"Material Interlocking" of Cura Slicer 5.3
New version of Cura 5.3 came out. There's stuff worth seeing in this one, especially if you have a multi material capable 3D printer! The interlocking structure in Cura 5.3 combines two different material types. The idea behind interlocking structures is Cura will generate interlocking beam structures at the location where two models touch.this improves the adhesion between the models, especially if the models were printed in different materials.
Before we get into the main topic, there's a few other updates you may like to know, especially if you have a relatively modern printer. There's a tonne of new print profiles added, including Neptune 3 Pro Plus and Max. The Sovol ones are now more inclusive with most models now available. There's an official FLSun V400 profile and quite a few more.
There are also a few other quality-of-life fixes, like the minimum layer time temperature setting, which appears to have been released as "small layer printing temperature." I think this is when you're printing fast and raising the temperature to increase throughput, but once the minimum layer time kicks in, you want to lower that to avoid burning the filament.
Also, there are some changes to saving profiles. You get a compare window now where you have a bit more control over saving as new or overwriting.
The bigest change is around multi material printer. The new feature is something Cura has called interlocking structure. The problem it's meant to solve is material adhesion. If you print TPU filament next to PLA filament, it will work sometimes, but it won't have any strength. It's material dependent. PETG and PLA don't stick well together, and TPU and PLA don't really either . Interlock solves this by making these shapes between the two parts, but even better, it swaps direction and goes the other way.
The settings for the "Materials Interlocking" are in the experimental section of Cura, to turn it on you have to click the generate interlocking structure option. As explained on the Cura croc clip, there are five further settings which change the width, angle, number of layers before changing angle, and depth from the top and distance from the edges, measured in cells.
First up some basic stuff, here's a joint with TPU between PLA. And I'm going to be using PLA and TPU to show all of this stuff off because they are materials that really hate each other.
I want to really point out how big this potentially is in terms of being able to design and produce things in FDM that we couldn't before, it might not seem that interesting as a headline feature, but if you think about it, previously if you wanted to make any object with different properties in different parts, you would have had to design in complex mechanisms to keep those in place, things that come to mind that you can now just print include maybe speaker cones, compliant mechanisms, flexible joints, soft rubberised handles, any kind of diapragms. It's as if we've been given the glue for free, a glue that holds any two materials together. So, yeah, I think this could be quite important development in FDM.
Image shows Inside structure with Cura 5.2 Material Interlocking Feature from Youtuber "Lost In Tech"
Anyway, if you are in the privileged group of people who has access to two colour printers, then give this a go!