Accurate 3d slicer settings are one of the most important factors to achieve a successful 3d print. Even the most experienced makers often go through trial and error to find the 3d slicer settings that give them a beautiful print. In our last article Slicer Settings for Beginners – 8 Things you Need to Know, we went over the basic settings and how each one affects your print. Now we’re going to go over some of the more advanced settings that give you more detailed control over how your print comes out so you can take your 3d printing to the next level. An overwhelming number of you voted for Simplify3D as Top 3D Slicing Software in our 2015 Pinshape Awards which is one of the reasons we chose to use them as our example software for this post. There are a lot of settings in this slicer program that give you a ton of control and provide faster, better quality prints. In one review, Simplify3D sliced a file in 55 seconds that took over 40 minutes to slice in another program! Update: If you’d like to try out Simplify3D, enter our Print to Win Contest and you could win a license for Simplify3D! Contest ends March 1, 2016.
10 Advanced 3D Slicer Settings You Should Know!
Many of the problems that makers run into when 3D printing is during filament extrusion. Some of the more common problems are when filament comes out stringy, there is oozing, or not enough filament being extruded. These are all problems that you can control with adjustments to the extruder. 1. Extrusion Multiplier This setting allows you to control how much filament comes out of the nozzle and make small adjustments to the extrusion flow rate. As a guideline, ABS usually prints with a multiplier of 1 (100%) and PLA prints with a multiplier of 0.9. If you notice problems with your flow rate (too much or too little) make small adjustments by .05 as even small adjustments can make a big difference here. If you increase your multiplier from 1.0 to 1.05, you will be extruding 5% more filament. If you increase your multiplier, you might need to increase your temperature as well, so the filament can still melt before being extruded.
2. Retraction distance Oozing – the bane to many Makers’ existence. It happens as hot filament is extruded and dragged, leaving extra strings that look like spiderwebs between parts of your model. Most of the time the extra strings in between your print are caused by improper retraction settings. If you remember from our last blog, retraction is what stops the extruder from releasing filament during “non-print moves” when the extruder moves because of holes or discontinued surfaces in the model. This setting determines how much filament is pulled out of the nozzle when it’s retracted. If you have a bowden extruder, you may require a higher retraction distance than direct drive extruders because there is more distance in between the nozzle and your drive gear where your filament feeds in. If you find filament oozing from your nozzle as it moves, increase the retraction distance by .5 or 1mm at a time and see if that helps.
Picture by Jeremie Francois from http://www.tridimake.com/
3. Retraction speed With this setting, you can control how fast the filament is pulled back from the nozzle. Recommended speeds range from 1800-6000mm per min or 30-100mm per sec and the most efficient speed will depend on what type of filament you’re using. If you retraction is too low, you may find filament slowly coming out of the nozzle before your printer head finished moving. When retraction speed is set too high, it can cause problems with the drive gear grinding away at your filament. Your retraction speed should not necessarily be the same as your print speed or travel speed. Try to set the retraction speed to be as fast as your printer can manage without your drive gear grinding the filament.
4. Coasting When retraction begins, there may be some leftover filament in the hot end that can ooze out and create defects at the ends of perimeters. Coasting tells your extruder to stop printing a specified distance before a non-print move. This allows any leftover filament to be cleared before retraction sets in. If your coasting distance is set to 5 mm then your nozzle will not extrude filament for the last 5mm before the end of a perimeter and leftover filament in the hot end will be carried for the last 5mm. Typically, a costing distance between 0.2-0.5mm is enough to have a noticeable impact. You do risk under extrusion or gaps in the print if this setting is too high.
5. First Layer Height Having a good, solid, first layer can be a determining factor in whether or not you will have a successful print. To give the first layer a larger surface area to stick to the bed, you can adjust the layer height to below 100%. This does not change the amount of filament that comes out so the same volume of filament will be forced into a space with less height. This gives you that extra pressure, heat and surface area for your print to better stick to the bed. You can also increase the layer width to give you more area on the print bed which helps with adhesion as well. 6. First Layer Speed You want to make sure your first layer has a good hold on the print bed which is why it’s common to have a slower speed for the first layer of your print – usually 30-50% of regular speed. This gives the filament more time to stick to the bed. If you print this low poly Pokemon design below at the recommended speed of 50mm/s, you can set the first layer at 25mm/s.
7. Internal/External Fill Pattern:
The strength of your print will vary depending on what kind of internal infill you choose. If you want your print to be strong, choose infills like Grid, Solid Honeycomb and Triangular. Prints that don’t require a lot of strength can get away with weaker infills like Fast Honeycomb to get a faster print. The external infill will affect the aesthetic look you want for your print.
Photo by Simplify3D
Temperature of your extruder and build plate can dramatically affect the quality of your print. You can control both with your slicer. There are some general guidelines for temperatures you should use for specific types of filament but every printer and material is different, so start with the recommended temperatures and you can adjust by 5-10 degrees and learn from there. 8. Primary Extruder Temperature Extrusion temperatures will vary depending on what filament you are using. For PLA, the recommended temperature is 215-235 celsius and can print with or without a heated print bed. For ABS you want to use a slightly higher temperature (230-240 celsius) with a heated print bed. When you are printing a design with small details, it’s good practice to keep the temperature as low as possible. With Simplify3D, you can control the temperature of different layers. Other variables to keep in mind is your nozzle diameter, layer height, and speed settings.
Pro Tip: “Overhangs seem to be the most notable where they’re far easier with cooler temps. I usually just iterate 10 degree increments on something simple like a 3Dhubs marvin. It’s detailed enough that there are differences in print quality and finish quality for different temps” – Zachary Frew 9. Heated Build Plate Temperature It might seem trivial, but heated beds can have a huge impact on the quality of your print. Filament heats up to temperatures of 200+ degrees when it is extruded out of your nozzle and when it goes onto the cooler surface of the print bed it can cause issues with warping. Using a heated build plate will help prevent warping because it keeps the lower layers of the print warm as the hotter top layers are extruded and allows for more even overall cooling. ABS tends to shrink more when it is extruded so, if you are printing with ABS, recommended temperatures are between 100-110 celsius. If you decide to use a heated bed for PLA, temperatures of 50-60 celsius typically work best.
10. Fan Controls If you are printing a design with fine details and your print is coming out deformed and melted in spots, enabling the fan can help preventing overheating and help maintain the shape. Be careful with using the fan for the first few layers of your print because it can contribute to problems with bed adhesion (especially with ABS which has a tendency to shrink). In the cooling tab you can adjust the fan speed set points so that you can disable the fan for the first few layers and turn it on for higher layers.
Manual Support Placement: One great control setting is the ability to place your supports manually and adjust them however you want. For more advanced designs, this really gives makers more control over how they print. A few tips if you do decide to try this feature: 1. When support material is printed, it forms an interconnected network, so it’s recommended to not leave a single support pillar standing all alone. 2. The smaller the model or the more intricate the feature, the smaller the support pillar resolution needs to be in order to accommodate a finer level of detail. If you’d like to learn more about how manual support placement works in Simplify3D, here is a tutorial that shows you a step by step guide.
That was a lot to go over but if you can believe it, we’ve just scratched the surface of the advanced settings availible out there, so there will definitely be a Part 3 to this post! You can also check out Simplify3D’s Print Quality Troubleshooting Guide which will go over many of the different slicer setting adjustments you can make for specific problems. If you’d like to learn about a specific setting for the next post, feel free to let us know for next time. Until then, happy printing!
Try out advanced slicer settings with these simple designs:
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!
If you have any questions about equivalent settings in your slicer program, feel free to leave them in the comments below! Also, feel free to tell us what you’d like us to cover in our next Slicer Settings post.