While not always necessary, especially to print some of the simpler models, Cura offers a wide array of parameters you can use to optimize your prints in scenarios where every bit of optimization makes a significant contribution to the quality.
Due to their advanced nature, these parameters are hidden in Cura by default, requiring you to toggle their visibility manually by filtering the options individually or using one of the pre-set filters such as Advanced or Expert.
Today, we will talk about one such parameter, known as minimum layer time, which can make a great deal of difference to the quality of the layers when configured correctly, especially for complex models where problems are more likely to arise.
So, what is the minimum layer time option in Cura?
Minimum layer time in Cura is a parameter that allows you to specify the minimum amount of time the printer has to spend on a layer before moving on to the next one, even if it finishes printing the layer beforehand.
Even though minimum layer time isn’t a complex feature to use, incorrectly configuring it can do more harm to your prints than good.
In the upcoming section, we will take a more detailed look at how the feature works and how you can configure it as optimally as possible to ensure that you get the highest amount of value from it.
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What Is Minimum Layer Time in Cura?
Despite being an advanced option, minimum layer time is a parameter that can benefit both beginners and experienced 3D printing enthusiasts alike when used correctly.
The minimum layer time parameter allows you to input a value (in seconds) that specifies the amount of time the printer will spend on each layer before moving on to the next one.
Even if the printer completes printing the layer before the specified time has passed, it will wait before moving on to the next one.
As this parameter allows you to pause the printer after each layer regardless of the printing speed, it’s primarily a fantastic tool to reliably ensure that the print’s layers have enough time to form strong bonds and adhere to each other optimally.
Since the optimal value for minimum layer time depends on many factors, such as the model you print and the filament you use, we recommend starting with a value of 10 seconds and adjusting it depending on the results.
You should be increasing the value if you are experiencing issues related to a high printing speed, such as blobbing, stringing, warping, ringing, and weak layer adhesion.
On the other hand, you should be incrementally decreasing the value to speed up the print time if you aren’t experiencing issues, as having this value set to a too high number will slow your prints down drastically.
For optimal results, the best course of action is to find the lowest value that allows you to print a model without adhesion issues to ensure the downtime is as low as possible.
How Does Minimum Layer Time in Cura Affect Prints?
The effects of the minimum layer time setting in Cura on prints are pretty simple to understand.
In a nutshell, the minimum layer time parameter allows you to artificially slow the printing process down (without modifying the print speed itself) to give more room for layers to cool down.
When used optimally, minimum layer time will increase the strength of the adhesion between layers, making them stronger, more durable, and less prone to issues such as blobbing, stringing, warping, and weak layers.
On the other hand, the parameter essentially introduces downtime where the printer does not perform any actions, causing the printing process to take longer than usual.
How to Use Minimum Layer Time in Cura?
As the minimum layer time setting in Cura consists of a single parameter, it’s a simple one to use.
Here are the steps we recommend following:
- Click the Prepare tab, which you can find on the top of the Cura window.
- Click the pane on the right to display the Print Settings menu.
- Click the Custom button to switch the Print Settings to Custom mode. Ignore this step if you are already in Custom mode.
- Click the three lines icon next to the search input, and choose the All option from the dropdown menu. This process will make advanced settings such as Minimum Layer Time visible.
- Type “minimum layer time” into the search input.
- Enter the desired value to the Minimum Layer Time input.
Cura Minimum Layer Time Not Working – What to Do?
As there are a few conditions for the minimum layer time parameter to operate as intended, there are cases where the printer will ignore this parameter and cause you to think that it’s not working.
The first option that affects minimum layer time is the Lift Head option, where Cura states that layers may take shorter than the minimum layer time if Lift Head is disabled.
The lift head option causes the printer to lift the printhead away from the model and wait until sufficient time has passed to satisfy the minimum layer time condition.
The second and final option that impacts minimum layer time is the Minimum Speed parameter, which can cause the printer to ignore minimum layer time entirely.
The Minimum Speed parameter specifies the minimum speed the printer must maintain throughout the printing process, including the downtime caused by the minimum layer time.
If the print speed falls below the minimum speed value due to a minimum layer time that is too high, the printer will ignore the minimum layer time value to maintain minimum speed.
As these two options can directly cause the printer to spend less time on a layer than the value you have specified, they are the most likely culprits behind minimum layer time not behaving as intended.
Minimum layer time is a fantastic tool to ensure that the layers of the object turn out as healthy as possible in terms of strength and adhesion, especially considering the reliability it brings to the table.
To quickly recap, the minimum layer time parameter allows you to input a period (in seconds) which prompts the printer to spend that amount of time on a layer before moving on to the next one.
As a result, it’s possible to reliably specify an amount of time enough for the layer to cool down optimally regardless of the printing speed, ensuring that the adhesion between layers is always strong.
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.