There are an endless amount of parameters in Cura that you can use to fine-tune the printing process, and while they aren’t always necessary, especially for less complex prints, knowing more about them is a fantastic way to expand your 3D printing toolkit.
After all, 3D printing is a process where there is always room to make things better and take the final product to the next level, making every single parameter a valuable asset that contributes to improving the print.
Today, we will look at the infill overlap and the infill overlap percentage parameters in Cura, in particular, which are parameters that allow you to optimize the infill in a significant way.
So, what is infill overlap and infill overlap percentage in Cura?
The infill overlap parameter sets the amount of overlap between the infill and the walls in millimeters.
On the other hand, the infill overlap percentage parameter offers a way to set the overlap between the infill and the walls with a percentage value instead.
As the infill overlap value plays a significant role in how your 3D printed model will turn out, we will be analyzing the parameter in greater detail in the upcoming section and see how different values can affect your model.
What Is Infill Overlap (and Percentage) in Cura?
Infill overlap and infill overlap percentage are parameters that do the same job but in different units.
In a nutshell, the infill overlap parameter allows you to set the amount of overlap between the infill and the walls by using a millimeter value.
As a result, an infill overlap value greater than zero essentially creates an area where the infill and the walls are on top of each other.
For instance, setting the infill overlap parameter to 0.2 millimeters would cause the infill to overlap with the wall by 0.2 millimeters, creating an area where both the wall and the infill would be on top of each other.
On the other hand, the infill overlap percentage also allows you to set the overlap between the infill and the walls, similar to the infill overlap parameter, but with a percentage value.
For instance, setting the infill overlap percentage value to 50% would instruct the printer to print the infill in a way where the infill would cover 50% percent of the walls.
Now that we know how the infill overlap and infill overlap percentages operate – let’s dive into the impact of these parameters on the model.
Higher values increase the strength of the bond between the infill and the walls, but this improvement comes with the cost of losing out on aesthetical quality in some cases.
The explanation for this is that a higher overlap value means a larger area of infill and walls merging with each other, which, as expected, causes the bond between the infill and the walls to be much stronger.
On the other hand, a large amount of plastic gathering at the same place would essentially be a case of over extrusion, where the aesthetical quality of the model takes a hit.
To get the best of both worlds, it’s usually best to keep the infill overlap value as low as possible at the point where it provides enough strength between the walls and the infill for your model.
What Should My Infill Overlap (or Percentage) Be?
As infill overlap is a parameter that requires configuring on a print-by-print basis, if you’re looking to fine-tune it, it’s not possible for us to tell you a value that you can use at all times.
We recommend starting out with an infill overlap percentage value of 30% and increasing it if gaps appear between the infill and the walls, as these gaps will cause your model to become structurally weak in these areas.
Remember that it’s best to stay on the lower side as much as possible while you’re experimenting with infill overlap, as using a value that is too high for this parameter can cause over extrusion in the areas between the infill and the walls.
Infill Overlap vs. Infill Wipe Distance – How Are They Different?
Both infill overlap and infill wipe distance are two parameters that serve a similar purpose but with differences between them.
While infill overlap determines the amount of overlap between the walls and the infill, the infill wipe distance parameter allows you to set a distance value that the printer will use to perform a travel move after every infill line.
Even though both parameters serve the same purpose of increasing the strength of the bond between the infill and the walls, there are two primary differences between the two:
- Infill wipe only applies to one end of the infill line.
- There is no extrusion involved with the infill wipe process.
Between the two, we recommend setting the infill overlap value first and leaving the infill wipe distance value at the default value of 0 mm as a starting point.
What Is Skin Overlap (and Percentage) in Cura?
While similar to infill overlap, which causes the two to be often mixed, skin overlap is a parameter of its own that serves a slightly different purpose.
The skin overlap parameter allows you to control the overlap between the skin (the top and bottom layers of the model) and the walls in terms of millimeters.
While the skin overlap percentage parameter serves the same purpose as the skin overlap parameter, the value it accepts is in terms of percentages instead of millimeters.
As a small amount of skin overlap allows you to increase the strength of the bond between the skin and the walls, it’s usually a good idea to keep this value greater than zero, with 10% being an optimal starting point.
The infill overlap and the infill overlap percentage parameters should definitely be a part of any 3D printing enthusiast’s arsenal due to the amount of impact they can have on a 3D printed model.
To quickly summarize, the infill overlap parameter determines the overlap between the walls and the infill; in terms of millimeters.
While the infill overlap percentage parameter also serves the same purpose as the infill overlap parameter, it accepts a percentage value instead of millimeters.
As both the parameters have the same effect, you can feel free to go with the one that makes the calculations easier.