Machine integration guide

Page last updated: 18-4-19


General notes

This page gives an overview of several printers the software supports. We try to provide an open program and support as many printers as possible. If your printer is not listed you can most often use the STL/SLC/PNG/SVG exports from the software to make it work. The export configuration is flexible for this. If you are missing a certain feature please let us know.

Stl Link new

With the Stl Link function build into Formware 3D you can quickly export your entire geometry including supports to another software package. A common use case for this is when your printer has a closed source file format. You can create the geometry and supporting in Formware 3D and then export everything with 1 click of a button to your slicing software of choice.

How to add a new machine (not a standard profile)

If you would like to add a new machine please make sure you pay attention to these items:

  1. Machine properties: build size in X and Y direction in millimeter
  2. Print profile properties: Slice size in pixels (wxh) entered correctly
  3. 1. and 2. combined will give you the X and Y resolution in micrometers. If one of the 2 is off a warning message will appear.
  4. Change any other settings you might need in the 'slice export options' tab.
  5. Test a sliced file with a dry run on your printer first. This will show you if you need to flip your image in X or Y direction.

Wanhao D7

The Wanhao D7 machine needs a folder with PNG images and GCode. It is important the images are sliced in 32bit PNG's. The machine needs to be connected to the PC to be controlled and receive GCode. You can use the printcontroller.exe program that is included in our installer. It will automatically start after slicing your project.


Wanhao D7 Plus

The Wanhao D7 Plus needs a .cws format. Make sure the job export format is set to CWS_File and the PNG image format to 32 bit. The .cws file format is actually just a .zip file. Rename the extention to view the contents. (PNG's images and GCode) The .cws file can be uploaded on a USB stick.


Wanhao D8

The Wanhao D8 requires a zip file with 8 bit PNG's and a GCode file. The GCode file is included in the settings and you can tune the speed/distance/exposure parameters in the configuration. The GCode file requires a special set of headers with variables. They are provide for you. Additionaly it seems the zip file requires to begin with an underscore "_".


Anycubic Photon

The Anycubic Photon has a custom file format; .photon. You can view it with the Photon software or various open source projects available on Github. The open source community reverse engineered this file format and together with lots of documentation it is available on Github.

Formware3D includes a custom written converter to create this file type directly after slicing. In order to do this please make sure your 'job export format' is set to anycubic_photon_file in the print profile settings.

Good to know: The .photon file contains header data and the slices in a special kind of Run Length Encoding. It is important to realize the slice data is 1 bit per pixel. (Black or white). This implies you can't use any light masking to correct for different intensities. In the "GCode Settings" tab in the configuration; there is a variable called "Off time between layers". This is used here as well along with the bottom layers and exposure times.

Summarized you need to set the following variables to export to .photon file format:

  • build size XYZ in mm
  • pixel size width x height (1440 x 2560, portrait mode!)
  • file format export to "Anycubic_Photon_File"
  • slice thickness in micrometer (i.e. 50)
  • exposure time [ms]
  • exposure time bottom layers [ms]
  • offTime seconds between layers [ms]
  • #Bottom layers


Elegoo Mars

The Elegoo Mars has a custom file format; .cbddlp. You can view it with the Photon software or various open source projects available on Github. The open source community reverse engineered this file format and together with lots of documentation it is available on Github.

Formware3D contains a custom written converter to convert to this file type directly after slicing. In order to do this please make sure your 'job export format' is set to cbddlp_file in the Formware3D print profile settings.

The .cbddlp file contains some header data and the slices in a special kind of Run Length Encoding. It is important to realize the slice data is 1 bit per pixel. (Black or white). This implies you can't use any light masking to correct for different intensities. In the "GCode Settings" tab in the configuration; there is a variable called "Off time between layers". This is used here as well along with the bottom layers and exposure times.


Formlabs machines

The formlabs machines are supported over 'Stl Link' functionality. You can click a direct button (Stl Link) exporting all of your created geometry including supports to the PreForm software. The PreForm software then creates the connection to the machine.


Peopoly Moai

Since january 2019 we provide a beta GCode export for SLA machines like the Peopoly Moai. There are 3 tabs in the configuration of Formware3D for this reason. If you would like to export GCode this way you go to "File" -> "Save as" -> ".gcode for sla" and then give in your layer thickness. You can also import back the .GCode file to check what you have produced. We are currently working with Moai to improve the parameter tuning. More details can be found on the Moai forum: here


NanoDLP machines

NanoDLP is a great software package to manage your DLP/LCD printers. It can be run on your machine and some of the commercial machines run it as well. You can directly connect to a machine that runs NanoDLP from Formware3D if you know your IP Address. The connection is done over the HTTP interface that NanoDLP provides. You can choose to upload your file in 3 different ways:

  • STL: NanoDLP slices your file
  • SLC: Formware3D slices numerically and NanoDLP fills your slices
  • PNG: Formware3D slices on your GPU and NanoDLP does not process your geometry at all.

Please see our articles about slicing speed and anti aliasing to determine what you prefer. There is no direct answer to which is best but some customers reported that slicing big files on a NanoDLP machine takes time due to limited processor speed. This would speak for slicing on your own PC.


Phrozen Shuffle

The Phrozen Shuffle machine runs on a custom version of NanoDLP. Hence uploading a .zip folder of PNG's should work. Technically you should also be able to connect directly if you know your IP Address although we haven't tried it. A remark that should be made is that the X and Y of the machine seems to be rotated. So the PNG's outputted from our slicing profile are in portrait mode for this reason.


Phrozen Shuffle XL

The Phrozen Shuffle XL machine runs on a custom version of NanoDLP. Hence uploading a .zip folder of PNG's should work. Technically you should also be able to connect directly if you know your IP Address although we haven't tried it.