How does Ultimaker Cura 4.12 improve 3D printing?

By MUO staff

Need better performance from your 3D printer? Ultimaker Cura 4.12 brings improved slicing and more to your 3D printed projects.

Hands-on experience using Ultimaker Cura
Image Credit: Ultimaker

Ultimaker Cura is one of the most popular and powerful 3D printing cutting software you can get right now. Its ease of use, its many advanced features and its completely free use make it an ideal companion for amateurs and professionals. Add to that its open source nature, and you have a 3D printing slicer that is frequently updated with new features.

The latest Ultimaker Cura 4.12 is more than a UI redesign and includes a lot of improvements and new features. Read on to find out what’s new in this latest version of the Cura software.

Lighting fill

Lighting fill closely resembles the random patterns of lighting streaks

Lighting fill is the newest addition to the fill styles in Ultimaker Cura 4.12. You can think of it as the supports of the tree, except that it is inside the model. The lighting fill is randomly spaced in the model, and there is no defined pattern or structure.

The infill is fascinating to look at, and the random patterns are more aesthetic than functional. The primary purpose of the lighting infill is to support the interior overhangs of the model while using less material and reducing overall print time.

The lighting infill offers no additional resistance and therefore you should not use it in functional or load-bearing models. Instead, centerpieces, figures, action figures, aesthetic models, and even transparent objects can benefit from the high speed and pleasing appearance of lighting fill.


Improved surface quality

Cura print comparison 4.12 and 4.11
Image Credit: fvrmr /Reddit

Another gradual change in the latest version of Cura is the improvement in the overall surface quality. Taking inspiration from the monotone control setting from its previous version, Cura 4.12 promises to improve the surface quality of the top layer and remove scars, lines or imperfections on the top surface of the model.

While focusing on the top surface, the Ultimaker team also took into account the print quality on horizontal surfaces. Objects 3D printed with FDM 3D printers often have surface irregularities such as ghosting and buzzing on the outer wall of the model. The team refined the Cura software with reduced shake settings for Ultimaker 3D printers and improved comb paths for all other 3D printers.

Related: FDM 3D Printer Settings and What They Do

These changes result in improved print resolution and an overall increase in 3D print quality. These characteristics are useful in the case of aesthetic models, where the surface finish and the general appearance are of paramount importance.

Additional updates

The main notable updates to the Cura 4.12 are lighting infill and surface quality improvements. There are other minor updates that do not improve the functionality per se, but improve the overall user experience when using the Cura software.

Faster start-up times

Ultimaker Cura Home Screen
Image Credit: Cura

The smart team behind Cura’s software development managed to shave 10 seconds when starting the Cura slicer. Cura 4.12 caches your profile data instead of loading it each time you launch Cura. This results in a slightly better load time and is handy for making minor changes quickly.

Application selector

Cura 4.12 introduces an application switcher which allows you to browse other Ultimaker applications. This gives you quick access to Ultimaker digital factory, Ultimaker Market, and Ultimaker 3D Printing Academy. You can also quickly ask questions and report any bugs directly to the Ultimaker Cura Github. The app switcher brings it all together in one place and makes it easy to find what you need, improving the overall Cura experience.

An interesting update for Cura?

While Cura 4.11 was a minor incremental update, the latest Cura 4.12 is a more comprehensive update with substantial changes and new features. Lighting infill is a great tool for saving material and time, and overall surface quality improvements appear to improve print quality.

That said, there are still a few bugs to be fixed in this update, but they are quite minor, and none of them would seriously hamper your 3D printing experience. So you can go ahead and at least try. There is nothing to lose after all.

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