Basics of improving grip: brim, skirt and raft


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In the world of 3D printing, one of the most important aspects is ensuring proper adhesion of the first layer to the work table. Without it, even the best-designed model may be deformed or completely destroyed. Improving adhesion is therefore a key element of success in 3D printing. In this article we will discuss three techniques: brim, skirt and raft, which can significantly improve the adhesion of prints.

Skirt: A simple method to start with

Skirt is the simplest of the methods discussed. It involves printing several lines of filament around the outline of the model, which, however, do not connect directly to the printout. The main tasks of the skirt are:

Filament flow calibration: Skirt allows you to check whether the filament is fed correctly by the extruder. Thanks to this, we can avoid a situation in which the filament is not delivered evenly, which may lead to interruptions in printing.

Printer Calibration Test: Skirt also allows you to verify that your printer is properly calibrated. This allows for early detection of problems with worktable leveling or other parameters.

Warming up the nozzle: When printing a skirt, we can make sure that the nozzle is properly heated and ready to work.

Although skirt does not directly improve the adhesion of the print to the bed, it serves a diagnostic function, helping to avoid problems in the early stages of printing. This is especially useful for beginner users of 3D printers who are just learning how to use their equipment.

Brim: Larger surface area, better grip

Brim is a technique that involves adding several layers of filament around the base of the model, which are physically connected to the printout. This creates a wide contact surface of the printed model with the working plate, which increases its adhesion. Here are the key benefits of brim:

Contact Area Increase: Brim adds material around the base of the model, which increases the contact area with the build plate. This makes the model more stable and less susceptible to shifting during printing.

Warp Prevention: Brim is especially useful when printing with filaments that tend to warp, such as PA filament (polyamide) or PP (polypropylene). The additional contact surface helps keep the model in place, which minimizes the risk of deformation.

Easy to remove: Once printing is complete, brim is relatively easy to remove. Just bend it gently and tear it away from the model. If necessary, you can use scissors or a knife to remove any residue.

Brim is ideal for printing models with narrow bases that may have adhesion problems, as well as for models requiring high precision on the bottom layer.

Raft: The best grip for difficult cases

Raft is the most advanced of the discussed techniques, which involves printing several layers of material under the entire model, creating a kind of "raft". The model is printed on this raft, which ensures excellent grip. The main advantages of raft are:

Maximizing adhesion: Thanks to several layers of material, raft provides extremely strong adhesion, which is crucial when printing large models or models with complex geometry.

Eliminate first layer problems: The first layer is crucial to the success of the entire print. Raft takes care of any problems related to the uneven surface of the work table, which provides an ideal base for subsequent layers.

Warp reduction: Raft is particularly effective when printing with filaments that are prone to warping, such as ABS. It acts as a protective barrier that absorbs tensions arising during cooling, which prevents deformation of the model.

However, rafting also has its disadvantages. The main ones are:

  • Difficult to remove: Once printed, the raft may be difficult to remove, especially on more delicate models. This may require the use of tools such as knives or sandpaper.
  • Material consumption: Raft uses more filament than skirt or brim, which increases printing costs. In addition, additional material may affect the aesthetics of the lower part of the model.
  • Print time: Due to the additional layers, raft printing takes longer, which can be problematic for large or complex models.

When to choose the right technique?

Choosing the appropriate technique depends on many factors, including the type of model, the filament used and specific printing requirements. Here are some tips that may help you make your decision:

Skirt: Select skirt if you want to check the correct operation of the printer, calibration and filament flow. This is also a good option for simple models that do not have traction problems.

Brim: Brim is ideal for models with narrow bases and filaments prone to warping. It increases the contact area and is easy to remove, making it a versatile tool for improving grip.

Raft: Raft is the best choice for large models, geometrically complex and filaments with poor adhesion, such as ABS. Provides maximum stability and eliminates first layer problems.

Practical advice and tips

There are a few practical tips to keep in mind when using these techniques:

  • Calibration of the worktable: Regardless of the technique chosen, calibration of the worktable is crucial. Make sure the table is perfectly level to ensure even filament application.
  • Printer Settings: Adjusting 3D printer settings, such as nozzle and print bed temperatures, can significantly affect adhesion. Experiment with different settings to find the optimal parameters for the filament you are using.
  • Test prints: Before printing the actual model, it is worth doing a few test prints to make sure that the selected adhesion technique works properly.
  • Cleaning the worktable: Keep the worktable clean to ensure maximum traction. Remove any filament remnants and use adhesion-improving agents, such as adhesives or special coatings.

Summary

Improving adhesion in 3D printing is a key element that can determine the success or failure of the entire print. Skirt, brim and raft are three different techniques that can be used depending on the specific needs and requirements of a given project. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but with enough experience and practice, you can achieve regular and successful prints.

If you're just starting out with 3D printing, it's worth experimenting with each of these techniques to better understand how they work and how to use them. Thanks to this, you will be able to consciously choose appropriate adhesion improvement methods, which will translate into better quality and durability of your prints.

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