Ultimaker continues to develop Ultimaker Cura, as we see they’ve released a new version for beta testing.
Version 4.2 of Ultimaker Cura does not appear to be a major release, but does include a couple of very interesting slicing features. Most of the update seems to be focused on tweaking the user interface to make things easier, which is always a very good thing.
The interesting parts, at least from my point of view, are the following.
Ultimaker Cura Orthographic View
Finally Ultimaker Cura allows an orthographic view of the 3D model arrangement.
Orthographic is different from the normal “perspective” view as it allows much more precision. Perspective is how we normally look at objects with our own eyes; things farther away are smaller.
Orthographic views are quite different in that the lines of sight are always parallel. In other words, the back side of a cube is the same apparent size as the front side. Why would anyone want this type of view? It’s simply because it is far easier to see if parts are aligned, touching or overlapping when you can see “straight”.
I prefer to use perspective views as it is more natural to my optical processing system, but there are definitely times when an orthographic view is required. Now Ultimaker Cura has it too.
Handling Multiple Objects in Ultimaker Cura
As the size of 3D printers increases, there is a tendency to put more objects on the build plate. This sometimes results in fairly complex build plate configurations with over a dozen parts. That’s not a problem if the parts happen to be identical, but what if they aren’t?
What if they are slightly different variations of each other? How could you visually tell which one was which? Do you know you have all of the required parts on the plate? Or did you miss one?
Ultimaker Cura Beta 4.2 includes an “object list” feature that provides a way to access parts via name, not just clicking on their build plate appearance. This ensures you can match the part name to the objects on the build plate.
Full Extrusion Setting in Ultimaker Cura
This feature is quite interesting. When dual extrusion is used, sometimes one nozzle is idle for a substantial period. During this time the nozzle still carries heat and thus causes the patiently waiting material in that idle nozzle to slowly drip out. When the nozzle is eventually used, there is a temporary shortage of material because some was lost to drips.
The new feature, called “Nozzle switch prime distance”, allows the operator to tweak the restart distance. So for materials that are excessively drippy, it’s possible to lengthen the priming period and thus ensure 100% material availability when printing recommences.
Ultimaker Cura Now Allows Flow Per Feature
Flow rate is an important parameter on any 3D print, as it allows one to compensate for filament that happens to be slightly out of diameter calibration. It’s also used to ensure a print has a sufficient amount of material deposited during extrusion.
Now it seems that Ultimaker Cura Beta 4.2 allows you to specify different flow rates for different feature types. For example, you could set a different flow rate for infill vs. walls vs. support structures, etc. Thus you could for example ensure your object’s walls are sufficiently strong while skimping on support material. This feature could save material and increase part quality.
Miscellaneous Interface Tweaks in Ultimaker Cura
As I mentioned, there are a bunch of interface tweaks that Ultimaker has included to make life easier. One, for example, changes the “Slice” button to say “Processing” immediately to help people avoid clicking “Slice” over and over when it appears nothing is happening.
It seems that the 4.2 release will be quite improved, although primarily focused on more advanced users who would actually take the time to fiddle with the more advanced settings that have been included.
Ultimaker Cura 4.2 is a beta release that anyone can try, but remember that it is not the production release, which will come later. Everyone is welcome to try the new version, which is available at no charge — it’s open source software.