Slicer software is a vital part of the 3D printing process, as it’s essentially the bridge between the digital model and the 3D printer that allows the 3D printer to understand the contents of the model.
On the other hand, as slicer software is evolving with each passing day, the capabilities of popular slicers are becoming quite extensive, where they can even optimize a digital model in ways that otherwise would require editing in CAD software.
Today, we will take a look into the filter out tiny gaps feature in Cura, one of the more uncomplicated settings in Cura that allow you to manipulate the model you’re printing in a significant way.
So, what is the filter out tiny gaps feature in Cura?
The filter out tiny gaps feature in Cura, when enabled, causes Cura to instruct the printer to ignore the existence of gaps that are way too small and print the model as if these gaps did not exist at all.
Next up, we will analyze how the filter out tiny gaps feature functions in more detail and discuss the scenarios where it’s suitable to activate this feature to obtain a better final product.
What Is the Filter Out Tiny Gaps Feature in Cura?
Filter out tiny gaps is one of the features that we can consider to be simple yet effective, especially considering that it doesn’t come with any parameters that require configuration to operate.
In a nutshell, when you enable the filter out tiny gaps feature, Cura will slice the model by omitting any holes that it considers to be way too small, meaning that the 3D printer will be printing these parts of the model as if there were no holes.
While such a function may seem unintuitive at first, the filter out tiny gaps feature has two fantastic qualities that optimize the printing process significantly.
The primary benefit of this feature is the reduction of blobs on the model, as these tiny gaps often cause the printer to perform unnecessary movements, such as extra Z-hops, that causes the printer to leave blobs around these areas.
Another benefit of the feature is the reduction of print time. While the advantage isn’t too big here, entirely removing the time the printer spends on these tiny gaps, which can trigger a lot of pointless movements, allows us to gain some advantage in print speed.
You can find the Filter Out Tiny Gaps feature in Cura by searching for “tiny gaps” in the Print Settings dialog after ensuring that you have selected “All” from the dropdown menu next to the search input to make all print settings visible.
When to Use the Filter Out Tiny Gaps Feature in Cura?
As filter out tiny gaps is a feature that can also have drawbacks, it’s vital to know when to use it and when not to for the success of the printing process.
We recommend enabling the filter out tiny gaps feature in the majority of the scenarios, as these tiny gaps on the model are often insignificant and do not require printing.
In most cases, you can observe such gaps on sharp corners of your model, as these are the areas where the gaps get slightly larger than the standard gaps between the walls of the model.
On the other hand, you may want to disable the filter out tiny gaps feature in Cura if you’re working with a model with small gaps that are actually intricate details of the model that you require to exist, as your model may turn out nothing as you envisioned due to this feature in these specific cases.
Can You Adjust What Cura Considers a Tiny Gap?
We can all agree that the tiny gap in filter out tiny gaps is a pretty vague term that doesn’t give a lot of information on how big a tiny gap really is, which makes the usage of the feature slightly confusing.
Unfortunately, Cura does not allow us to adjust what it considers a tiny gap, meaning that there is no way to configure the feature in a way that would only filter the gaps of our choice.
As a result, the extent of this feature is pretty limited, and it may require disabling due to it removing some of the gaps that you don’t want it to remove.
Running some test prints with both the setting on and off can be pretty helpful to understand how the feature behaves in your case and make it easier to make the decision of enabling or disabling it.
How to Get Rid of Tiny Gaps on the Model in Cura?
Due to the filter out tiny gaps feature being a limited one in choosing what you want to filter out, we often also require alternative methods to remove some of these gaps.
While there is no direct way of removing these gaps, tricks such as increasing the line width and adjusting the infill percentage in small amounts can be helpful to get rid of the gaps on your model with minimal side effects.
On the other hand, the cleanest way to re-design the model where it wouldn’t contain the unnecessary parts would be to use CAD software and re-export the model the way you want.
While filter out tiny gaps is, without a doubt, a simple and effective feature, especially when used correctly, we can also consider its simplicity to also be a drawback due to the absence of customization options.
To quickly recap, we can say that the filter out tiny gaps feature in Cura acts as a quick way to remove small gaps on the model that don’t serve any real purpose and only cause the 3D printer to waste time and leave blobs on the model.
On the other hand, as it’s not a very customizable feature, there are cases where it might get rid of the holes you don’t want to remove, which makes deciding whether you should activate it or not a vital part of using the feature.