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Setting up the Layer Height in a BCN3D Printer

The first step of 3D printing is called slicing, where the model is transformed by the software into a number of layers via G&M code. In this process, you can set up the necessary changes according to what you are looking for in the model. Speed, temperature, strength, infill, printing time and many different settings can be applied. However, 3D print layer height is the most important in terms of quality and printing time.

• 3D printing layer height

First of all, it is important to understand the working principle of 3D printing. A spool of filament, generally a plastic filament, goes through a hot end and melts at a temperature between 190º and 270º. This molten filament is then transferred to the printing surface in the shape of the first layer, which was divided by the slicer earlier. The fan in the tool head cools the layers down and the next layer is printed. This process repeats itself until the printing is done.

The actual height of each of these layers is called the layer height. You can set up the height on the slicer and it can be altered according to your needs.

• The impact of the hot end size on the layer height

As mentioned before, the hot end melts the filament and transfers it to the printing surface. A hot end consists of three parts: the heak sink, the thermal block and the nozzle. Basically, the filament enters the hot end through the heak sink, melts in the thermal block and goes out of the hot end through the nozzle. The change happens in the nozzle. The nozzle sizes range from 0.4 millimetres to 1 millimetre, which depends on the filament coming out of the nozzle.

So, the bigger the nozzle size, the more material there will be. As a result, 3D print layer height increases.

• Altering the print quality by tweaking the 3D print layer height

The higher the layer height, the fewer layers there will be on the model. However, the layers will be bigger and much more visible, which means the print quality will not be as good. So, the layer height and print quality are inversely proportional. In this case, if we decrease the layer height, there will be more layers. Thus, the layers will be less visible, increasing print quality. However, the layer height cannot be altered freely. There is a recommended maximum layer height, which is half the nozzle size. This prevents us from depositing more filament than necessary. The recommended minimum layer height is quarter the nozzle size.

• Altering the printing time by tweaking the layer height

When the layer height is decreased, the number of layers increases. Then, there will be more printed layers and the printing time will increase and vice versa. If there are less layers, it will take less time.

To get more information on BCN3D printers, check out this link

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