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Cura Offset from A to Z

Cura: Z Offset – Simply Explained

Picture of Larry Wood
by Larry Wood
Mar 11, 2020
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Z offset control can be useful for a number of reasons, including printing on an object. Learn how to adjust Cura's Z offset setting!

Cura's Z Offset

What Is It?

Thicker extrusions require different heights
Thicker extrusions require different heights (Source: Larry Wood via All3DP)

When 3D printing, the first layer needs to be error-free to obtain a quality print. Among other considerations, the nozzle must be the correct distance from the print bed to work. Luckily, adjusting the Z offset can help with this.

The value set for the Z offset reflects how high the nozzle should be when the Z-axis limit switch is triggered. A Z offset value can also be adjusted if the printer uses an auto-leveling switch.

This is very helpful in a couple of different scenarios, one of which is printing on an upgraded bed (like tempered glass). Another is when working with a new material that expands or retracts more upon extrusion.

Let’s take a look at how to set up and use Cura for Z offset adjustment!

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Cura's Z Offset

How to Download

Downloading the Z offset plug-in for Cura
Downloading the Z offset plug-in for Cura (Source: Larry Wood via All3DP)

Cura is an amazing slicer, but it doesn’t come with Z offset settings preloaded. No need to fret, though – getting the plug-in is as easy as eating a slice of pie:

  1. Open Cura.
  2. Click on “Marketplace” in the top right corner.
  3. Scroll through the plug-ins until you see “Z Offset Setting”.
  4. Open it and hit install.
  5. Accept the message that pops up and close Cura.
  6. Reopen Cura.
  7. Type “Z offset” into your profile search box whenever you need to use it.
Set the level of settings you want
Set the level of settings you want (Source: Larry Wood via All3DP)

If you want to bypass having to use the search engine whenever you want to use the Z offset, you’ll need to adjust some of Cura’s configurations. If you only use the basic settings, go to “Preferences” and switch the settings to advanced or expert. This lets you use many more settings, including Z offset.

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Cura's Z Offset

Setting Adjustments

Finding the perfect Z offset can be very satisfying
Finding the perfect Z offset can be very satisfying (Source: Prusa Research)

Adjusting the Z offset is done by plugging in a positive or negative value to raise or lower the bed. This is useful when extruding a new material that doesn’t need to be extruded as close to the bed as other materials. This can also be helpful if you add an item to the bed or workpiece after leveling, such as incorporating a magnet into the design or printing on a diffraction grating sheet.

If you enjoy experimenting with new materials, utilizing the Z offset is the gateway to success!

(Lead image source: Larry Wood via All3DP)

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License: The text of "Cura: Z Offset – Simply Explained" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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