Slicer software is pretty simple to operate in most cases, as correctly configuring a few essential parameters is more than enough to conduct a successful printing process if the model you’re printing is simple and without intricacies.
On the other hand, if you have ever navigated to the more advanced parts of the slicer, such as the Expert tab in PrusaSlicer, you may have noticed that there is so much more to slicer software. While such parameters are usually pre-configured to work in most cases, optimizing them is often vital to avoid issues for more intricate prints.
In today’s article, our topic is one of the lesser-known and more advanced features in PrusaSlicer that can have significant benefits for the printing process, known as retract amount before wipe.
So, what is the retract amount before wipe parameter in PrusaSlicer?
The retract amount before wipe parameter in PrusaSlicer allows you to set a percentage value that prompts the printer to retract some of the filament before the wiping process, which acts as a way to reduce the possibility of excess filament oozing during or after the wipe.
Next up, we will analyze the retract amount before wipe feature in more detail to understand how it really works, discuss the optimal values that we recommend using for the best results, and take a quick look at where you can find and set this parameter in PrusaSlicer.
What Is Retract Amount Before Wipe in PrusaSlicer?
While not a parameter that you hear about often as it’s one that we can consider to be more advanced, the retract amount before wipe setting in PrusaSlicer can be valuable for the printing process once configured correctly.
The retract amount before wipe setting in Prusaslicer, which is a parameter that you can find in the Retraction section, is responsible for determining the amount of filament the printer will retract before proceeding with the wipe.
Retracting some of the filament before triggering the wipe process clears the nozzle of all filament other than the leftover plastic that remains at the very end, which allows the wiping process to entirely clean the nozzle out without risk of more filament coming in during or after it.
As both retraction and wiping are mechanisms that we use against the unwarranted oozing of the filament out of the nozzle, combining the two completely removes the possibility of any oozing occurring due to there being no more plastic left close to the tip of the nozzle.
What Is the Optimal Retract Amount Before Wipe Value in PrusaSlicer?
Getting the maximum benefit out of a feature is all about setting the value correctly, which is especially vital considering that incorrectly configuring a setting can negatively affect the printing process and cause it to fail.
While the optimal value depends on the case, the primary point of consideration while setting the retract amount before wipe value is the type of the extruder, as there is a vital distinction between Direct Drive and Bowden extruders in this case.
In the case of printers with Direct Drive extruders, such as the Prusa i3 MK3, PrusaSlicer recommends a retract amount before wipe value of 0% due to oozing being less of a problem due to Direct Drive extruders being more reliable with extrusion and retraction.
On the other hand, for printers with Bowden extruders, such as the Prusa MINI, PrusaSlicer suggests a value of 70% for the retract amount before wipe parameter, which tells us that using a higher value here is likely to reduce oozing in Bowden extruders.
Our recommendation is to lower the retract amount before wipe value to its lowest point possible where you don’t face issues related to oozing through experimentation, which will save your printer from performing unnecessary retractions that increase the print time and the possibility of filament grinding.
How to Set the Retract Amount Before Wipe Parameter in PrusaSlicer?
Setting the retract amount before wipe parameter in PrusaSlicer is a pretty straightforward task once you know where to find it, as it’s not much different from modifying any of the more common parameters, such as the retraction speed.
Below is a step-by-step guide you can follow to set the retract amount before wipe parameter in PrusaSlicer:
- Click the Printer Settings located at the top of the PrusaSlicer window.
- Choose the preset you would like to configure the parameter for from the dropdown menu in the top-left corner, right below the tabs.
- Click the Extruder 1 option from the left pane to switch to the extruder settings.
- Click the Expert button at the top-right of the PrusaSlicer window to make all settings visible.
- Input the value of your choice into the retract amount before wipe input box.
- Click the diskette icon next to the dropdown to save the preset.
Following these steps will allow you to adjust the retract amount before wipe parameter as you wish and save the settings into a preset that you can load back later on.
We highly recommend saving the preset with a separate name than the one you have chosen from the dropdown at the start to avoid overriding the preset you have loaded and create a new one with the updated configuration instead.
While we wouldn’t say that the retract amount before wipe feature in PrusaSlicer is one of the essential features for a successful printing process, it definitely does not hurt to configure it correctly for the benefits it brings to the table.
To quickly recap, we can say that the retract amount before wipe parameter offers a way to reduce the possibility of stringing even further by causing the printer to pull the filament back by the desired amount before triggering the wipe process.
When the filament is pulled back from the nozzle before the printer initiates the wipe, there is no chance of excess filament coming out during or after the wipe, which ensures that the nozzle is clean.
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.