Ultimaker has released a new version of Ultimaker Cura 4.5, and as usual there are a couple of very interesting new features. 

Ultimaker Cura, formerly known simply as Cura, is perhaps the most popular 3D print slicing system. There’s a good reason for that statistic, and it’s because Ultimaker chose to release it as an open-source product. 

This allows other 3D printer manufacturers to easily bundle the increasingly powerful software with their equipment without much fuss and without the expense of developing their own slicing software. Why does Ultimaker do this, aside from being good folks? I believe it’s because it still promotes their own brand and also allows them to peek at 3D printing activities through statistics gathering. 

Ultimaker Cura 4.5 Upgrade

But back to the 4.5 upgrade. 

As usual, Ultimaker has fixed a number of bugs, increased performance slightly and, of course, added integrated support for a number of additional third-party 3D printers.

In version 4.5 there are 3D printer configurations for machines from no fewer than 81 vendors! And each vendor has multiple machines listed. ANET, for example, as 13 different machine configurations. 

One very valuable feature is that Ultimaker Cura still supports a number of older machines, such as MakerBot Replicator, Printrbot, and even the long-dead BFB machine. For those still operating older unsupported machines, Ultimaker Cura is incredibly valuable. 

There are two features that caught my eye in the 4.5 upgrade. 

Bridge Over Low-Density Infill

One is called “Bridge over low-density infill”. It’s a bit confusing at first, but basically what it does is determine if the infill below a model surface is low density (a specified value), then when it 3D prints that surface it will treat it with “bridge” settings. 

Bridge settings are specific changes to the extrusion profile that are used when an extrusion is to “jump” from one spot to another without anything underneath. The speeds and feeds are changed to allow this theoretically impossible move to occur, and it works very well. However, it seems there are cases where sparse infill introduces a similar scenario. Thus, bridging settings should be used. 

Brim Distance

Ultimaker Cura Brim Distance

Another intriguing feature is “Brim distance”. A brim is a fat layer added to the perimeter of the first layer. The idea is to increase bed adhesion by simply adding more material. Typically this is done to avoid warping, where ABS prints tend to peel off the print surface. The brim adds extra material to prevent this from happening — or if it does, the brim warps but the part does not.

However, brims introduce another problem: you must remove them from the print afterwards. Usually this means the bottom edge of the 3D print will have a rough edge, as some of the brim may not come loose easily due to geometry. 

The new Brim Distance feature allows the operator to set a distance between the brim and the model proper. By increasing this distance, it’s possible to make brim removal easier. 

Easier is something I always want.  


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