Choosing the right settings for 3D printing

Any 3D printing process will require some consideration about the 3D printing settings, whether or not you are using a Sculpto printer. This can save you a lot of time and prevent loss of effort and material. This article focuses on the printing settings: support, strength and quality.

3D printer settings
Print settings in the Sculpto App

Even the most user-friendly 3D printers require some pre-printing work, which can ensure that a model does not fail. There are some key choices that have to be made before you let the printer get on with the printing process.

Settings as: level of support, strength and quality, are all worth taking into account so the specific model has the best chances of turning out as expected with minimal excess filament used. This goes for both your own designs and other’s STL-files from sources as Thingiverse.

When using the Sculpto app or web app, the settings are placed either directly under the “Print STL file” function or under “Show advanced print settings” when looking at a design on Thingiverse.

Support:

3d print with support
Printing process with “normal” support and “fine” quality

When choosing the right printing settings regarding support for your 3D model, consider if any parts of the design are sticking out to a degree that would be difficult to print without support underneath. FDM 3D printers cannot print mid air and support will combat this problem. Some degrees of bends will not need support, if the bend is gradual.  The printer can build layers that gradually protrude outwards with no support. However, more extreme protrusion will require support.

In the Sculpto app you can either choose none, partial or full support. The default setting is partial support, which is an automated registration of any protrusion in the design that could require support. This is a pretty safe option in most cases.

In cases where you reckon that the 3D model is mostly flat or mostly straight up and down with no severe protrusions, selecting none could spare you from using excess filament. The full support setting is useful when printing models with severe protrusions or bends.   

Strength:

3D print with normal settings
Early printing process with “normal” strength pattern inside

When changing the strength printer setting, consider what the finished 3D model will function as. Is it purely decorative? Or is it going to hold and support something else?

The default setting is normal, meaning that the “filler” inside the actual 3D model will have some automated structure inside. This structure strengthens the print, so it isn’t a hollow shell.  You might print something that needs to be more durable and not so easily breakable. This is where the setting strong is a suitable option. For 3D prints that might be used frequently or holding weight of other things, picking strong will create a denser structure inside the model and thereby a stronger 3D model.

There might also be instances when having a strong print isn’t too important. This could be 3D printed decorations or models that you want as light weight as possible. Choosing “Weak” will not affect the looks of your print, but less filler structure will be printed inside, which will result in a light weight and more fragile print.

 Quality:

The last setting, quality, will determine how thin and close the layers will be printed. Upping the setting to fine will result in a bit slower printing process but also a smoother result. This setting will make the individual layers be more pressed together and therefor resulting in a more seamless looking 3D model. The default setting normal will not affect the printing time and results will be semi-smooth.

When using Sculpto printers the quality setting is are: at fine the layer thickness is 0.15 mm, at normal it’s 0.25 mm and at fast it’s 0.35 mm.

Depending on what you are intending to do with your print as well as your time frame, you can consider if you are willing to have a bit longer of a process for a better finish. There might also be instances when you need a rapid 3D print with less care about the polished look. This is where the option to choose “Fast” is useful. You might have noticed that you have the option to adjust the “Speed Print” in the Sculpto app. This setting will affect the overall look and quality of your 3D print and we advise you don’t speed up your print in cases when you want a smooth finish.

We really hope that this article provided you with an overview of the 3D print settings you need to consider when printing with any kind of 3D printer. For more inspiration and tips in 3D printing visit Sculpto blog.

3 thoughts on “Choosing the right settings for 3D printing”

  1. Michellesculpto

    Hi Mark,

    When you are using the Sculpto app, there should be a line under the photos called “Show advanced print settings” or “Vis avanceret print indstillinger” in danish.

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