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  • Writer's picturePete

Quick Start Guide to Cura Settings

Updated: Apr 28, 2018

Cura can be an intimidating piece of software for new users. Here are some quick tips to getting your model sliced, positioned, multiplied and ready to print. Theses slicer settings are what I use on the Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer using Cura 15.04.6. Designing and importing a model from Fusion 360 is quick and convenient, just follow these few steps and 3D print like a boss!

Cura slicer for 3D printing
Using Cura 15.04.06 to slice a model for 3D printing

Getting Started with Cura Settings

Before we get into manipulating the model within Cura, let's talk about settings. There are two tabs on the left hand side of the software: Basic and Advanced. Spend some time to familiarize yourself with the settings. For this post, we will walk through the Quality and Fill sections.

Under Quality, the two settings are Layer Height and Shell Thickness. Layer Height controls how many separate slices are made in the part and is the single biggest driver of print time. For most prints, I use 0.13125mm, but 0.175mm would be good for this part as also. Shell Thickness tells the printer how many lines to print around any feature. It's best to use a value that is a multiple of the nozzle diameter. Here, I'm using a 0.4mm nozzle, and printing three layers around the outside (3 x 0.4 = 1.2) so the shell thickness is 1.2mm.

These paint pyramids were specifically designed to be hollow, saving print time and material, so a 0% Fill will work just fine.

The Fill section has two settings also, Bottom/Top Thickness and Fill Density. The Bottom Thickness value is how thick the solid surface touching the build plate is. In some parts, it may be helpful to make the bottom thicker or thinner than the sides. For these paint pyramids, I want all the surfaces to be equal, so use 1.2mm again. Most 3D printed parts are hollow, or mostly hollow, and that's controlled with Fill Density. For most parts, a value of 15-20% is sufficient to build a framework inside the part to support it. These paint pyramids were specifically designed to be hollow, saving print time and material, so a 0% Fill will work just fine.

Manipulating Parts in Cura

You might notice that parts imported from Fusion 360 don't always come in sitting flat on the build plate. Fortunately, Cura offers a quick solution under the Rotate menu. Click on the part, and select Rotate in the bottom left corner.

With the part and the Rotate function selected, click the 'Lay Flat' option.

The part will snap flat onto the build plate, allowing the print to use no support on the outside, and no fill on the inside.

Printing Multiple Parts in Cura

Often, it's useful to load the print bed as full as possible with multiple parts, and leave the printer to run overnight. Loading multiple parts into Cura is one option, but for this project multiple paint pyramids are needed to support whatever you're painting. We can use the Multiply Object function to print more than one part.

Right Click on the part in the print bed window and select 'Multiply Object'. A window will pop up asking how many copies do you want. Remember this is copies, not total parts, so if you enter 6 there will be 7.

I entered 5 copies, to print 6 parts. It's not necessary here, but you can click and drag the individual parts to different places on the print bed. This can be useful when nesting together differently shaped parts to make best use of the build area.

Finished Product

That's it for now, printing 6 of these paint pyramids with the Cura slicer settings shown above took just over 1 hour to print. Not bad, considering a 10-pack from Rockler costs about $8; I never seem to have enough of these when it comes time to finish woodworking projects. You can read more about the design Here; and watch the video Here.

I've posted the STL files for download Here.

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