Can you 3D print from Cura?

Hey tech fans, it’s Carolina here! Being deeply passionate about technology and constantly geeking out on 3D printing, I’ve found that many of you have questions about the Cura software and its functionalities. So let’s dive right into it!


Cura, as many of you might know, is a 3D slicing software. It’s where we upload our 3D designs and prep them for printing. One burning question many have is, Can we execute a 3D print straight from Cura? I’m here to give you the lowdown.

Can You Print Straight from Cura?
Well, yes, you absolutely can! It’s possible to kick-start your 3D printing process directly from Cura by using a USB tethered to your PC or MacBook. There are two popular methods here: either by using a straight USB connection or employing OctoPrint to bridge your primary gadget with your 3D printer. For many in the tech world, OctoPrint is a top choice for direct printing.

In earlier days, enthusiasts printed straight from Cura via USB in Cura versions like 15.04. But fast-forward to our current times with versions 4.8 and newer, and the USB feature has seen fewer updates. However, there are still folks who swear by its efficiency. If USB printing tickles your fancy, it’s still very much a viable option. There are plenty of guides available, but here’s a snapshot for you.

3D Printing with Cura – The Steps:
1. Kick-start Cura: Boot up your Cura software and hit ‘Add printer’.
2. Pick Your Printer: Go for ‘Add a non-networked printer’. Under ‘Custom’, opt for ‘Custom FFF printer’. You’ve got the freedom to christen your printer whatever you fancy!
3. Tweak Your Settings: Once you’re in ‘Machine Settings’, input the specifics for your 3D printer.
4. Get Printing: Post-slicing your design, select ‘Print via USB’. Alternatively, you can save the file to a MicroSD card or beam the G-Code via the OctoPrint network.
5. Monitor Your Print: As your design materializes, Cura will showcase a sketch of your ongoing task. There are in-app controls to adjust the print sequence, so keep an eye out!

How to Sync a 3D Printer with Cura:
Hit ‘Printer panel’, choose ‘Add printer’. Two paths open up: adding a Networked Printer or a Non-Networked Printer. For the former, Cura automatically detects printers in your vicinity. For the latter, pick from a wide range of brands and models.

Printing from Cura to Ender 3:
The liaison between Cura and Ender 3 is something quite magical for 3D print enthusiasts. Just grab your desired design, load it up in Cura, input the necessary metrics, and slice away. Transfer this to a MicroSD card, pop it into your printer, locate the file, and set the printing in motion!

Challenges with Cura’s USB Connection:
Now, while 3D printing from Cura is pretty slick, there are some hiccups you might face:
– Cura’s ‘Power Management’ plugin ensures your system stays awake during printing. Yet, if your PC decides to nap or update, your print might be compromised.
– CPU overloads might cause Cura to lag, disrupting smooth G-Code transmission.
– Direct printing from Cura is great, but isn’t the most failproof method out there. Some users have reported connection losses during printing.
– There might be times when Cura doesn’t recognize your Ender 3. A simple restart might help, but if not, OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi might be your solution.
– If your USB connection to Ender 3 is causing issues, your memory card or USB stick might be the culprit. I had this exact hiccup once and switching memory cards did the trick!

Lastly, for those super enthusiastic about 3D printing, there are tons of resources out there to perfect your skills. From how to use Cura for lithophane to ensuring perfect nozzle wipes – the world of 3D printing is vast and thrilling. Dive in, explore, and let’s keep making awesome things!