After the release of Cura 3.0 I decided to do a complete Cura guide on this slicer.
For some time some users of the blog have been asking for it, but it might have made little sense to put into circulation yet another guide on Cura, the release of the third version of the software has added and modified the options enough to make useful a new vademecum.
I would like to discuss this subject with all the calm it deserves, without leaving anything to chance: for this reason it will not be a single article, but 4 articles on different aspects of Cura.
- In this first article I will talk about the installation of the software and the setting, to have a high-performance software specific to the machine in use, through the setting of printers, materials and profiles.
- In the second I’ll talk about the WORKING AREA of Cura and how to best exploit it.
- The third will focus on the PRINT SETTINGS, which options to use and how to set them up for best results.
- In the fourth and last article we will take a look at the SPECIAL MODES and I will reveal some little tricks.
Cura: Download and Installation
N.B. Before continuing and downloading this software you should know that since January 1, 2017 Ultimaker has deleted the 32-bit versions, all new versions are only available for 64-bit operating systems. If you have an old PC then your best solution is to download Cura 2.3.1 which is one of the best versions.
Cura 3.0 can be downloaded for free from the official website Ultimaker. We can decide whether or not to give any information or to answer, as a matter of statistics, certain questions, including the use we are going to make of them and on what subject.
There is also an email field, but it is not mandatory, it only becomes mandatory if you decide to subscribe to the newsletter of tricks and tips.
When the download of files ends we will be asked whether to uninstall or maintain previous versions, and here the choice is yours only. If you are undecided, you can maintain and use both versions at the same time. In fact, you can even put them in competition to see with which release you get the best results, and uninstall only later the one that does not satisfy you.
Cura: First Run
The first run draws on the files of the old versions, so it manages to preserve your old printers, materials and profiles.
First you have to insert the printer: In this case, if you have a Ultimaker printer you will choose between the indicated, otherwise under other you can find more than 60 printers of other brands, you will probably find yours too.
From personal experience, however, when I set up a new Cura, regardless of the printer I choose Prusa i3 (also for the corexy). This profile works perfectly and has already inserted the Gcode codes to make the printer do a series of operations including (in brackets is indicated the command):
- Home all axes (G28 X0 Y0 Z0)
- Turns off any layer fan on (M107)
- Extrudes a small amount of filament to ensure that the wire is loaded (G1 F200 E3) (this can also be removed, just remove the commans)
- Return to 0 in x and y (G28 X0 Y0)
- Extruder switch off (M104 S0)
- Bed switch off (M140 S0)
- Retracts a little filament (G1 E-1 F300)
- Turn off engines (M84)
This allows you to leave the printer alone and auto power off when the job is done.
I will continue this guide by choosing the Prusa i3 profile, but below you can give the name to the car, and still know which car we are preparing the gcode for.
If you want to feel at home from the very first moment you can change language very quickly:
- Preference > Configure Cura > Language : Your language
After a restart the program will be completely in language you chose.
As long as we are under this sheet for language change two hints about it.
The only check that I would like to tell you to add is the resizing of objects that are too large. You can eventually remove it if you want to see the model in scale, but I prefer to start by seeing the object in the middle of the plate and easily workable. Objects that are too large are also difficult to manipulate.
A very interesting option is to add the abbreviation of the printer name to the name of the object, so even after some time, if you want to recover the gcode you will know for which printer it was sliced. It’s active and I wouldn’t deactivate it.
Setting the printer
Now at the top right you will see your printer, with a click we will go to customize it through Printer Management:
- Here we modify the size and shape of the printing plate with those of the factory.
I advise you to keep the origin of the axes at the edges of the plate and therefore not flag “origin in the center”.
- Don’t touch anything else: the rest should be in place, Only checks to do are that the printer uses a 0.4 mm nozzle (by default on almost all) and uses filament diameter 1.75.
- In this guide we will not cover the installation of Octoprint, so I refer you to this guide, nor the firmware update.
This menu can always be reached from “Preferences”.
Remaining in Preferences and only moving an entry now we see how to create custom profiles for materials, to make printing as automated as possible.
Cura: Materials Management
Cura 3 has introduced many new material profiles, for some of the most famous brands.
All the pre-installed materials are neither erasable nor modifiable, even if they do not cause too much discomfort in the menu of choice. Generic materials and custom materials created by us will still remain clearly visible.
As previously mentioned, we can use generic materials in any case, changing some settings each time, or create our own materials.
The creation of a material is very simple:
On materials management we reward on create, and we will see a PLA under the item Customized.
You can see that we have 2 tabs: Information and Print Settings.
In the first we go to put the information, in the second the appropriate values:
Very nice in this case the calculation of the cost per meter, to be able to quantify the out-of-pocket expenses for the material, often difficult to quantify.
There are 2 ways to have a well organized materials department.
If you have few materials you can mark them as generic, to have them always available in the first menu under your eyes.
Or, having a lot of materials available, they can be divided by brand. In this way they will be optimally organized and easily found. Just for an easy recognition I suggest you to write the brand of the new material you created in capitals.
Cura: Profile creation and management
Now it’s time for the profile. Cura 3 proposes a lot of preset profiles that you can use simply by selecting them and changing some settings if we think it necessary.
In case we want to create a personal profile, the best way is to open a pre-filled profile. Modify the points we want, e.g. infill 30%, speed 100 mm/s, heating off. And create a new profile with the changes, naming it in a recognizable way through the option “create profile from current settings/exclusions”.
A major shortcoming of Cura is the inability to activate or deactivate the ventilation with the selection of the material. You can only change the percentage of fan operation. And even if you think it might be the same, it’s not like that! The Generic ABS material profile of Cura has the layer fan set to 100% (why???), so if we forget to remove the tick from the ventilation it will start at some point, ruining the print. Remove or insert the ventilation is done through the print profile.
It is advisable for the same layer height to make 2 profiles, ventilated and non-ventilated. To be sure out of any doubt that air-sensitive materials such as ABS, Nylon, to a lesser extent PETG and all specialty materials are not wasted by misplaced layer fan starts.
That concludes the first guide to Cura.
GO DIRECTLY TO THE SECOND GUIDE: THE WORKING AREA
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