3D printers are excellent tools that can be used to create all kinds of objects.
But did you know that you can also use them to generate pause points in your prints?
That’s right – with the Cura “Pause at Height” feature, you can specify a point in your print where the printer will pause and then resume printing after a specified amount of time.
It gives you the flexibility to make changes midway through a print job.
In this article, I will give you a complete overview of the “Pause at Height” feature on Cura.
I will discuss things to consider before using this feature, how to find and use it, and some common issues you may encounter.
What is the “Pause Height” Feature on Cura?
Cura is a free slicing software from Ultimaker that allows you to control every aspect of your 3D printing process.
It lets you convert 3D models into G-code, which is the code that tells your 3D printer what to do.
Cura has many features, one of which is “Pause at Height.”
This feature allows you to pause your print job at a certain height, so you can change filament, add supports, or do anything else you need to do before the print is complete.
Before using this feature, there are a few things to consider, such as where to find it and what settings to use.
How to Use Cura’s “Pause at Height”
To use Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature, first, ensure that your model is sliced and ready to print.
Where to Find the “Pause at Height” Feature on Cura
Finding “Pause at Height” in Cura is easy! Just follow these simple steps:
- To access the “Pause at Height” feature in Cura, go to the “Post-Processing” menu.
- To get to the “Post-Processing” menu, click on the “Extensions” drop-down menu at the top of the Cura interface.
- Once you’re in the “Post-Processing” menu, click on “Add a script.”
- From the drop-down menu that appears, select “Pause at height.”
- This will open up a new window where you can set the parameters for the pause.
You may modify a few other variables as well.
For instance, Cura will choose what unit of measurement to use when determining where to halt the print based on the “Pause at” setting.
Two options are available: “Pause Height” and “Pause Layer.”
While “Pause Layer” stops the print at a given layer number, “Pause Height” pauses the print at a specific height in millimeters.
The location of the print head to be moved to after halting the print is determined by the “Park Print Head (X, Y)” option. This is crucial because it stops the print head from being above the print if you need to modify it or switch filaments.
The amount of filament pushed back into the extruder after halting the print is controlled by the “Retraction” setting.
Once you have everything set up how you want it, click on the “Print” button in the top-right corner of Cura’s interface.
This will start the printing process, and your model will be paused at the specified height when it reaches that point in the print job.
Few Considerations for “Pause at Height”
There are a few things to keep in mind when using this feature:
- You need to make sure that your filament is compatible with pausing and resuming prints. Some filaments can degrade when paused for too long, so it is essential to check with your filament manufacturer before using this feature.
- You need to ensure that your 3D printer can pause and resume printing. Not all printers have this capability, so it is important to check with your printer manufacturer before using this feature.
- Pausing and resuming prints can add significant time to your overall print time. This happens because the printer has to heat up again after pausing and then cool down again after resuming. So, if you are looking to save time on your prints, this may not be the best option for you. However, there may be times when pausing a print job is necessary to make adjustments or changes mid-way through printing. Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature can be beneficial in these cases.
Before using Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature, there are a few things you need:
- A 3D model in format that Cura accept
- A 3D printer that is compatible with Cura
- The latest version of Cura installed on your computer
- The appropriate filament (color) for your project
- Any other materials needed for your project (e.g., supports)
In case your printer is not compatible with Cura, you can check for some alternatives like PrusaSlicer.
Once you have everything gathered together, you’re ready to start using Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature!
The “Pause at Height” script allows the user to choose the pause duration. This script’s many configurable options and their varying degrees of complexity reflect the wide range of tasks they may perform.
The question is, what exactly do the various controls perform, and how can we determine the optimal values for the multiple settings?
The following is a comprehensive list explaining each option.:
The first parameter to configure is whether the pause height is measured in millimeters or layers. If you choose to pause at a certain height, you’ll be asked to specify that height in millimeters. In order to pause printing on a specific layer, pick the pause at layer option.
The next step is to determine how the script should write the G-code, which will vary depending on the 3D printer and firmware being used.
The “disarm timeout” setting defines how long after the pause starts that all stepper motors should be deactivated.
The “park print head X and Y” coordinates can be set in millimeters to determine where the print head should move to when the pause begins; this is useful for maintaining temperature or avoiding stringing/oozing during the pause.
The retraction length (in millimetres) can be set next, which will help avoid a messy blob when resuming the print. If changing the filament during the pause, there is no need to set a retraction here.
Retraction speed can be left at the default 25 mm/s unless using flexible filaments; then, a lower speed might work better. When changing settings related to speed, it is crucial to do so carefully to avoid clogging the nozzle.
The extrude amount (in millimeters) defines how much filament should be extruded after the pause before printing resumes; this value is roughly based on retraction length. No extrusion is necessary if changing the filament during the pause, either manually or with the new filament.
The extrude speed dictates how fast the previously defined length of filament should be extruded (in mm/s).
Checking the “redo layer” box tells the 3D printer to repeat the last printed layer, which can help increase adhesion between layers printed before and after the pause.
The “standby temperature” allows for setting how hot the nozzle should remain during a pause; if pausing for a long time, this could be used to bring down the temperature of the nozzle. It is often best to keep the nozzle at the standard print temperature so that filament can be changed during a pause if necessary.
The “display text” option is used to define what should be shown on the printer’s display when a pause starts; this is especially helpful if there are multiple pauses in one print job.
G-code Before/After Pause
Finally, “G-code before/after a pause” can be used to add custom code to be executed before or after a pause. For instance, M300 S440 P200 is the G-code for printer beep.
“Pause at Height” vs. “Change Filament”
One common question people have is whether they should use Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature or the “Change Filament” feature.
Both features serve different purposes and have different uses.
The “Pause at Height” script enables you to give either a layer or a height, but the “Change Filament” script only accepts a layer. In addition, “Change Filament” unloads the filament and prepares the printer for a filament change.
At the same time, “Pause at Height” only stops the printing process. Frequently, these procedures are used interchangeably. In addition, “Change Filament” lets you set a retraction distance before the nozzle gets into place for the filament change.
Different goals are served by the “Pause at Height” and “Change Filament” functionalities in Cura.
“Pause at Height” stops the print at the specified height (or layer), enabling you to change filaments and resume printing.
Before the printer begins producing the selected layer, “Change Filament” initiates the G-code (M600) for changing the filament, which unloads the filament and prepares the printer for a filament change.
The “Pause at Height” function is intended for usage with printer firmware that is compatible with Cura. Its compatibility may depend on the Cura version you have installed and the firmware version of your machine.
In contrast, the “Change Filament” option is accessible for all printer models and requires no particular firmware compatibility.
The “Pause at Height” function gives more control choices for your print, including the ability to specify a pause height or layer. The “Change Filament” function is more limited, enabling you to merely indicate when to pause your print.
Commonly Encountered Issues
Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature is a great way to “Change Filament” mid-print, but it can sometimes be tricky to get working correctly. People encounter a few common issues when using Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature. These issues include:
- Cura “Pause at Height” Failed on Ender 3 (Pro/V2)
- Premature Filament Cut off
- Confusing Display Text
I will discuss each of these issues in more detail below:
Cura “Pause at Height” Failed on Ender 3 (Pro/V2)
Occasionally, the “Pause at Height” function on certain Creality 3D printers, notably the Ender 3 (Pro/V2), might cause issues.
Some 32-bit motherboards cannot appropriately interpret the G-code M0 (pause instruction). You may choose a different pause technique or input a G-code of your own.
The M25 G-code instruction should also pause Creality’s printers using a 32-bit motherboard. Suppose that Cura’s individual input is inoperable.
As an alternative, you can use any text editor to change/adjust the G-code. To resolve this issue, save your G-code after adding the Pause at Height script.
Open the G-code file in any text editor and replace the M0 pause instruction with M25. You should be fine to go if you save it.
Typical problems with the “Pause at Height” script include stringing and oozing.
This usually happens when the extruder temperature is too low, or the retraction settings (distance and speed) are not configured properly.
During the pause, even if the 3D printer stops moving the extruder, there is still pressure in the nozzle. The amount of filament extruded from the nozzle may be reduced by adjusting the retraction mechanism. In this approach, stringing or oozing won’t occur.
It’s not always simple to find the optimal retraction setting.
Finding the optimal setting requires starting at 5 mm and gradually adjusting in both directions. To fix this, merely slow down or speed up the retracting process.
The general consensus amongst users is that a retraction of 5 mm is optimal.
While these issues can be frustrating, they are relatively easy to fix. With a little bit of tweaking, you should be able to get Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature working perfectly.
Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature is a great way to “Change Filament” colors mid-print. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using this feature. First, make sure that your printer is calibrated correctly. Next, be sure to set the correct settings for your specific printer. Finally, be aware of common issues that may occur, such as filament not feeding properly or the print head crashing into the build plate. With these things in mind, you should be able to easily use Cura’s “Pause at Height” feature! If you’re having trouble with any of these issues, please get in touch with us for further assistance.