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Print Text Without Base Material

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Posted · Print Text Without Base Material

Hello. I'm trying to print solid letters with no base (i.e. cutout stand alone letters). My approach thus far has been to use a graphics program to create the letters, save as an image, then import to Cura.

Photoshop > PNG > Cura > Ultimaker 2+

Here's an example of my image file from Photoshop


What I'm seeing is Cura does not seem to respect transparency. When I import a PNG or GIF that has transparency enabled, Cura displays a solid block.

With transparency disabled, I will see the extruded letters, but always with what I believe is considered a "base".


Even though I'm setting the base value to 0mm in the import image dialog.


Thanks for your help and patience. I'm completely new to CAD software and 3D printing. My first post to the forum.

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    Posted · Print Text Without Base Material

    I have never tried this approach via images, so I can't comment on that.

    But if you want to print 3D-shapes, letters or whatever else, I would suggest you design them in a 3D-editor. Then you can get everything right in the 3D-editor itself. And you can slant the edges, etc.

    I use DesignSpark Mechanical. This is good freeware by RS Components, and only requires registration. It is a limited version of the commercial SpaceClaim 3D-editor. This has an easy to learn interface, similar to SketchUp. There are lots of good training videos available on Youtube. In a few hours you can design simple objects. In a few days, you can design complex objects.

    However, it has no built-in text features, so you have to work around: or draw the characters yourself, or import them from another editor, or use the "dimensioning tool" instead. Google for: how to make text in designspark mechanical.

    Try to avoid SketchUp: this causes problems, since a lot of shapes are not "watertight": thus they are no solids, but sort of "cardboard" models with infinite thin walls.

    You can set the text in SketchUp, export it, and import the skp-file in DesignSpark Mechanical. But then you have to repair these defects due to non-closed vectors manually first. And then in DesignSpark Mechanical, you can extrude it into 3D, slant edges, and do whatever else you want.

    Before trying any editor, watch a few demo-videos on Youtube first, to see if you like the workflow.

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    Posted (edited) · Print Text Without Base Material

    If you wish to go this route (Opening a bitmap into Cura) then do so with darker is higher.Then push the model below the print plate to cut off the base.

    Although, the best way to do it is what geert_2 said.

    There are a lot of vector packages that can use fonts to create outlines from and then import into a variety of 3D packages for extrusion and beveling. Beveling is important.

    Edited by Guest
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    • 2 weeks later...
    Posted · Print Text Without Base Material

    I discovered by doing a test print that while the Cura display seems to suggest that a flat layer of material will be printed around the text, it in fact does not print that way. The printer draws a very fine line that follows the border of what's displayed in Cura, but does not fill it in. So I ultimately get what I was wanting.

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