FDM Prepare Cura

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Follow this step by step guide on how to prepare your file on Cura:

  1. Selecting the 3D printer: After setting up the program you first select a printer profile. If the desired printer is not present, you add it through the “add printer” button. You can add Ultimaker printers directly, other printers can often be added via the custom option. You seldom need to define a profile, all the machines available at the FabLab have profiles in Cura.
  2. Filament & nozzle selection: Regarding the filament, the optimum extrusion temperature range differs per filament manufacturer and per filament type. Don’t just set something and hope for the best. Check if the preset makes sense, the right temperature is also written on the spool of the filament. Make sure u have selected the right nozzle size as well. All of the 3D printers have a 0.4 nozzle by default. A select few have a different nozzle size, this will be displayed on the sign in front of the printer.
  3. Quality selection: The quality is mainly determined by the print speed, the higher the quality, the slower the machine will print. For strong prints use a layer height of at least 0.15 mm. For more smooth and detailed prints, use a layer height of  0.1 mm. 0.06 mm is only useful if you tweak a printer to perfection, which is very hard to do on a shared machine; consider using one of our SLA printers. Keep in mind that as a general rule of thumb the layer height should be between 25% and 80% of the nozzle size. If you want to use thinner lines a smaller nozzle is needed and vice versa; If you want to use thicker lines a bigger nozzle is needed.
  4. Importing your 3D files: To import 3D files you can use both the folder symbol below the program’s name and drag an object from File Explorer to the program’s build plate representation. You can import multiple objects, all these objects will be sliced together. To check if an object has been correctly placed on the build plate see if the object is one solid color. If the object has diagonal stripes displayed over it, this is a indication that object is not properly fitted on the build plate. To center a object on a build plate; right click the object and click on “Center Selected”.
  5. Placement and object options: If you click on an object you will be able to select these options on the left side:
    • Move: The move the object per axis
    • Scale: To scale the object up or down using percentages or by dragging left click on the object itself
    • Rotate: To rate the object per axis
    • Mirror: To mirror the object into whichever axis that u select
    • Per model settings: To configure countless settings per model and also to configure the mesh type
    • Support blocker: Select this option and click on a location to generate a cubic cm large support blocker. Move, scale and rotate this to completely encase the (section of) the model where you don’t want support. The blocker doesn’t have to touch the floor. You can use multiple blockers per model.
    • Making copies: You can make (multiple) copies of the selected object(s) by clicking the right mouse button and choosing multiply selected, the number you fill in is the number of extra copies.
    • Distributing multiple objects: To arrange overlapping models on the build plate eliminating the overlap use Ctrl + R or click the right mouse button and select arrange all models. ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤFor more options please visit the tips and tricks page
  6. Slicing and checking: In the bottom right, you find the button that starts the slicing process. Always check the preview. If you decide you need to tweak the settings it is best to return from the preview view to the prepare view. The vertical bar on the right allows you to see a ”layer by layer” point of view. It will also show in blue where support is being printer and where to support blockers are being utilized.
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