I am new to FDM RP. I've done a lot of work on ZCorp and Connex.

The question is can vectors curve drive an extrusion nozzle? Within a 3D volume I can generate curves that I want the print nozzle to follow. Is this possible or has it been done? If so, what software or is there a hack?

Another question is, can you print a part with no sidewall or containment boundary?


3 Answers 3


Just for the fun of it and perhaps to contribute to this question, I opened my recent task in Simplify3d slicing software. Setting the perimeter walls and top/bottom surfaces to zero did not generate an error as I expected.

The print preview, essentially a g-code viewer, presented the model as only the honeycomb infill for which it was configured. Having zero layer thickness for the top/bottom also prevented features from printing that were composed of only walls without infill. Small details that otherwise print well were lost completely.

I can see that properly designed models printed with certain infill patterns and percentages would be quite artistic.

With respect to the first question, one could create a program to accomplish the desired result if one were an experienced programmer. It would be a matter of converting a specific set of vectors into g-code for the printer. I'm familiar enough with g-code to know that a well defined curve is easy enough to create in g-code but only if the mechanicals support arcs. If not, it's not so easy. The conversion from a vector format file to g-code would require a talented programmer indeed.

I suspect there are talented programmers "out there," but one must be suitably skilled and equally suitably motivated, yes?

Print prview, of object with walls and surfaces set to zero, showing honeycomb structure


It's not difficult to write software that converts a curve to gcode (break the curve into small lines and emit a G1 command for each line) - however, it's way easier to work with solids since the toolchain supports solid really well and curves not at all.

Just create a solid with your curve as a wall and everything works.

For the second question, no top/bottom works with every slicer I tried (set the top/bottom to 0 layers/height) - Cura seems to support no walls by setting shells to 0 (but I only checked layers view, I didn't try to print).


Vectors do not drive the extrusion nozzles in current software. There are methods to take vectors and create a solid model with them which can be used. The standard workflow is to take a solid model, save it in the STL format, and then import the STL file into the slicing software and outputs Gcode with contain coordinates for the extrusion nozzle to move to.

I have not seen any software that will create just the infill geometry without any bounding surfaces. This would be such a specific use case that it is unlikely to appear in current software. That is not to say that it couldn't be done, but you would likely have to implement such a feature yourself.


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