The saying goes that “We are our own worst critics.” I beg to differ on that. Cats are the harshest critics. They judge you without remorse.
Nelly is our shop’s resident judge. Yes, even though you’ve never met, you have already been judged.
When it comes to making prints though, you have lots of cool options. When I got my current printer, I was using Cura for awhile. It worked great, was relatively simple to use and did the job. Then I learned about PrusaSlicer. It delves notably deeper into the world of printing options. So naturally I then gravitated towards it so that I have as many options as possible for doing the work.
Yet recently, Cura has been luring me back with a couple of features that are just not available in PrusaSlicer. Namely lighting Infill and Tree Supports.
Infill, is basically the material that goes inside of solid sections of the print. Well, not really solid as very few 3D prints are completely solid, that would be a big waste of material, not to mention time. You can get equally as strong parts by simply using a pattern to ‘infill’ the model. There are quite a few different patterns, each having pros and cons to them. Some simply better suited for different tasks/models to be printed.
I’ll just talk about Lightning Infil and as you guessed it, the pattern is like….well, lightning. It’s a much more ‘organic’ structure to it. Using it gives support in the areas that really do need it while using less material to do so. This is very key in some obvious ways. Using less material reduces cost as well as print time with only some sacrificing any structural quality. Of course, if you need something strong, you just use a different infill pattern. As 3D printing is not a fast process, any time saving tricks are greatly appreciated.
In one example, I setup a giant 12x12x12 in cube. Using the ‘default’ infill pattern, I was looking at a 23 DAY print time. Yikes. Using Lightning Infill, suddenly I could get it done in 11 Days. 11! That is a MASSIVE time saver for the idea. I could literally print two of them in the same time frame using the default infill pattern.
The next thing that has hooked me on Cura is Tree Support. No, I don’t mean that they go and plate trees. I mean the fact that when printing models that need a support structure, a “Tree Support” is another organic structure that using less material, less time and is actually easier to remove, thus saving more time again.
So I’ll be using Cura a bit more often but not for every print. Purpose will determine which application I’ll use and as long as the applications are simple, Cura is likely to be a go-to program to use for setting up my models to print.