Last month Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker released the long awaited 2.1 version of their popular Cura 3D printing software as an open beta. The software update included a ton of extra features and new functionalities that fans of Cura have long been asking for. Cura 2.1 finally added the ability to manipulate and group multiple objects on the printing bed, an undo/redo feature that doesn’t require you to delete and reload a model and users can go into advanced settings and assign different printing settings to different objects on the same build plate. One of the most requested, and most overdue, new features was the ability to store custom printing profiles directly within Cura.
Because Cura 2.1 is in beta it is to be expected that there are going to be a lot of small updates and tweaks in the coming months as users and community members discover bugs and glitches. Naturally, it wouldn’t be a beta if otherwise, often times these updates will end up triggering a new set of glitches and bugs. Last week Ultimaker released the first of their beta updates, Cura 2.1.1 and it was mostly minor fixes and glitches that most users probably didn’t notice. You can see all of the changes that have been made since 2.1 was released over on Github.
Generally I tend to wait for a few days before installing any new updates unless it’s a fix for a serious bug or glitch, but I updated Cura this weekend without thinking and got a bit of a surprise when I tried to print afterwards. My Printrbot wasn’t a minute in before it became a mess of stringy, brittle plastic, and I had no idea what went wrong. It turns out that there have been reports of users losing their stored printing profiles after they installed the update, which happened to be exactly what happened to me. Luckily I had a few of my most commonly used printing profiles saved and I was able to get back to printing pretty quickly, but it gave me quite a scare there for a minute. No big deal, crisis averted. But it did make me realize something about 3D printing that hadn’t occurred to me previously.
You know how your cat will avoid everything in your house unless it’s something that you need to use at that very moment? Like deciding that the day of your big interview is when it’s going to take a nap on your suit coat and cover it with clumps of cat hair, despite having ignored the coat for three days prior. I swear, I can go days or weeks and never have any problems 3D printing anything no matter how complicated or tricky, but the minute that I’m trying to print something on a deadline is when I end up with a frizzy ball of wasted filament that looks like something my cat puked up. It’s obvious to me now that 3D printers are just the robot world’s version of cats. We invite them into our homes willingly and spend seemingly endless amounts of money on things to make them happy, all for the promise of a small sign of affection that ends with physical wounds as often as not.
Anyways, don’t get scratched by your 3D printer: before you update your Cura 2.1 make sure that you backup all of your profiles first. In fact you should be backing up anything during a beta anyways, but I know how easy it is to get complacent about these things. If you already updated, and lost all of your profiles, then you’re going to have to try and replicate all of them, sorry. Although a user on Reddit mentioned that he was able to recover his profiles by loading some gcode files that he had saved. Make sure that you stop by the Ultimaker community thread where the Cura 2.1 beta is being discussed, there are bound to be plenty of tips and tricks to working round any glitches and bugs that you may run into. Discuss further in the Cura 3D Software Update Issues forum over at 3DPB.com.