You might be tweaking your 3D settings to speed up your prints, trying to increase your printers jerk, acceleration, speed, more heat, tuning retraction, to get a faster print, but these all generally will push your machine closer to its limits and decrease your print quality.
This is where this tip comes in, I will show you how you can configure your infill layer height independently to be higher than your exterior surface, because really, who cares what your infill looks like, why have your printer meticulously laying down infill at 50 micron layer heights?
This technique works best when you are printing higher resolution prints (sub 0.1mm or less).
To paint the picture, here are some example print time estimates using this technique for a Flashforge creator pro, printing at 60mm/s a 3DBenchy as follows
|Layer Height||Infill Percentage||Normal Infill print time||0.3mm layer height Infill print time||Time saving|
|0.025mm (25 micron)||40%||587 minutes||511 minutes||15%|
|0.050mm (50 micron)||40%||296 minutes||260 minutes||14%|
|0.100mm (100 micron)||40%||163 minutes||143 minutes||14%|
|0.100mm (100 micron)||80%||168 minutes||150 minutes||12%|
|0.200mm (200 micron)||40%||85 minutes||82 minutes||3.5%|
|0.300mm (300 micron)||40%||59 minutes||59 minutes||0%|
As you can see for this model, having thicker infill height can save you 10-15% of your machine time for the higher resolution prints, and only small savings on lower resolution prints. This is a very conservative number, the more infill your print requires the more time savings you will achieve, I have printed some larger prints where the time saving is over 30%.
Should I do it?
If you have a printer(s) that is always busy (i.e. you are running a busy 3D Hub, or pumping out some large models), this technique is a good way to save some machine time. On the other hand, if you don’t however mind if a print takes an extra hour or so and prefer simplicity I would give this technique a miss.
At the end of the day it’s up to you.
So… how do I do it?
This tutorial is written specifically for Simplify 3D, its probably possible with other slicers.
- Start with setting up 2 Processes, one will be your normal “print” profile that will print the exterior of your model, and the second will be your “infill” profile.
In your print profile perform the following configuration
- Set your infill percentage to 0%
- Set your desired layer height, perimeters, top and bottom layer numbers as you would normally
In your “infill” profile, perform the following configuration
- Set your desired infil percentage (e.g. 80%)
- Set the layer height to 0.3mm (or higher if you have a larger nozzle than the 0.4mm that I have installed)
- Set the permiters, top and bottom layer numbers to zero.
- Increase your speed to 90mm/s (conservative speed I normally use 120mm/s)
- Turn off the minimum layer time in the cooling menu
- Turn off supports, skirts, brims, or any other settings that are in your “print” profile. Any of these if you need them should be configured in your “print” process
Putting it all together
Now all you need to do is import the model you wish to print as you normally would, and click on the “prepare to print” button, in the select processes screen, select both of the processes and click OK.
And finally click yes on the warning, it is basically giving you a warning that both of the processes are working on the same model, which normally might mean you have made a mistake, this warning is expected.
Have a quick flick through your toolpath preview to see if everything looks as you would expect, and print the model as you normally would.
As you can see its a bit of a process, and probably not for the feint of heart, however if you had a large number of high resolution models to print, this technique can save you a lot of time without degrading the quality of your print.