While the primary job of slicer software is to process a design and convert it into G-code the printer can understand to conduct the printing process, it’s also possible to find many extra parameters that allow you to fine-tune your prints.
Even though it’s not entirely necessary to configure all of these parameters to obtain a successful print, fine-tuning them is what can take your 3D printed models to the next level and increase their quality in various ways.
Today, our topic will be the infill before walls parameter in Cura slicer, a simple yet effective feature that can quickly improve the printing process when used correctly.
So, what is the infill before walls feature in Cura?
Infill before walls is a feature in Cura that instructs the 3D printer to print the infill of the model before the walls when you enable it, as opposed to the usual method of printing the walls before the infill.
In the upcoming sections, we will analyze the infill before walls feature in greater detail, look at the advantages and disadvantages this feature brings, and discuss the scenarios where activating this feature is optimal.
What Is the Infill Before Walls Feature in Cura?
Unlike many other settings in Cura that require heavy configuration, the infill before walls feature is a straightforward one with a clear purpose.
The infill before walls feature in Cura causes the printer to switch the print order between the infill and the walls and complete printing the infill before moving on to the walls.
If you aren’t familiar with the terms infill and walls, here is a more descriptive explanation of what takes place when this feature is active.
In a nutshell, the walls refer to the outer parts of a 3D printed model that we can see, whereas the infill refers to the inner part that is not visible due to being closed off.
When the printer follows the standard procedure of 3D printing, it starts by printing the walls (the outer perimeter) of the first layer, moves on to the infill of the first layer, and repeats this process until all layers are complete.
On the other hand, when you enable the infill before walls feature, the printer will start by printing the infill (the inner part) before moving onto the walls, essentially reversing the print order between the infill and the walls.
While either order is feasible to conduct a successful printing process, both options come with advantages and disadvantages of their own, which we will discuss in the next section.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Infill Before Walls Feature in Cura
Understanding the advantages and the disadvantages of the infill before walls feature in Cura is significant to ensure that you activate the feature for the correct use cases.
To start, let’s take a look at the advantages of the infill before walls feature.
The main advantage of the infill before walls feature is that it gives the walls a surface to stick to, making the strength of the adhesion for the walls a lot more reliable.
This reliability comes in especially handy for overhangs where adhesion is always a tricky subject, reducing the chance that your overhangs suffer from adhesion-related issues.
Now, let’s discuss the disadvantages of the infill before walls feature.
The primary disadvantage of the infill before walls feature is that it can reduce the quality of the print surface and make it rougher, as printing the infill before the walls sometimes cause the infill to become visible through the walls.
All in all, while the infill before walls feature strengthens the adhesion between the walls and the infill, it can damage the aesthetical quality of the model by causing the surfaces to become rougher.
When To Use the Infill Before Walls Feature in Cura?
The infill before walls feature is not something you should always keep enabled due to the trade-off it brings to the table, making it vital to know the scenarios where it would be beneficial.
We recommend using the infill before walls feature in Cura for models that contain a high number of overhangs and in prints with functional purposes where there are no aesthetical concerns at all.
As the effects of the infill before walls feature on the surface quality can be thoroughly noticeable, we recommend refraining from using it for models where aesthetics are the primary concern.
Despite being a simple feature with a simple purpose, the effects of the infill before walls feature on your 3D printed model can be thoroughly significant, making the most vital part of using this feature knowing when to enable and when to disable it.
How to Activate Infill Before Walls in Cura?
Activating the infill before walls feature in Cura is similar to modifying any other parameter as it resides next to all the other standard parameters in the Print Settings section.
Here are the steps you can follow to activate infill before walls in Cura:
- Navigate to the Prepare tab located on the top part of the Cura window.
- Out of the three panes that appear below the Prepare tab, click the rightmost one to bring the Print Settings menu up.
- If you see the Custom button in the Print Settings menu, click it.
- Locate the “three lines” icon next to the search input, click it, and choose the All option from the dropdown menu to make all print settings visible.
- Type “infill before walls” into the search input, which should bring up the Infill Before Walls parameter.
- Check the Infill Before Wall checkbox to activate the feature.
To deactivate the infill before walls feature, you can follow the same steps but uncheck the checkbox instead.
While one of the more effortless features to activate in Cura as it doesn’t require a lot of configuration, it’s undeniable that the infill before walls parameter can quickly improve a print when used in the right scenarios.
To quickly summarize, infill before walls is a Cura feature that causes the printer to print the infill of the 3D printed model before the walls, which is the reverse of the standard way of printing where the printer completes the walls of the layer before moving on to the infill.
While using this order can be helpful to improve adhesion, especially for overhangs, as the walls have the infill to stick to, it can also cause the print surface to be rougher due to the chance of infill becoming visible through the walls.
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.