Extrusion Width & Layer Height: Why Girth & Thickness Matter!

extrusion width-comparison

Left is bad extrusion width and right is good extrusion width

What is printer resolution?

Extrusion Width and Layer Height = Resolution. If you want higher resolution,  then you would use smaller values. If you want lower resolution,  then you would use higher values.  These settings will not fix extrusion problems.  These settings will only affect the quality of your final print.

Extrusion Width Is just like Layer Height, accept it only deals with width and not height. Extrusion Width only tells your printer how wide to make a line. It will have not other any other effect, except for print speed. A higher extrusion width means more plastic per mm.

The wider the line you extrude, the slower you need to print. For example; if you print a .5 mm line at 60 mm/s vs. if you want to print a 1.00 mm width. You need to slow down your speed to around 30 mm/s as you have doubled the amount of plastic coming out of the nozzle. Your extrusion width should always be at least 1.2 times larger than your Layer Height. By making the width bigger than your height, the lines are mashed together and thus resulting in better adhesion.

Extrusion Width – There are only two options here.

Auto Width: Takes your current nozzle setting and multiplies it by 1.2. There is not advance algorithm here, just a simple 1.2 * nozzle diameter. Auto width sets the width of plastic printed for your model to be .48 mm for a .40 mm nozzle, .60 mm for a .50 mm nozzle, or 1.2mm for a 1.0mm nozzle, etc. That’s all this setting does, and it only affects the width of plastic being extruded.

Manual Width: is the setting I always use. I never use the Auto Width feature. I almost always use .5 mm or 1.00 mm. The Extrusion Width should be dependent on the model you are printing. Your prints will get better results when your model dimensions line up with your printer dimensions. To emphasize:

If you set your extrusion width at .48 mm and your model is 1 mm thick. You will not be able to have a real 1 mm width. Your slicer will try to compensate this but it really can’t. You will either have a thickness of 0.96 mm or 1.44 mm. As .48 does not go into 1.00 and can cause negative results in the layers of your print

Now we have an understanding of what Extrusion Width is. Now let’s talk about your Layer Height.

Layer Height and Your Thickness

Here is an example of .2 layer height (left) vs .1 Layer height (right)

Layer Height:  Is the height of layers on top of each other that are measured in the thickness of mm. Usually, this height is measured in microns. “What in the metric is a micron?” One Micro = 0.001 mm. We will just be using standard mm. The thicker the layer, the lower the resolution.

The thinner the layer, the higher the resolution. The thicker the layers, the lower the resolution. BUT, there is a catch. Layer height effects speed. The total time to print will vary based on thickness.

Thinner layers equal longer print time, and thicker layers equal shorter print times. Therefore this will always vary based on what you are looking for on that particular print. More detail = thinner layers. Less Detail = thicker layers.  I used Marvin created by 3Dhubs to demonstrate the layer height.

There are a lot of settings in your slicing software. If you are not adjusting the correct settings, you may never get the quality you are looking for in your final print.

While your here also check out our preview of the PrintSYSt beta web slicer!

Also, don’t forget to check out any 3D printing Software Deals that we have found!



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  1. Very informative and useful article. Easy to read and understand. Looking forward to more.

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