Choosing the correct infill pattern for a model is one of the most vital factors in 3D printing, as the infill pattern determines both how strong and how heavy your model will be.
While some infill patterns are more suitable for objects you print for aesthetical purposes only, some infill patterns are the correct choices for models you print for their functionality, such as carrying a certain amount of weight.
The honeycomb infill pattern is an example of the latter, known for being a robust pattern you can use to print objects that can withstand sizeable amounts of force.
Unfortunately, Cura, perhaps the most popular slicer available right now, does not support the honeycomb infill pattern by default, leaving many community members to wonder how to add the honeycomb infill pattern to their slicer software.
So, how to use honeycomb infill in Cura?
As the official version of Cura does not include the honeycomb infill pattern right now (version 4.10.0), the easiest way to use this pattern in Cura is by downloading a modified version.
Since Cura is fully open-source, members of the community are able to release their versions of Cura with the fixes, tweaks, and additions they would like to see in the software, which is available for everyone to download and use.
An important thing to consider is that these releases are not official, and therefore not supported by Ultimaker. While this may sound worrying at first, we will direct you towards releases developed by trusted community members that you can use without concern in the next section.
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How to Use Honeycomb Infill in Cura?
Despite being one of the most popular infill patterns, the honeycomb infill pattern is not an option in the current (4.10.0) official version of Cura.
Using the honeycomb infill pattern requires you to download an unofficial version of Cura created by the community where the developer has implemented this infill pattern into the slicer.
You can find an unofficial version of Cura that supports the honeycomb infill pattern here, which works exactly the same as the official version of Cura.
After downloading and running this modified version of Cura, you will be able to find the Honeycomb option in the dropdown menu next to the Infill Pattern option in Print Settings.
While this release of Cura is created by a trusted member of the 3D printing community, note that it is NOT an official release by Ultimaker.
That being said, the developer of this release updates it quickly whenever a new version of Cura comes out, meaning that you most likely won’t be using an outdated version of Cura.
Since Cura is fully open-source, remember that you can also create your own release with the additions and fixes you would like to add if you have experience with development.
Why Doesn’t Cura Have Honeycomb Infill By Default?
It’s definitely strange that Cura does not have the honeycomb infill pattern option by default, especially considering that honeycomb is one of the most popular infill patterns.
On GitHub, it’s possible to find a sizable amount of requests for Cura to have the option for the honeycomb infill pattern, with the earliest one dating back all the way to 2017.
Despite most other slicers having this popular infill pattern, the only official response (from one of the developers) about implementing the honeycomb pattern in Cura also came in 2017, where the developer mentioned that the product manager rejected the implementation of the honeycomb infill into Cura.
As it stands, it looks like there are no plans to bring the honeycomb infill option to Cura by the Ultimaker team, as evident by recent GitHub issues related to this topic being closed by the team.
While we haven’t been able to find a concrete reason behind Ultimaker refusing to implement honeycomb infill, the evidence suggests that they believe it’s not worth the development time that they will be spending on it.
What Is the Best Honeycomb Infill Alternative in Cura?
If you would like to stay on the official version of Cura, fear not, as there is a great alternative you can use in the place of honeycomb infill.
Gyroid infill is the closest thing to honeycomb infill in Cura, also known for giving a model exceptional amounts of strength.
Compared to honeycomb, gyroid infill achieves similar strength values with less material, meaning that the printing process takes a lot less time, and the model ends up being much lighter in weight.
You can find gyroid infill in the Infill Pattern dropdown in Cura, located in the Print Settings section.
While honeycomb is definitely the more popular one between the two, our tests have also shown us that the gyroid infill pattern does a fantastic job creating a resistant model, especially considering that it uses a much lesser amount of filament.
When we printed the same model with both gyroid and honeycomb infill patterns, the gyroid infill model ended up weighing roughly 80% of the model with honeycomb infill.
In terms of printing time, printing the model with the gyroid infill pattern took 20% less time, meaning that we have saved both filament and time by going with the gyroid infill pattern instead of honeycomb.
Finally, upon subjecting both of these models to forces that we have incrementally increased, we have noticed that the gyroid infill model was slightly more resistant, meaning that the lesser amount of filament doesn’t cause the model to become weaker.
With these results in consideration, there is no dispute that gyroid infill is a fantastic alternative to honeycomb – and Cura not having the honeycomb infill pattern isn’t too big of an issue after all.
While it’s certainly odd that Cura doesn’t support the honeycomb infill pattern out of the box, getting it to work in Cura is a straightforward task, thanks to a developer who took the time to release a modified version of Cura where honeycomb infill exists.
Despite the honeycomb infill pattern being a feature that the community has been asking for a while, and rightly so, it doesn’t look like Ultimaker has plans to implement it any time soon.
That being said, as the gyroid infill pattern shows an even better degree of performance than the honeycomb infill pattern, we can’t really blame Ultimaker for not spending time on implementing the honeycomb infill pattern either.
We hope that this has article has been informative, and we will see you next time!
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.