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CURA is the "production software" where you select the type of filament, heater settings for the bed and print head, nozzle size, resolution and fine details. The current release of CURA is 3.0 this is available under GPL for Win, MACOS and Linux.

The function of CURA is to "slice" the object into layers anywhere from 0.06mm to 1mm. The former is for fine modelling, the latter is to make screw wall plugs from. The software will give you an estimated time for completion and a cost for producing the item, with its rough weight. The software is very easy to use and fairly intuitive.

CURA accepts files with the .STL (stereo lithography) format and produces from this the ".GCODE" (geometry code) files. The GCODE files are the ones used by the printer and CURA will normally store then for you on the SD card that the printer uses. CURA also accepts different file types and from these can produce stereo projections. It is useful in turning 2D drawing or text into a 3D object.

The following screenshot shows CURA with a station gate file loaded. You can position the item anywhere on the grid -but it normally uses the centre of the X and Y axis. The program gives the time for building this item as 1 hour and 5 mins (lower RHS) and the cost at £0.08p. Altering the print setting can increase or decrease the required time. The "infill" control states how much printed material is inside the shell -ranges from 10% to 100%. This can increase the printing time. A Lego brick is hollow -a builders brick is solid. The generate support option builds a scaffold under projecting parts to stop them "wilting" as they are printed. The build plate adherence option produces a "skirt" around the object to increase resistance to moving -which can be a problem with larger prints.

The next screenshot shows the print media selection options. Telling the program which media you intend to use causes it to load the settings for that media. This is useful if you are printing an item that uses more than one medium -say one which is good for model surfaces over a cheap hard wearing base for the bearing or bushes to be mounted into.

The last screenshot enables you to tell CURA if your machine has some variations from the standard scripts it has for your machine type. You may alter the nozzle size, relative positioning of the print head and generally tweek and twiddle...

The software will enable you to "load" your build plate with multiple objects that you might need for that part of the build. Although the script file says "print one block" there is no law preventing you from plastering the build plate with as many blocks, brackets or capstones as you need.

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Page last modified on January 24, 2018, at 09:56 AM