Raft Vs Brim Vs Skirt. Best 3D printing adhesion technique.

There are many options in 3D printing to increase bed adhesion. Honestly there is not a right answer as to how you should achieve strong bed adhesion but some techniques are better than others. The standard 3 slicer bed adhesion techniques are skirt, brim, and raft.

As a whole, brim is the best 3D printing slicer bed adhesion technique. It has the best balance of surface area attached to the build plate as well as extruding distance to purge the line. Raft is also a good option for materials that are prone to warping such as ABS. 

What Is A Brim In 3D Printing?

A brim in 3D printing is a flat printed surface around the base of your 3D print that adds bed adhesion as well as stability to your 3D print. A brim is useful for adding adhesion to prints that do not have good surface area on the build plate as well as materials that are prone to warping.

There are many options when setting up a brim such as line count (also known as loops), brim width, as well as distance from the object.

Line count – As you might assume, line count is that number of lines that the 3D printer will extrude around the part while creating the brim. By adding more lines consequently you can increase the bed adhesion of the part to the build plate.

Brim Width – Similar to line count, the brim with setting increases the width that the 3D printer will extrude around the part while creating the brim. The brim width setting and the line count setting can be used simultaneously but most slicers will set the brim to whichever setting creates the largest brim.

Distance From Object – Distance from object in the brim setting will actually detach the brim from the object and move it away the distance that you specify. Distance from object makes the brim function more like a skirt and will not increase your bed adhesion.

When Should I Use A Brim In 3D Printing?

A Brim in 3D printing should be used when you need stronger bed adhesion for parts that do not have very much surface area on the build plate. A brim is also helpful when you are using materials (such as ABS) that are prone to warping which can lead to losing adhesion from the build plate.

For small parts the Brim setting can be a life saver. Take this small pumpkin as an example.

The base of the pumpkin has very little bed adhesion and without any additional help it will be nearly impossible to complete the print, much less completing the first layer, without additional bed adhesion. 

Here is an example of the same pumpkin with a 20 line count brim. This is certainly better than not having any additional bed adhesion and gives you a much higher likelihood of having a success on a very technical print. I think a better way to achieve great bed adhesion on this print would be using masking tape on your print bed look to the bottom of this page to learn more about using masking tape for 3D prints.

Does A Brim Prevent Warping In 3D Printing?

As a whole, a Brim does prevent warping in your 3D print, especially when you are printing materials such as ABS that are prone to warping. The main factor that prevents warping is the increased surface area attached to the bed which then gives it stronger contact between the part and the build plate. 

What Is The Purpose Of A Raft In 3D Printing?

A Raft in 3D printing is a bed adhesion technique in which a platform (or raft) is printed under the part that creates more surface area for the part to adhere to the build plate. It does require some post printing work to clean up the extra material from your print.

A raft is extremely useful for prints with very small and tight corners on the first layer but honestly heed my warning, this requires a lot of cleaning up work after the print is complete to remove all the excess material from the print.

When Should I Use A Raft In 3D Printing?

You should use a raft for prints that have few small points of contact on the build plate. If your print has too much contact with the build plate it will be very difficult to remove the raft when the print is completed. A raft can also be used as a base for figures and statues.

Take this little Baby Yoda for example, he will probably have a pretty hard time standing on his own so adding a raft will be a great way to help him stand as a game piece or to help him sit on a shelf.

Does A Raft Prevent Warping In 3D Printing?

A Raft will prevent warping of a 3D print, similarly to the brim technique. The raft technique increases the amount of surface area that is contacting the build plate which then increases bed adhesion. The raft technique is also very similar to using masking tape for bed adhesion.

A raft does consume the bottom few layers of the 3D print in to the raft so if there is any critical details in the bottle layers you may want to use a different bed adhesion technique.

What Is A Skirt In 3D Printing?

A skirt in 3D printing is a nozzle purging technique in 3D printing that can help with bed adhesion by cleaning the hotend of any old filament and also by ensuring that filament is at the front of the hot end and is ready for when the 3D printer moves to the actual part.

Honestly a skirt is probably the most useless of the 3 common bed adhesion strategies especially when using cura because there is typically an initial line created by cura to purge the line and also the skrit does not directly help with bed adhesion.

Should I Use Stick Glue When 3D Printing?

There are many great reasons to use stick glue when 3D printing. It is very easy, fast to apply, and it creates a great foundation for your 3D print. If you are printing large objects that do not have small lines and sharp thin drawn out corners then stick glue is probably the best bed adhesion technique.

Should I Use Masking Tape When 3D Printing?

Masking tape is one of the fastest ways to achieve strong bed adhesion. Masking tape is the best technique for small intricate parts that have sharp corners and small platforms. With masking tape the part may get stuck to the plate and sometimes the tape is difficult to remove from the part.

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