Ultimaker 3 dual color drill

Get started with Cura: Printing with two colors

  • Applications

Your Ultimaker 3 has a wealth of exciting new features, and Cura is designed to help you get the most from them. This series of guides explains how to use your 3D printing software to achieve the best possible printing results.

Printing with two colors not only looks visually impressive but makes it easier to highlight aspects of your 3D printed model. Here’s a handy guide, explaining how to create a dual color print.

How to print with two colors

1. Load the model. To make your dual color print, you’ll need to export two model files, which have been created to fit together. In this tutorial, we will use a famous dual color Ultimaker hand drill model. You can load both parts into Cura by selecting the Open File icon in the top left corner, which will display all the available files. Simply select the file you want to get started. Note, Cura supports the following files: .3mf, .x3d, .stl and .obj. You can also load multiple files simultaneously if you want to speed the process up.

To view some model examples, just browse popular 3D model websites, searching for ‘dual color’ or ‘dual material’. There are several examples online.

2. Set the print cores and materials. You’ll need to check that the print cores and materials are correct (using the sidebar). Print Core 1 should contain a print core AA 0.4 loaded with PLA (your first color). Print Core 2 should contain the same, but with your different color. Cura is loaded with generic materials which don’t represent colors, so to choose a colored material, you’ll need to go to Ultimaker > PLA > Color.

If your Ultimaker 3 is connected to Cura via the network, and loaded with the right print cores and materials, Cura will automatically sync to it.

3. Set print core per model. All loaded objects are set (by default) to be printed using Print Core 1. The material color set per print core relates to the color of the corresponding model. If you want to change the print core, select the model by left clicking on it. Next, select Per Model Settings (left side of the screen), then Print Model with Print Core 2. Please note, the color will automatically match Print Core 2’s color.

Set print core per model

4. Merge your models. Once you’ve established the right colors, it’s time to merge your models. First, you’ll need to select them, which you can do by holding shift and left-clicking. You’ll know you’ve done this once they’re both outlined in blue. Then, right click and select Merge Objects. The models automatically merge, in preparation for dual printing.

If you’ve forgotten to adjust one of the settings, just press CMD / CTRL + click on the model to select it within the group. If your models don’t merge as intended, this means your model files weren’t exported correctly. To correct this, you’ll need to resolve the issue in the design software.

Merging 3D models in Cura
Merged 3D models in Cura

5. Using adjustment tools. Adjustment Tools are handy for positioning, scaling and rotating your object. To use them, left click on the merged model group. Once they’re merged, you can adjust them as a group, which speeds things up considerably. When you’re using two colors and no special support material, it’s a good idea to rotate the model to generate the least support and best surface finish.

Scale your 3D model in Cura

6. Select the profile. Before printing, you’ll need to select a Profile quality. The options are: Draft Print, Fast Print, Normal or High Quality. The material is displayed per print core at the bottom right of the 3D viewer, which also tells you how much material you’ll need per spool. Please note, in Recommended mode, both print cores share the same settings. If you want to make adjustments per print core (e.g. infill or number of walls), you’ll need to use the Custom mode.

7. Preview your layers. You can view the result of your profile settings in the Layer View. When you’ve got Print Core 1 selected in the sidebar, the model will be highlighted - showing which parts will be printed with each print core. If you switch visible print cores (selecting the print core in the top right), you’ll see which sections will be printed using Print Core 2.

Cura layer view

8. Get printing! Now, you need to select either Save File, Save to USB or Print Over Network, depending on how you want to print your 3D model. To watch the printing process, simply enter the Print Monitor (please note, you’ll need to be connected to the network to do so). We hope your print turns out exactly as you’d hoped… have fun!

Feel free to download this guide for free and keep reading our Cura tips to find out more about using this 3D printing software. Can’t wait for the next guide in our series or have some burning questions about Cura 2.3 features? Join our community forum today!

Download PDF

Read more blogs

  • 3d-printing-materials

    3D printing materials: What you should know first

    In part one of our three-part series on 3D printing materials, dive into FFF 3D printing, get an overview of Ultimaker's material range, and learn about the importance of an open-filament system.


    Which Ultimaker S5 Material Station setup is right for you?

    The release of the Ultimaker S5 Material Station opens the door for a wide range of use cases. But how best to configure the materials contained within it?


    3D printing in 2019: Ultimaker's year in review

    From innovative new products to inspiring success stories, 2019 has been an eventful and exciting year for 3D printing. Here's a look back at a few of the highlights.

  • material-wall-1

    Improving industrial applications with the Ultimaker Material Alliance

    Partners of the Ultimaker Material Alliance are doing their part at furthering the 3D printing industry, from UL Blue Card-certification to ESD-safe material to metal-polymer composites.

    Making it work: 3D printing and engineering

    Making it work: 3D printing and engineering

    From rapid prototypes to end-use parts, 3D printing is a perfect addition to an engineer's workflow, in which wasted time is wasted money.


    3D printing and ROI: Build your business case

    Bringing 3D printing into your business is cost-efficient, convenient, and transformative. But it's important to understand and calculate your return on investment from the technology.

  • Ultimaker Cura 4.4 og image

    Achieve success faster with Ultimaker Cura 4.4

    Intent profiles in Ultimaker Cura simplify 3D printing. Just load your CAD data, choose a profile that matches your print’s intent, and hit print.

    Ultimaker 3D Printing Sentiment Index 2019

    3D Printing Sentiment Index: Which countries lead the way?

    Where is the biggest 3D printing growth potential in 2019? This blog reveals the results and methodology behind Ultimaker's first global 3D Printing Sentiment Index.

    Ultimaker LEHVOSS Group

    Ultimaker and LEHVOSS Group: Scaling industrial applications for 3D printing

    A partnership between Ultimaker and LEHVOSS Group is the beginning of a new level of 3D printing, lowering the barrier for industrial adoption.

  • hero-og

    Discover Intent profiles in Ultimaker Cura 4.4 beta

    Intent profiles in Ultimaker Cura simplify 3D printing preparation, give you results that match your intent, and maximize your print success rate, so you can show the true value of 3D printing in your business.

    The Ultimaker Material Alliance: Pushing boundaries at K 2019

    The Ultimaker Material Alliance: Pushing boundaries at K 2019

    The impact of the Ultimaker Material Alliance was evident at K 2019, the world’s premier trade fair for plastics and rubber.

    6 factors that affect indoor air quality when 3D printing OG

    6 key factors that affect indoor air quality when 3D printing

    Concerned about air quality and 3D printer particle emissions? Check out this blog to learn the 6 factors that affect your indoor air quality when 3D printing.

  • Glass vs carbon fiber composite 3D printing materials

    Glass vs. carbon fiber 3D printing composites

    It's a common question. Which composite material is right for your 3D printing application? Carbon fiber or fiberglass? Check out this in-depth blog!


    Ultimaker Marketplace hits 1 million downloads

    The Ultimaker Marketplace, our digital distribution platform, has just hit a major milestone of 1 million downloads for plugins and print profiles combined. Ultimaker now has the largest compatible material choice in the entire 3D printing market.

    TCT Show OG

    A visual recap of TCT Show 2019

    Big crowds, big announcements, and more – get the full photographic rundown of 2019's TCT Show.

  • og-image

    Ultimaker Cura 4.3: Available now

    We've released a new upgrade of our print preparation software. Join millions of users worldwide and benefit from an advanced slicing engine that offers integration with the Ultimaker Marketplace, and a cloud-connected workflow for ultimate flexibility. Don’t miss out! Update today.

    Introducing the new Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle OG image

    Meet the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

    24/7 automated material handling, air filtration, filament humidity control. Find out how our unique 3D printing solution unlocks more demanding applications.

    Introducing Ultimaker S3 the newest addition to our S-line of 3D printers OG

    Ultimaker S3 – the newest addition to our S-line of 3D printers

    Composite-ready, dual extrusion, auto bed leveling, touchscreen. Learn how Ultimaker S3 delivers robust desktop 3D printing so you can start innovating faster.

  • Owens Corning talks 3D printing

    An industrial adoption: Owens Corning talks 3D printing

    Composite materials powerhouse Owens Corning explains why and how 3D printing can transform workflows


    6 things you can try today in Ultimaker Cura 4.3 beta

    From more 3D file formats to an easy selector for Z seam positions, here are six great features of Ultimaker Cura 4.3 beta


    In the driver’s seat: 3D printing and the automotive industry

    Designing and creating a vehicle is hard work – but 3D printing can lighten the load

  • lean-principles-og-image

    5 lean manufacturing principles demonstrated by 3D printing

    Explore the the 5 principles of lean manufacturing and how leading brands have implemented them thanks to Ultimaker 3D printers.


    Ultimaker Cloud: Achieve more together using Teams

    With Ultimaker Cloud's latest feature, Teams, you can connect and collaborate with colleagues and control multiple groups of Ultimaker 3D printers.

    3d printing for molds

    A perfect fit: 3D printing for molds and casting

    How is additive manufacturing changing the creation of molds and casts? From silicone molds to investment casting metal, check out this blog for inspiration.

  • An Ultimaker printer prints a L’Oréal prototype

    Transformative beauty: L’Oréal prepares for the future with 3D printing

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.


    Ultimaker Cura 4.2: First choice for 3D printing professionals worldwide

    Today, the latest version of our powerful, easy-to-use 3D print preparation software is available for download. In this release, we’ve focused on usability improvements that simplify 3D printing workflows, whatever your 3D printing application.


    'Beyond the basement': 3D printing in the age of Industry 4.0

    The rise of 3D printing means the technology is more accessible than ever, paving the way for creation, iteration, and innovation

  • Het Noordgebouw

    Onward and upward: New city, new office, new look

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.

    Ultimaker manufacturing

    Behind the scenes: How Ultimaker 3D printers are manufactured

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.

    Upgrade your Cura experience with and Ultimaker 3D printer

    Upgrade your Ultimaker Cura experience – with an Ultimaker 3D printer

    If you use Ultimaker Cura, but don't send your print to an Ultimaker 3D printer, then you’re missing out on a ton of functionality...

  • Ultimaker Marketplace

    Accelerate 3D printing productivity with the Ultimaker Marketplace

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.

    Firmware 5.2

    Activate Ultimaker Cloud with firmware 5.2

    Enjoy all the benefits of Ultimaker Cloud by updating your Ultimaker 3D printers to firmware 5.2. Cloud connectivity and new performance optimizations give you the most powerful 3D printing experience available.

    Ultimaker Cura 4.0

    Simplify 3D printing with Ultimaker Cura 4.0

    Download Ultimaker Cura 4.0 today and enjoy a brand-new user interface designed to simplify 3D print preparation – whether you’re a beginner or an expert. This release adds integration with Ultimaker Cloud, offering you advanced cloud-based tools to support

  • Ultimaker wins prestigious iF Design Award

    Ultimaker wins prestigious iF Design Award

    Ultimaker has been awarded a prestigious iF Design Award for the user interface of our Ultimaker S5 3D printer.

    Ultimaker Cloud

    Introducing Ultimaker Cloud – the next generation 3D printing workflow

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.

    Application focus: Jigs and fixtures

    Application focus: Jigs and fixtures

    3D Printed jigs and fixtures enable businesses to work faster, save money and add flexibility.