Using slicer software effectively is a significant part of achieving a successful 3D printing process, which involves being familiar with all the features that the slicer is capable of as best as possible to use them whenever necessary.
While effectively using a slicer mostly comes down to getting the print settings, such as retraction and infill correctly, positioning the object is also a vital skill that has significant benefits for the printing process to go smoothly.
Today, we will discover how to snap models to the build plate in the Cura slicer, which is a vital part of preparing for the printing process, as the model needs to be connected to the build plate for the print to be successful.
So, how to snap models to the build plate in Cura?
To snap a model to the build plate in Cura, all you need to do is click your model, navigate to the Move section of the left sidebar, and enter the value of 0 millimeters for the input labeled Z, which represents the Z-axis.
By following this method, you can ensure that there won’t be a gap between your model and the build plate compared to manually dragging the model where errors can occur.
Moving forward, we will go into the methods you can use to snap models to the build plate in Cura, find out how to lay an object flat on the desired face, and take a quick glance at how you can float models off the build plate instead of snapping them to the build plate.
How to Snap Models to the Build Plate in Cura?
Snapping a model to the build plate is a convenient way to ensure that there is no gap between the build plate and the model, as even a minor gap between the object and the build surface can cause issues for the printing process.
Here is a step-by-step guide you can follow to snap your model to the build plate in Cura as quickly and reliably as possible:
- Click the model you would like to snap to the build plate.
- Click the Move tab on the left sidebar, or press the T button, which is the shortcut for the tab.
- Input a value of 0 mm into the box labeled as Z.
Following these steps will set the Z position of your model to 0, which will cause it to snap to the build plate without any gap in between.
How Do You Lay Something Flat in Cura?
Laying a model flat on the desired face is one of the most commonly used features in Cura as it quickly allows you to position your model the way you would like to and ensure that it sticks to the build plate.
Here are the steps we recommend following to lay your model flat on the build surface in Cura:
- Click the model you would like to lay flat on the build surface.
- Click the Rotate tab on the left sidebar, or press the R button on your keyboard to bring up the Rotation menu.
- Click the third icon (Select face to align to the build plate) and click on the face of the model you would like to contact the build plate.
- Click the second icon (Lay flat) to lay your model flat on the build surface.
To change the face the model lays on – you can click the third icon again and choose a new face.
How to Float a Model Above the Build Plate in Cura?
In some cases, it’s necessary to float the model above the build plate instead of sticking it to the build plate, meaning that you will need to deactivate the feature that causes Cura to snap a model to the surface automatically.
To float a model above the build plate by either dragging it or manually giving it a Z-axis position, you will need to disable the automatic snapping feature of Cura that force-snaps the model to the build plate after each movement.
To disable the automatic snapping feature, you can follow the steps we have outlined below:
- Click the Preferences tab on the menu bar of Cura.
- Choose the Configure Cura option from the dropdown.
- Uncheck the “Automatically drop models to the build plate” option located in the Viewport Behavior category of the General tab.
- Click the Close button to close the Preferences dialog.
From now on, your models won’t automatically snap to the build plate after each movement, meaning that you can float them by either dragging or manually setting the Z position of your choice.
My Model Won’t Snap to the Build Plate in Cura – What to Do?
As snapping an object to the build plate in Cura is a feature that doesn’t have a lot of customization options, scenarios where the model won’t properly snap and float over the build plate instead can be frustrating and challenging to resolve.
While you can always snap the model to the build plate manually by giving it a Z-axis position of 0 millimeters or laying it flat, the model will only automatically snap by dragging if you enable the automatic snapping feature of Cura.
Below, we have listed the steps for enabling the automatic snapping feature that will snap your model to the build plate after every movement:
- Click the Preferences tab located on the menu bar (top of the window) of Cura.
- Click the Configure Cura option.
- Check the “Automatically drop models to the build plate” option, which you can find under the Viewport Behavior heading in the General section.
- Click the Close button.
From now on, Cura will set the Z position of the model to 0 after every movement, essentially snapping the model to the build plate regardless of the Z position it would naturally have.
While activating and deactivating the snap to build plate feature in Cura is as easy as checking or unchecking a box, finding where the setting is where most users end up stumbling due to it not being present in the main window of Cura.
To quickly recap, the quickest way to snap your model to the build plate in Cura is to set its Z position to 0 millimeters, which you can do by clicking your model, navigating to the Move tab on the left sidebar, and inputting the value of 0 into the box labeled as Z.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more automatic solution where the model always rests on the bed, enabling the automatic snapping feature of Cura will do the trick for you.
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.