Change This Slicer Setting For Much Faster 3D Prints

3D Printing & Imaging Maker News
Change This Slicer Setting For Much Faster 3D Prints

Hello 3D printing friends! Today I want to share a handy trick to get faster prints from your 3D printer, just by changing a setting in your slicer. It all started when I wanted to reduce the print time for this Neutron Tube model (Figure A ) from Clockspring.

Figure A

The Neutron Tube is a cylindrical container, about the size of a 12oz soda can, with a hinged lid and a threaded retaining ring. It’s designed to print as one complete piece, instead of separate parts which are then assembled. Both the captive hinge pins for the lid and the threaded retaining ring print in place on the finished model. This is known as a print-in-place model, and it highlights one of the benefits that additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing can provide.

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Slicing the Neutron Tube with PrusaSlicer’s standard 0.2mm Normal settings, the model took a little over 18 hours to print. One of the things I noticed about PrusaSlicer is that it has its extrusion width set a little bit wider than the diameter of the nozzle’s orifice. So for a 0.4mm nozzle, PrusaSlicer has most of its extrusion widths set to 0.45mm. Since PrusaSlicer already uses an extrusion width larger than the nozzle’s bore, I figured I could add another 0.2mm, making the extrusions 0.65mm wide.

In theory, with everything else being the same — layer height, number of perimeters, number of top and bottom layers, and printing speed — using a wider extrusion requires fewer printing moves per layer, which should result in less time spent printing. Think of it in terms of a paintbrush: A wider brush requires fewer brush strokes to cover a surface with paint.

And in practice, it works! The longer a model would take to print with the Normal settings, the more time you can save.

Figure B

Here’s how to do it:

1. Click over to PrusaSlicer’s Print Settings tab (Figure B ).

2. Click the Expert button to expose additional settings.

3. Select the Advanced category from the list on the left side of the window.

4. In the Extrusion width group, set all the available values to 0.65mm.

5. Then, return to the Plater tab to slice the model, export the G-code file, and move the file to your printer for printing.

If you use Cura, search for Line Width and make the changes there. This technique should work in any slicer which gives you control over extrusion width. Simplify3D, IdeaMaker, SuperSlicer, and even the browser based Kiri:Moto slicer have settings for line width, though it sometimes goes by a different name

For the Neutron Tube model, the time estimate was reduced from about 19 hours to 14 hours. And when printed, the model sliced with unmodified settings finished in about 18 hours, while the model with the wide extrusions finished in about 13 hours — about 5 hours faster! I couldn’t see much of a difference in quality or precision between the two, either (Figure ). The hinged lid and the threaded ring work equally well on both.

Figure D

What are the downsides? The time savings on smaller models may only be a few minutes. And while I had no issues with the Neutron Tube, some print-in-place mechanisms may not work if the moving parts fuse together during printing. You may also notice small gaps where the wider tracks meet corners. But it’s worth experimenting with, and it’s a handy tool to keep in your 3D printing toolbox that can save time on longer prints. 

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Brian Vines

3D printing enthusiast and host of The BV3D Channel on YouTube. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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