Three-dimensional printing is now easier to approach than ever. But there are still existing problems such as the final result’s rough surface. As a result, the solution will be ironing on cura and Cura ironing settings play a big role in giving the surface smoothness.
First of all, common knowledge. 3D printing is the building process of making three-dimensional solid objects from digital files. The object will be produced by overprinting the materials in layers upon layers.
Secondly, there’s a simple thing about the top surface of 3D printed objects that some will consider as a downside. Which does not usually have a perfect smoothness, especially small objects. As commonly, people will smoothen them by sanding the extra materials off, manually.
However, this way will cost more time and effort to have a satisfying-looking surface.
Consequently, many will ask how to shorten this process off yet still have a good-looking final result. As a result, a European company suggests their three-dimension printing software, they named it Cura.
They will offer you two options. One is free and another one will cost a small price ( which is suitable for companies or mass producers). Yet, the functionality you will have is just unbelievable, let’s dig a bit deeper about this.
On This Page
- Ultimaker Cura Ironing – What Is It
- Cura Ironing Tips – Cura 3D Ironing
- Using Cura Ironing
- Cura Ironing Settings And Following Questions
Ultimaker Cura Ironing – What Is It
Firstly, an introduction. Built in 2011, Ultimaker is a famous 3D printer-producing business with its headquarter located in the Netherlands. More than that, they offer FFF 3D printers, branded printing materials, and develop three-dimensional printing software. Which will work on different operating systems including Windows, Linux, and macOS.
1. What Is Ironing Cura:
In a simple way of speak, it was and is a developed open-source slicing software for 3D printers. More than that, it works by slicing your model file into layers and forming a printer-specific code (geometric code). Next, the printer will receive that code for the making of the solid objects.
2. The New Features:
At the moment of research, the fourth version of Cura has been released. Which offers a brand new simplified user interface, making this one more fitting for a wide range of user skills.
Thanks to this, 3D printing now is a lot easier to approach for beginners. But this does not mean that it will lack function for experts. Many advanced options are added for a better experience.
Therefore, you can use this software from the beginning to that time you will master all of the skills, levels, and workflows.
3. Custom Mode:
This mode allows you to access full control. So you can change over 300 separate slicing settings. More than that, you can also have full control over the adjustable panel to keep all your settings visible or hide them.
Besides, it allows you to focus on your model as quickly as demand. Which is a common need of many three-dimension printing software out there.
Have you ever worked on your model and later realized that you don’t have the needed materials? So, here is the thing you need. Before you go to the cura ironing settings, there will be a feature called ‘’marketplace’’ on the main interface.
This marketplace section allows you to easily access the materials forms and plugins. 6re than that, this feature will show you support sites online and extra lines for product descriptions.
Also, the supplier websites link will be included so you can easily purchase in an instant. Isn’t that great?
5. Remote Printing:
The most amazing feature yet, at least in my point of view, remote printing. This will allow you to send and control the printing process anywhere through Ultimaker Cloud. And clearly, as long as you have an internet connection.
All you have to do is log in to your Ultimaker account first. And then, the rest you have to do is just control it as normal. But you will need a 3D printer made by Ultimaker itself, each account can only link one printer, at least for now. And also, this feature is only available on the Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker S5 3D printers.
Almost forgot the note from the manufacturer! You will want to update the latest firmware on your printer for the best final result.
In case you are a remote designer, then you will love this feature. This one will keep your options or Cura ironing settings in the cloud. Offers a whole next level of convenience, you can work anywhere, and anytime you want.
Firstly, an internet connection and an Ultimaker account are required, just like mentioned above. Secondly, just as usual, access your files and keep up with what you left off. Also, an account can store up to 5 backup files, at least in the time of research.
Cura Ironing Tips – Cura 3D Ironing
Since a bit of information about Cura and the needed conditions for the finest experience has been put on the table. But there are many things you have to pay a bit more attention to avoid material and effort loss. So, here is some notable information about Ultimaker Cura ironing for you.
1. History Time:
The very first idea of sanding the surface of three-dimensional printed objects was first suggested by a user on the Ultimaker forum in 2016. Neotko – the username of that user – called it “Neosanding” as a prototype. Which will smoothen the top surface by “Simplify3D”.
The ideal works by running the printer head for a second infill phase on the printed layer. Which is set at the height with the least extrusion rate possible. This method was later used by Ultimaker themself in the new Cura slicer.
2. How It Works:
In a simple way of speak, you will have the smoothness you want by running a second print phase on the outer layers. That’s all, but if you want a closer look, then here you go.
As you may already know. When the printer’s hot nozzle goes over the newly printed layer. Any plastic that may have folded up will be flattened, in an instant.
Also, there can be holes on the top of the surface as you know. But they are filled via a small amount of material by the nozzle as it goes by.
Plus, normally, the ironing nozzle is angled with a fixed degree of 45 compared to the first printing phase. Which will offer a much better final result.
3. When Should You Ironing On Cura:
Ironing is extremely useful with 3D-printed objects that have flat top surfaces. Including name tags, badges, or boxes, and countless more. Which will need a level of smoothness for whatsoever reason there is.
And also, it can be more useful if you want to glue 2 objects together. Because you can’t just stick things together with glue when the space between them is not reduced. So, smoothing the surface is a must if you are intended for such things.
But ironing will not work for objects with rounded shapes or basic shapes in common or even figures. And also, it will not work on things that have flat parts but are not aligned with the printing plate. All of this because of the 45 degrees angled printer head as mentioned earlier.
But keep in mind that there are things that can be printed upside down. This means the top surface will not have a smoothness level like the bottom surface. Which is faced at the printing plate (this is up to the printing plate surface you are using).
Hence, if you properly adjust the Cura Ironing settings, your final result will be even better.
4. The Downside:
The only 3 main things that make the cura ironing option considered as an inconvenience are the times it takes. Which will likely increase the total time that will cost your three-dimension printing project. But you can see the time that costs in the preview section.
Also, if you are planning on things that have a big surface area. The first thing to do is make sure your printer will not get overheated in the process. This will more likely happen on most models because of the slow and small extrusion during ironing.
Which is the main problem that leads to overheating when printing, especially PLA because of its low-temperature resistance.
And another downside is sadly the looking problem, which leads us here in the first place. Instead of having a perfectly satisfied look, you will be disappointed if you pay serious attention to the edges, for example.
So if you design a star and print it into a solid object. Maybe the bright side is you will not be cut by the edges.
This happens mostly and because we plan the toolpath for small extrusion. While the nozzle, in terms of physics, is still at the same size. And as a result, some of your materials will leak out, mostly on the edges. Yet, you can take care of this easily by sanding them off, manually.
Using Cura Ironing
When you are done with the materials, designing, and pre-processing, let’s hit the Cura ironing settings section. Although, using the software properly is not too difficult nor an easy task, the ease to learn is admirable.
But if you want your final result to have the most satisfying finish possible. Then, there are a few things that you will want to check before processing.
1. Cura ironing settings:
Firstly, you will have to make the ironing feature visible in the toolbar under “Settings” and “Configure Visibility”. And then, enter “Ironing” in the search bar and make sure that the box is ticked. Next thing, you will see the feature in the print settings placed right under the form.
As far as you adjust the settings for a better final result. Which will cost lots of time and effort. But luckily, there will be nothing much to adjust no matter what material you use.
Say, your Legos battleship blueprint requires ABS plastics at the time you adjust the settings. Yet, you changed your mind and you want to use PLA plastic instead. That works too.
However, each material has its specific properties, and using conditions. This means different materials will offer different final results. Therefore, you will have to do a bit of homework before choosing the materials for your 3D printing project.
First, the looking problem mentioned above can be fixed, mostly. So, all of this comes from an uncalibrated or improperly calibrated nozzle.
Furthermore, the nozzle will drag the extra plastics to the edges of the top surface. Which will make your product look a bit unsatisfied and you will have to sand them off, consequently.
Second, in case you are using an Ultimaker 3D printer, then you should have no worries about calibrating the nozzle no more. All you have to do is turn your devices on and select Cura ironing, that’s all. This means the calibration is preset and just waits to be used.
Third thing, or if you are using a custom 3D printer for your projects. Then you will have to experiment adjusting with the ironing flow, speed, and line spacing.
Besides, the ironing process is extremely sensitive to specific extruder calibration. Which means it will cost a lot of time to find the right setting. As a result, you will have to walk a path full of trials and errors.
4. The Printer:
For normal 3D printing projects, FFF 3D printers (fused filament fabrication) will do finely and precisely.
Though, if we are talking about using Cura ironing settings, injection molding will be a safe option.
All because FFF 3D printers are made to be suitable for large objects like Legos plates or something like that. But these kinds of printers have low precision. If your project demands a nozzle running on high precision. Then, you will have to pay a bit more for that (Ultimaker sells FFF 3D printers)
On the other hand, the injection-molding process will more likely offer a higher accuracy final result. Which will be a pretty good option for ironing surface models.
Cura Ironing Settings And Following Questions
1. What Is Ironing In Cura?
Cura ironing is a process where the nozzle goes for a second time after printing. Therefore, offer a smooth surface for the 3D printed object. Also, the ironing surface has to be the top layer.
The ironing settings can be set so you can have the wanted surface finish. This means you can choose ironing in pattern, or only ironing the highest layer. And it is just like any other 3D printing software out there.
2. What Is Cura Ironing Problem?
The problem of Cura three-dimensional printing software is made to work at its best on only new Ultimaker printers. Which is quite expensive for some people such as beginners or small manufacturers.
This is like Apple.Inc is doing with its products. Forcing the users to join their ecosystem by only supporting products that they developed. But I and many more wouldn’t consider it as a problem but it will be a disadvantage.
But the bright side is you will have the most convenient and comfortable experiment. Which is hard or can not be done if you mix up devices between different producers.
3. What Is G-Code?
G-code is a language that humans have created lately. We use this language to tell machines how to do something.
For a closer look, in 3D printing, g-codes include commands to move or remove parts inside the printer.
And there’s more, g-codes are involved in much complex information. And if you open a g-code in the text editor interface, you will see the inside information. But if you are not familiar with it, then it is more likely to make no sense and hard to understand.
Also, most g-code is automatically built by a three-dimensional printing software, such as Cura. As a result of being computer-made, the g-code can be hundreds of pages long. Which contains thousands of print head movements involved in 3D printing.
But not all 3D printers out there can handle g-codes. And some will use other units and formats instead.
4. Is Nozzle Important In Ironing?
As you already know, the nozzle is a very big part of 3D printing. Which will extrude the materials into solid objects using thermal heat energy.
In terms of sanding surfaces, you will have to do a trade-off between rough edges or rough surfaces.
Besides, the bigger the nozzle size, the more mass, and surface space available for the transfer of the heat to the materials. This makes the printing process more effective with the extrusion speed of the nozzle.
But ironing surfaces is a difficult job and needs the right amount of materials for the best final result.
Being said, ironing is an amazing tool for sanding 3D-printed surfaces. It does the job so well that you may have no idea which side is the ironed side. Both sides will look the same and other people will need lots of attention to know which one is ironed.
However, to have all that, you will need to properly adjust your Cura Ironing settings. And lastly, hope that you will have the smoothest printed surface on this planet Earth.