The Ultimaker Cura workflow explained

Ultimaker Cura has a workflow based on three stages; the prepare, preview and monitor stage. Each stage has a unique stage menu to efficiently go through the 3D printing process.


The prepare stage is the first stage. The goal of this stage is to load and configure your 3D models for printing. 

3D models loaded on the build plate are displayed solid, in the color corresponding to the material selected to print with. Models not fully within the printable area have a striped grey overlay. Non-printable areas on the build plate are displayed with a grey border, this space is necessary for build plate adhesion and support structures.

  1. Stage menu. Contains the printer selection, configuration and print settings panel.
  2. Stage. The current stage is highlighted
  3. Non-printable area. The area is represented by a grey shadow on the build plate and is caused by build plate adhesion and support settings
  4. Non-printable model. Due to parts being in non-printable areas
  5. Printable model. Displayed in the color corresponding to the material selected to print with



The preview stage is the second stage. The goal of this stage is to preview and evaluate the 3D printing process. This stage can only preview the printed model when the model has been sliced with the action button in the bottom right corner. When going into this stage, the layer view opens automatically.  

Layer view

When the layer view opens, your sliced 3D model is visible, represented by every print and travel path Ultimaker Cura generated. These are the actual print paths executed by the printer when the print job gets sent.

The stage menu now has options to change the current view, the color scheme panel, and the print settings panel. The right side shows the layer slider and the bottom slider control the simulation view. The action panel in the bottom left now contains the 'print over network’ action. 

  1. Stage menu. This contains the view types, color scheme panel, and print settings panel
  2. Stage. The current stage is highlighted
  3. Layer slider input. This uses the numeric input to jump to the desired layer
  4. The layer slider. This can be dragged to drag a layer range up and down
  5. Layer slider handle. Both the top and bottom handle can be dragged to specify the visible layer range
  6. Print information. Hover the mouse over the icon to view detailed print time information per printed feature
  7. Print over network. This will send the print job directly to the printer over the network. Non-networked printers have options to save to removable disk or save to file instead
  8. Path slider. This indicates the current position of the simulation view. This handle can be dragged or moved with the ‘arrow keys’ or ‘shift + arrow keys’
  9. Start simulation. This starts the simulation of the currently active layer to provide visual feedback on the printing process


Color schemes

The layer view contains multiple color schemes to represent the 3D model in a useful way. This way, it is possible to view additional information like the material color, feedrate, and layer thickness. Visibility of printed features can be shown and hidden to view the features you care about most.

  • Visualization filter. Toggle the visibility of individual printed parts
  • Print core visualization. Toggle the visibility of individual print cores and their corresponding 3D models and helper parts
  • Color scheme. Contains multiple color schemes to examine the layer view for line type, feedrate, color and layer thickness
  • Color scheme panel. Includes all visualization options for the layer view
  • Color indicators. All lines in the 3D viewer are colored to their corresponding color code, making it easy to identify individual printed parts


X-ray view

The x-ray view provides a translucent view of the model to detect missing and unwanted model geometry. Detected errors in the 3D model are displayed in red. Not all types of errors are displayed, so this is not a guarantee the model is correct.

Note: Ultimaker Cura has built-in mesh fixing capabilities. Although some models are broken when loaded into Ultimaker Cura, they might still be able to print fine. Make sure to always check the layer view before sending the print job to the printer.

  1. View types, contains the layer view and x-ray view
  2. 3D model, displayed with the x-ray view active. This model does not contain any errors displayed in red



The monitor views 3D models sent to the printer or printer group. The status of every printer in the group can be inspected individually as well as the shared printer queue. 

  1. Printer information. Click 'Manage printer' to go to the Digital Factory
  2. Connected printer. Displays the name of printer displayed. This button can be used to switch to a different printer
  3. Monitor stage. The third stage of the printing process is designed to monitor all print jobs sent to the printer group
  4. Printer configuration. Displays the current configuration loaded into the displayed printer
  5. Print job queue. Displays print jobs sent to the printer. Each print job displays the 3D model, name, print time and job status
  6. Context menu. Quickly perform printer actions, pause or abort a print
  7. Camera view. Shows the live camera feed from within the connected Ultimaker


Was this article helpful?
98 out of 123 found this helpful



Article is closed for comments.