manage the dimensions of your model. We get into more of these features later.
After the layout has been saved, “Supports” allows you to choose from automatically generated supports, custom supports, and rafts as well as to hollow your print. While many users will opt for automatically generated supports, this page provides excellent functionality for more advanced use cases. Support settings, such as diameter and density, can be further revised here.
Previewing the print
In “Preview,” you can review the print and inspect it to ensure that everything is correct before printing. Lychee is a bit different than other SLA in that it adds special features such as the “Simulator” mode for visualizing the printing process and an “At scale” mode, which places your model beside some household objects for size comparisons.
Exporting the model
Finally, you can “Export” the model and select the final print settings. In this menu, you can also preview the estimated print time. This step is relatively limited; for most printers, all you have to do is select the resin type you’re printing with and the anti-aliasing method you’d like to use.
This list covers some of the key features that Lychee Slicer provides. Many are standard, covering your basic printing needs with either SLA or FDM printers.
Customizable printer profiles
Lychee Slicer allows users to configure their own “Free Zones” or custom SLA printer profiles. If you plan to configure a Free Zone printer, note that the slicer cannot immediately create a file that is compatible with your printer. First, you will need to export the 3D object with rafts and orientations made in Lychee from Lychee to the slicer that came with your SLA printer.
Users can also create or import custom resin profiles in which cure times, layer thicknesses, movement speed, and project costs, can be specified and tuned for your needs.
Expected of any good slicer, users can easily scale, rotate, move, mirror, and transform the dimensional settings of their prints in Lychee.
Custom support generation
Lychee Slicer allows users to manually configure the support structure of each print. Supports can be easily added via a point-and-click mechanism that can select the locations of each support. Lychee Slicer Pro is outfitted with more support shapes and manual support placement methods.
In addition to the basic features above, Mango3D has added some unique features that are not commonly found in other SLA slicers:
“Magic Mode” automatically optimizes the position, support structure, and orientation of the model(s) that are loaded onto the build plate. This one-and-done setting allows for the quick fixing of any model problems you may be facing without requiring significant fine-tuning.
“Island Detector” allows users to add extra support structures that are automatically identified by the slicer. While this feature is available in some other slicers, Lychee’s detector also enables those who are more comfortable with extreme customization to tailor their support structures. The free version has a less robust detection mode than the Pro version.
Hollowing, infill, and drain hole generation
The hollowing, infill, and drain hole generation functions in Lychee Slicer can enable users to save on resin while still allowing for stable prints.
These features are only available with the Pro version of Lychee Slicer but might be well worth the subscription cost for many makers.
Lychee offers a built-in 3D measurement feature for Pro users. While conventional modeling tools can be useful for prepping models, this 3D tool is helpful for determining support distances or quickly verifying complex design elements prior to printing
Variable layer height
The “Variable Layer” function is not able to be used with all printers, but for supported printers, it allows users to optimize their print time and quality by increasing or decreasing the layer height. This is a common functionality for FDM slicers, with Lychee being the first to incorporate it for SLA printers.
“Pixel Perfect Mode” is a high-resolution print mode that matches that of your SLA printer to ensure the finest details are retained when preparing the model for printing.
Paying users can access Lychee Slicer support via an email help desk, although no certain response times are published on the site. Moreover, Lychee Slicer does not include official documentation on the website or within the application itself. Users are encouraged to refer to video tutorials, which are sufficient for all the basics of the app, but some users may seek more detailed help.
Unfortunately, there are few community-created support videos and tutorials. However, Lychee offers support on its official Discord chat room where many users ask questions, share prints they’ve made, and discuss anything related to their slicer.
If you need a slicer for your SLA printer, Lychee Slicer is not the only option. If you’re not happy with your default slicer or want to streamline a multi-printer operation but aren’t sold on Lychee, consider these SLA slicers:
ChiTuBox is a community favorite SLA slicer. It is functionally quite similar to Lychee and includes automatic support generation, object arrangement, and object hollowing, among other great features.
The free version is supported across Linux, macOS, and Windows platforms and has more formalized documentation. Lychee Slicer offers several advanced customization features that you can’t find on ChiTuBox, including infill generation.
Formware 3D Slicer is widely supported, working with over 80 SLA printers. Formware 3D has one primary advantage over Lychee Slicer: it can create fault tolerance profiles for your resins of choice. “Shrinkage Correction” allows users to accommodate changes that your model exhibits during curing, ensuring that multiple parts can fit well together. Formware is currently only supported on Windows, with an upfront cost $150.