Slicer Settings You Should Know for that Perfect Print
Whenever my prints aren’t 99.9% perfect, I usually consider free fixes first. Believe it or not, upgrading my printer is generally my last resort. Being such an impatient person, buying something and waiting for it to arrive, even if it’s next-day, is something I try to avoid. Then when the part arrives, you have to take apart your printer, install it, and then make sure everything works properly. No thanks!
So, whenever I get a horrible print, the first thing I look at is the slicer. I think too many people jump to hardware issues after a bad print without looking into their slicer settings first. In pursuit of that elusive perfect print, I will go through some important slicer settings that you should know. Hopefully knowing these settings will help you fine-tune your slicer if and when you run into print issues.
Please note that I have the most experience with PLA and PETG, so I will speak to my experience with these settings in relation to these filament types. This information may or may not pertain to other filament types like ABS, or Flexibles. Also, I will be speaking to the setting names in Cura 4.0, it may be called something else in your exact slicer. Alright, let’s get started!
In Cura 4.0, the extruder settings are hidden under the machine settings. It’s important to get these settings accurate to what your machine is working with. Funny story, I was having horrible prints and couldn’t figure out what was going on. After hours of debugging, it turns out I had the nozzle size incorrect. As soon as I changed it to the correct one, my issues went away.
Retraction Distance & Speed
In order for your prints to have minimal stringing, it’s important to get these settings right. Not sure where I saw it but they said to minimize stringing, lower these settings. It seems counter-intuitive but it worked for me. I get almost 0 stringing. I have the distance set at 1mm, and the speed set at 25mm/s.
First Layer Settings
Having a good first layer is important if you want to have a successful print. The first layer settings are a little different for this reason. These are the settings I’ve found to be optimal for a great first layer. You may have to tweak it slightly for your printer, but I recommend starting with my settings. Basically, you want the first layer to stick super well so things will be extra hot, also you want to make sure all the details are captured so you will need to slow down the printing speed significantly.
- Initial Layer Height – 0.2mm
- Initial Printing Temperature – Should be the max of your filament’s recommendation, you can find this on the spool’s label.
- Build Plate Temperature Initial Layer – PLA and PLA+ – 80°C, PETG – 90°C
- Initial Layer Speed – PLA and PLA+ - 20 mm/s, PETG – 20 mm/s
- Initial Fan Speed – 0%
For infill, I generally don’t go above 25% infill. I used to think that you have to print things in 100% or it won’t be strong but that’s really not the case. For the most part, it’s just a waste of filament. I’ve printed my braces and stuff with 20% infill and it’s super strong. So unless you absolutely must print higher than 25% infill, chances are, you’ll be fine. In terms of the type of infill, I like triangle, it’s strong and uses filament efficiently.
For printing temperature settings, I like to print 10-20°C less than the recommended max temp of the filament. So if the max temp for a filament is 230°C, I like to have the initial layer print at 230°C and the rest of the layers print at 215°C.
Finally, we have the part cooling fan settings. For PETG I have my fan set to 50%, and for PLA I have my fan set to 100%. For me, I find that having a lower fan speed for PETG helps the layers adhere together better. Note that this is just a general rule of thumb. If I’m printing something in PETG with a lot of bridging or details, I may bump up the fan speed a little.
These are the settings I use in Cura 4.0. My profiles are in the downloads section if you guys want them. Note, they will only work in Cura 4.0. But you can always use them as a reference for your slicer. Again, these are the settings I use for my machines so they may or may not work for your setup. I do recommend you use these settings as a baseline though. So, the next time you run into a print issue, it could be a slicer setting instead of something hardware related.