Cura: Printing the first layers hotter with the Tweak at Z plugin

As I begin printing pieces for my quadcopter project, I continuously test settings and try new things.  There have been a lot of comments about how some people will print their first layer hotter than others to ensure better sticking to the print bed.  Using Cura, I had looked through all the standard settings and advanced settings, however, I never saw a setting for changing settings any specific layer.  I also never looked too much into it, but now I want to see what sort of different it will make.  

Cura has a section for plugins and comes standard with two plugins (version 15.04 as of this post).  The plugin we are concerned with is the ‘Tweak at Z’ plugin.  The name really gives away exactly what this is.  It allows you to make tweaks at a specific Z height.  What is really cool about the plugins is that you can add the ‘Tweak at Z’ plugin multiple times.  

Open up Cura.  Load your model.  Set the temperature of the first (or first few layers) in the ‘Basic’ tab.  Click the ‘Plugins’ tab.  Select ‘Tweak at Z.’ Below that plugins box there is a button with a down arrow.  Click that.  It has now made that plugin active and gives you the settings in the ‘Enabled Plugins’ box. Looking at the settings available, you can use the first two options (one or the other) to change the temperature based on either height in mm or by layer number.  This is up to you, but only enter a value for one of the options.  You can put a ‘2’ in the ‘Layer no. to tweak at’ field to change the temperature on the second layer.  Leave the default for ‘No. of layers used for change’ at 1.  Leave the ‘Tweak behavior’ at the default, ‘Tweak value and keep it for the rest.’  Now we are just looking to change the temperature after laying down the first layer, so we will put the temperature (deg C) in the ‘New Extruder 1 Temp’ field.  This will now put those settings into your Gcode. 


If you click the button with the down arrow again, it will add another instance of the plugin so you can create new settings at another height if needed.  Looking through all the settings you can also tweak other options such as print speed, flow rate, and fan speed, among a few others.  Play around and see what you think. I’m glad I finally found the option!

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