How to find optimal 3D printer settings. Part 2

How to find optimal 3D printer settings. Part 2

Finding optimal 3D printer settings for each print is a crucial part of avoiding failed prints and getting good quality details that meet your expectations- this was the main takeaway from the previous article on this topic. That is why we started introducing you with first three of the most important and most common parameters and their influence- printing speed, temperature and layer thickness. However, there are several other settings that should be taken into account, so let’s continue.

Here you can find the previous article of How to choose optimal 3D printer settings.

4.Infill. This setting is all about how strong and heavy your intended printout has to be and how much filament it will consume. Infill determines how full the detail will be- what percentage of space inside the object will be filled with filament. Of course, this percentage with a pattern will be evenly distributed throughout the object, so you don’t have to worry that choosing 50 percent means that the bottom half will be full and upper half will be empty. The higher infill percentage, the heavier and stronger the detail will be and vice versa. However, more infill also means more consumed filament which equals higher costs. As you can see that is up to each case to find the optimal tradeoff. Moreover, when considering this tradeoff you should also take filament properties into account because it may be the case that it is better to choose stronger and slightly more expensive quality filament and consume less filament on infill than using other filaments with high infill to achieve the necessary endurance. For simple visual details that don’t have to endure much pressure 20% infill is completely enough.

5.Adhesion type. Just like it is important for buildings to have a solid foundation, prints also need a good start, therefore it is important for the detail to stick to the print bed well. If it is not the case then there is a good potential that the rest of the detail will also have problems since the 3D printer will not be able to print accurately because the detail will not be located precisely where it is supposed to be. There are few methods that can help to avoid warping and other adhesion problems that can cause it.

One of them is printing Raft. Using this setting means printing few layers under the detail that way creating a horizontal platform for the detail to stick with. These layers are thicker than the ones used for the detail in order to really ensure that it will stick. Raft is often used when printing with ABS printing materials because usually ABS filaments have more problems with warping. Raft is especially useful when printing models that have small and thin footprints, for example, table with legs. Raft will make the object more stable and less likely to topple because the raft surface is bigger than the bottom surface of printable detail, hence forming a stable foundation. The downside of printing raft is that it is harder to remove the printed layers and it can mess up the bottom surface of the detail making it uneven or bumpy.

There is also another similar setting called Brim. However, unlike raft in this case the layers are not printed underneath the detail but directly around it touching its first layers. The idea is to avoid warping by keeping detail’s bottom surface sides to the platform and also make it more stable. Its advantage over raft is that it will not mess the bottom surface since the layers are printed around it, so removing them is easier. In cases when your only problem is adhesion, we would recommend choosing brim over raft since it will be easier and safer for the object to remove and it will take less time to print it.

Near the raft and brim settings most probably you will also find the third option to use skirt but it has nothing to do with improving the adhesion. Similarly like brim it also prints few layers around the detail, however, in the case of skirt it does not directly touch the detail. The idea is to achieve smooth extrusion of filament once it starts to print the detail because skirt gets extruded before building the detail itself. In this process of printing skirt the extruder gets filled, therefore once it gets to the main object the flow is even and smooth.

Last but not least, you also, of course, have the option not to use any of the above described settings.



This time we also have a recommendation for you. In the article we mentioned that ABS filaments usually tend to have more problems with warping compared to, for example, PLA filaments. In this regards one thing that can help you if you plan to 3D print something with ABS filament and wonder whether or not to use raft, is going to online platform, taking a look at filament reviews, check Warping ranking and see whether other community members faced problems with warping when using this filament. Based on results perhaps you can browse for other quality filaments and find best 3D printer filament for your needs that that don’t have this issue.

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