Earlier this year, Ultimaker announced that it was working on a major improvement to the CURA cutting algorithm: the Arachne engine. According to the producer, Arachne brings with it a revolutionary approach to the so-called cutting models while preparing them for 3D printing. The new algorithms are to enable much faster 3D printing of parts, improve their quality and, above all, produce strong and solid walls.
One of the biggest challenges for FDM / FFF 3D printing software producers is developing algorithms that will be good at filling the narrow edges of the walls of printed parts. The problem is that the standard printheads have a diameter of 0.4 mm, which is always the width of the applied material path. From a 0.4 mm diameter head it is impossible to extrude a path that is half as narrow – it is also difficult to extrude a significantly larger amount of material from it. If the edge of the model is 0.9 mm thick, then two solutions are possible – either between two 0.4 mm wide tracks a 0.1 mm wide gap will be created, or you will have to overlap one track on two previously imposed ones. Unless the fragment fills in another way – and this is what Ultimaker developers are working on.
The new Arachne engine rests on three pillars:
- the ability to print high-quality, thin and complex shapes
- reinforcement of the model structure by more optimized alignment of lines in conical geometries and corners
- faster 3D printing by optimizing printhead movements, which will make fewer movements when filling the gaps.
The previous CURA engine operated as follows: wishing to print an area 4.4 mm wide, the cutting program generated a constant line width of 1 mm leaving a gap of 0.4 mm. which is difficult to complete. The Arachne engine uses adaptive lineweight as part of the algorithm and will print 1.1mm on all four lines to ensure perfect fill.
Additionally, the following new features have been added to the Arachne beta:
- back pressure compensation – the quality of 3D printing is improved thanks to the dynamic adjustment of the speed of the print head, which slows down or speeds up depending on the pressure of the material on the Bowden tube guiding the filament
- significant improvements in 3D printing quality by adding all the improvements from Ultimaker Cura 4.12
- re-ordering of printing gaps – gaps in models are now filled after printing the outer wall, resulting in a reduction of over-extrusion.
Ultimaker reported that after the first beta of Arachne was released, there was a lot of positive feedback from the community about it. The new beta version of the software can be downloaded here.