November 29, 2016

monkeyprint: Free Software For The Win

monkeyprint main user interface. [Full-Size Image]

It's no secret that Aleph Objects uses Libre Innovation to develop our 3D printers and software. By using Free Software to make our Open Source Hardware, we make innovation happen faster, together. 

As an Open Source Hardware company, Aleph Objects builds and uses many different types of 3D printers and printer hosts. While testing an open Digital Light Processing (DLP) 3D printer, we noticed that company did not include a Free Software DLP/SLA 3D printer host. Then we found monkeyprint!

Last year Paul Bomke of released monkeyprint, a Free Software slicing engine and printer host for DLP 3D printers. These resin-based 3D printers use light to solidify (or cure) the liquid, building an object layer by layer. The hardware is different enough that it requires different software than the options developed for Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing.

Like the slicing software Cura, Slic3r, and MatterControl, monkeyprint is used to load STL files, allows for the positioning of the model on the work plane, generate support, controls the layer height of each slice, and allows for control of the DLP 3D printer. Monkeyprint is currently supported on GNU/Linux with Windows support coming soon. 

During monkeyprint testing, several opportunities for improvement were identified and contributed back into the project. Race conditions were identified and eliminated, memory usage was reduced and controlled, and slicing time improved. Free Software development makes for better software, as Bomke explains:

"... I’ve learned that shared development can simply lead to better software faster."

Paul Bomke,

For more information on the specific updates and bug-fixes visit If you have a DLP 3D printer, or know someone that does, help contribute to Free Software by downloading and using monkeyprint today!

Recently, a question was posted in the LulzBot User Forum: "What should we build next?" If you think we should make an Open Source Hardware DLP/SLA 3D printer let us know! If we did, know it would be supported with Free Software, because we remain as committed as ever to advancing technology that respects user freedom.

Medieval Castle (print pictured above) by boldmachines was used under the CC-BY license.