What is Ultimaker Cura? A Quick Guide

Cura guide

Cura is Ultimaker’s 3D printing software. Cura is open source, meaning anyone can use it even if you don’t have an Ultimaker 3D printer.

As 3D printing software goes, Ultimaker Cura is one of the best-reviewed, most recommended tools of its kind. It competes with slicing tools like Slic3r, but unlike most slicing tools, it offers an integrated workflow that simplifies the additive manufacturing process.

What does Cura do?

Cura slices 3D models. In other words, it translates your 3D printing file (containing a 3D model you drew in CAD software) into G-code. G-code is the language your 3D printer understands, with the sliced file containing print instructions for your 3D printer.

What are Cura integrations? 

Cura integrations unlock features and add-ons for your 3D printer. For example, they can connect Cura directly to other software you use, like third-party CAD applications (e..g SolidWorks), and they can provide additional material support (e.g. ApolloX By Formfutura).

What features does Cura have? 

Cura is a feature-packed slicer with several advantages over other tools:

  • Backups – work anytime, anywhere. Keep your settings in the cloud
  • Remote printing – print anytime, anywhere. Send files to print anywhere with an internet connection
  • Marketplace – access material profiles and plugin integrations easily, with reviews and tips baked in

Other features include:

  • Pre-configured print profiles
  • Advanced settings (over 400)
  • Manage multiple printers.
  • Remote printing and queue management

What is Ultimaker Digital Factory?

Ultimaker Digital Factory was introduced to Cura 4.9 in April 2021. It unlocks remote management and connects Cura to cloud services for Ultimaker account holders. Features include:

  • Remote printing and online printer management
  • Teams collaboration and printer sharing
  • Full access to the Ultimaker Marketplace
  • Authorized user access via Organisational units
  • Synchronise account settings and configurations across devices

Is Cura CAD software?

No, Cura isn’t CAD software. Cura is slicing software that slices CAD files, creating print instructions for 3D printers. However, Cura does integrate with some CAD software like SolidWorks, with the Ultimaker Cura SolidWorks integration plugin sidestepping the need to convert files.

Is Cura slicer free?

If you don’t own an Ultimaker printer, Ultimaker Cura is free to download and use and you don’t need an Ultimaker account to use it. You can download it for free here.

What is Ultimaker Essentials?

If you do own an Ultimaker printer, Ultimaker Cura is included, and you also get Ultimaker Essentials, which includes the following features:

  • Cloud printing
  • User management
  • Easy remote printing and monitoring
  • Print from history without reslicing
  • Increase skills with e-learning courses
  • Data sight (machine and material use tracking)

What is Ultimaker Cura Enterprise?

Ultimaker Cura Enterprise is premium 3D printing software. It includes Cura and everything in Ultimaker Essentials, PLUS:

  • Unlimited storage in Digital Library
  • Open CAD files in Ultimaker Cura
  • In-depth reporting
  • Professional level e-learning

How do I get started with Cura?

First of all, download it for free here. Full instructions can then be found here.

To start your first print in Cura, this quick guide covers everything you need to do.

Find out more about Cura

We are happy to demo Ultimaker Cura by appointment.

Book a call with our Ultimaker specialist Rachael Dawson or speak to one of our 3D printing specialists today by calling 01765 694 007.