In this third guide we will try to analyze the Cura print settings, which can really make the difference between a mediocre or a good print. If you missed the first or second guide, you can read it now:
I leave out the creation of a print profile, a topic already discussed in the first guide.
Cura at the launch gives us some default print settings through the slide “Recommended”, I do not want to waste time and I would like to immediately redirect you to the window “Custom”.
To tell the truth, once we have widened the various voices through the arrow you realize that they are too few and will not allow us a complete customization.
With the arrow in line with section name you can open or close seeing option, right near arrow a gear will appear as you passing by with mouse. Use that gear to add or remove settings you want or want no more.
In this track of all the options that can be used I will mark in red those that are not available immediately but if you think they are interesting you can activate through the gear that stands next to the arrow of open / close options. Let’s start now to analyze the various options, divided as by the software itself:
Cura settings: Quality
- Layer height: normally it travels at the same pace as the profile used.
- Height of the initial layer: Some materials (e.g. PETG) require a slightly higher initial layer than the subsequent layers, with this option it is easy to set.
- Line width: to be replaced in case of nozzle replacement.
Sometimes the slight modification of this value combined with the value of the extrusion percentage is necessary for models with small parts that we want to print without physically changing the nozzle. We think we want to print a hollow cube with a 0.35mm wall. With the 0.4 nozzle care sees this wall as unprintable, and will skip it into the slicing. By adjusting this option and indicating 0.35 mm, you may be able to achieve it at the same time as reducing the flow by 10/15 percent.
- Initial layer line width: changing the line width in the initial layer allows us to bring the nozzle closer to the plate (to improve adhesion) and eliminate or at least decrease the elephant foot effect that would otherwise come out.
Cura settings: Shell
- Wall thickness: the value of wall thickness, I recommend a thickness from 2 to 3 lines (multiply n° lines x 0.4 to find the value). If you want to make an object particularly resistant you can also increase this number. The only thing to keep in mind is that the thickness must be multiple of the line width (nozzle size).
- Thickness of the top layer: To avoid problems of pillowing you should always set at least 6 layers of top closure. Then set 1.2 mm with a layer height of 0.2 mm and 0.8/1 mm with the 0.1 mm layer.
- Thickness of the lower layers: this is not essential that it has a minimum height. 3/4 layers already guarantee a good seal. However, I recommend setting it to the same value as the upper closing layer. It’s not an ounce of material that’s going to ruin you!
- Filling the gaps between the walls: once having a 1mm wall with a 0.4mm nozzle left a gap between the two lines, the inner and outer wall, with no escape. This option fills this space by improving the aesthetics and durability of your prints. New option we needed!
Cura settings: Infill
- Infill density: The infill value is very variable, personally I keep it between 15 and 25 percent for normal prints. At 100% we’ll have a completely full object and 0% completely empty. You see how to set it according to the properties that the print must have.
- Infill configuration: this option allows you to choose the type of filling most suitable for printing, just to name a few: preset is located on the grid, you can set the cube, quarter cube or octagonal to get a very resistant infill in relation to the amount of material used. Cross-fill is recommended for flexible or soft materials as it reduces shrinkage.
- Overlapping percentage of the infill: at least 10% can be increased to make the object more cohesive, I recommend not to exceed 30%.
Cura settings: Material
- Print temperature: variable depending on the material, here you must follow the instructions of the seller or refer to our reviews.
- Print temperature of the initial layer: it is useful to increase it a little to increase the adhesion of the first layer.
- Printing surface temperature: Some materials require special printing surface temperatures. Follow the instructions of the seller or refer to our reviews.
- Print surface temperature of the initial layer: this option is very useful in the case of PETG printing.
This material, once it has adhered in most cases remains attached to the plate. Some PETG do not require heat, just a splash of lacquer. With this option we can make sure that the first layer adheres well to 70 degrees, and then the pot goes off by itself. We’ll have solid prints and savings on our bills.
- Diameter: This value refers to the diameter of the filament, and is an option that you will not change, but we can still keep it visible.
- Flow: useful adjustment, sometimes a problem that seems wobble or blobs is simply a greater flow than necessary. Before disassembling the printer, try to decrease the flow by 10%.
- Retraction enablement: Retraction removes pressure from the nozzle (does not pull back the material) but allows the material to reduce stringing problems.
- Retractio distance: to be modified in case of material losses, in general, however, follow the instructions of the manufacturer of your extruder.
- Retraction speed: to be modified in case of material loss, in general, however, follow the instructions of the manufacturer of your extruder.
Cura settings: Speed
- Print speed: each printer has its own recommended speed, by default, which must be modified according to the extruded material. The prusa i3 can reach 100mm/s, although it is recommended not to exceed 70mm/s. Corexes are faster and delta even faster. The Wasp has a turbo mode that goes up to 600mm/s. Preset 60mm/s care is a good value for almost all printers.
Only rubber (TPE) requires a printing speed below 20mm/s.
- Filling speed: generally to save time you can increase the speed of formation of the filling, it will not be visible anyway when the printing is finished.
- Wall printing speed: by decreasing this value it is easier to get a better print and with fewer defects, possibly you can also differentiate the printing speed between the outer and inner wall.
- Speed of movement: you can leave the default value.
- Print speed of the initial layer: the decrease in speed of this layer corresponds to a better adhesion.
- Jerk Control Skill: I activated this option because I personally noticed a deterioration in the print quality from Cura 2.3.1 to Cura 3.0. It seems to me that, although imperceptibly, the prints have more signs of wobble. This is probably due to an optimization of the speed that a Creality Ender 3 printer holds up well, a Chinese i3 a little less (we are always talking about almost imperceptible defects).
Changing the default Jerk
Cura 3.0 is a very good slicer but if, like me, you notice a slight loss of quality you can use the Jerk control. By slowing down the violence of the press’s starts and stops you will surely gain in quality. If you have not noticed any problem, modify the settings shown in the image with smaller numbers. Best one for quality is 5 mm/s.
Cura settings: Movements
This section is not activated at the start of Cura. And the settings in this section must be kept off but in some cases can be convenient.
- Combing mode: while moving, it keeps the nozzle inside the printed area, so it does not need to be moved, useful for printing soft and flexible materials.
- Z hop during retraction: this mode is used to avoid leaving scars on the print, so the nozzle to move from one place to another rises a few millimeters. This option is to be used only when necessary, it also slows down the printing time a lot! In particular, also select the Z-Hop sub-section only on printed parts.
Cura settings: Cooling
- Enable cooling: flagging this option on the second layer will turn the layer fan on.
- Minimum time per layer: minimum time per layer of 5 secs will reduce the possibility that peaks of your print suffer overheating
Now I would like to show you the method to start the layer fan gradually. And avoid you to run into the problem of failed heating even without running a PID tune again. In this way, the fan will blow progressively more and more hard but the heater will be able to return to temperature in time.
- Regular fan speed: 100%
- Initial fan speed: 20%
- Regular speed at the layer: 5
This will increase the fan’s power by 20% per layer, but will give the nozzle time to manage and return to temperature even if the fanduct blows partially on the nozzle.
Cura settings: Support
- Support generation: this flag generates the supports, supporting all areas suspended in the vacuum.
- Support positioning: With this option you can choose whether to support only the parts that come out of the figure. Then with the support that comes resting on the plate or in all possible points. The second option is really exaggerated most of the time.
- Angle of overhang of the support: Amplitude of the angle from which to apply the supports. Any filament holds up to 50 degrees, some good, well-cooled PLAs hold up to 60 or even 70 degrees. You must test the material to establish the value. The preset 50° is a good basis.
- Support configuration: We can choose what kind of design to give the support, my favorite is the triangular. It extrudes little material and is rigid.
- Support density: just like the infill we can choose the density. Usually the support needs to be less solid than the internal infill. For this reason I recommend values from 10% to 15%. Always modifiable as needed.
- Using Towers: Create towers to support 1 point
- Tower diameter: can be modified according to what the tower should support.
Cura settings: Adhesion to the printing bed
– Type of adhesion to the printing bed:
a) Skirt: A simple line around the pattern, just to make sure the material is loaded at the beginning of the print.
b) Brim: This option adds a single layer flat area around the model to avoid warping the model corners. It is recommended when printing materials that can undergo this deformation (almost all except PLA and derivatives).
– Brim width: any width can be used as long as it is multiple of the nozzle size.
Normally I use 8 mm as a value, and it keeps me safe from detachment problems.
c) Raft: A real raft that is the basis of the model, is to be used in cases of desperate adhesion and the preset values are very valid and it is convenient to touch them only with a very precise idea of what you want to achieve.
Special and Experimental modes will be the subject of the next guide. So, this concludes the third part of the Complete Cura Guide.
Third guide on Cura settings is done, if you have any questions, add them to your comments!
If you want to read the previous guides you can find here:
First Guide: Cura installation and creation of printers, materials and profiles.
Second Guide: The Working Area.
If you have found this post useful, please LIKE on Easy 3D Home Facebook’s page to receive updates on all the news of the Blog! You can find other review on 3D printing software in our SOFTWARE section!