When you’re trying to get the best quality possible out of your 3D printed parts, there are some obvious choices for how to setup the print. Finer layer heights and lower speeds can improve finish and accuracy, but is that all there is for improving quality in your printed parts? One subtle yet very effective way of improving the uniformity of your surfaces is by controlling your layer start points.
With the sole exception of printing using the “spiral vase” method, every time your printer starts a new layer it leaves behind a tell-tale mark caused by the motion path of the nozzle. It’s possible to minimize these marks through optimization but they won’t ever go away entirely. One nice benefit of using Simplify3D is the added ability to plan your layer start points. When done effectively the small marks can be concealed within geometry that makes it impossible to notice. Can you see the layer start points in the first photo above? What about the zoomed in version below?
If you look carefully along the bottom edge of the part you’ll notice all of the layer start points are consolidated along the edge where it rolls over. By placing your start points along a specific geometric feature, it’s possible to create very controllable “seams” that diminish into your design. Keep reading below and I’ll show how you can use planned layer seams to improve your printed parts! Continue reading