For users who wish to operate their MOD-t while offline, or who want extra control over their print jobs (such as adding multiple files to a single print job), we suggest using Cura, an easy-to-understand “slicing” program. Slicers break down 3D designs into a set of instructions that tell the MOD-t how to create a print. Using Cura, you can rotate, flip, scale, and multiply designs with ease. You can even make your Cura display mimic the size and characteristics of a MOD-t to help increase your print success.

1. Begin by downloading the Cura software. You can do so by visiting the Cura website and downloading the program for free. Before you do that however, keep in mind that there is a specific version of the software that you will want to install. The version of Cura that works best with the MOD-t is 15.04.6. Visit the link below and scroll through the available versions until you find 15.04.6 for your operating system (Mac OS or Windows). Once downloaded, it should install like any other web-sourced program.

Click here to download Cura version 15.04.6

2. Once Cura has been installed and opened, you will want to start by telling it a bit about the MOD-t. Do this by selecting the Machine option from the toolbar. Select “Add Machine.” A wizard should appear. You’ll select “Other” on the first page and “Custom…” on the second page.

Not this kind of wizard.
Not this kind of wizard.
This kind of wizard.
This kind of wizard.

3. Then, the wizard will ask you to name your machine. We named all of our machines “MOD-t”, but feel free to name your machine whatever you’d like. Seriously. Anything.

Looks like a Patrick to me!
Looks like a Patrick to me!

4. Next, you’ll have to tell Cura what kind of build envelope your machine has. You can cheat off of us by filling in the information provided in the screengrab below. (Note: It’s best not to stray from these numbers, but you can slightly increase the listed build envelope from time to time if you’re confident a design will fit on the build plate, or if you know you’ll be squeezing in an extra millimeter or two as described in this Tips & Tricks post!)

Show me what your workin' with.
Show me what your workin’ with.

5. Even though you’ve told Cura some basic information about the MOD-t, the program still doesn’t know how the MOD-t behaves. Cura uses “Profiles” to understand printer behavior. The MOD-t has its own profile, which you’ll need to download. We’ve provided the link to it below. Save this file as a .ini file by right clicking the link, selecting “Save link as…”, naming it, and changing the file type to “All Files.” Basically, this:

How to Use Cura

Click here for an updated MOD-t Cura Profile.

(Note: If you have the old Cura profile, you’ll need to delete it before replacing it with this one.)

You must load the profile information before using Cura with the MOD-t. Do so by clicking “File” in the Cura toolbar and selecting “Open Profile…”. Browse for the MOD-t Cura Profile you just downloaded. Select it, load, and you’re ready to go!

6. Upload design files by clicking “File” in the toolbar and selecting “Load Model File…”. We’ve selected this cheerful and festive homemade Valentine’s Day tag as an example.

Not an ounce of sarcasm on this blog post!
Not an ounce of sarcasm on this blog post!

7. Edit the size and orientation of your design using the three buttons on the bottom left corner.

How To: Use Cura

Each of these options has a sub-options, though you’ll rarely use those. We’ll get into those when we discuss altering your design.

Rotate Options
Rotate Options
Scale Options
Scale Options
Mirror Options
Mirror Options

(“Reset” on all options will, of course, reset your design back to its original size or orientation.)

Rotating Designs

The three rings will help you adjust your orientation 15 degrees at a time.
The three rings will help you adjust your orientation 15 degrees at a time.

When you select “Rotate,” three rings will appear around your design. You can manipulate each of these rings to shift the orientation by a factor of 15 degrees. The green ring will rotate your design forward and backward, the yellow will rotate the design side to side, and the flat, red ring will spin your design.

You can use the “Lay Flat” sub-option to cheat your rotation. If you can’t quite get your design to lay flat, click this button and Cura will do it for you.

Scaling Designs

You'll notice the time estimate and the size estimate change as you scale your design.
You’ll notice the time estimate and the size estimate change as you scale your design.

Scaling on Cura works by percentages. Your original design will register as “1.0”, or 100%. Scale a design down by 20% by changing the value to 0.8. Scale a design up 20% by changing the value to 1.2. If you change the X, Y, or Z scale, the other two scales will adjust to match this alteration. Cura will give you estimates of your design’s measurements (in millimeters) above the design as you alter it.

Select the “To max” sub-option (labelled in the Scale Options image) to auto-scale your design to the largest possible size that will fit within the MOD-t’s build envelope.

Mirroring Designs

"REVEROF ENOLA"
The mirror of “FOREVER ALONE” is “ALWAYS WITH COMPANY,” not “REVEROF ENOLA.”

This might be the least utilized alteration in Cura. Mirroring simply flips the design. There are options to mirror on each axis. Should you accidentally export a design file with backwards text, this is a useful function to fix it! (We’ve all been there.)

View Options

The Layer View allows you to view the design layer by layer.
The Layer View allows you to view designs layer by layer so you can check angles and structure.

Use the icon in the top right corner of your screen to switch views of your design. There are lots of views to play with, but we think the most useful view is Layer View. Use this view to check your bottom layer, to scrutinize angles, and to just generally view the way the print will build. You can slide the white square along the gray bar on the right side of the screen to select which layer you’d like to view.

Other Options

If you right-click on your design, another list of editing options will appear. These options allow you to center, multiply, delete, or reset your design. There’s also an option to “Split Design Into Parts.” This will allow you to separate a multi piece design into individual pieces. From there, you can scale and re-orient specific pieces, or you could delete extraneous pieces should you no longer need them. This is a great tool to use if you’d like to break up a design into pieces to print in different filament colors or with different settings.

There are also options on the side bar, under “Quality,” “Fill,” “Speed and Temperature,” “Support,” and “Filament.”

We suggest you leave most of these categories alone, but fiddling with the “Fill” and “Support” settings can prove quite useful. The “Fill” option will adjust your print’s fill density. This is the cross-hatching gridwork that fills the inside of your print. The default “Better” setting on our store uses 25% fill density. To increase the weight and internal support of a design, increase the fill density. 100% fill density will print a completely solid object. (It will also, probably, take several days to print.) Decrease your design’s weight and print time by decreasing the print density. If you feel that your designs are structurally stable, 10-15% fill density will usually cut it, though you may find an increase in print failures.  How To: Use Cura

The “Support” category is very important when modifying designs in Cura. This is where you set parameters for supports, tell Cura what kind of supports you like, and set platform adhesion guidelines to improve your print success rate.

On the sidebar, you can select one of the three support types, listed in ascending intensity: none, touching buildplate, or everywhere. By clicking on the “…”, you can alter the supports even more.

How To: Use Cura

The most important fields on this menu are the “Structure type” and the “Overhang angle for support (deg).” The default overhang in the New Matter Store is 60 degrees, but you can be a little riskier here if you feel confident your design will print well. 70 tends to be the maximum angle you can enter into this field before your prints will consistently fail. The “Structure Type” will allow you to toggle between grid and line supports. You might find that one of the types is easier to remove or is more supportive than the other. If you’re printing something taller, grid will always be the best bet, though.

You can toggle between “None,” “Brim,” and “Raft” in the “Platform adhesion type” menu. If your design has a particularly thin lip as the first layer, we suggest adding a removable brim. If your first layer has very little contact with the print surface, we suggest using the raft option. This will put tiny supports on the first layer so the following layers stick better.

Saving Your GCode

If you’d like to print your design with any of the adjustments discussed above, you’ll need to save GCode! You can do so by selecting the Save icon in the top left corner of the screen. You can then print this GCode using the MOD-t Desktop App. Read more about printing GCode in our “Did You Know…” post here!

How To: Use Cura

One More Thing!

You might have noticed a time and weight underneath the Save icon. Those are estimations of your print time and completed print weight. You should remember that these are just estimates. There’s no exact way to guess a print’s weight (though it could be a fun contest or classroom activity!) and the MOD-t tends to take a tiny bit longer than these estimates. Still, these estimates are great for giving a ballpark idea of time and filament needed. It’s great to know that you shouldn’t start a .5 kg print if you have less than half of a .5kg roll of filament left! Likewise, don’t start a 12 hour print and expect it to finish in three!

And… Print!

It’s super easy to print saved GCode using New Matter’s desktop application. Go into the “Printer Settings” section of the application, select “Advanced Mode,” and load up your GCode! For more detailed instructions, check out “Fun Fact” #3 of the Did Ya Know blog post!

Use Cura with the MOD-t

Do you have any other Cura know-how to share? Let us know down in the comments!

19 Comments

  1. Tips & Tricks: Did You Know... - MadeWithMODt

    […] or an .stl upload. (You can get Cura profile information and learn how to use Cura with the MOD-t here. Learn more about formatting models for the MOD-t […]

  2. Annette

    “Forever Alone” lulz.

  3. miguel

    thank you

  4. How To: Format Your Own Models for the MOD-t - MadeWithMODt

    […] Part of what makes the MOD-t great for homes, schools, and businesses is its lightweight, compact size. Designers should take heed of this space-saving design when sizing their models. The overall MOD-t printing envelope is 150mm x 100mm x 125 mm. You can set your file-viewing program to these specifications to test your design sizing before sending your .stl or .obj file to print. (Get our Cura profile information and learn more about using Cura with the MOD-t in this How-To blog post.) […]

  5. Jeremy

    Can’t wait to try it! Will I be able to crank up the temp on the print head to 220c? I have some awesome wood filliment the that could use a little more heat to smooth out the lines.

    • Madison

      You can adjust the heat settings to 220, but no higher. Not sure what your specific filament recommends, but higher temperatures don’t always yield smoother results. When using specialty filaments, print at your own caution! When the filament has a fill, like wood or metal, it can damage the build plate and/or damage the MOD-t. Happy printing!

  6. Miquel Madueno

    Make sure the screws on the little metal pads the indicator touches on are tight and make sure that the metal stud is completely clean. I had a print mess up and I had some residue that had caused it not to pick up for a while. I spent an hour leveling mine this morning–I found out that even though my glass is level, the pads themselves aren t exactly perfect with the glass.

  7. Cube

    Handy post! kiiinda sucks that you’re going to have to completely redo it for cura 2.1 which is extremely different and takes .JSON files

    • Madison

      At this time we recommend MOD-t users install and use Cura version 15.04.3 to create G-code for their MOD-t printer. This version of the software is easy to use, and contains all of the features you will need to generate great G-code for your MOD-t. We will continue to evaluate our recommendation as newer versions of the Cura software are released, but for now we recommend MOD-t users continue to utilize the 15.04.3 version of the Cura software.

      • Frank

        Any decision made on a new Cura 2.X profile for the MOD-t?
        I would highly appreciate it. Cheers, Frank

  8. dito milian

    it would be great to be able to print gcode from my New Matter Library website. any idea if this in the works or if I will always need to hook up my computer to print gcode?

    • Madison

      Hello! At this point it is not possible to print G-code through the New Matter Store. We may add that functionality in the future, but we have nothing to announce at this time.

  9. Greg Stuver

    This is a great article and I have successfully printed using Cura But I have a question…..How to I pause a print mid stream so I can do an insert in the 3D print. For example..a captured threaded insert…
    1) Watch the printer and pause it as required…not very practical considering you would be hovering over your machine for hours
    2) Is there some feature in the software that would allow this that I are not aware of?
    3) Could I dissect the G-code Z axis (it is the Z is it not?) and determine where to add an M1 or whatever code would be used to pause the print. I could then place the insert in the part and resume printing.
    4) I am open to suggestions

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Greg

    • Madison

      You can insert an “m25” command (without the quotes) into the G-code to pause the MOD-t and return it to a neutral position. Once you are done changing the filament, you can then press the front panel button once to resume the job.

      • Greg Stuver

        Thanks Madison…And where might I find a list of the g code protocol used by New Matter. In my experience with G-code for pause is M1 and G25 is tool clamp…thanks again…

  10. James

    It has been a whole year since this post was released. Any plans to provide a Cura profile for Cura 2.x? Or to simply provide the settings you used in the above profile so we can create one ourselves?

    • ZinFab

      I am trying to get it to work – check thingyvierse there is a profile there but i have not yet tested it.

  11. S. Reid

    Cura updated. This is obsolete. Settings did not work for me. “Printer is disconnected” on Cura. Any word on an updated tut?

    TY! 😀

    • William Steele

      Cura is only used to slice the file… you still need to use the Advanced settings on the Mod-T application to upload it to the printer. Cura itself doesn’t talk directly to the printer.

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