Cura Method series S series

Introducing Universal Cura Projects in the UltiMaker Cura 5.7 beta

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Arun Chapman

March 14, 2024

Strap in for the first Cura release of 2024! This 5.7 beta release brings new material profiles as well as cloud printing for Method series printers, and introduces a powerful new way of sharing print settings using printer-agnostic project files! Also, if you want to download the cute dinosaur card holder featured above, it was specially designed for this release and can be found on Thingiverse!

Introducing Universal Cura Projects

Cura 5.7 includes a new way to share both models and print settings: Universal Cura Projects (UCP). These printer-agnostic project files allow you to selectively share print settings that are common across nearly all printers.

At the moment, when you want to share a model with someone, you have two main choices, you can either share an STL file that contains only the model itself with no additional information that would help inform you how to best print the model. Or, a project file such as a 3MF file that contains a whole host of metadata which can include all of the print settings that you have applied to that model (or models). The problem is that many of the settings that can be included in a 3MF project file are not universally applicable to all printers. If you accidentally include a setting value that conflicts with or does not take into account the specifics of the printer that the file is then printed on, the result could be anything from a failed print to a damaged printer. UCP files solve this problem!

UCP files only include a limited selection of settings that are either universal across all commonly used FDM printers or are safe to modify even when using a variety of different printer types. There are 40 allowed settings that can be included in a UCP export, a full list of which can be found here. They include commonly modified settings such as those that control supports, infill, and build plate adhesion.

UCP projects export using the .3mf file extension but they have a number of safeguards in place that make them more reliable than a regular .3mf. You can tell if a .3mf file is also a UCP by the preview image for that file, all UCP files will have the UCP symbol in the top left corner of the image preview as you can see in the left-most file in the image below.

UCP logo example
Left: UCP file, Middle: Regular 3D model file, Right: Cura

When selecting a Universal Cura Project, you can choose to either import the models into Cura as you normally would or to open it as a Universal Cura Project.

Open UCP popup

When opening the file as a UCP, a screen will pop up that shows you which settings were included by the creator. In the top right corner, you can select the printer on which you want to open the model. This will overwrite the settings on the printer and remove any models already loaded on the buildplate.

Loading a UCP

Cloud printing and new materials for Method series printers

In the previous Cura 5.6 release, we added the ability for Cura users to slice files for Method series printers. With one major limitation, cloud printing was not yet supported. We are happy say to that this limitation has now been removed. Both the Method X and Method XL printers now fully support cloud printing using the UltiMaker Digital Factory.

That means it is now possible to send a sliced file directly to a network-connected Method printer from Cura over the cloud, or to send it to Digital Factory first. Allowing you to make use of the many features of Digital Factory, including: file storage and organization, monitoring of ongoing prints, collaboration of print management using shared workspaces, and more!

This is the latest step in bringing our two professional desktop printer ranges together so that both the S series and Method series can benefit from all of the workflow advantages that Cura and Digital Factory provide.

New Method XL materials

In addition to cloud printing with Method series printers, there are also three new material profiles being added for Method XL in this release, they are ASA, Nylon12-CF, and SR-30.

ASA combines the strength properties of ABS with added UV and moisture resistance. Nylon12-CF is a carbon fiber composite with an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, high stiffness, and brilliant heat resistance, making it a powerful replacement for parts that would normally be made from metal. Finally, SR-30 is a dissolvable support material that pairs well with ABS and other high-temperature materials.

New failed slice analysis

We have also rolled out a new tool that allows for better analysis and tracking of failed slices within Cura. From now on, when a crash occurs during slicing, a log of the errors will automatically be sent to our support team so that they can diagnose the reason for the crash. This will hugely improve our internal process for identifying and fixing bugs and we expect it will help us prioritize and ultimately solve the issues that lead to failed slices.

If you do experience regular crashes, make sure to reach out to our support team who can now consult your crash logs to help troubleshoot the issue. Finally, if you do not want your crash logs to be automatically sent to our support team, you can disable data sharing by going to the Preferences menu and unticking the "Send engine crash reports" in the Privacy section.

Crash tool privacy options

Additional improvements

The following improvements have also been implemented in the Cura 5.7 beta release:

  • Faster slicing of complex models
  • Additional settings for customizing rafts
  • Ability to manually define the print sequence when printing multiple models at once
  • Various bug fixes
  • And much more!

Check out the full release notes on GitHub for a complete list of changes.

Download this latest release to start discovering new 3D printing possibilities right now. And please, go to the UltiMaker community site to give us your feedback.