What do the different settings in Cura do?
Here you have a few selections: Layer height, Shell thickness, and Enable retraction. Layer height is simply just that — it is how thick each layer will be printed. A larger layer height would print faster, however it will also show ridges on the print and miss the fine details; a thinner layer height would print slower, but it keeps the print smooth and detailed. The Shell thickness is the outside layer of the print and will be the portion you see and feel once your print is complete. The thicker the shell, the wider and stronger the exterior of the print will be. This setting is mainly important on hollow items but can also affect solid prints. Retraction pulls the filament back into the nozzle as it moves over an empty space to get to another portion of the print. When the retraction setting is disabled, the filament does not go back into the nozzle and creates a "stringing" effect across the gaps of the print.
This section gives you the option to change the Bottom/Top thickness as well as the Fill Density. The Bottom/Top thickness determines how thick the layers will be for the first outside layer and the last outside layer. This setting should be around the same measurement as your shell thickness to create an equal print. Fill Density will be how much of the inside of the print will be material. This internal layout can be changed depending on how durable you would need the print to be. Keep in mind that prints with more infill will take much longer and use more material.
Speed and Temperature
This section will allow you to change Print speed, Print temperature, and Bed temperature. The Print speed is the general speed that the printer head will be moving at when going across the build area. The slower this is, the better quality the print will be. The Print temperature is the temperature of the extruder and will need to change depending on a few variables. Things to consider when changing the temperature would be the type of filament being used, the color, and print speed. As a starting point, for 1.75mm black filament extruding out of a 0.4mm nozzle, it would be best to set the temperature to 210 degrees. Additionally, if the print speed was increased, the temperature may need to be increased as well so that the filament melts properly. The option for Bed temperature changes how warm the printing bed itself will be. This will help filament from shrinking when cooled quickly and in-turn show a better result. This is also going to rely on the same variable and should be set to 60 degrees for the same example above.
The Support settings allow you to select the Support type and Platform adhesion type. For Support type, this will support any parts of your object that are trying to print over open space. You will see two choices here: Touching build plate or Everywhere. When you select Touching build plate, it will only print support structures off of the build plate. If you select Everywhere, it will build supports both off of the build plate and in areas where the print overhangs above other portions of itself. The choices for Platform adhesion type will be for a brim or raft. A brim will be a small outline around the item to help prime the extruder head. We recommend using this on every print you do not use raft support. Raft support acts as a gridded raft for the print to sit on and helps in situations where the print is not sticking to the bed.
In the Filament section, you will have options for the Diameter of the filament you are using as well as the Flow percentage. These settings will usually stay the same unless the hardware is changed. Match the filament to the diameter of the filament you are using and keep the flow to 100 percent.