Stringing is perhaps one of the most commonly encountered issues in 3D printing regardless of the filament type you use, and the fact that it can quickly ruin a print when it gets excessive makes it a high-priority problem.
While preventing stringing usually comes down to configuring the retraction settings correctly in the slicer, it’s also possible to find extra features in slicer software that are helpful to combat stringing in different ways.
One such example of a feature that can be incredibly helpful to prevent stringing is wipe nozzle between layers in Cura, which will be the focus of our discussion today as it offers a quick and easy way to solve stringing-related issues.
So, what is the wipe nozzle between layers feature in Cura?
The wipe nozzle between layers feature in Cura instructs the printer to wipe the nozzle on a brush after completing each layer to ensure that the nozzle is free of any residue that may damage the upcoming layers.
As activating the wipe nozzle between layers parameter adds a decent amount of parameters that you will need to configure to ensure that the feature works as intended, we will take a deeper look at everything this feature has to offer in the upcoming sections.
What Is Wipe Nozzle Between Layers in Cura?
Wipe nozzle between layers is a feature that Cura classifies as experimental, meaning that it’s vital to configure its parameters correctly to ensure that the printing process does not fail.
Activating the wipe nozzle between layers setting in Cura essentially adds G-codes that instruct the printer to start a wipe sequence whenever it completes printing a layer.
While it’s possible to customize it further, in a nutshell, the wipe sequence involves the printhead moving away from the model to the location of the brush and wiping itself to get rid of the residue on the nozzle.
As the wipe nozzle between layers feature offers a wide variety of parameters to fine-tune the entire process, it’s vital to configure them correctly to ensure that everything works as intended.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the parameters:
- Material Volume Between Wipes – Determines the maximum amount of material the printer can extrude before initiating a nozzle wipe. This value cannot cause the printer to wipe more than once in the same layer.
- Wipe Retraction Enable – Retracts the filament while the nozzle moves over a non-printed area during the wipe sequence.
- Wipe Retraction Distance – The amount of retraction the printer will perform during the wipe sequence.
- Wipe Retraction Extra Prime Amount – The amount of extra plastic that the printer will extrude after performing a retraction to compensate for oozing during travel moves.
- Wipe Retraction Speed – The speed of retraction and priming during the wipe sequence.
- Wipe Pause – The amount of idle time after unretract.
- Wipe Z Hop – Determines whether Z-hop will be active or not during the wiping sequence.
- Wipe Z Hop Height – The height of the Z-hop during the wipe sequence.
- Wipe Hop Speed – The Z-axis speed of the nozzle (or build plate) during the z-hop.
- Wipe Brush X Position – The X-axis location of the brush where the wipe sequence will start.
- Wipe Repeat Count – The number of times the nozzle will move across the brush to wipe itself.
- Wipe Move Distance – The distance the nozzle will move back and forth across the brush.
While the wipe nozzle between layers feature comes with a large number of parameters, you may have noticed that most of them are familiar-sounding settings, with the sole difference of these parameters only being active during the wiping sequence.
How to Activate the Wipe Nozzle Between Layers Feature in Cura?
Activating the wipe nozzle between layers feature in Cura is as easy as it comes as it’s possible to do so by following the quick steps we have listed below:
- Navigate to the Prepare tab, which you can find at the top of the Cura window.
- From the three options below, click the rightmost one to display Print Settings.
- If you see the Custom button, click it to switch the Print Settings to Custom mode.
- Click the three lines icon next to the search input, and choose All from the dropdown menu to make the Wipe Nozzle Between Layers setting visible.
- Type “wipe” into the search input.
- Check the Wipe Nozzle Between Layers checkbox to activate the setting.
Upon checking the box, the extra parameters you can use to fine-tune the feature will also display.
How to Configure the Wipe Parameters in Cura?
While experimentation is often the key to finding the parameters that work out for you, here are the settings we recommend using as a starting point:
- Material Volume Between Wipes – Start with 10 mm^3, and increase if the amount of leftover plastic on the nozzle isn’t too severe.
- Wipe Retraction Enable – Enabled.
- Wipe Retraction Distance – Start with 5 mm. Increase if you’re facing oozing, decrease if you’re facing under-extrusion.
- Wipe Retraction Extra Prime Amount – Start with 0 mm^3, increase if you experience oozing during wipe travel moves.
- Wipe Retraction Speed – While it depends on the filament type, 30 mm/s is a good starting point.
- Wipe Pause – Disabled.
- Wipe Z Hop – Enabled.
- Wipe Z Hop Height – Use a value that will give enough height between your model and the nozzle.
- Wipe Hop Speed – 5 mm/s.
- Wipe Brush X Position – This value purely depends on where your brush is.
- Wipe Repeat Count – Start with 5. Increase if your nozzle still has leftover plastic after the wipe sequence.
- Wipe Move Distance – This value entirely depends on how long your brush is.
Please note that the settings we have mentioned are by no means conclusive, meaning that you should only use them as a guide to experiment and find optimized values that work the best for you.
When Should You Use Wipe Nozzle Between Layers in Cura?
As the wipe nozzle between layers setting in Cura comes with the cost of the printing process taking longer, it’s not a feature that you should always keep enabled.
In a nutshell, you should only use the wipe nozzle between layers feature in Cura if you are experiencing stringing, blobbing, and other similar problems caused by the excess filament residue that stays on the nozzle after the printer completes a layer.
While activating this setting isn’t the only way to combat issues related to filament residue, it’s one of the most surefire ways to ensure that excess filament from the previous layers won’t damage your print if you don’t mind longer print times.
The wipe nozzle between layers in Cura offers a quick and easy solution to reduce or prevent stringing issues on your 3D printed models, which is highly welcome in most cases.
To recap, the wipe nozzle between layers feature causes the printer to wipe the leftover plastic on the nozzle off on a brush after completing each layer, ensuring that the nozzle is clean before moving on to the next one.
While this process increases the overall print time, it’s a great tool to prevent or reduce blobbing and stringing-related issues that leftover plastic can cause.
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.