The new version of this slicer is finally available for download: Cura 3.0 . As promised in this article we have tried it for you, to verify and test with your own eyes the scope of the enthusiastic words of the spokesmen of Ultimaker, who without half measures consider it revolutionary and much superior to previous versions.
This version 3.0 promises improvements in both the software itself, increased speed, implementability and a more friendly interface. Both at the slicing level, introducing a new media system, a new texture for the infill and the manual placement of the seam in the layer.
We also offer you a series of 4 guides, which Cura 3.0 will have no more secrets!
Cura 3.0: Software
The first data that comes with this new version of Cura 3.0 is the speed at startup, so we put it in competition with the “old” Cura 2.3.
With a PC i7, 32gb of RAM and SSD we opened the bust of Augustus. Cura 2.3 opened the screen in 14.54 sec, actually slower than Cura 3.0 (11.45 sec), which is winning with a 21% reduction in time needed.
After starting it, we focused on the interface, different but substantially the same, we can find the same menus and the same options, substantially unchanged.
The only real difference that can be seen at a glance is the presence of an additional menu, the plugin item.
Cura 3.0’s ability to integrate third-party plugins was the big news. Compatible SolidWorks and Siemens NX plugins are currently available and can be found in the Plugin menu. Plugins can be installed with a single click and updates will be automatically installed as soon as they are available.
Here in the picture you can see the third party plugins available for installation at the moment, which will complement the software natives who are about thirty.
The plugin on which Ultimaker is pushing the most is the integration with SolidWorks: with this plugin you can switch from drawing, export, processing and printing in the fastest possible way.
We come to us and what interests us most maker, the slicer side. From this point of view Cura 3.0 has brought some news and some of these could be really interesting!
First of all, looking at the workspace you immediately realize that the chessboard we were used to has been replaced by a grid. This network can help us because it is graduated, and not only will we have the most visible chessboard with squares of side 1 cm, but moving with the nearest mouse we will also discover the representation of millimeters. All this can give us the possibility of a really millimetric positioning of the model.
Another change that was really needed was the method in which the layers are displayed. Previous versions of Cura have only ever shown the layer considered, disconnected from the rest of the model. Now we can see how the model evolves. And in addition we can also decide whether to see or not, the shell, the infill towers and even the movements of the nozzle (the movements in the image are the blue part).
In this new version we will also have at our disposal many more predefined materials, united also by the possibility to choose the factory settings of many materials. The only drawback is that the brands of filament that are represented are not among the best known and marketed in Italy.
Cura 3.0: Reduction of printing time and material consumption.
Among the promises is also the reduction of printing time in the first place, with reduced filament consumption.
We wanted to test this new feature for ourselves through an art print: Who better than the Emperor Augustus to come to our aid? We set Cura 2.3 and Cura 3.0 to exactly the same settings – and these are the differences.
As usual these times are only valid for Ultimaker printers and even in Cura 3.0 the situation does not change. The printing time, even if not respected, is to the advantage of the new software. Printing is completed in 4 hours and 45 minutes, compared to 5 hours and 30 minutes of treatment 2.3. The higher speed, however, brings some imperfections with it, imperfections that can be seen in the right ear of Augustus. Even if you can’t see it from the photos, the higher speed, combined with greater vibrations, also bring out the layer: even if minor differences, the live print of Cura 3.0 is less perfect. In these test phases of the new slicer we will try to find a way to slow it down a little bit, bringing it closer to the old version both in terms of timing and quality.
The consumed material has remained in line with what was stated.
Whats much better
One of the major innovations can be seen in the following picture, if you look at what is indicated by the red arrows you will notice that Augustus 3.0 under the chin is much better than his twin, Augustus 2.3. This is most likely the result of the work of the developers of Ultimaker side supports, actually one of the weakest points in sight. Now with the default settings we will have models better “supported” and with fewer scars due to the media. Although it may seem strange, although the print is better supported, the detachment of the support parts from Augustus 3.0 was much easier, faster and required less effort.
Cura 3.0: Other News
One option we were waiting for was the option to move the stitching. This option will allow us to control and decide where to place the seam – giving us the ability to hide it in convex corners or exposed faces where it will be easy to remove with a minimum of post-production. This leaves the problem of stitching unresolved when we want to print vases without spiral mode, but for the moment we must be satisfied.
Cura 3.0 also makes a number of changes to the surface layer of the model, which will make the finished print better, making it more beautiful and with fewer imperfections. But the most important part of the changes that will be made will be the automatic correction of the outer layer that will adjust itself to eliminate the small gap between infill and shell. This gap has been, until now, the nightmare of all those who had to print with fixed nozzle 0.4 mm, models in a certain scale, giving the problem that we see in the picture. Well we will be very pleased to tell him bye bye!
Cura 3.0: New infill patterns
The change we preferred, however, is the addition of two new infill patterns, a quarter cube and a buttoned cross.
The quarter-cube infill should theoretically be used for geometric figures and large prints. This particular infill guarantees an excellent sturdiness while decreasing the material used to compose the infill, reducing the vibrations during the printing phase of the interior.
This particular weave halves the vibrations compared to the usual grid filling.
The other new pattern is the buttoned cross. This infill is recommended for tires, flexible and soft materials. We immediately wanted to try it with the pseudo-flexible PETG of Tomas 3D. The cross pattern greatly reduces shrinkage, so the transitive property is less of a problem when shrinkage is off.
This new infill, will be the novelty, but it is really fascinating, and do not be surprised if you want to stop the print in half to leave it visible! It happened to us!
Cura 3.0: Conclusions
Cura 3.0 is unfortunately not revolutionary, and probably will not change our lives. But it certainly puts important news on the plate. Some of these are used to fill the gap and get closer to some competitors who until now were a few steps ahead. Others are good, original and unique to customize even more one of the best software slicers around.
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