3.2. 3D Printing - Settings | Learn SelfCAD

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3.1. 3D Print - Slicer interface
3.2. 3D Print - Settings
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Welcome to the last part of the Learn SelfCAD course. In this tutorial, you will learn the most important printing settings. I cannot tell you what values you should set, because it depends on your printer, material, expected quality and time of printing. I can only show you what are the parameters but you have to decide how high value to use.

In SelfCAD's inbuilt slicer, there is a tip to each parameter. To see it just move the cursor on the info icons next to the label.

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Step 1: Quality - Layer Height: Layer Height

The first parameter we can set is the height of every single layer except the first one. It determines the quality of the printing object but also the time of printing. The lower the layer height is, the better the quality, but also the longer the time of printing.

To change the layer height you can also choose another quality in quick settings.

Step 2: Quality - Layer Height: Initial Layer Height

The first layer has its own special task, it must stick to the plate. It is why you can set its height separately. On the other hand, the first layer includes also some additional loops which provide the adhesion but are removed after finished printing. It means that it's good when the initial layer is higher, but don't overdo it, save your material.

Step 3: Quality - Layer Height: Line Width

It's also possible to set the width of printed lines. The lower this parameter is, the better the quality.

Step 4: Quality - Layer Height: Line Width (more Settings)

Do you see the little arrow next to the Line Width label? It means that you can click on it and open more hidden settings. Then it turns out that you can separately change the initial layer width, infill line width, etc.

Step 5: Quality - Shell: Wall Thickness

When your object is big, it's not necessary to print everything that is inside. It is why object is divided into shell (blue) and infill (yellow). Shell determines the shape of the printed object. Infill, which is inside the shell, ensures stability, durability and support for higher layers but is not as dense as shell.

Wall thickness is a thickness in the horizontal direction. Instead, you can also set the number of layers.

Step 6: Quality - Shell: Top/Bottom Thickness

This parameter changes the thickness of the shell in a vertical direction. You can also change the thickness of the bottom and top layer separately.

Step 7: Quality - Shell: Ironing

Note that there are also advanced settings in the shell section. There, we can find for example the ironing.

Ironing is a very interesting option if your model has flat horizontal surfaces. The hot nozzle goes over the top layer one additional time, but it does not print. Instead, the plastic melts creating a smooth surface.

In the pictures, the left object is printed without the ironing and the right one with the ironing.

Step 8: Quality - Infill: Infill Density

Now we have the infill settings. Here you can set density of the infill. Lower density saves your time and material, but the object may look worse or be less durable.

Step 9: Quality - Infill: Infill Pattern

Infill Pattern changes the shape of the infill.

Step 10: Quality - Travel

Traveling is what the nozzle does when it moves from one place to another but it does not print anything. To see the paths of traveling check the Show travel checkbox under the timeline.

Also here the word "retraction" appears for the first time. To prevent unintentional printing during the travel, material moves back a bit. This movement is called a retraction. See the material advanced settings for more retraction parameters.

Step 11: Quality - Cooling

In this section, you can set the parameters of cooling the model during the printing. For some materials, like PLA, cooling is more important than for others.

Step 12: Material: Temperatures

Next to the quality settings there are material settings. The most important here are: Printing Temperature and Build Plate Temperature.

I can't tell you which temperatures are the best, it depends primarily on the material you use. Try out default settings for your material. If you see that the temperature is too high or too low, stop printing and try again with other settings.

Step 13: Material: Diameter

In the advanced material settings there are many other temperatures parameters, retraction settings, but also a diameter. Make sure that this last value matches with the diameter of filament you use.

Step 14: Support: Generate Support

A printer cannot print anything in the air, there must be something under the overhanging parts of the model. It means, that we must fill most of the gaps with additional material which later will be removed. And this is exactly why we use supports.

Supports are colored grey in the preview. To generate them you have to check the checkbox on the top of the support settings or press the button in quick settings. They can be generated everywhere or only in places where they touch the build plate

Step 15: Support: Support Pattern

There are several patterns of supports. Choose the best one for your object. Remember that the support must support the model, but it must also be easy to remove.

Step 16: Adhesion: Skirt

Skirt is an outline that surrounds your model and that is extruded at the beginning, before the model printing. It helps to establish correct filament flow. Observing the skirt helps also detect leveling and adhesion issues before the model printing. If the skirt is printed correctly, there is a high probability that the object will be printed without any problems too.

You can adjust the length of the skirt and distance between the skirt and the model.

Step 17: Adhesion: Brim

Brim is a type of skirt, which touches the edges of the model. It performs the same functions as skirt and additionally provides better adhesion to the build plate.

The last three photos show the sample object surrounded by the brim.

Step 18: Adhesion: Raft

Raft is slightly different than the brim or skirt. It is a thick platform on which the model is printed. So it does not surround the model, it's under the model. Rafts provide very good adhesion and are recommended for models with a small adhesive surface and for models printed with ABS material.

Removing the raft may be a bit more difficult but it is possible thanks to a thin gap left during the printing between the raft and the model.

Step 19: Mesh Fixes

The last section of settings allows you to fix the mesh if necessary. For example, you can print your model without holes in each layer. Most of the settings here apply to more than one object on the build plate.

Step 20: Thank You

And this is the end of the Learn SelfCAD course. Thank you for reading these guides.

Now you should know the basics of SelfCAD and be able to create your own models. But believe me, it's not everything. Each tool has many possibilities and, in fact, needs its own tutorial. Feel invited to visit other SelfCAD instructables for more knowledge.

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