Cura Settings Cheat Sheet for CR-10, CR-10S CR10 v2/S4/S5 and Ender 3 3D Printers
Simple cheat sheet showing a range of values for the most important settings in the Cura slicer for CR-10 and Ender 3 (and variants.)
For many reasons you may want to tweak a preset Cura profile. Perhaps to fix a problem, or to try to get the perfect print. A default profile will not give you any idea how much you can change a setting. Entering values that are wildly off can lead to a lot of headaches and potentially even damage to your printer. Using the ranges and explanations in this guide can prevent these problems.
These settings were tweaked and perfected on a Creality CR10-S. I’ve experimented with a ton of settings and Cura profile variations over the past 3-4 years and below are my conclusions.
The following printers (and many other 3d printers) are all very similar and use the same settings we will cover:
- Creality CR-10
- Creality Ender 3
- Creality Ender 3 v2
- Creality Ender 3 Pro
- Creality CR-10 S
- Creality CR-10 v2
- Creality CR-10 S4
- Creality CR-10 S5
Cura Settings Cheat Sheet for CR-10S & Similar 3D Printers:
- The below settings assume you are using a standard 0.4 mm nozzle that comes installed by default on most printers.
- If you don’t see a setting that is listed here in your Cura, go to the Settings Menu and click “Settings Visibility” then search for it.
- Disclaimer: The author takes no responsibility for any damage that might occur from use or misuse of information presented here.
- If you see a mistake or want to make a suggestion please leave a comment below!
|Layer Height||0.2||0.12||0.28||Stick to 0.12 (fine detail) or 0.2 (standard detail) usually. If you want even thicker layer heights, step up to a 0.6 or 0.8mm nozzle first. Use values that are multiples of 0.04.|
|Initial Layer Height||0.28||0.2||0.28||Thicker initial layer height helps bed adhesion. As a general rule add 0.08 to your layer layer height, or use double your layer height if using fine detail like 0.12 layer height.|
|Line Width||0.4||0.4||0.4||Leave it set to default, the same as the width of your nozzle. If you install a different sized nozzle, be sure this is updated to match! Some other common nozzle sizes are 0.2, 0.6, 0.8, etc.|
|Initial Layer Line Width||100%||100%||101%||Leave it at default. You could increase slightly to 101% to help with bed adhesion, but this shouldn’t be necessary with a well leveled bed.|
(Wall Line Count)
(3 Walls * 0.4mm ea.)
Generally you will want your prints to have at least 1.2 mm total Wall Thickness in order to be sturdy when handled. A thin decorative vase could use a thin total wall thickness like 0.8mm (2 walls), but may break easily when dropped or squeezed. Structural or weight-bearing prints will want more like 5 walls (2.0mm total thickness) and 30-100% infill, but that uses a lot more time and filament. For a toy or decorative statue, 1.2mm total wall thickness is a good balance when used along with 10-20% or more infill setting. Wall Line Count / total Wall Thickness has a huge impact on print time.
|Top Surface Skin Layers||0||0||1||I usually leave this setting at 0 and just add more Top Layers if I think it is needed. It could be useful if you want to improve the finish on the top surfaces of your prints–especially on flat prints. However in comparing sliced results with this at 0 or 1 I usually don’t see much difference.|
|Top/Bottom Thickness||0.8||0.8||1.6mm||Similar to wall thickness, only on the top/bottom (Z axis) instead of sides. If you have some extreme overhangs, lots of supports, or supports that might not be sufficient, increasing this can save the top of your print from looking very sloppy. Usually keep it around 0.8 to 1 mm total top/bottom thickness, but if you have a large unsupported area that may not print well at first, I would increase that up to around 1.6mm thickness.|
|Top Layers||4||4||8 to 12||See Top/Bottom thickness (linked.)|
|Bottom Layers||4||4||8||See Top/Bottom thickness (linked.)|
|Top/Bottom Pattern||Lines||Lines||Lines||Generally leave this at lines except for in a few specific cases where you might be printing a circular object and then Concentric could be better. However “Lines” is a little easier and more accurate for your printer and tends to be a little stronger. Concentric can end up being weak and could cause a print to fail or look sloppy except in specific situations. Zig-Zag could add a little strength in some cases, but sometimes doesn’t look as nice.|
|Fill Gaps Between Walls||Everywhere||Leave this at everywhere, unless you are getting some weird extruder paths. For example, if you are trying to print out some small raised text. If so, look at the preview tab in Cura closely and compare “Everywhere” vs. “Nowhere” and decide what looks the best.|
|Filter Out Tiny Gaps||Off (Unchecked)||I have always left this off. This could be something to test if you are troubleshooting issues with prints. Like the above setting, it might affect things like printing raised text or other small details.|
|Horizontal Expansion||0||0||0||I haven’t found the need to alter this from 0. It can be useful for printing parts that need to fit together tightly, or have things like screw holes. You will need to do some test prints and possibly use some calipers to measure printed holes to determine if you want to change this from the default 0mm.|
|Z Seam Alignment||See note||This is going to depend on your print. If in doubt I would pick random. Often the point where each layer starts will end up with a tiny “blob” because the printer had to move (travel) there and the filament tends to ooze out a bit during travel moves. You can decide if you want all of these “blobs” or “Z seams” to appear at the same point, or at random locations. If you plan to sand the print it can be helpful to have them all in one location. The print may end up with a line of imperfections at the Z seam, but then you can easily sand that area. Or, if the entire model has a lot of detail, it can be helpful to select Random so that the blobs will be less noticeable and hidden in with the other details.|
|Enable Ironing||Off (Unchecked)||Ironing is an interesting feature that is mostly useful for geometric and flat-topped parts, such as printing a box. The hot nozzle is run over the top-most layers while extruding little to no filament in order to melt it together more. However in some cases I’ve found it can cause problems with filament clogging and jams, so I would leave it off unless you know for sure that you really need a smoothed top layer.|
Replacement Nozzles, Multiple Sizes: It’s important to always have spare nozzles on hand to quickly troubleshoot any problems due to clogs or worn out nozzles. A variety pack of nozzles also helps for different sizes of prints. For larger prints, you can shave off days by increasing to a 0.6 or 0.8mm nozzle! On smaller prints like miniature figures, smaller nozzles like 0.2 and 0.3mm can get you far more detail.
|Infill Density||20||0||100||When in doubt, stick to about 20% infill. This will provide a good amount of strength and also help top layers to be supported. You can often go down to 10% if you want to speed up the print or save filament. Set to 50% or 100% if you are printing a structural, weight bearing part, or a part that will have screw holes etc. You can set to 0% in some rare cases where you have thick enough walls and also don’t have any top layers that would be unsupported (take a look at the Preview window after slicing and see if the top layers of your print would be hanging in midair.)|
|Infill Pattern||Cubic, Grid, or Lightning||This determines the pattern of the area between the walls of your print (the interior.) If in doubt, pick Cubic. Grid can be helpful for more reliable overhang support since it offers a predictable grid for top layers to lay on. However grid has a tendency to affect the outer wall appearance: you can often see an impression of the grid on the outside of the print.|
Gyroid Infill is an alternative to Cubic that looks more organic, but your printer may be noisier when printing the curving Gyroid pattern. If you are using semi-transparent (natural etc.) filament, or lighting your print from the inside, Gyroid can help the inside look more organic. It also is effective when light weight infill is needed. Check the preview tab to see how each infill will look.
Lightning Infill is a recently added infill option that intelligently adds infill just around the interior, under-side of the top of your print. Lightning is a good option to save filament and increase print speed. The downside is that it will be printing lot of bridges/mid-air, which on some printers could eventually result in visible defects. Test a print with lightning infill vs grid and if they look similar, go with lightning as your default when you want faster prints that don’t need extra strength.
|Connect Infill Lines||Off (Unchecked)||If you really need to add strength to your part you can turn this on at the cost of extra filament and time. I have not found the need to ever enable it.|
|Gradual Infill Steps||0||0||?||This option sounds helpful, but in practice it doesn’t seem good. The idea is that it creates a more dense infill pattern near the outer walls of your print. In theory this could save print time and filament without sacrificing much strength. However when looking at the slice preview, it tends to create a lot of layers in mid air, which can lead to failed prints and is something to avoid usually. I have almost always left this at 0|
|Skin Removal Width||1.2||Hidden feature by default. This is something I have always left alone, but I have heard advice from others that this could be something to tweak if are getting some strange problems and badly arranged layers with your sliced print.|
Easy Print Smoothing: PvB filament is very similar to PLA and uses the same print settings, but offers a huge advantage: you can smooth prints using Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA.) This is a major time saving shortcut that lets you skip the long process of sanding and painting to hide layer lines and other small print defects. 3D prints made with PvB filament can be smoothed by brushing or rubbing with IPA, or letting the print sit in a sealed container with IPA on the bottom–the IPA vapor does the smoothing automatically!
|Printing Temperature:||205||195||215||This information is for 1.75mm PLA filament ONLY (not PETG, ABS etc): Printing temperature is dependent on your filament. Usually rolls of filament will come with a temperature recommendation, start with an average of that and tweak as needed.|
For further tweaking, you can download a “temp tower” .STL file to test out what is best for the specific filament you are using. Lower temperatures can clog easier and lack strength, but might do better on overhangs. Higher temperatures have better layer adhesion and usually clog less. If your temperature is too high, filament can burn and clog in the hotend, or ooze and cause blobs and stringing.
I’ve tried many different brands and settled on 200 to 210 C as my default temperature for PLA filament. This is very standard as expected.
Keep in mind that layer height and print speed affects how fast the filament moves through the hot end. This affects how long a section of filament is exposed to heat before being pushed out. For example a higher print speed would usually call for a slightly higher printing temperature. (Rough example for a single filament roll: 30mm/s print speed: 200 C print temp vs. 55mm/s print speed: 210 C print temp.)
|Printing Temperature Initial Layer||You can sometimes set this about 5 degrees C higher than your printing temp in order to increase layer adhesion, but its not usually necessary. You can just leave it at your normal printing temp.|
|Initial Printing Temperature||minus 0-5 degrees||0||minus 10 degrees C||This is the temperature the nozzle will heat up to before printing starts. (It is different from the above initial layer temp.) You can set this 1-5 degrees lower than your printing temperature in order to prevent some filament oozing out during the travel moves at the very beginning of the print.|
|Build Plate Temperature||60||50||60||For PLA filament printing, 60 C is the preferred temp for the bed. This allows for good layer adhesion assuming your other settings are correct and the bed is leveled correctly. Adhesion to the bed can also be helped by using glue, tape, or PEI sheets. Some sources say you can print PLA on an unheated bed, but I have found that is not really the case if you want reliable prints, even on a well-leveled bed.|
Nozzle Cleaning and Changing Tools make it easier and safer to clean and replace your nozzle. Nozzle clogs are probably the most common causes of sudden drops in print quality. This kit includes several effective options for cleaning a nozzle while it’s still installed, and wrenches to safely remove and replace the nozzle without burning your fingers! Remember to heat up the replacement nozzle before fully tightening to compensate for thermal expansion.
|Print Speed||25 to 35 mm/s||25 mm/s||50 mm/s||Big impact on the time a print takes, but increasing can cause sloppier looking prints and potential print failures, and faster speeds caused increase noise (if you are concerned about that.) While you could go up to something like 70-80mm/s on these printers, I would not recommend it for quality. If you want faster print times beyond about 40-50mm/s I would first try a bigger nozzle which can give you thicker and therefore fewer walls (shells), use less infill like 5% or 10% instead of 20%, etc.|
|Infill Speed||40 to 50 mm/s||35 mm/s||55 mm/s||Because you don’t see infill in the finished print, you can print it a lot faster and it doesn’t matter if it ends up looking a little rough. You could experiment with going up to about 80mm/s if speed is extremely important, but a more reasonable 50mm/s is recommended. Too fast and it may become more visible on the outer walls of the print, or cause blobs that clog the nozzle.|
|Wall Speed||25 to 35 mm/s||20 mm/s||45 mm/s||Has a large impact on overall print time and quality. This is one of the most important settings to “dial in.” A conservative 25 to 35 is recommended for good quality prints. If quality is not important (such as a prototype, test print, or simple box shape) you can try cranking this up, but be prepared for your print quality to degrade if you do.|
|Support Speed||25 to 35 mm/s||25 mm/s||45 mm/s||While the quality (appearance) of supports is not important, if you print them too fast they have a higher chance of failing (falling over etc) which can ruin a print. Recommended to set the support speed at or maybe 5-10mm/s higher than your wall speed.|
|Travel Speed||150mm/s||This is how fast the printer moves when not actively laying down plastic. This is something I have not experimented with much. It is possible increasing this can save some print time, though increasing it too much may mean your slicer gives inaccurate print times. I’ve seen a couple of different sources claim between 100mm/s to 180mm/s is the maximum travel speed on the CR-10 and Ender models. Leaving this at 150mm/s has been fine. You could try reducing the speed to reduce printing noise and possibly prevent some wobbling / ghosting, but it may not have a big impact.|
|Initial Layer Speed||15mm/s||10mm/s||20mm/s||Using a slower initial layer speed (1st layer) can help a lot with adhesion. Since it only affects 1 or 2 layers, it won’t have a big impact on print time. I like to use 10-15mm/s as this gives some extra time for the filament to be thoroughly melted and to be laid down and stick in the correct location.|
Quick tip: when the first layer is being printed, lightly and SAFELY (away from the hot end) rub your finger across the filament laid down on the print bed. If it moves out of place, you have adhesion problems that need to be fixed before continuing the print!
|Number of Slower Layers||2||1||2||The number of layers that the above “initial layer speed” setting applies to. You could set this to 1, but it would rarely save much time, so I recommend leaving it at 2 to ensure better adhesion.|
|Enable Acceleration Control||Unchecked / Off||500mm/s||1500mm/s||I still need to experiment with this setting more. Leaving it turned off is best when in doubt. Increasing this could save some print time, but may cause some print quality issues and a lot more noise from your printer.|
|Enable Jerk Control||Unchecked / Off||I still need to experiment with these settings more. Leaving it turned off is best when in doubt. I have printed a fair amount with this turned on and set at 8mm/s for all speeds, but did not notice a large difference in the finished prints.|
3D Printer Enclosures are not always necessary, but in some cases they will solve problems. For printing some filaments like ABS, an enclosure is required. Enclosures can help prevent warping and improve print quality for all filament types. They can also reduce noise, save electricity, and allow you to print in what would normally be a cold environment, such as a garage.
|Enable Retraction||On (Checked)||Retraction has the extruder motor reverse the filament to pull it back out slightly when the printer is not actively laying down filament (such as during a travel move from one part to another.) Retraction is extremely helpful and should be turned on for most prints. For some special types of filament (such as Wood PLA) it may help to turn it off to avoid clogging and other issues that are specific to special filaments. If you turn this off expect to get blobs / zits and a lot of stringing. If you upgrade to a direct drive extruder this will likely need different settings than the Bowden type that comes with most printers.|
|Retraction Distance||5mm||4mm||7mm||This is dependent on the filament brand you are using. This is how far the filament is pulled back each time. For a good starting point, select the correct brand of filament in Cura. If you can’t find your filament there, 5mm is a good average to start with. You can try printing retraction / stringing test prints from thingiverse to see what works best for your printer and filament.|
|Retraction Speed||45mm/s||25mm/s||55mm/s||Again dependent on the filament brand you are using. This is how fast the filament is retracted by the extruder motor. If in doubt 45mm/s is a good starting point. You can print stringing / tower test prints to see what is best.|
Over 4+ years, thousands of hours, and dozens of rolls of filament, I wanted to share my favorites. I always have at least one roll of each of these on hand:
Hatchbox PLA – Silver, Gray, and Black Filament – I like Hatchbox the best for consistency, it’s my default for any prints. You are looking for a consistent diameter, a neatly wound roll that doesn’t tangle, and low humidity in the filament. I haven’t had any issues clogging or adhesion on Hatchbox, which is not true for other brands. For anything you plan to paint a neutral, medium tone PLA like gray or silver is your best choice. The silver has a nice glossy shine that makes it look like a metal sculpture if you don’t plan to paint. When I don’t want the shine, I go with a standard gray. For functional prints like a headphone stand I also always have a roll of black PLA on hand.
Above is my current favorite choice for the dual / tri color filament. This is a more recent, and very cool effect. Unlike rainbow or gradient filament–which looks great too–this filament has all listed colors on each strand of the filament. So, instead of the color changing as your print is goes upward, the color changes depending on which angle you are viewing it! I like this effect for way more uses; it looks like a multi-chromatic, color-shifting paint job you might see on ultra high end custom cars.
Zi-Rui Tri Color Thermal Reactive PLA Filament – This is thermal reactive filament–heat makes it change colors! I’ve tried a few, but several of them didn’t have a very dramatic effect or had ugly colors. This was my favorite — it goes from a dark, very dark neutral green (actually it is a dark gray, which is ideal, but they say dark green in the description) then changes to red, then orange, then yellow, then white as temperature increases. This is a great color combination that really looks like it’s getting super hot. Tons of possibilities for using this. This filament generally will go from the dark gray color at room temperature, to a reddish orange with heat from your hands. To get up to yellow/white it needs higher heat, like a blow dryer or sitting in the sunlight. It’s a really cool effect that I highly recommend trying on your next print that will be handled, worn, or placed in varying amounts of sunlight! Honestly this is my favorite filament for impressing people with what’s possible from 3D printing!
Leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. Thanks for reading!