While the G-code language itself is not a hard one to learn by any means, manually reading and visualizing a G-code file that contains thousands of commands is not a feasible process at all, regardless of the complexity of the model.
On the other hand, viewing and analyzing the G-code file is sometimes necessary to understand the printing process will turn out, as it offers a way for us to refrain from wasting time and materials on a print that may not work out.
Today, we will be finding out whether Cura has a built-in G-code viewer or not, which is a practical feature to see a visual representation of the printing process signified by the list of G-code commands the printer uses to manufacture the model.
So, does Cura have a built-in G-Code viewer to view G-code files?
Cura features a G-code viewer that allows you to view the contents of the G-code visually, where you can observe how the model looks at various stages of the printing process and even simulate the movements the printer would perform as it prints your model.
In the upcoming sections, we will explore the G-code viewing capabilities of Cura in detail, take a quick look at how to use the Cura G-code viewer, and find out whether it’s possible to edit a G-code file directly in Cura or not.
Does Cura Have a Built-In G-Code Viewer?
Even though it’s possible to find various G-code viewers online, having a G-code viewer inherently a part of the slicer software makes the viewing process smoother and more reliable, considering that the G-code file is a product of the slicer itself.
The good news is that Cura does contain a built-in G-code viewer that supports both the viewing of the models you have sliced in Cura and external G-code files that you may have obtained through different means.
Cura’s G-code viewer features a pretty clean interface that comes with three core features that allow you to observe the G-code file in various ways, which are all pretty straightforward to use.
The first feature of Cura’s G-code viewer is the layer selector, which allows you to see how your model will look when the 3D printer reaches the layer you have specified.
The slider on the right side of the window is the controller for the layer selector feature, where you can either slide or type the layer number you would like to navigate to in the input boxes.
The second feature you can find in the interface is the replay, which simulates the extruder movements for the layer you have selected, allowing you to see exactly how the printer will print this layer.
To control the replay feature, you can use the bar located at the bottom of the Cura window, where you can either seek a part or use the play button for the animation to play from the start to the end of the layer.
The last feature of the Cura G-code viewer is the color scheme selector, which allows you to configure Cura to highlight different parts of the model you see on the screen.
An example of this feature is the Line Type filter, which highlights parts of the model, such as the infill and the shell, in different colors, allowing you to toggle their visibility.
Alongside the Line Type filter, you can also use the Material Color, Speed, Layer Thickness, Line Width, and Flow filters, which all highlight the model in different ways.
How to Use the Cura G-Code Viewer to View G-Code?
As Cura’s G-code viewer offers a very user-friendly interface that is simple and to the point, viewing your G-code file with it is an effortless process that you will get used to pretty quickly.
To open the G-code viewer of Cura for an external G-code file, all you have to do is to drag the G-code file to the Cura window, or bring up the Open Files dialog of Cura from the File tab in the top menu, and click the G-code file you would like to view.
On the other hand, if you would like to use the G-code viewer for the model (STL) you are slicing in Cura, navigate to the Preview tab, and click the Slice button located on the bottom right.
Is It Possible to Edit a G-Code File Directly in Cura?
The Cura G-code viewer has all the functionality required to thoroughly analyze the G-code and simulate how the model would print, which raises the question of whether it’s possible to edit the G-code directly in Cura or not to fix any potential issues.
Unfortunately, Cura doesn’t offer a way to modify a G-code file directly. On the other hand, as it’s possible to edit a G-code file with a simple text editor, we don’t think there is a lot of need for Cura to offer such a feature either.
With text editor software you can find on every computer (such as Notepad), you can quickly perform the necessary modifications to your G-code file.
How to Directly Modify a G-Code File?
While we don’t recommend modifying a G-code file in most cases, as there is a high chance of making an error due to the code complexity, there are times when making a slight addition or modification to the G-code is easier than re-slicing the model.
To directly modify a G-code file, all you have to do is open the G-code file in your favorite text editor and perform the modifications just as you would with any other text file.
While you can even do the edits with Notepad, we recommend using a more advanced text editor, such as Visual Studio Code, which will make the process a lot more manageable.
It’s worth noting that as the G-code file needs to follow a syntax, it’s vital to avoid making errors such as combining two lines of code or adding lines that aren’t valid G-code commands for the printer to be able to recognize the file.
A G-code viewer is a fantastic tool to preview how the printing process will turn out, allowing us to see any possible issues with the model that might cause the printing process to fail before the print takes place.
To quickly recap, it is possible to open and view G-code files in Cura, which features a visual interface that allows you to observe how the model would look during different states of the printing process.
As Cura makes it possible to view any G-code file regardless of its origin, you can use Cura’s G-code viewer for G-code files that you haven’t sliced with Cura as well.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.