One of the biggest benefits is that there is a marketplace for plugins – additional software, which expands the functionality of your (Ultimaker) Cura installation. Within this marketplace, you can among with other plugins install the CAD integration plugins mentioned below. Further instructions about installing plugins can be found on a separate page.
Normally, when using Ultimaker Cura or any other slicing-software, you will be asked to open your 3D model saved in one of the following formats:
- 3MF – “3D Manufacturing Format” (Container format)
- STL – 3D model’s surfaces are described by nodes and connected lines
- STEP – Normed file format to exchange CAD data between companies (
- OBJ – Properties, like corners, surfaces, etc, are saved
These are used to transfer the information from the CAD application to the slicing application. The file gives all surface information of your latest CAD file, but all the knowledge is still stored in the original CAD file. This could be:
- Physical properties, like
- Dimensions incl. units
- All design steps, like free-form surfaces
- Assembly information
Therefore these files are the only ones you really want to care about and a set of application-specific plugins have been developed to skip the step of exporting your 3D model.