Speed up your 3D prints without sacrificing quality by changing your infill layer height

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 HeightInfill PercentageNormal Infill print time0.3mm layer height Infill print timeTime saving
0.025mm (25 micron)40%587 minutes511 minutes15%
0.050mm (50 micron)40%296 minutes260 minutes14%
0.100mm (100 micron)40%163 minutes143 minutes14%
0.100mm (100 micron)80%168 minutes150 minutes12%
0.200mm (200 micron)40%85 minutes82 minutes3.5%
0.300mm (300 micron)40%59 minutes59 minutes0%

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.

simplify3d-infill-layer-height-processes

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

simplify3d-infill-layer-height-print-process

In your “infill” profile, perform the following configuration

simplify3d-infill-layer-height-infill-process

  • 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)

simplify3d-infill-layer-height-infill-process-other

  • Turn off the minimum layer time in the cooling menu

simplify3d-infill-layer-height-infill-process-cooling

  • 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

simplify3d-infill-layer-height-infill-process-additions

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.

simplify3d-infill-layer-height-prepare-print

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.

simplify3d-infill-layer-height-confirmation

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.

Concluding…

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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