10 Advanced 3D Slicer Settings That Will Save Your Prints!

10 Advanced 3D Slicer Settings That Will Save Your Prints!

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!   3d slicer simplify3D sample print   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!

 

Extruder Settings

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.   3d slicer primary extruder settings 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.

3d slicer failed print Photo by Zheng3 on his 3D printing blog

 

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.

3d slicer overextrusion examplePicture 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.

container_skull-lamps-voronoi-style-3d-printing-27685Skull lamps – Voronoi Style by mingshiuan

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.

 

Layer Settings

3d slicer first layer settings 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.  

 

Low Poly Pokemon by FLOWALISTIK

 

Infill Setting

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.   3d slicer infill patterns simplify3d

Photo by Simplify3D 

 

Temperature Settings

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.   3d slicer 3d printing fail

Photo by Zheng3 on his 3D printing blog

  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   3d slicer heat build platform simplify3D   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.

 

Cooling Setting

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.

Bonus Setting! 

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:

 #3DBenchy – The jolly 3D printing torture-test by Creative Tools

 

container_thin-man-3d-printing-23403Thin Man designed by   WallTosh

 container_robber-rex-3d-printing-15389

 

container_graphica-mega-ghost-print-play-via-3dkitbash-com-3d-printing-19980

Graphica: MEGA Ghost – Print & Play vy 3DKitbash

 

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.

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  • RJ_Make

    Great Article!

  • Patola

    Hi, some of the settings do not make any sense. For example, extrusion rate as 0.9: why?? You are saying that somehow the amount of filament that leaves the nozzle is differente than the amount that enters the hotend? Older versions of slic3r even said that this setting should ideally be always “1” (or 100%) and I agree with that. You should never change it to anything else, you should trust your slicer calculations. If you are using some filament which is thicker or thinner, just measure it with a caliper and enter its real diameter in the proper field.

    Also, it’s *WRONG* to say that 100°C on the heatbed is OK for ABS, you are going to ruing a lot of other people’s prints suggesting that, the reason being that for the ABS to stick to the surface (not considering glues used) you have to have it slightly above its transition glass temperature, which is 105°C. With any surface that is less than 105°C you wil not achieve that, and if you have a glass above the heatbed, the set temperature should be 120°C or higher to compensate.

    The explanation is that the transition glass temperature is the temperature at which several properties of the material change abruptly and the viscosity gets oozy. You only have sticky plastic above this temperature, you can test in a bare heatbed trying to stick a flat piece of ABS to it. At 100°C it won’t stick, at higher temperatures, if you press it a little to force thermal equilibrium, it will.

  • Cristian Barilari

    Hey, fan boy! Calm down! The author didn’t recommend using 100°c forma abs.. It’s says 100-110°c for heatbed… Can you read?
    And about the extrusión multiplier… You can’t be more WROOOOONG…
    https://github.com/alexrj/Slic3r/wiki/Calibration

    Stop whining fan boy

  • Patola

    Your response is… void of arguments. I explained the issue about glass transition, so the bed cannot be lower than 105°C at all times, hence the proposed lower limit of 100°C still does not make sense. And since most people use a glass over the heatbed, that raises the needed temperature to 120°C, which makes much more difficult to justify the 100-110°C recommendation.

    Also, you paste a link from a calibration procedure, not a normal print. What does it even have to do with day-to-day use of extrusion multiplier? Yes, it is useful to calibrate. No, it is not desirable for normal slicing.

    BTW, you accuse me of being a “fan boy”… Fan boy of what, specifically? Even your insults are illogical.

  • Cristian Barilari

    And you are a so called expert? Everyone i know is using 110°C for the heatbed when printing abs, with no issue at all.. So, please… Don’t waste our time with your blabber…

  • Patola

    It doesn’t matter what I am or what I am not. The only thing that matters is whether what I say is true or false. And it is true and verifiable; you can check for the facts I stated. Truth is not decided by popular vote, even if “everybody is using”, that doesn’t make it true.

  • 90°C is enough for me and it prints gloriously well without warping.

  • Derek Anderson

    So here is a question. I’m trying to get my Prusa I3 to work. so when I open Repetier and connect I’m able to extrude normally, but then when I load a file and slice with slicer all of a sudden it just makes a grinding noise and doesn’t try to feed when I try to extrude. It’s like some setting in slicer is overriding my firmware calibrated extrusion settings.

  • Vunoo

    with PLA I have found 70°c gives me the best outcome with 195°c for the nozzle. I use a glass bed with glue stick to help the print stick. I have found for me this works best for PLA. Most my prints are with PETG and 225°c nozzle and 80°c bed heat seems to give me the best prints. Retraction can be really annoying to get right, with PLA I find speed of 160 and distance of 6 seems to be smooth and for PETG speed of 160 and distance of 4.5 is good. All depends on your printer. There is no correct answer of everyone when it comes to retraction.

    As for temps, it is really important to ensure your nozzle heat is consistent and doesn’t vary too much. If it does drop too much it could be due to fan speed. I have found dropping the fan speed will help keep the nozzle temp within 1°c – 2°c each way.

    Patola, no point getting angry with the writer or other posters. Every printer needs different settings. And some people are not using glass beds or heated beds. Some people use painters tape and other things to help with making the prints stick. No point having a go at everyone. Just enjoy printing and tell people what works for your printer, the is no one answer.

  • I’m puzzled by your suggestion that the extrusion multiplier should be 0.9 for PLA.

    Surely if you have the filament diameter set right, and your printer is calibrated so that 100mm of extrusion does actually extrude 100mm of filament, then the extrusion multiplier should normally be set to 1.0?

  • I had the same question down there, you can check. Now, a few months later, I have to say that I agree with the 0.9 suggestion for PLA. What happens is that PLA is way more rigid (less flexible) than ABS, so the threads of the gear sink less in it. As they sink less, the rotation of the gear of the same angle translate to a larger drag. This means that PLA will be dragged longer than for the same length of ABS. So you have to compensate. Tested it a dozen times, it works exactly like that. I made a picture, see if I can explain it properly: http://imgur.com/a/IiV13

  • That could make sense if the printer was calibrated using a soft filament like ABS — but if it’s been calibrated using PLA then it should be right for PLA? I have to admit that in my case the prints are better with it set to 0.9 — although perhaps my (originally calibrated by me a year or so ago) printer has drifted out of calibration somehow? I think I’ll just be pragmatic and run at approx. 0.9, but I’d still like to know why…

  • Consolenplatine

    🙂 right.

  • Nonky Bonk

    Patola, you are absolutely right. I appreciate your frankness. My Prusa MKS2 prints ABS with 110 degree bed. 105 degree only works for very large pieces, but small gears and delicate work needs 110. I have also noticed that the bed temperature drops after the first 3 layers if the room is cold. So perhaps the thermal limiter in the power supply is choking down the current. Otherwise it’s a bizarre thing and since I did not write the program for the controller I will never be sure why that is. But it gives a good reason to also put an enclosure over the printer to keep the heat in. I’m getting an old bar fridge, gutting it and using its frame. My Prusa also will not let me turn off the fan either in Slic3r or Cura. Another weird thing.. I can’t even change it’s duty cycle. Oh well, prints look great regardless…

  • Val Cocora

    i use s3d for my dual extruder printer.
    i print mostly with petg as primary, and hips as support.
    for both i use 240 C temperature and no heated bed.
    it works wonderfully.
    s3d is a great slicer to have.

  • david be

    That one lists a set of facts also does not equate to stating the truth. The facts as listed are correct, however the conclusion is not. Truth is not decided by vote, however evidence of contradiction can be given through individual testimony. Anecdotes may not be proof, but they are evidence that more investigation is needed.

    The filament being extruded does have to be above the glass transition temperature as stated. However that temperature is not being provided by the heat bed, that is not its function. The function of the heatbed is to provide a surface for solidification where the filament can form a temporary bond. That surface needs to be hot enough to allow a bond to occur, cool enough to solidify in an acceptable time, and not so cool as to warp due to excessive contraction.