Even though the 3D printing process is a complex one in many ways, there is no denying that the extensive toolkit of Cura drastically eases the process for the user with a large number of features it brings to the table.
Ranging from minor tweaks to vital ones, Cura offers ways to improve the printing process in many different ways, making extensive knowledge of the slicer software a significant skill in the 3D printing world.
Today, we will be talking about one of the more minor features in Cura in particular, which will improve your 3D printed models to some degree with just a single click of a button when used carefully – the fill gaps between walls setting.
So, what is the fill gaps between walls feature in Cura?
The fill gaps between walls feature in Cura instructs the printer to fill the spaces that may occur between walls and between walls, infill, and skin (depending on your choice) in areas where the printer has to print thinner lines than the nozzle size, such as sharp corners.
In the upcoming sections, we will take a more detailed look at the fill gaps between walls setting to understand how it really functions, lay out the steps we recommend taking for activating it and discuss the scenarios where you should use this feature to improve your prints.
What Is Fill Gaps Between Walls in Cura?
While a minor feature that you can activate with the click of a button, the fill gaps between walls setting can play a significant role in the quality of your 3D printed models in some scenarios.
In a nutshell, the fill gaps between walls feature allows the printer to fill the gaps that appear between the infill, the skin, and the walls of the model due to the printer needing to extrude smaller lines than the nozzle size in cases such as sharp corners.
Since such gaps can cause these areas to be weak in some scenarios, activating the fill gaps between walls feature acts as a way to quickly improve the structural strength of your model when used correctly.
The fill gaps between walls feature allows you to pick between three choices, which are:
- Nowhere – The nowhere option turns the fill gaps between walls feature off.
- Everywhere – The everywhere option instructs the printer to fill all the gaps that appear, whether they are between walls or between the skin, the infill, and the walls.
- Only Wall Gaps – The only wall gaps option instructs the printer only to fill the gaps between walls and skip the gaps between the skin and the infill.
As the Nowhere option serves as a way to turn the feature off, the choice comes down to the Everywhere and the Only Wall Gaps options in this case.
If you are unsure, we recommend using the Everywhere option to see and understand the effects of this feature on a 3D printed model.
How to Activate the Fill Gaps Between Layers in Cura?
A simple setting with no extra parameters, the fill gaps between layers feature is one of the easiest things to activate in Cura.
Here are the steps we recommend taking:
- Locate the Prepare tab on the top of the Cura Window, and switch to it.
- Bring the Print Settings window up by clicking the rightmost pane between the three panes that appear right below the Prepare tab.
- If you see the Custom button, click it to switch to Custom Mode.
- Click the icon (three lines) next to the search input, and choose the All option from the dropdown to make all settings visible.
- Type “fill gaps” into the search box, which will bring the fill gaps between walls input up.
- Choose the Everywhere or the Only Wall Gaps option depending on your needs.
To deactivate the fill gaps between layers feature, choose the Nowhere option from the dropdown menu.
When Should You Use Fill Gaps Between Layers in Cura?
Similar to many other settings in Cura, there are things you should consider before activating this feature.
We only recommend using the fill gaps between layers feature in Cura if your model has a lot of areas on its surface that are prone to having visible gaps, and turn the feature off otherwise.
Since the feature increases the print time by adding extra travel moves that cause the printhead to come back to the gap later to fill it and sometimes causes artifacts on the surface, it’s not the best idea to always leave it on.
As always, we recommend experimenting with the feature yourself to produce the best results possible, as the effects can drastically differ between different scenarios.
Fill Gaps Between Walls in Cura Not Working – What to Do?
In some cases, the fill gaps between walls feature can cause unexpected issues and cause your 3D printed model’s surface to turn out much worse.
In such a scenario where the fill gaps between walls feature does more harm than good, the best course of action is to disable it and print your model without it.
While a useful feature in many scenarios, we have also observed many cases where it caused the models to have lines on their surface, ruining the aesthetics of the print.
While not the most vital setting in Cura, the fill gaps between walls feature offers a quick and easy improvement that you can add to your 3D printed models and take them a level higher.
To quickly recap, the fill gaps between walls feature allows the printer to fill the spaces that may appear between walls (such as the inner and the outer walls) or between walls, skin, and the infill depending on the option you choose.
As these gaps can frequently appear in models that have sharp corners (due to these corners requiring the printer to print thinner lines than the nozzle size), it’s usually a good idea to have this option active to ensure the model is structurally sound.