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How to Enhance 3D Printing Result with the New Ultimaker Cura

How to enhance 3D printing result with appropriate settings on Ultimaker Cura is quite difficult for most 3D printing beginners. But it’s actually not that difficult, especially in the new version, the recently updated 4.7.1 Ultimaker Cura. We’re now printing a bust of Trump Smile with Anet ET4 3D printer to example setting procedures on Cura with its new features of tree support and support block (a block preset to cover certain area to avoid automatic generated support while 3D printing).

When you install the Ultimaker Cura the first time on your computer, the software will require you to add a 3D printer as below picture shows.

Select the printer and click “Add”.

We can use default values of machine settings and just click on “next” to go on.

After entered the software, click on “Preferences” and then “Settings”, and then select “Check all”. Then close the software and restart it.

After re-entered the software, click on the pencil icon and open the setting interface. There are two crucial elements that affect 3D printing outcome. They are the settings of layer height and infill density. The default value of layer height is 0.6mm. Layer height ranges from 0.06mm to 0.6mm and decides the quality of a 3D printed model. Lower height means more accurate printed 3D model. Of course, you need a nozzle with smaller extruding diameter when you set a lower layer height. On the other hand, infill density decides the inside density of a 3D printed model. 20% is the default value of infill. You can adjust infill density from 0 to 100% according to your requirement.

We don’t use the default settings this time. By click on “Custom”, we go to detailed setting procedure.

We set layer height at 0.15mm and parameters below accordingly changed.

Scroll down and set infill density at 30% or higher, which depends on your requirement.

Continue to scroll down until the “Material” section appears, set printing temperature at 195 ℃ (which can adjusted according to filament materials while printing). Appropriately decreased printing temperature also enhances 3D printing quality, and can avoid filament snag. But sometimes it increases possibilities of jammed filament. So be careful when set printing temperature.

Go down the list and make sure on the “Travel” section, “Enable Retraction” is selected. This function also avoids filament snag. Note that “Enable Retraction” is default selected. 

Go downstairs to the “Support” section, select “Generate Support” and revise support structure option from normal to tree. Tree support is a new feature in Ultimaker Cura 4.7.1 as we mentioned in previous articles. Please decide whether to use “Generate Support” according to your about-to-print model. This time, we’re printing a model that requires support. 

And next, we set the support density to 7% (default value is 15%).

At the “Build Plate Adhesion” section, we set the adhesion type from the default “Brim” to “Skirt”. Skirt type means less model adhesion on the build plate. It enhances 3D printing result especially when print a multiple parts assembled model. But the skirt adhesion type also increases the risk of warped models. You can apply solid glue on the printing area on the build plate to avoid the situation.

Note: other settings use default values.

Today, we’re going to print a Trump bust with above settings. In addition, we added support blocks to avoid excessive generated support at hair part of the bust. This improves well-presented hair texture and keeps a tidy surface without support residues which are difficult to remove.

We’ll explain detailed features of support blocks and tree support in the next article. 

After all settings are done, click on “Slice” and start printing the Trump Smile bust. 

After about 34 hours, we got a fine printed 3D bust of Trump Smile.

Trump Smile Bust (printing temperature 195 ℃, printing speed 80%)

Tree support actually looks like a hand supporting Trump’s head. That’s really interesting! 

Trump Smile Bust (support removed)

Now, we got a perfect outcome of Trump Smile with Anet ET4 3D printer. It is a well printed 3D bust with vivid smiley emotions, detailed clothing and finely textured hairs, wrinkles, eyelids, and etc. 

Removed tree support parts

7% density printed hollow tree support can be easily removed, and also its residues on the bust.

Printing parameters:

Layer Height: 0.15mm

Infill Density: 30%

Printing temperature: 195℃

Enable Retraction: yes

Generate Support: yes

Support Structure: Tree

Support Density: 7%

Build Plate Adhesion Type: Skirt

You can just skip over above setting procedures by uploading setting file to your Ultimaker Cura. File link is enclosed at the end of this article. 

Find “Profile” in “Printing settings” section and then click on “Manage Profiles”.

Click on “Import” to load the file to print.

Download setting file:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eVwmgujwOewUKpTSNwo7TiaZm_QZMvoR/view?usp=sharing

P.S.

You can follow above procedures for Cura setting on a windows computer too.

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