As 3D printing is a process where many parts of the equation can change in terms of hardware and material, we need to ensure that the software configuration matches these changes for the printing process to be successful.
For the most part, the software configuration takes place in the slicer software, such as Cura, as the slicer software is responsible for converting the model we want to print into a list of instructions that the printer can process by using the configuration that we provide it.
Today, we will learn more about configuring Cura settings as optimally as possible for a 0.8 mm nozzle, a nozzle size that isn’t very common as most 3D printers ship with standard 0.4 mm nozzles we can consider to be the most balanced option.
So, what are the optimal Cura settings for a 0.8 mm nozzle?
Below, we have listed the parameters that require changing upon switching to a 0.8 mm nozzle from a different nozzle size and the optimal values for them:
- Line Width – 0.8 mm
- Layer Height – 0.36 mm
- Walls (Thickness & Line Count) – Automatically changed by Cura upon modifying Line Width
- Top/Bottom (Layer Thickness & Count) – Automatically changed by Cura upon modifying Layer Height
- Retraction – Slower retraction speed compared to a smaller nozzle, but highly dependent on the situation
- Coasting – Volume: 0.512 mm^3 | Minimum Volume: 1.6 mm^3 | Speed: 90%
Next up, we will discuss the optimal Cura settings for 3D printing with a 0.8 mm nozzle in more detail and take a deeper dive into the process of configuring and saving Cura settings specifically for a 0.8 mm nozzle.
What Are the Optimal Cura Settings for a 0.8 mm Nozzle?
It’s no secret that each distinct nozzle size requires a different set of slicer settings, but in the case of a 0.8 mm nozzle, finding the correct configuration is definitely no easy task due to it not being a popular size that many members in the community frequently use.
The line width parameter determines the thickness (horizontally) of each line of plastic the 3D printer extrudes during the printing process.
As a rule of thumb, setting the line width parameter in Cura to the same value as the size of the nozzle is the standard way of doing things, meaning that a 0.8 mm line width value is a good starting point for a 0.8 mm nozzle.
On the other hand, as going slightly lower than the size of the nozzle allows the printer to print more detailed lines, it can be a good idea to experiment with such values if you’re looking to print models where detail is essential.
Since going for a line width value that is either lower than 60% of the nozzle size or greater than 150% of the nozzle size can cause the printing process to fail, it’s advisable to stay within this range.
The layer height parameter determines the thickness (vertically) of each layer of the 3D printed model.
We have found that going for a layer height value of 0.36 mm provides a balance between quality and print time for a 0.8 mm nozzle, but going for slightly larger or smaller values than this is entirely acceptable depending on whether you would like to optimize for detail or speed.
When calculating the layer height value, we recommend choosing a value that satisfies two conditions; between 25% and 75% of the nozzle size and is a magic number for your 3D printer.
Walls (Thickness and Line Count)
The wall thickness and wall line count parameters determine the thickness of the wall surrounding the print and the number of inner walls.
As Cura automatically adjusts the wall thickness (and the wall line count as a result), you won’t need to do anything specific for the walls once you optimize the line width value.
Since the thickness of each layer of the wall needs to be equal to the line width, this is the expected behavior that makes the configuration process more manageable.
For instance, if you have the wall line count to 2, Cura will automatically calculate the wall thickness value by multiplying this figure by your line width, yielding a wall thickness of 1.6 mm if your line width is set to 0.8 mm.
On the other hand, if you manually set the wall thickness instead, Cura will automatically calculate the wall line count value by dividing the wall thickness value by the line width.
Top/Bottom (Layer Thickness and Count)
The top/bottom layer thickness and count parameters determine the thickness of the top and bottom sides of the print and the number of layers printed to achieve this thickness.
As Cura automatically adjusts the top/bottom thickness and layer count based on the layer height, you won’t need to do any specific configuration here once you optimize the layer height value.
For instance, if you set the top/bottom layer count to 5, Cura will automatically calculate the top/bottom thickness value by multiplying this figure by your layer height, yielding a top/bottom thickness of 1.68mm if your line width is set to 0.36 mm.
On the other hand, if you manually set the wall top/bottom thickness instead, Cura will automatically calculate the top/bottom layer count value by dividing the top/bottom thickness value by the layer height.
The retraction parameters (speed, distance, and minimum travel) determine when retractions trigger and how quickly and how far the filament gets retracted.
While it’s hard to say anything conclusive about retraction settings due to how much they change depending on the scenario, the rule of thumb here is to use a slower retraction speed for a 0.8 mm nozzle than the one you use for smaller nozzle sizes.
Since a larger nozzle size drastically increases the amount of plastic that goes into the extruder, retracting at a slower speed balances this increase and prevents retraction from failing.
The coasting parameters (volume, minimum volume, and speed) determine how the coasting in Cura works, which is an experimental feature that helps reduce filament oozing.
- Volume – 0.512 mm^3 | The recommended formula by Cura is to take the cube of the nozzle diameter, which is pretty straightforward.
- Minimum Volume – 1.6 mm^3 | While this value primarily depends on preference, it needs to be greater than the coasting volume value.
- Speed – 90% | Cura advises a value slightly below 100% for coasting speed, and the default value of 90% does the job without any issues.
If you aren’t using the Coasting feature in Cura, these parameters won’t be visible to you and won’t affect anything.
How to Configure Cura Settings Specifically for a 0.8 mm Nozzle?
Configuring the Cura settings specifically for a 0.8 mm nozzle and saving them for later usage, which will allow a smooth transition between different nozzle sizes, is a breeze in Cura, especially considering how much time it will save you in the long run.
- Click the Prepare tab located at the top of the Cura window.
- Click the middle pane, which displays the current material and nozzle diameter.
- Click the Nozzle Size dropdown, and choose the 0.8 mm Nozzle option.
- Click the rightmost pane, which shows an overview of the current print settings.
- Configure the print settings as you wish.
- Click the Profile dropdown, and choose the Create profile from the current settings/overrides option.
- Specify a name for the new profile, and accept the dialog.
Following these steps will load the default Cura settings for a 0.8 mm nozzle and allow you to save your configuration for later use.
Cura Profiles Disappearing on Different Nozzle Sizes – What to Do?
If you are switching between different nozzle sizes in Cura for the first time, you might have noticed that your pre-existing profiles are disappearing from the list of profiles.
Since Cura categorizes profiles by nozzle sizes you created them for, it’s expected that you won’t find the profile you have made for a 0.2 mm nozzle after selecting the 0.8 mm nozzle size from the Nozzle Size menu.
While there is some overlap in profiles being shared between different nozzle sizes, we recommend creating the profile you would like for a certain nozzle size after activating that nozzle size from the Nozzle Size menu in the middle for consistency.
As the 0.8 mm nozzle size isn’t all that common, finding the optimal print settings to conduct a successful printing process with a 0.8 mm nozzle can be a slightly challenging task, especially for those who are switching from the standard 0.4 mm nozzle for the first time.
To quickly recap, optimizing the Cura parameters directly related to nozzle size, such as line width, layer height, wall thickness, wall line count, top/bottom layer thickness and count, retraction, and coasting, is necessary to obtain successful prints with a 0.8 mm nozzle, as the values you use for the standard 0.4 mm nozzle won’t perform well.
As always, experimentation is the key to finding the most optimal values for each parameter, as different 3D printers and filaments will produce optimal results with distinct values even when they share the same nozzle size.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.