At the beginning of the year, we gave the Anycubic i3 Mega an award for the best 3D printer under $300. We were amazed by some of the features it offers, which are usually reserved for more expensive printers. The whole printer feels like it should be way more expensive than it actually is.
As with any other 3D printer, its printing performance highly depends on the slicer settings. The Anycubic i3 Mega is compatible with a handful of slicers, but this time we’ll focus on Ultimaker Cura.
The standard settings that can be read out of the user manual give solid results. However, with a few changes to the settings, you can get slightly better results. In this article, we’ll present what we think is the ideal Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile.
Before we continue, please keep in mind that different 3D printing applications require different settings. For example, you won’t be printing a detailed action figure on the same settings on which you’ll be printing prototypes where details are not crucial.
Regardless, the Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile we present here is a more general form, for anyone who’s aiming to improve their settings from the “factory settings”.
We’ll kick things off with tweaks to basic settings and move towards advanced settings as the article progresses. At the end, we have a summary of all the tweaks to get the best Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile.
One of the more simple changes you can make to your Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile is to adjust the print speed. Changing the print speed from the standard 60 mm/s to 45 mm/s could help get better details on small features. Why you may ask? Well, imagine you’re handwriting. The slower you go, the nicer your handwriting is. The same is with 3D printing.
As the nozzle travels slower, there’s a bit less room for potential mistakes on small features of certain models.
The model you see above was 3D printed on the Anycubic i3 Mega using the 45 mm/s setting. The small chimneys on the roof turned out great, as did the rest of the model.
Besides the print speed, one of the crucial parameters for your Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile is the layer height. Lowering the layer height will add more finesse to your model. However, if you were to adjust the layer height from the standard 0.2 mm to 0.1 mm, you’d automatically double your print time, which is not ideal.
Instead, if you want to achieve better visual appearance of a part, try printing with 0.15 layer height. This way, you decrease the layer height, but not to a degree which would mean your prints take twice as much to print.
Infill is a handy Anycubic i3 Mega Cura setting that affects the weight and rigidity of your model. The standard suggested a setting for infill is set to 20%. What’s great about this infill percentage is that it does not take long to print, but it gives a part a decent level of stiffness. If you need to 3D print a functional component, consider bumping up the infill to 40% or more.
This will provide more structural strength to the part which is especially important if the part needs to carry a certain weight. On the other hand, if you need a very fast print, feel free to decrease the infill to 10% or lower.
Next up, we have the hot end temperature. We actually cannot provide you with an ideal Anycubic i3 Mega Cura setting for this parameter because it completely depends on the filament use and its manufacturer.
For example, classic PLA is usually printed at around 195°C which is the standard setting for the i3 Mega. If your PLA consists of reinforcements like carbon fiber, you should raise the hot end temperature. But don’t worry, most filament spools come with a tag where the suggested hot end temperature is written.
The Anycubic i3 Mega comes with “Ultrabase” heated glass bed which has a texture applied to it with a goal of reducing warping. Still, if you do experience smaller warpings while your bed is perfectly leveled, try to raise the bed temperature from the standard 50°C to 60°C.
This will keep lower layers even more heated which should reduce the difference in temperature between the new layers and the “old” ones. The result should be fewer stresses between the part’s layers, meaning less warping overall.
A less obvious Anycubic i3 Mega Cura setting is connected to the hot end – the retraction speed and distance. More complex 3D models require your printer’s print head to travel across the cross-sectional area of a part to print certain details. While doing so, the filament is pulled back a bit by the extruder motors so that it doesn’t exit the nozzle while the print head travels.
If your retraction settings aren’t good enough, you’ll see filament strings between the part’s features.
In the Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile, there are two settings for retraction: retraction speed and distance. Retraction speed defines the speed at which the filament is pulled back through the nozzle. By standard, it’s set to 60 mm/s.
The retraction distance defines the length of the filament which will be pulled back. By standard, it’s set to 50 mm
Although the standard settings aren’t bad at all, it’s good to know how to further improve them. In case you experience filament stringing, try adjusting the retraction speed to 40 mm/s and retraction distance to 4-4.5 mm.
Feel free to experiment to fine-tune your own retraction settings. For the retraction speed, we suggest you to “play” with the values in 5 mm/s increments. While for the retraction distance, we suggest increments of 0.5 mm.
As you may know, Cura offers a very wide variety of settings. Well, we felt like sharing a few more tips for your Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile.
What you may not notice from the picture above is the size of the model. It’s quite big, measuring 22 cm (8.7 in) in height. Despite the size of the model, we experienced perfect bed adhesion, and therefore there wasn’t any warping. We think it’s due to good bed calibration and the initial layer thickness which was set to 0.3 mm. This setting ensures that the first layer is thicker than the others to provide greater bed adhesion, and it surely did.
We highly recommend setting the initial layer width to 0.3 mm for your Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile.
As the name suggests, shell thickness defines how thick the walls of a part are. Alongside a few other settings (such as infill), shell thickness defines the strength of a part.
The standard shell thickness for the i3 Mega is set to 1.2 mm. We were happy with the test results, so we didn’t feel the need for changing it. However, if you’re 3D printing a part that needs to be very rigid, consider bumping up the value for the shell thickness.
Now then, what about inner and outer shell speed? With the shell thickness at 1.2 mm and the nozzle diameter at 0.4 mm, there are 3 layers beside each other which form the desired 1.2 mm thickness. The layer you see when a part is finished is the so-called outer layer. The other two are inner layers. Using Cura, it’s possible to specify the print speed for both the outer and the inner layer separately.
We left the outer shell speed on the standard 30 mm/s when printing the “thinking man” model you can see pictured above. Since it was the visible layer, we wanted to make sure it’s printed nicely. 30 mm/s is a good setting, but feel free to tweak it on your own if you’re not satisfied with your results.
For the two remaining inner layers, we bumped up the print speed to 80 mm/s in order to shave a few minutes of the print time. It worked! The quality was not sacrificed, yet we managed to shorten the overall print time.
Here’s a quick summary of changes to the standard Anycubic i3 Mega Cura profile you might consider:
Feature image source: 3dprinterkart kart / YouTube
License: The text of "Anycubic i3 Mega Cura Settings – The Best Printing Profile" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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