3D Printer: Cura Setup and Settings

We've compiled our easy-to-follow Cura tutorial to discover the hidden features of Ultimaker Cura 3D slicing software.Cura has the fastest developing and user-friendly interface in slicing software. So much so that most users simply install the model, choose the print quality and press the "print" button. It makes it as easy to use as traditional copiers.

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Warning: This article is prepared according to version 4.7.1, which will be updated with version 4.11.0, i.e. the latest version.

This Cura tutorial is suitable for anyone who is just starting to get prints with a 3D printer. Just make sure you turn on the 3D printer and install the filament. Then this Cura tutorial will help guide you through your 3D printing methods and start 3D printing.

What is Ultimaker Cura?

Cura is a slicing software for 3D printers. It takes a 3D model and divides it into hundreds of layers, layer by layer, to create a file format known as "G-Code", which is the code that a 3D printer understands.

In other words, it is useful to convert a 3D model from your computer to a digital file that 3D printer hardware can understand.

Cura is not only free, but also open source. It is the most used and standardized of 3D slicer software worldwide. When we compare Cura with other slicing software, others seem very simple with limited options and adjustments. However, Cura has more complex settings when you need them. Also Cura has a very clean and user-friendly interface.

Cura is developed by 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker and, as we know from 3D printers, are perfectionists. Cura has almost all the settings and options you can find in most other slicing software.

cura setup

Before you start using Cura, you need to learn the basics of 3D models and how they are prepared. We recommend that you visit our "3D Modeling" page to help you with this.

The First Three Stages of 3D Printing

There are three basic stages of file preparation for 3D printing:

3D Modeling: At this stage, you first need to design the 3D model or get a ready-made model. You can use 3D modeling (CAD) software to make your own design.Tinkercad or Fusion360 3D modeling software are the most preferred software. These applications have their own file formats and allow you to open, edit, save and export these files with the application.

Export a 3D Model: After you create your model in CAD software, it must be exported in STL, OBJ, or 3MF file formats. These are file formats recognized by Cura. However, they differ from other file formats used in 3D modeling applications (Catia, SolidWorks, Siemens NX, etc.). They can only be edited in a certain part with some special software. You can still size your 3D model with Cura.

Export slicing File: After saving the 3D model in STL or OBJ file format, you must open it in Cura to slice and save it as G-Code. This G-Code is basically a 3D printer; It includes X-Y-Z coordinates, nozzle temperature, bed temperature and cooling fan operation.

It is necessary to do 3D modeling in the first stage of the process, but if you are still in the early stages of modeling skills, you can go to online 3D model sites such as Thingiverse or Youmagine and download millions of pre-made ready 3D models. The models here are usually in STL format and can be transferred directly to Cura.

What Does Cura Do?

Cura divides 3D models into slices at horizontal coordinates. Converts 3D models saved in STL, OBJ, or 3MF file formats to a format that the 3D printer can understand. Fused Deposition Modeling – Melt Stack Modeling (FDM) 3D printers add each layer on top of each layer to produce the 3D model.

cura setup

What is G-Code?

Cura takes a 3D model and calculates how to place these layers on the printing table and creates a series of instructions for the 3D printer to follow on the layer. These instructions created by Cura are called "G-Code". ".gcode" is a text document that ends with a file extension. When you open this text document with the notebook app, you can read some of the code and understand what the 3D printer wants it to do.

To illustrate a few lines, example:

  • G0 F7200 X19.698 Y28.262 Z.36
  • G1 F1500 E0
  • G1 F1350 X22.467 Y26.175 E0.15654
  • G1 X23.338 Y25.568 E0.20447
  • G1 X24.246 Y25.027 E0.25218

Once you're a little more adept at 3D printing, you can get into this code and adjust fan speeds, layer heights and nozzle temperatures at different speeds. G-code can be useful when you need to troubleshoot some 3D printing problems. You can also use a detailed article about G-Code.

Because each 3D printer has a different setup, print area size, print table type (glass or teflon bed) and nozzle size, Cura slicing software needs to know these hardware details with a 3D printer profile settings. After you provide the basic information that Cura wants, you can set settings such as layer height and thickness. Depending on the vital statistics and settings of the 3D printer, Cura calculates the path that the print head must follow to print its model and create a list of instructions for the 3D printer. These instructions are saved in the G-Code file.

The G-Code can then be saved to an SD card or sent directly from Cura to a 3D printer via wireless or cable.

cura setup

There are many 3D slicing software on the market. Cura is just one of them. Over the years, however, continuous development and open source philosophy have made Cura more valuable. So much so that there are very few 3D printers that are not supported by Cura.

Download and Install Cura

You can download Cura from this page to install it. When cura download is complete, here's what you need to do on every platform (such as Windows, Mac OSX or Linux).

Download and Install Cura for Windows

Run the Cura installer and pass the normal steps. The only part of the installation that matters is the following screen, which gives you the option to install snap-ins.

cura setup

If you also want to open 3MF, OBJ or X3D file formats in Cura, check these boxes and press "Install" or "Install". When the installation is complete, Cura will open automatically.

Download and Install Cura for Mac OSX (Apple)

After downloading the Cura installer, open the installer and run the setup wizard to complete the setup. The process will be easy. You can locate and run Cura in the programs folder.

Download and Install Cura for Linux (Ubuntu)

For Ubuntu, the downloaded file is called Cura-xxx.AppImage (in xxx it will type the Cura version, for example, 4.3.0). This is a binary executable file. You must copy the Cura installer to an appropriate location and give the existing user the right to play the file.

  • chmod u+x Cura-4.3.0.AppImage

To open Cura, simply run the file from the terminal.

  • ./Cura-4.3.0.AppImage

Cura Quick Start Guide

Select Your 3D Printer

When you install and open Cura, you will be prompted to select a 3D printer. If you have an Ultimaker or Lulzbot 3D printer, it will be a special version of Cura that comes with your 3D printer. If you have another brand or a 3D printer that you made yourself, select Settings > Printer.

The settings of many 3D printers are now in the list. If you open the Ultimaker tab at the top, all of the 3D printers listed will be Ultimaker models. For all other 3D printers, click Other and select your 3D printer model.

cura setup

If the 3D printer you are using is not listed, as with Lulzbot brand 3D printers, go to the manufacturer's website and install a special version of Cura ready to download. If this is also not available, click "Custom".

Then you will see the screen to add a 3D printer, where you will need to know a little about your 3D printer. Again, details about your 3D printer can be found on the manufacturer's website. If you made the 3D printer yourself, then you can enter these details yourself.

Just enter the settings of the 3D printer and click the "Finish" button.

cura setup

Uploading the STL File to Cura

After entering cura setup and basic 3D printer information for your 3D printer, it's time to transfer a 3D model to Cura.

To open a model, click File > Open File(s) on the top left menu. Select a model in the STL, OBJ, or 3MF file format from your computer and click "OK".

cura setup

After selecting the 3D model, cura will appear in the middle of the working plane. You may have to wait a while as the process will take place according to the size of the model.

cura setup

Change the Perspective of the Working Plane in Cura

When the 3D model is loaded on the working plane, it usually appears too small or too large. You may also want to see the model from another angle or from another height. To get the optimal view of the model in Cura, you can change your perspective on the working plane in the following ways.

cura setup
  • Move Cura Working Plane: To move the working plane around the screen, hold down Shift and click with the left mouse button. This will allow you to zoom in on the model to take a look at some of the finer details.
  • Rotate Around Cura Working Plane: Right-click and hold with the mouse to rotate around the working plane. On Ubuntu and Mac, you can press and drag the left mouse button to rotate the model. This is useful for controlling the 3D model from all angles.
  • Zoom In cura Operating Plane: You can use the mouse's center scroll wheel to zoom in or out of the model. If you don't have a mouse with a scroll wheel, we recommend getting one.

Model Views in Cura

In Cura, there are three basic ways to see the model. Each is useful for different reasons, especially when there is a problem with your prints.

  • Solid :It is the default view of cura and gives you a good idea of what your model will look like when printed. The print table of the 3D printer shows you the size and shape.
  • X-Ray: This feature can work when the prints go wrong, allowing you to quickly see the internal structure of the print and see what needs to be corrected in the design.
cura setup

Layers: If a 3D print fails on a specific layer each time, and you want to check if part of the print is correct, you can check its model in the "Layers" that is, layers view. You can use the scroll bar at the bottom right to quickly look at all the layers that make up the model. When you get more used to cura and a 3D printer, this feature will also be useful for pinpointing the layers you want to change G-Code settings, such as increasing fan speed, layer height, or filament flow.

cura setup

When you click on any of the "Tool" tool options in Cura, you will see arrows appear around the model. Just hold an arrow or a ring to make changes in the direction you want. If you think you have done something wrong, you can just right-click on the model and click "Reset".

You may want to print multiple copies of the same model as your 3D printer. With the model selected, right-click and select "Duplicate", that is, copy. Cura will automatically reposition 3D models. If there is enough space to print two or more copies, all models on the print table will be yellow. If there is not enough space, the model that does not fit on the print table is shaded in gray.

Cura's Settings Panel

Perhaps the most important part of Cura is the settings panel on the right. You need to adjust the correct settings in this panel to get the print quality you want.

Cura's settings panel is divided into two sections. The top section is "Printer Settings", i.e. 3D Printer Settings, and the next section is "Print Setup".

Cura 3D Printer Settings

This section selects a 3D printer and filament.

cura setup
  • Printer : This is the 3Dprinter you selected in the first step we mentioned in the tutorial. If you have more than one 3D printer, it can also be set for those printers and selected from the pop-up menu.
  • Material :You can quickly select the filament used by the 3D printer. This option applies to preset filament properties that work with Cura. Otherwise, it may not work properly for your own 3D printer.

Cura Print Setting

There are two options in the print settings: "Recommended" and "Custom".

cura setup
  • Recommended: Recommended printing options are calculated by the settings you entered when you first configured the Cura slicer for your 3D printer. This option is a good choice when you're just starting printing on a 3D printer or just want to see how the software and 3D printer communicate. The options are limited under the recommended heading, but you can quickly adjust the quality, fill, adhesion to the print table and basic support structures.
  • Custom: Allows you to change print settings to get customizable prints from quality to speed with a 3D printer. We'll look at this section and the options in a little while.

Recommended Settings in Cura

Cura Layer Height

cura setup

As we mentioned earlier, 3D printers create the model by stacking layers of material into the printing table. The "Layer Height" setting in Cura controls the height of each layer. Here is the rule: the lower the layer height, the better the print quality. However, setting a low value for Layer Height also means that the print will have a proportionally longer production time. You need to strike a balance between quality and pressure and choose your own ideal months. The layer height of 0.1 mm for a quality print will be a good start.

Cura Inner Fill Ratio (Infill)

The "Infill" setting controls the quality of the fill. Setting it to %0 means that you don't actually want any internal fill structure and you want the inside of the model to be empty. Any value in the range of 10% to 40% is known as a light inner fill. The range of 50% to 90% is called the middle inner fill. If you set the rate to 100%, you will produce the most powerful model according to the structure of the model. The light internal fill rate, i.e. the range of 10% to 40%, would be a good start.

When the inner fill setting is set to a number above 0%, a check box named "Enable Gradual" is present. Ticking this box allows Cura to gradually increase the amount of internal filling towards the top of the model. This allows you to use a low value for the inner fill and still get the best quality. We recommend that you check this box when using low values for the inner fill.

cura setup

Cura Support and Bed Settings

These settings are your settings for support and sticking to the table. Contains two check boxes, "Generate Support" and "Build Plate Adhesion". If this is the first raid with a 3D printer, you can turn on both. As a rule, if the 3D model has a lot of contact with the printing table, turn off the "Build Plate Adhesion" feature. If the model does not have protrusions exceeding 45 degrees, you can remove the "Generate Support" option.

Create G-Code and Save Model with Cura

Converts Cura, STL, or OBJ to the G-Code file that the 3D printer needs. Your model is ready to print, and all you have to do is transfer the file from Cura to an SD card or send it directly to the 3D printer.

  1. Save 3D Print File: When you click "Save to File" at the bottom right of the window, you can select "Save to SD" or "Send to Printer".
  2. 3D Print Time Prediction: Cura will give you a rough estimate of the length of time it will take for the 3D printer to produce the model.
  3. Start 3D Printing: If it is connected to the wireless network with the 3D printer, send the remote print and sit back and watch the 3D printer start printing. If you save the G-Code to the SD card, remove the SD card from the computer and insert it into the corresponding location of the 3D printer. Select "Print", select the model file and print!
cura setup

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Custom Settings in Cura

Using the recommended Cura settings is just the beginning for 3D printing. Cura's standard settings will give you smooth prints, but you may often experience some specific 3D printer problems. For example, you might not like the surface of 3D printing. In some cases, the outer surface of the model may contain an excessive and overflowing material line, also known as "Z-Seam". The nozzle of the 3D printer may be leaking material during the movement of the extruder and leaving molten filament fragments where it should not be. In Cura, you may encounter simple recommended or presets; there may be problems such as slow print speed, the model produced is not durable enough, the first layer is bent.

All of these problems can be solved with the help of the "Custom" settings panel in Cura. Therefore, you should master the special settings panel in Cura and know how to change these settings to fix certain problems and get the best possible print quality.

You can access Cura's custom settings by clicking the "Custom" tab in the Settings panel. This will show special settings divided into 9 sections: Quality, Shell, Infill,Material (Material/Filament), Speed, Cooling, Support, Build Plate Adhesion, and Special Modes. Each section contains several settings below them.

However, keep in mind that the Cura settings you see in each section are only a small part of the settings that you can actually change. Many settings do not appear by default.

Enable Hidden Settings in Cura

What you need to do to see hidden settings in Cura: Click the gear icon next to the title of a setting section. Then you'll see a window. This window shows all custom settings. There are about 150 different settings here, but don't worry. You'll only have to use a few of these to solve the most common problems.

To make one of the hidden settings visible, select the check box that corresponds to that setting, and then close the window. After that, this setting will be visible in the "Custom" settings panel.

cura setup

In the following sections, we will show cura's most important "Custom" settings and explain how it can use them to improve print quality and solve common 3D printer problems. This is where things get really interesting, so we recommend reading it carefully.

Overall Print Quality in Cura

This setting is actually similar to the "Height Layer" setting in the "Recommended" settings.

cura setup

The Layer Height setting controls the height (in mm) of each layer of the model in Cura. The rule here is that the smaller the layer height, the better the print quality. However, small ingress of layer height means that the print is produced proportionally longer. You need to strike a balance between quality and print speed and find your own midpoint.

cura setup

Wall or Shell Quality in Cura

These settings, under the heading Shell in Cura, relate to the outer surface of 3D printing.

Wall Thickness

The most important setting in this section is "Wall Thickness". Wall Thickness adjusts the total thickness of the outer walls (not the upper or lower walls). This value must be in whole number times the diameter of the 3D printer. For example, if the 3D printer has a diameter of 0.40 mm and you have selected the Wall Thickness to be 3 times (1.20 mm), the 3D printer will print with 3 walls (each wall 0.40 mm thick).

In general, a Wall Thickness of 2 or 3 times the diameter of the nozzle is enough. A higher value will make it a more robust model and reduce the likelihood of liquid leakage. A low value will significantly reduce print time and filament costs.

Horizontal Expansion

All plastic shrinks as it cools.Some plastics, such as PLA filament, shrink only slightly, while filaments such as Nylon or ABS shrink too much. The model produced due to shrinkage in production in precise dimensions may be smaller than the measurement of the actual CAD model. The "Horizontal Expansion" setting allows you to adjust the size of the 3D model in the X-Y direction to compensate for the change in size that occurs when the plastic shrinks while cooling.

Horizontal Expansion is one of the Cura settings that are hidden by default. Therefore, you need to activate it by following the procedure that we mentioned earlier. When enabled, it will appear under the "Shell" settings.

A positive Horizontal Expansion value allows for an addition to the dimensions of the model. Since the printed model is smaller than expected, you should use a positive value because it is due to shrinkage.

A negative Horizontal Expansion value reduces the dimensions of the model. You can use a negative value when your printed model is larger than expected.

Z-Seam Alignment

Sometimes, the 3D printer leaves a mark on the model surface at the beginning of each layer. When all of these marks are aligned, they form a prominent line on the outer wall of the 3D model. This line is called "Z-Seam". The "Z-Seam Alignment" setting allows you to choose where this line appears on the 3D model surface or allows you to get rid of the line completely.

cura setup

The Z-Seam Alignment setting is also hidden by default. First, you must activate it so that it appears in the "Shell" settings in Cura.

Z-Seam Alignment Options

There are four options for the Z-Seam Alignment setting: Shortest, User Specified, Sharpest Corner, and Random.

  • Shortest: The default value of Cura. When selected, Cura slicing software tells the 3D printer to start printing a new layer from the last point of the previous layer. This usually causes traces to appear on the wall. Therefore, this choice should be avoided.
  • User Specified: The user-specified Z-Seam Alignment setting allows you to determine exactly where you want it to appear on the model surface. With this setting, the X-Y coordinates can be adjusted as Z-Seam X and Z-Seam Y.
  • Sharpest Corner: With this option, you can tell the 3D printer to start printing each layer from the sharpest corner on the model surface. Due to its sharpness, a corner can make the Z-Seam invisible in many cases. But if there are no sharp corners in the model, this option will not be very useful.
  • Random: Setting the Z-Seam Alignment to Random starts each layer in a random location. This will completely eliminate the Z-Sean, but the printhead extruder will cause additional time to move to a new position between each layer and extend the print time.

Fill In Gaps Between Walls (Fill Gaps)

Sometimes when you print thin walls with Cura, the areas between the inside and outside of the wall are not filled. This may be due to the width of the wall being between the 3D printer nozzle and the tip diameter. Cura leaves the inner and outer walls unfillable to avoid putting too much plastic in that part of the model, but this causes gaps in the printing. The "Fill Gaps Between Walls" setting allows Cura to fill in these gaps.

cura setup

The Fill Gaps Between Walls setting is also hidden by default. First, you must enable it to appear under Shell settings.

There are two options for this setting: "Everywhere" and "Nowhere". When selected Nowhere, Cura does not fill in the blanks. When he chooses Everywhere, Cura will fill in the gaps in the walls of the print and make the outer shell of his model as strong as possible.

Alternate Extra Walls Setting

Previously, we have shown how it can make a model stronger and more durable by increasing wall thickness. However, the thicker the wall, the longer it will take to print it. Cura balances "Alternate Extra Walls" with wall thickness and print speed. When this setting is enabled, Cura adds an extra inner shell to all other layers. For example, if the wall thickness of the 3D print is set to the diameter size of two nozzles, Alternative Extra Walls will add an extra nozzle diameter wall to each individual numbered layer.

To enable this setting, you must first make it visible under the "Shell" settings. You can then select the check box that corresponds to this setting.

Wall Speed Setting (Wall Speed)

If you are still not satisfied with the surface quality of the model, there is another option you can make. Under the "Speed" section, there is a hidden setting called "Wall Speed". This setting controls the speed at which the 3D print head extruder moves when printing walls.

There are two separate settings for "Inner Wall Speed" and "Outer Wall Speed". The default external wall speed is 30 mm/s. Adjusting the outer wall speed slightly lower than the default value (try reducing it in steps of 10 mm/s) can improve the surface of the model. Of course, reducing the external wall speed means longer print times.

Inner Fill Pattern in Cura

By default, Infill Pattern creates a fill per grid in the Cura slicer and prints diagonally for each layer. This provides a reasonable strong structure without consuming a lot of material. It is also one of the fastest options in terms of print time.

In some custom applications, the default pattern may not be the best. In such cases, Cura offers a variety of filler patterns to choose from.

cura setup

To change the cura inner fill pattern, enable the hidden "Infill Pattern" setting. 13 different pattern options will come your way. Some of the highlights are:

  • Grid: Creates a grid-shaped fill with lines in both diagonal directions in each layer.
  • Lines: Creates a grid-shaped fill by pressing one diagonally for each grid.
  • Triangles: Creates a triangular-shaped fill pattern.
  • Cubic: Creates a 3D fill of oblique cubes.
  • Tetrahedral: The pyramid creates 3D fill in shapes.
  • Concentric: In this fill pattern, it prints from the outside to the middle of the model. In this way, the filling lines are not visible from the walls of the print.
  • Concentric 3D (3D Concentric):The fill is printed from the outside towards the center of the model, inclined towards the entire print.
  • Zig Zag: Creates a grid-shaped fill that is constantly pressed in a diagonal direction.

How to Choose Inner Fill Patterns?

The main factors to consider when choosing the inner fill pattern in the Cura slicer are:

  1. Will the part to be produced be used for mechanical purposes?
  2. Does the part to be produced have a large upper surface?

If the model to be produced is not used as a mechanical part and will be used mostly for aesthetic purposes, you can also produce without any internal filling. However, if the same model has a large upper surface, some support is required to print and close this large surface. In such cases, concentricis the best internal fill selection. This pattern uses minimal material and is the fastest to print. At the same time, it provides sufficient support for the upper surface.

If you want the model to have reasonable power even if you will not use it for mechanical purposes, the best option is to choose a 2D pattern such as Grid, Lines or Triangles. "Lines" provides minimal strength, but does not consume a lot of material and prints quickly. "Grid" consumes more material, is slower, but provides more power. "Triangles" provides great power and high lateral load. You can use this inner filling pattern when the wall needs to be strong, long or thin.

If the model to be produced is to be used for mechanical purposes, the best option is to use a 3D filler pattern such as "Cubic" or "Tetrahedral". With these molds in cura, you get excellent internal support and isotropic mechanical properties.

Overall Print Speed in Cura

3D printers, like copiers, cannot print instantly. It can take several hours to print a simple model, such as a standard coffee cup. Long print times can be very frustrating at times. Therefore, Cura slicing software offers several settings to control the print speed of walls, fill pattern, support structures to control only the "Overall Print Speed", called "Print Speed".

Print Speed Setting

Cura's "Print Speed" setting is located in the "Speed" section of the "Custom" settings. This setting refers to the speed at which the 3d print head extruder moves during printing. The default value is 60 mm/s.

Simply increase this speed to reduce printing time. However, keep in mind that increasing the print speed affects other parameters, and accordingly you need to make some detailed adjustments.

  • When the 3D print head extruder moves faster, there may not be enough time for the filament to melt in sufficient time to exit the nozzle. This often leads to the production of models with a fragile structure. You can solve this problem by increasing the temperature of the extruder and melting the plastic properly.
  • Increasing the print speed can cause the 3D print head to vibrate and unstable pressures. Fluctuations may occur on the surface of the manufactured model. Therefore, faster print speeds are often the price of sacrificing quality.
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Best Print Speed in Cura

To find the optimum print speed in Cura, you can experiment with increasing speed, usually in steps of 5 mm/s. For example, make a production with a print speed of 65 mm/s. If you like the result, its speed will increase to 70 mm/s. After the increases, the quality of printing will become unacceptable. Then this print speed below 5 mm/s of the low point will be the best.

If you can't increase the print speed without reducing the print quality, you can increase the "Infill Speed". The inner fill rate is a hidden setting, so you must first make it visible. This setting controls the print speed of the inner fill without affecting the print speed of other parts of the model. Since the inner fill is invisible, the quality of the filling is not so important and reduces the printing time in the same way.

In some cases, you may need to reduce the print speed. If you're printing detailed models, you can produce details more accurately with a lower print speed. In addition, the 3D slicer usually has PETG or flexible filaments that require lower print speed settings.

To slow down the print speed, simply reduce the value of the "Print Speed" setting. Filament manufacturers often have the "recommended print speed" for their filaments. For multi-detail models, start printing by reducing the print speed by 10 mm/s, then you can increase and decrease it in 5 mm/s increments as needed.

Cooler Fan Speed in Cura

The filament laid on the printing table can change shape until it cools. Therefore, many 3D printers use cooling fans to speed up this process and harden the material as it lays out into layers. A good cooling system prevents the last floor from deteriorating while laying a new, warm layer.

Cura turns on cooling by default, except for the first layer. Cooling is not used in the first layer, since this makes it difficult for the model to stick to the printing table. All other layers can be printed with cooling on.

When it opens the cooling fan, the nozzle may not reach the temperature required to melt the plastic. This can be caused by overcooling or when the refrigerant fan blows towards the nozzle. When you encounter this problem, on the 3D printer screen, you will see that the nozzle does not reach the desired temperature.

Cura offers a "Fan Speed" setting to avoid overcooling problems. This is a hidden setting under the "Cooling" section. As usual, you must first make this setting visible in your 3D slicer.

The value of this setting is set to a percentage of the maximum speed of the fan. Start printing by changing it to 80%. Fans will not return for values below 20%.

Disable Cooling

Some filaments such as Nylon, Polycarbonate (PC) and PETG still need to be printed in the air. These materials shrink a lot when cooled. If the cooling fan is activated when printing with these materials, the model takes off in unexpected ways and cracks appear in the layers.

With these filaments, you need to turn off cooling in Cura when printing the model. Clear the check box in the "Enable Print Cooling" setting under the "Cooling" section. When you do, Cura turns off the cooling.

Minimum Layer Time in Cura

For very small prints, one layer is printed so fast that fans don't have enough time to cool down before the next layer is printed. Therefore, the small layer bends depending on the temperature of the next layer.

cura setup

The "Minimum Layer Time" setting in the Cura slicer can help resolve this issue. This is a hidden setting under the "Cooling" section. Thanks to this setting, you will give the cooling fan more time to cool very small layers. The value of this setting is the minimum time for a layer to print. For very small layers, Cura slows down the print speed. Thus, the extruder moves more slowly to print the layer.

The default value for this setting is 5 seconds. If you're encountering small broken layers, start printing by increasing it to 10 seconds, then change the setting in 5-second increments as needed.

Print Table Adjustment in Cura

When the plastics are pressed, they first expand slightly, but shrink as they cool. If the material shrinks too much, this causes the model to leave/lift from the print bed and bend upwards. This event is called "Warping". Some materials contract more than others (for example, ABS, PETG, PC or Nylon show more shrinkage than PLA filament).

cura setup

Cura offers some settings that prevent bending. The most important of these is the "Build Plate Adhesion" setting located under the "Build Plate Adhesion" section. There are three options for this setting; Skirt, Brim and Raft. Skirt is a default option in Cura. It is the line around the pressure on the first layer that helps prepare the extruder.

cura setup

If you are facing a serious ups and downs, you can choose Brim or Raft over other options.

When you select Brim, Cura creates a single-layer, flat area around the model, based on tensile forces as the print cools. Since the edge is only a single layer thick, it can be easily removed when the print is finished.

cura setup

For some materials or models, the Brim feature may not prevent the model from taking off. In such cases, the Raft option is recommended in cura settings. The raft adds a thick grid structure between the model and the printing table to ensure even distribution of heat. It is preferred when the base of a model is not completely flat or when printing with industrial filaments (such as ABS, PETG, Nylon and PC filament).

cura setup

The Table Adhesion Type section is not the only section that can help prevent bending. Here are some other Cura settings that can help you:

  • A thicker first layer often makes it easier to stick. You can make the first layer thicker by changing the "Initial Layer Height" setting. This is a hidden setting under the "Quality" section in the Cura slicer. Make sure that you select the value as "Layer Height" and enter a higher number.
  • Instead of leaving the material nozzle and remaining stationary on the printing table, it can be dragged along with the extruder. Therefore, it is important not to set the initial layer speed too high. To slow down the speed of the first layer,first make visible the setting called "Initial Layer Speed" under the "Speed" section. Then set the speed to a value lower than the default value.
  • Cura has another setting called "Number of Slower Layers"that can help the model adhere better to the table. This setting slows down the printing of sublayers and defines the number of layers for the 3D printer to reach the set print speed. Depending on "Initial Layer Speed" and "Print Speed", the speed is tilted linearly based on the number of layers specified in the Slow Layer Count setting. A higher value will reduce the likelihood of the model getting out of bed, but this setting can also significantly increase print time.
  • As we mentioned earlier, printhead cooling fans for the first print layer are usually turned off to ensure adherement to the optimum pressure table. Cura offers another setting for the first floor called "Regular Fan Speed At Height", which gradually turns on the fan, from no fan to maximum power at a certain height. This setting is equal to Slow Layer Count, but applies to cooling. It's a secret setting, so you have to make it visible. You can try a little higher than the default and improve its adhesion to the print table.

There may be bending for many reasons, such as incorrect bed calibration,oblique pressure table or underheated pressure table. Some of these issues may not be fixed as part of the Cura slicer. Therefore, before you deal with cura settings, you should make sure that you solve these problems.

Top and Bottom Layer Thickness in Cura

Sometimes, the upper surface of the model does not close completely, and bumps and gaps occur. It's called pillowing. This problem is usually caused by incorrect "Shell" (Wall), "Cooling" or "Quality" settings. You can solve this problem by changing cura slicer settings.

cura setup

The swell can be corrected by changing the "Top/Bottom Thickness" setting, which is the hidden setting under the "Shell" section. As with other hidden settings in Cura, you must enable it for this setting in the Shell section to appear.

It is important to use a top layer thick enough to create a smooth top surface. When the top is too thin, you get a surface with a hole in it. To fix this, simply increase the "Top Thickness". The recommended thickness is six times the height of the layer. Therefore, if the layer height is 0.1 mm, the upper thickness should be at least 0.6 mm or more.

However, this is not the only factor of the problem of swelling occurring on the upper surface. Sometimes very little cooling can also cause this problem. If the plastic does not cool properly, the molten filament may sag or curl a little where the internal filling lines pass. This means creating an unearned surface for the next layer that needs to be placed on it. This causes swelling on the upper surface.

Therefore, if increasing the top thickness does not solve the problem, try to increase the fan speed in the "Cooling" cooling section. It is especially seen that thinner layers tend to curl. Therefore, it can help to increase the height of the layer.

Fixing the Yarn Problem in Cura

Threading in the model is another common 3D printer problem. Sometimes, there are plastic yarns in places where the model should never have been. This problem typically occurs because the extruder leaks due to the gravity and pressure difference of plastic when moving from one point to another in the parts where the molten filament will not be pushed.

cura setup

The most obvious solution to get rid of the thread problem with cura or any 3D slicer is to open "Retraction". Retraction means that the pressure head extruder is slightly retraced by the extruder in long-distance movements. This effectively prevents the penetration of filaments. To enable recall, under the "Material" section, click the "Enable Retraction" check box. Make sure the box is checked and set to "Default".

However, enabling this setting is usually not enough to completely stop the yarn problem, and you may also need to adjust the print temperature and print speed to get rid of this problem completely.

Print Temperature and Print Speed Adjustment for Yarn in Cura

Print temperature plays a big role when it comes to filament leakage. If the temperature is too high, the filament becomes more liquid and tends to drip through the nozzle. Therefore, reducing the pressure temperature can be effective in reducing the problem of threading. You can find the "Printing Temperature" setting below the "Material" section. Exactly what temperature you use depends on the types of filaments you will use. Try reducing the print temperature by 10 degrees until you get the best results.

When the pressure drops the temperature, do not forget about the possibility that the filament cannot be pushed through the extruder. Previously, we talked about the connection between print temperature and print speed and how it should be adjusted together for best results. Therefore, when the print temperature drops, make sure that it also reduces the print speed accordingly.

In addition, increasing the "Travel Speed" under the "Speed" section can also help fix this problem. In this way, the printhead extruder moves a little faster, and the molten material drips less from the nozzle during the movement of the extruder. For most prints, a speed of 200 mm/s can be good.

Cura Support Settings (Supports)

Many 3D models have protrusions. Additional support structures may be needed to successfully print these models. Cura can create these support builds automatically in most cases. When printing is complete, support structures can be removed manually from the model.

The three most common problems when using support builds:

  • Is the support structure properly positioned and strong enough to provide the necessary balance during the printing process?
  • Can the support structure be easily removed later?
  • Does the support structure disrupt the surface of the protruding parts?

Cura provides settings for a number of support structures in the "Support" section of "Custom Settings". Using these settings, it is possible to create support structures that provide the necessary stability, are not difficult to remove and do not damage the surface of the model.

Activate Support Settings

How do you know if your model needs additional support structure?

Cura makes it easier for you to make up your mind. After you load the model into the Cura slicer and add it to the working plane, pay attention to the red sections. These are the parts where Cura detects instability. Change the model view angle to examine each part of the model and make sure that the red sections are removed.

If you see the first layer of the model touching the print table in red, don't worry. There is no need for a support structure for the first layer. Small red areas above holes or between two structures are called bridges, and Cura uses them automatically.

If different regions of the model highlighted in red are present, you need to start worrying. To ensure that these red zones can be printed successfully, you must enable automatically generated support builds. To do this, simply select the "Generate Support" check box under the "Support" section in cura.

Thus, you activated the automatically generated support structure, but noticed that there were no changes to the model view. Don't worry because Cura doesn't show support builds in its default solid view. Change the view to "Layer View" to see the supported builds created. The support material (lines and volume) will be displayed bluish. You can move the layer bar at the bottom right up and down to see where Cura's support is added in the 3D model.

Placement of Support Structures

When it enables the support structure, an automatic name called "Placement" appears under the "Support" section. The layout setting allows you to roughly control the position of the support structure. There are two options: "Everywhere" and "Touching Buildplate" (support for angles between them and the printing table). Select "Everywhere" by default.

When Selected Everywhere, Cura tries to build support structures wherever necessary. This means not only having support structures mounted on the building plate, but also supporting structures that use part of the model as the base. This is the option that is reasonable in most cases, since it ensures that all unbalanced areas have the necessary support.

cura setup

However, everywhere, if it is selected for very complex models, the model may be completely covered by the support material. If you don't want this, change the "Placement" setting to "Touching Buildplate". This will only create support structures between the printing table and the model under the protruding sections of the model.

Support Structure Ceiling

Since the protrusion of a model is always pressed on the support structures, you will not always get the best surface quality for these parts. The "Enable Support Roof" setting can help you with this.

A support structure ceiling provides a dense coating at the top of the support structure, which does not cause much damage to the surface of the protrusions. When you enable this setting, you get a better surface quality. However, this option may cause support structures to be removed more difficult than usual. We recommend using this option only if the protruding surface of the part is critical to the function of the finished part.

Support Structure X/Y Distance

Sometimes, the support structures are very close to the outer wall of the model, leaving traces on the outer surface of the model. You can prevent this problem by using the hidden "Support X/Y Distance" setting under the "Support" section.

cura setup

The Support Structure X/Y Distance setting in cura mainly controls the minimum allowed distance between the vertical walls of the model and a support structure on the X-Y plane. If support damages or sticks to walls, you can increase the value by 0.2 mm until the walls are smooth. However, if you put too much distance between the support and the walls, make sure that there is no small protrusion that sticks to the unsupported outer walls. If there are small protrusions, you may even need to reduce the X/Y distance instead of increasing them. Otherwise, you'll get a failed print.

Support Structure Z Distance

In order for the support structure to be separated cleanly without damaging the model layers, the connections between the support structure must be made weaker than the connection between the model layers. Cura creates this weak connection by leaving a gap between the upper and lower parts of the support structure and the model, which is known as "Z-Distance".

cura setup

You can make it easier to remove support structures by controlling the Z-Distance hidden setting under the support section. The default value for this setting is the same as the layer height. For example, if the layer height is 0.1 mm, the default Z-Distance will also be 0.1 mm. Increase Z-Range value if support structure barely separates from model

Appropriate Support Structure Selection

Cura offers seven different support structure patterns. You can change the pattern by using a hidden setting called "Support Pattern" under the "Setting" section.

cura setup

Zig Zag, the default template in most cases, provides the best balance between strong construction and ease of dismantling. Other pattern options include Triangles, Lines, Grid, Concentric, Concentric, Concentric 3D, and Cross. If you're not happy with the default pattern, you can try other pattern options. Each will give you a different balance between power and ease of dismantling.

Check and Fix STL File

Meshmixer is useful for editing, analyzing and modifying 3D models before 3D printing. It's also great for bringing different models together. That's why it's often called 'Photoshop of 3D Design'.

Unlike the mesh type support structure of traditional slicing programs, Meshmixer uses tree type supports. Many users prefer these supports because these structures are customizable, the material used is efficient and well optimized for 3D printing.

Writing Suggestion

You can access our article here, where we transfer information such as How to Fix and Modify STL Files.

Special Modes in Cura

Cura slicing software has some special modes that allow you to print your model in unusual ways. These modes can come in handy when you have specific needs, such as:

  • If you want to model some of the time for a normal print.
  • If you want to print a model with a non-manifold design.

Spiralize Outer Contour Mode

The "Spiralize Outer Contour" special mode is a hidden setting under the "Special Modes" section in Cura's settings. When cura enables using the corresponding check box, a blank model prints instead of a solid model. The extruder curves upwards along the walls of the model, constantly follows a path, printing a wall as thick as its width with a solid base and one nozzle. No fills or supports are printed.

cura setup

This mode is very different from standard layering in 3D printing. Because when a layer is fully printed, instead of stepping up, the extruder always moves in the direction of Z. Since the extruder moves constantly and only presses the walls, this reduces the printing time by some of the normal. It also prevents material loss due to the lack of internal filling structure.

The downside of spiralized Outer Contour mode is that models produced with this mode are often not durable due to lack of internal filling.

If you want to print the model in this mode, keep the following warnings and settings in mind:

  • Spiralized Outer Contour mode does not work if the model has protrusions exceeding 45 degrees.
  • flat areas parallel to the print table cannot be printed in this mode.
  • When this mode is selected, the layer height, print speed, and other basic settings in Cura will still be active. This means that you will need to select "Layer Height" and "Line Width". Set "Wall Thickness" to the same value as "Line Width", set "Wall Line Count" to 1, set "Top Layers" to zero, and set "Infill" to %0.

Surface Mode

If you want to print designs that are not manifolds, Cura offers a special mode for this. This is called "Surface Mode" and can be used as a hidden setting in the "Special Modes" section.

When you make the setting visible, you will have three options: Normal, Surface, and Both. When it selects Normal, Cura tries to print the object normally. When the surface is selected, Cura prints only the X-Y walls and has a thickness of diameter with a nozzle. This allows you to print walls that are not connected to any solid volume. When it selects both, Cura prints the solid parts of the model normally and prints only the walls for non-manifold areas or residibles.

cura setup

Experiment Smart

So far we have mentioned many different settings in Cura 3D slicing software, each of which solves a particular problem. Of course, it can take a lot of time and expensive to try all these settings to find the best setting.

In the ideal case, you should change only one setting at a time to understand the effect on print quality. However, when you combine the settings, you can get completely different effects, since they often interact with each other in unexpected ways. The process of finding the right setting is therefore more art than science, and in fact there is no right or ideal guide for it.

But at least there's a way to speed up the experiments. Cura offers a feature called "Per Object Setting", which allows you to run multiple experiments only during a print cycle. This feature allows you to apply different settings to different parts of the print table. So you can split your model into multiple parts and then print each part with a slightly different setting. When the print is complete, you can choose the model that you like most in terms of quality, take note of the settings for the model, and run another trial round starting with this setting.

Smart Trial Steps

First, you need to divide the model into multiple parts. Besides cura slicing software, you will need additional software.

  • First, find a model big enough to be divided into multiple parts.
  • Download and load Netfabb. Since Autodesk acquired Netfabb, they have decided that it should be a commercial product. However, you can download the old version free Netfabb 7.4 Basicon GitHub (we ran it on both 64-bit and 32-bit computers in Windows 64, and both seem to work well.) and open it without downloading the "netfabb.exe" file.
  • Netfabb is a software that helps you fix problematic models. However, it can also help you break the model into multiple parts.
cura setup
  • Open the model in Netfabb and use the cutting tool to segment the model.
cura setup
  • Select each section (Ctrl + Left Key) and export it separately. Make sure you use a naming logic to help you put the parts together to reconstrute the entire model.
  • After you save all the different sections, open them in Cura.
cura setup
  • Select each shard (Ctrl + Left Key), and then click the "Per Object Settings" button on the slide bar on the left. This will allow you to apply the current setting only to this part.
cura setup
  • After selecting different settings for each track, select all the tracks (Ctrl + Left Key for all individual tracks). From the top menu, select "Edit > Merge Object. Cura will try to put the pieces together to create a consistent model.
cura setup
cura setup
  • Export and print G-Code! Each part will be printed with the settings you have assigned. Once the print is complete, you can now review the tracks and choose your favorite setting.

When you experiment, you can run four experiments in a single print cycle, saving time and material. We call it the "smart experimentation cycle".

Making Cura Turkish

If you want to use cura slicing software with Turkish interface, it is very simple to do. Click Preferences / Configure Cura… from the menu above left for turkish interface.

cura setup

Then select General / Interface / Language / Turkish from the menu that appears and click OK. That's all there is to it.

cura setup

Summarize

If you've applied everything and successfully applied the right custom settings to the right problems, the print quality you get from your 3D printer should improve with limitations. If you really experiment with Cura after reading this article, we would love to hear about his experience, failures and achievements.

In this article we tried to consider the most important settings, we excluded the settings that are not used very often. Cura has more than 100 hidden custom settings, and we only use about 40 in daily printing. When it starts experimenting with the widely used Cura settings, we hope that it will dare to try other hidden settings.