How to print the maximum build volume in Ultimaker Cura

Note: Ultimaker Cura's integrated and well-tested printing profiles offer maximum reliability and print quality that the platform can offer. Perform the adjustments below at your own risk and consider every change carefully.

Ultimaker 3D printers build volume specifications list the theoretical maximum that can be achieved when using Ultimaker Cura software. The default printing profiles provided by our team of print process engineers have built-in safety features that by default do not allow utilizing the maximum build volume by default. The non-printable area displayed as a dark-grey area on the build plate will be completely removed when all settings below are adjusted.

Tip: To adjust these settings, please get familiar with the custom mode first.

Build plate overview

  1. Non-printable area. This dark grey area indicates that it cannot be used for printing due to print settings or hardware limitations
  2. Non-printable model. Models on the build plate that are within non-printable areas are automatically turned striped grey-yellow to indicate they do not fit


Print settings affecting the build volume

The list below shows which print settings affect the build volume and are ordered from most affecting setting to least.

Build plate adhesion

Most material configuration print with a brim enabled by default, which improves the adhesion between the model and the build plate. There are two options available:

  1. Reduce the brim width slightly to gain a few millimeters of extra space on the build plate
  2. Set the adhesion type to 'none'. This will remove any platform adhesion helpers

Caution: Disabling the build plate adhesion completely might result in poor extrusion during the initial layer or the print completely releasing from the build plate which could lead to severe print head damage.

Travel avoid distance

This setting forces the print head to move around the model when traveling, ensuring residue from the nozzle cannot touch the already printed model. There are two options available:

  1. Reduce the travel avoid distance to gain a few millimeters of extra space on the build plate
  2. Set it to '0', forcing the nozzle to travel directly over the printed model. This may reduce the visual quality of your print

This setting forces the print head to 'lift' (by moving the build plate down) above the 3D printed model to prevent a collision. This lifting move prevents the full Z-height to be utilized when reaching the maximum build volume.

  • Reduce the Z-hop to increase the maximum Z-height; the default value is 2mm
  • Disable the Z-hop completely to reach the maximum build volume
Support horizontal expansion

This setting increases the footprint of printed support structures to improve their strength. All print profiles with Ultimaker PVA are heavily affected. There are two options available:

  1. Reduce the support horizontal expansion slightly to gain a few millimeters of extra space on the build plate. This is recommended when you see thin support structures in the layer view
  2. Set it to '0' to print support structures as wide as the model it supports.

Caution: Reducing the support horizontal expansion increases the risk of support structures breaking during the print process, heavily reducing the print reliability.

Note: Similar to Support horizontal expansion, the expansion settings affecting the model (Horizontal expansion and Initial layer horizontal expansion also impact the available build volume. However, these are not enabled in the default Ultimaker profiles.

Infill wipe distance

This setting slightly improves the visual quality of the model and can safely be set to '0', which will only slightly reduce visual quality. This change only has a small impact on increasing the maximum build volume (less than 0.1mm).

Prime blob

Some profiles have a prime blob enabled. Before starting a print, the printer will prime by creating a small blob of material on the build plate. If this is within Cura's build volume, this will create a small non-printable area. When using a brim or large skirt as build plate adhesion, the prime blob can safely be disabled.



When all settings are applied as displayed here, the loaded model will be displayed in the same color as the loaded material configuration.

Other limitations

The images above show the Ultimaker S5 as an example. The build volume in Cura is smaller than the glass build plate to ensure that all hardware limitations do not affect the printable area. For other printers, such as the Ultimaker 3, this is different.

Some hardware parts are within Cura's build volume, preventing the full use of the build volume in the corners. Adjusting the settings as described above will reduce the size of the non-printable areas, but they cannot fully be removed.

  1. Switch bay. The switch bay is located at the back-right corner and enables nozzle switching. It is not possible to print too close to the switch bay to prevent accidentally adjusting the lift switch.
  1. Dual extrusion. For the Ultimaker S-line printers, the build volume is the same for single and dual extrusion. On the Ultimaker 3, the available build volume is adjusted based on the extruder used. It is limited on the right when printing with just extruder 1, on the left when printing with just extruder 2, and on both sides for dual extrusion prints.
  1. Build plate clamps. The clamps that secure the glass build plate limit a small part of the build volume in all four corners.
Was this article helpful?
33 out of 74 found this helpful



Article is closed for comments.