A slicer, or slicing software program, is an integral a part of the 3D printing course of. True to its title, it “slices” a 3D mannequin into two-dimensional cross sections throughout the X-Y planes, in a fashion that may be printed by standard Cartesian printers.
There are many alternate options to Cura that may convert STL recordsdata into 3D printer-friendly G-code. Nonetheless, few benefit from the substantial engineering effort 3D printer producer Ultimaker places into Cura.
To drive that time house, let’s check out a few of the greatest Cura plugins that radically enhance your 3D printing expertise.
How To Set up Plugins in Cura
However first, let’s work out how one can go about putting in plugins in Cura. This includes clicking on the Market button on the high right-hand nook of this system window.
Thereafter, navigate to the Plugins tab and you’ll be offered with a laundry checklist of first- and third-party plugins.
1. Calibration Shapes
Calibrating your 3D printer is important to bettering high quality and dimensional accuracy of your 3D prints. It’s an endeavor that have to be repeated every time you modify nozzles, filament kind, or another part in your 3D printer.
Wouldn’t or not it’s good to have your complete suite of calibration fashions at your disposal with out having to rummage by means of Thingiverse? Fortunately, the Calibration Shapes plugin is simply what you want.
Wish to work out the optimum printing temperature on your filament/extruder/hotend combo? The plugin affords not one however three temperature calibration fashions tuned for 3 main filament varieties of PLA, PETG, and ABS.
Calibration Shapes presents you with 3D fashions for testing 18 completely different 3D printing parameters starting from retraction and bridging to dimensional accuracy and mattress stage calibration.
Simply choose the correct calibration mannequin on your tuning wants and go to the painstakingly crafted wiki to get the lowdown on how one can go in regards to the calibration course of.
2. Put up Processing
This can be a first-party plugin created by Ultimaker itself and must be pre-installed on the most recent variations of Cura. You possibly can confirm this by navigating to the Extensions menu. You must spot the Modify G-code possibility beneath Put up Processing. If that isn’t the case, you’ll be able to set up the plugin from the Market.
And also you’d need to try this if you happen to plan on utilizing the extra elaborate calibration fashions from the aforementioned Calibration Shapes plugin. The 3D mannequin for a temperature or retraction tower is virtually ineffective in case your 3D printer can’t cycle by means of preset temperature or retraction settings whereas printing these fashions.
The Put up Processing plugin means that you can instruct your 3D printer to make use of particular print parameters at varied phases of the calibration mannequin. That includes choosing your calibration mannequin of selection after which choosing the Modify G-code possibility from the Extensions menu.
This may open a Put up Processing Scripts window. Click on on Add a Script button to proceed.
Within the newest Cura variations, this could current you with a bevy of choices starting from having the ability to change the filament mid-print (for multicolored prints with a single extruder) to pausing the print at particular layer heights to introduce magnets, nuts, and for different artistic engineering purposes.
Nonetheless, to clarify how this works, we are going to follow the TempFan Tower script. This can be a post-processing preset tailor-made for use with the Calibration Shapes plugin for locating the optimum nozzle temperature for a selected filament/hotend mixture.
Discuss with the mannequin and enter the beginning temperature accordingly. For the ABS TempTower calibration form, the beginning worth of 250°C reduces by 5°C for each subsequent stage. You possibly can acquire the baseline post-processing script settings for every calibration mannequin by visiting the applicable web page within the wiki.
The Change Layer worth has been specified for a layer peak of 0.16mm, however you’ll be able to convert it to the 0.2mm layer peak with primary arithmetic. In case you are printing at a layer peak of 0.2mm, that will come out to 42 as a substitute of the default Change Layer worth of 52.
Profitable utility of the post-processing settings will carry up a button to change present post-process settings close to the Slice button on the decrease right-hand aspect nook. Be sure you take away the post-processing scripts by clicking on the cross icon subsequent to the script, or it should proceed to use to your subsequent prints.
This plugin is a godsend for printing supplies similar to ABS, nylon, and different supplies which are vulnerable to extreme warping. This happens when the plastic fibers shrink as a result of layers getting progressively cooler as they transfer additional away from the heated mattress.
For supplies similar to ABS and nylon, the shrinkage is extreme sufficient to tug the corners of the 3D printed object proper off the construct floor. This typically causes geometrical and dimensional inaccuracies. It may possibly even result in failed prints when your complete mannequin lifts off the bottom.
You possibly can mitigate this drawback with print adhesion enchancment measures similar to brims and rafts, however these are likely to waste plastic and complicate post-processing by leaving marks on the print. The TabAntiWarping plugin means that you can place customizable anti-warping tabs at strategic locations of the prints.
These tabs can come off comparatively simply in comparison with brims or rafts, and go away no seen marks. You ideally need to place these tabs on the sharp corners of a mannequin, that are most liable to curve up as a result of comparatively smaller space of adhesion.
The plugin even means that you can modify varied parameters similar to the dimensions of the tab to scale with the adhesion augmentation required. Growing the variety of layers additionally improves adhesion at the price of ease of removing. Nonetheless, you may also modify the X/Y Distance parameter to strike a stability between tab assist and removing issue.
4. Cylindric Customized Helps
A fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printer builds complicated 3D objects by stacking two-dimensional layers of plastic upon one another. The latter is a crucial prerequisite as a result of it’s inconceivable for an FDM printer to print in skinny air.
In different phrases, options of a 3D mannequin that reach horizontally with out something beneath them are inconceivable to print with out sacrificial plastic that acts as a assist construction. These helps are often auto-generated by the slicer software program.
Sadly, slicers err on the aspect of warning and use quite a lot of helps, which not solely waste plastic, however are additionally troublesome to take away with out leaving marks in your print.
Luckily, most printers are in a position to bridge over small gaps, which makes it pointless to generate an extreme quantity of assist materials. Nonetheless, the bridging functionality varies kind printer to printer and primarily with the printing temperature in addition to the aptitude of your half cooling fan.
Your slicer software program has no clue about your printer’s bridging capabilities, however you’ll be able to take a look at them out with the Calibration Shapes plugin. This may make it simpler to make use of the Cylindric Customized Helps plugin to manually place helps at strategic areas of the mannequin to leverage the bridging functionality of your printer.
In case your printer can bridge one-inch gaps with out compromising print high quality, you’ll be able to manually house customized helps by that margin utilizing this plugin.
The plugin provides you a selection between customized assist shapes similar to a cylinder, tube, dice, and abutment, along with free-form and customized shapes. The three major assist parameters outline the contact space (Dimension) with the mannequin, dimension of the bottom (Max Dimension), and the angle between the highest and backside assist surfaces to optimize mattress adhesion and assist stability.
Nonetheless, the very best helps are beneath the Freeform shapes offering choices similar to cross, part, pillar, bridge, arch-buttress, and T-support that let you bridge lengthy gaps or keep away from creating helps over the mannequin base.
5. Settings Information
Cura provides you the selection of a number of dozen slicer parameters, and each single a kind of could make or break your prints. Understanding when to tweak a selected slicer setting is vital to optimizing all the things starting from the very printability of a mannequin to its print high quality and the time it takes to finish it.
Cura comes with pop-up ideas for every parameter, which offer a quick description upon hovering on slicer parameters. Settings information, nonetheless, combines the pop-up ideas with the Ultimaker’s huge repository of slicer setting guides.
As a substitute of a brief description, the plugin throws up a pop-up with a complete write-up describing what the setting does, replete with detailed earlier than/after photographs illustrating the change. Use this for per week and also you simply may turn out to be a slicer whiz.
If the large tool-tip pop-ups show distracting, you’ll be able to disable the pop-up characteristic from the plugin Preferences menu. This lets you entry the identical info by right-clicking on the slicer parameter as a substitute.
Cura Is Even Higher With Plugins
The open-source nature of Cura permits it to host group made plugins, along with a major quantity of engineering effort put in by the core growth staff. And these 5 plugins amply display the worth in sticking with Cura on your 3D print slicing wants.
Uninterested in printing PLA with entry-level 3D printers? Discover ways to stage up your 3D printing recreation by constructing your individual from scratch.
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