Cura is a slicer software which is the product of Ultimaker. It is a printing software that converts a digital model from a computer into a format that the 3D printer can understand. Cura isn't just free for you to download, it is additionally open-source. It is the best quality level of 3D slicers around the world. Cura also has a lot of complex settings that go beyond the regular slicer software. So, here is a guide to using Cura.
The 3D Printing Process
First, it is necessary for us to know how to prepare for the 3D printing software. So, the following is the 3D printing process.
- Modelling - This is done in most 3D modelling applications. These applications have their own document group and these empower you to open, alter, spare and fare those 3D printer records from the application. This stage requires the 3D slicing process.
- 3D document export - Once you have made your model, it then should be sent out as either an STL, OBJ or 3MF record. These are the record designs that are perceived by Cura. They contrast from the record designs that are local to the 3D modelling apps as they simply hold the last geometry and not the individual natives and editable substance. All things considered, you can change the size of the 3D model, however not the geometry.
- Slicing export - The STL or OBJ document would then be able to be brought into the Cura software where it is cut and yield as G-Code. This G-Code is only a content archive (basically) with a rundown of orders for the 3D printer to peruse and follow, for example, hot-end temperature, move to one side this much, right much and so on
How Does Cura Work?
The Cura software translates different file formats into a language that printers can comprehend. It basically generates instructions in a language called G-Code. This code is a set of instructions that helps the printer build-up the end product layer by layer.
Cura requires a lot of hardware details to work out this code. This includes the printer’s nozzle size, bed area, build plate, and other customisations. After this, you will have to fill in the details on the thickness of the end product, its size and height. After taking all these into account, Cura helps the printer chart paths that the printhead needs to take to print the finished product.
Step 1: Set up your 3D printer
Cura’s latest 4.4 version works on all OS platforms such as Linus, Mac, and Windows. So, after installing Cura on your system, it will ask you to select a 3D printer. Go to settings and printer in order to set up a new printer. You will get a list of Ultimaker printers, and, if your printer is not from this brand, then you will find it in the “other” section.
After adding your printer, you will need to be prepared with a few details that will be present on its manufacturing details. Or, you can easily access these details on the website of the brand of your printer.
Step 2: Add your 3D Model to Cura
After adding your printer to Cura, you need to upload a 3D model of your product to the software. On the top menu, you need to go to File>Open Files. Then, select either of the STL, OBJ or 3MF options depending on your file. Cura will open the select and import this file.
Step 3: Change the viewpoint
The 3D model on display might not be exactly to scale. So, Cura allows you to change the settings in order to look at the 3D model better. You can navigate the build area by holding down Shift and left-clicking your mouse. This can help you zoom into the figure and see the details of the model with more clarity.
In addition to this, you can right-click and hold in order to rotate the figure. This can help you gauge the model from every angle. Finally, you can also zoom into the figure using the middle scroll wheel on the mouse.
Step 4: View the model from multiple modes
Cura has multiple modes to view your 3D model. You can view it in the solid mode, which will give you a good idea of how it will look after being printed. Also, you can view the model with the X-ray mode, which can show you the internal structures of the model. It also helps in rectifying any errors that may show up after printing.
You can also choose to view your model in layers. This is a comparatively advance mode as it allows you to alter the G-Code for each layer individually. Through this mode, you can change the speed and height of each layer as well.
Step 5: Adjust the settings
Cura’s settings panel will be on the right side of the screen. Choosing the right settings is key to getting your desired quality of print.
- Firstly, get the temperature settings right on the nozzle that you will be using. This temperature should be adjusted according to the material that you will be using.
- Secondly, Cura has a recommended setting in accordance with your printer information, and material details. This is very helpful for people who are starting out with 3D printing as it automatically adjusts quality, adhesion, infill, and support structures.
- Finally, for more experienced 3D printing enthusiasts, Cura has the option of custom settings. Through this, you can experiment and let your imagination run wild.
Step 6: Transfer the G-Code to your printer
The final step is to export Cura’s G-Code to the printer. Cura would have converted the model into a series of paths that the printer has to take. Cura also gives an estimate of how long it will take for your printer to print the product.
Step 7: Post processes
In some cases when you print walls that are thin with Cura 3D, the regions between within and the outside of the wall is left unfilled. This may happen when the width of your wall is between Cura's line width (printer nozzle breadth). Cura leaves within and outside walls unfilled to forestall placing an excessive amount of plastic into that segment of the item, however, it additionally implies that holes can appear in the print. The Fill Gaps Between Walls setting lets you pick how Cura handles these holes.
At the point when plastics are printed, they grow marginally and contract as they chill off. In the event that material contracts to an extreme, this makes the print disconnect from the construct plate and twist upwards. This wonder is called warping or distorting. A few materials recoil more than others (for example ABS or Nylon have a higher shrinkage than PLA), which implies there's a bigger possibility of twisting when utilizing them.
Cura helps in preventing the process of warping through the Build Plate Adhesion Type settings. It gives you multiple options which include lining the outline of the first layer (skirting), filling the area around the object thickly and flatly or filling around the object in a single-layer (brim).
Cura improves the quality of your prints to a large extent. It happens to be experts’ favourite choice in terms of a slicer software. Its versatility and diversity in settings makes it very desirable for people who want to experiment with their skills in 3D printing services. Its automatic modes also make it helpful for beginners to 3D printing.
Also Read : DLP and LCD 3D Printers: How do they compare?