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Help me understand materials and profiles, etc.

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Although I am quite familiar with the Cura slicing engine, I know almost nothing about how Cura is configured. Does anyone have a simple explanation (wiki, blog, etc.) that describes how Cura printers, materials, variants and profiles relate?

In particular, I would like to know whether material definitions are specific to particular printer types (or printer instances) or if they are shared. I see that the material print settings include items that are printer specific (i.e. retraction distance/speed) so surely you would need a new definition per printer?

Another question is whether the standard profiles (Fine, Normal, Draft, etc.) are shared between printers?


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There is no simple explanation because the simple is far from simple.


Depending on what the printer states, profiles can either be generic or for a specific printer. If you want to look under the hood of what Cura actually does with all the settings, I recommend looking at the godmode plugin made by sedwards2009 (you can find it on github)

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Thanks for bothering to reply. Unfortunately, it hasn't left me any the wiser and it sounds like there is no documentation to refer to. I'm sure I can't be the only person who would benefit from a simple explanation of how Cura profiles/materials/machines/extruders/etc. are configured.

That plugin (like most community plugins) isn't compatible with master branch or 4.0 Cura.

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Just upgrading the version number of that plugin should do the trick.


I've tried to see if I could find some documentation that I can provide that provides a bit more imidate gratification.

A fair bit can be found on https://github.com/Ultimaker/Cura/wiki/Definition-Files-Explained

From there you can see that machines can define a number of things it actually supports. As there is quite a bit of things a given machine can say it supports, it's a bit tricky to give a single answer.

The settings itself are organised within stacks; You have 1 stack for each extruder, which is always "above" a global extruder. Each stack has a set of containers inside them (profiles). The profiles are currently in the following order;
User, User Changes, quality, material, variant, definition_changes and definition.

So if a machine doesn't have specific profiles for material and you change the material, the quality will remain the same (and only the material container is actually changed). In the case of the UM3, if you change the material, it will also change the quality (it will still be the same type (eg; "fine", "normal", etc)), but it will go form fine_pla_0.4aa to fine_abs_04aa

Edited by nallath
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