Ultimaker Cura 3.0 offers the easiest and most accessible experience for users, whether they are novices or professionals. With a new, fresh interface, preparing your models for 3D printing has never been easier.
As Ultimaker promised when they announced their software strategy a few weeks ago, big improvements are coming to their software. The first of these is a brand new version of Cura with Ultimaker Cura 3.0. This has a many improvements that we are very excited to see such as a new UX, third party plugins for software such as SOLIDWORKS, and gradual PVA infill for faster dual extrusion prints using less material.
Ultimaker also recently announced they have over 1 million users of their globally recognized software which is an amazing accomplshment. We won't go into every improvement in this brief overview but feel free to visit their recent post to cover all of the updates you can expect.
Ultimaker Cura 3.0 offers:
A brand new UX. Use recommended settings for quick and easy print setup using intuitive sliders to prepare your print, or use custom settings to individually tweak over 200 unique slicing parameters.
Improved print time and material consumption. Recommended mode has new default settings that aim to save print time, material usage, and material costs.
Third-party plugins. Add plugins that can seamlessly integrate industry-standard CAD software into your workflow, such as SOLIDWORKS and Siemens NX.
The following shows a selection of features, improvements and bug fixes in Ultimaker Cura 3.0:
Ultimaker Cura 3.0 UX
Faster start-up. Start-up speed has been cut in half compared to the previous version.
Print quality slider. A slider in recommended mode can now be used to control print quality in proportion to print speed.
Infill slider. Print infill density is now controlled with a slider with 10% graduations in recommended mode.
Extruder buttons. Extruder buttons have changed from tabs to buttons, and button colors have been changed to match the new color scheme.
Layer view position. The layer view drop down box has moved from the bottom-left corner to the top-right corner.
Print time location. The print time location has moved from the bottom-right corner of the 3D viewer to the left of the Print over Network/Save to File button.
Third-party plugins and CAD integration
Third-party plugin capabilities. Professionals can now get the most from Ultimaker Cura by developing their own plugins to streamline their workflow. Currently, Ultimaker Cura 3.0 has SOLIDWORKS and Siemens NX compatible plugins, amongst others. These can be found in the Plugin Browser.
Add an "Export to Cura" button in SOLIDWORKS. This plugin can now be installed using an automatic installer. This is compatible with SOLIDWORKS 2016, 2017, and 2018 editions.
Prepare your design in SolidWorks.
Press the “Export to Ultimaker Cura” button.
Ultimaker Cura will open, with your design imported, ready to be sliced and printed.
Added Siemens NX macro. When a user updates models in Siemens NX and clicks on the button again, the updated models replace the models in Ultimaker Cura. This is compatible with Siemens NX 10 and 11.
PVA gradual support. Printing times and material consumption are heavily reduced by printing a lower PVA infill in the support and increasing it towards the top. This also reduces PVA dissolving times. On the (extra) fine and normal quality setting, PVA infill layers are printed at double thickness, decreasing print time even more. This is now enabled by default in recommended mode to get more efficient print time and material consumption.
Infill becomes denser at interfaces, requiring less support material.
The left print was sliced using Cura 2.6. The right print was sliced using Ultimaker Cura 3.0. Note the less-dense supports with the right print - the support gradually increases in density towards the top and at interfaces.
PVA retractions. PVA retraction length during a print core switch is increased. In combination with the reduced retraction distance and slightly higher max count, this ensures reduced stringing and more reliable results. Minimum travel distance for retraction is decreased, and max count is slightly increased. This significantly reduces stringing, at the cost of slightly increased print time.
PVA horizontal expansion. PVA supports are now expanded 33% less, in order to reduce material consumption, printing time, and printing artifacts.
Z seam options. Gives the user control over where to place the seam - hide it in convex corners or in easy to remove locations such as concave corners. This doesn’t let corner angles influence the seam position.
Quarter cubic infill. Similar to tetrahedral (octet) infill, but half of the lines are shifted half of the period up. This pattern sacrifices some rigidity of octet infill for greater toughness.
You can learn more about the full list of improvements by visiting Ultimaker's recent post.