Jump to content
Ultimaker Community of 3D Printing Experts

Print Text Without Base Material

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Our picks

    • Ultimaker Cura | a new interface
      We're not only trying to always make Ultimaker Cura better with the usual new features and improvements we build, but we're also trying to make it more pleasant to operate. The interface was the focus for the upcoming release, from which we would already like to present you the first glance. 
        • Like
      • 130 replies
    • "Back To The Future" using Generative Design & Investment Casting
      Designing for light-weight parts is becoming more important, and I’m a firm believer in the need to produce lighter weight, less over-engineered parts for the future. This is for sustainability reasons because we need to be using less raw materials and, in things like transportation, it impacts the energy usage of the product during it’s service life.
        • Like
      • 12 replies

Important Information

Welcome to the Ultimaker Community of 3D printing experts. Visit the following links to read more about our Terms of Use or our Privacy Policy. Thank you!