Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Cura 2.3.1 Upgrade (and Simplify3D)

I am the happy owner of a new Ultimaker 3 that is now sitting beside my Ultimaker 2+.  I think that I may have been the first person in the UK to get a UM3 and because I was so early I needed to use Cura instead of Simplify 3D which I have been using for a couple of years.

I have been happy enough with Cura, and frustrated enough with a couple of S3D idiosyncrasies, that I have shelved S3D and been using Cura exclusively for the past month.   Here are some observations relative to that experience.

Two Things that I miss about Simplify3D

The first thing that I really miss is the ability to manually set where support is to be created.  This can be a truly useful feature.

The second thing is the ability to create a "factory" that remembers the models and print settings that went into doing a particular job.   Ironically one of the things that I hate about Simplify3D is the lack of a refresh or reload function for the models that comprise a factory (or models that are on the build platform regardless of being in or out of a factory)!   It would be nice if Cura remembered everything about a job, from what files, to what settings, but I would be happy if it just remembered the list of files.  I do a lot of iterating when doing a design and since I design kits of multiple parts Cura can be cumbersome.   More on the multiple parts issue below.

Things that I Really Like about Cura 2.3.1

I have not used Cura for a couple of years so the changes from what I remember to now are enormous and I am not at all sure what features are new versus been around for a while.  One of the things that I like has been alluded to above already and that is the update model facility.  The other, and bigger, feature is the quality of the profiles that come with Cura now.  For the range of nozzle sizes and material types these profiles can not be beaten for getting a leg up on quality.  Finally, I like the cost of Cura!

Things that I would Change about Cura 2.3.1

As I mentioned above, I would like to see a "factory" like concept added.  Initially this could just be to remember the models loaded but remembering the rest of the settings for a job would be great, as would the ability to manually control support placement.  As the latter is probably a lot more of a challenge I would recommend that the first be attacked soon!

My other major gripe about Cura relates to the USB driver.  Why does it do a destructive poll of printers when it starts???  I have deleted the USB driver from the Cura directory structure to prevent this behavior but I do not think that I should have to do so!

The last thing that would make my life easier is to have a little bit larger of a bounding box around the models that are on the build platform.  This might be peculiar to the way that I work but it can be hard to grab small parts to move them around!

Possible Bugs in Cura 2.3.1

There seems to be a circumstance where the slicer looses the ability to reset model positions on the build platform.  I have not been able to isolate when this happens but when it does the only solution is to quit and restart.  There are some other things about using profiles that I think may be issues but I have not been able to isolate an issue to be able to describe said issue!


I really like the new Cura!  I have not printed anything using S3D on either of my two printers since I took delivery of the UM3.

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