Orange is the new SliceIT
When we launched the Mcor ARKe at CES 2016 we also launched our new software, Mcor Orange. So Orange is the new SliceIT!
We won a CES Best of Innovation Award for ARKe, the question is could we win the Emmy for OITNS!
The Mcor ARKe is the world’s first full colour desktop 3D printer that will take your creative vision and create a professional quality 3D printed model in photorealistic colour. But before the ARKe can begin printing your model you must first prepare it using Mcor’s bespoke software, Mcor Orange.
In the development of the Mcor ARKe each and every department worked together to bring the product to market in a very coordinated way so when myself and the other members of the software team seen the early designs for the printer we knew the software had to be equally as different. It has a brand new name, Mcor Orange, and that is because it is a brand new software. This software is not an evolution of SliceIT, it is a new departure!
The User Interface (UI)
After seeing the initial designs for the ARKe – a sleek desktop with customised skins – the pressure was on to create something equally as stylish in the software. That being the case we realised that we were going to have to re-think our approach to UI design. In SliceIT, function would always drive the UI design. For Orange, we needed the best of both worlds. It needed to be very functional and very usable.
So matching our corporate brand, Mcor Orange got the marketing treatment and has a colour scheme to match! Orange, grey and blue interface with drop down menus to easily set up your projects. This also includes intuitive icons and subtle user feedback with the addition of menu highlighting i.e. the blue icon and light orange highlight of the menu when items are selected.
One of the features we really wanted to add to Orange was the ability to easily manipulate the model in the software.
In order to identify which model is selected in Orange, we added a Halo feature to part selection. Now when selected a part will always have an orange glow.
We also added multiple part selection. This allows the same operation (move, scale, rotate) to be applied to each part at the same time.
Another major addition is the ability to control model manipulations with the mouse. Using only the mouse you can select, scale, move and rotate a part.
Integrated Inkjet Printing
Mcor ARKe has integrated 2D printing which uses the latest generation of inkjet head technology. This provides perfect image alignment each time leading to photorealistic, accurate models. And so the development team had to adjust the software so it prepared the model in a way to leverage this technical advantage.
The ARKe can run without being connected to a PC or Mac which means that the software could no longer stream layer by layer and instead needed to package everything into a single file.
So we undertook a redesign of the entire slicing process and now Orange outputs all the motions and colour images for each layer and places them into a single file.
As a result the image processing is now faster! In addition because the memory footprint required for the slicing operation is reduced Orange can now process much larger parts.
The new Mcor Orange has larger file handling ability and we can print from a variety of file formats including – STL, OBJ, VRML, DAE and 3MF.
Orange is PC and MAC compatible – this is an important feature as we are keen to address a broader audience including creative professionals.
Available in several languages
Mcor Orange will be available in several languages including – German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. This is to facilitate demand in all parts of the world and judging from our pre-order book this really will be necessary!
All in all we are very proud of Mcor Orange – it is a really slick piece of software that is well paired with the ARKe. We really do hope we get that Emmy!