Confused about infill? Here we'll discuss what infill is, what patterns exist, and how you can use Cura to make the best parts for your application while saving money and time.
Quite often, 3D printing is used to produce parts that could just as easily be made using another manufacturing technique. Yet, although the final results might look the same on the outside, what’s inside could be drastically different.
A major benefit (and necessity) of 3D printing is that parts can be varying degrees of hollow. From a production perspective, this reduces material and cost as well as the weight of the final product. And from a printing perspective, it saves valuable time!
What sits inside a 3D print’s outer shells is called infill, and it can be adjusted with respect to density — 0% is hollow while 100% is solid — and pattern.
In the following, we’ll take a look at a variety of different infill patterns, specifically those that are available in Cura.
In Cura 3.6, there are 13 types of infill available for use. We’ve organized them according to what they’re best used for:
Models (Low Strength)
Standard 3D Prints (Medium Strength)
Functional 3D Prints (High Strength)
Flexible 3D Prints
Typical infill density: 0–15%
If they’re used as models or figurines, 3D prints don’t typically require a great deal of strength. That’s because they’re not subjected to heavy handling or put under stress.
For such applications, the lines infill pattern is best because it gives the fastest print. Called rectilinear in other slicers, lines produces a 2D grid, but where only one direction is printed per layer.
Models like the Starship Enterprise work well with simple infill patterns.
Typical infill density: 15–50%
For 3D prints subjected to low stress, such as the above filament guide, a medium strength infill pattern should be used. Infill patterns such as grid, triangles, or tri-hexagon are most appropriate. Note, however, that these patterns may increase print time by up to 25% compared to lines.
Typical infill density: >50%
Functional 3D prints, such as this model rocket, require high strength in multiple directions. Strong candidates for infill patterns include cubic, cubic subdivision, quarter cubic, octet, and gyroid.
Often the above patterns are used even for lower infill densities because of their aesthetic appeal. Some makers like this type of effect, as shown in this gyroid vase.
Typical infill density: 0–100% (depends on how “squishy” you want your print to be)
Flexible filaments, like MatterHacker’s soft PLA, should use flexible infill patterns to preserve the flexible nature of the print. Infill patterns like concentric, cross, and cross 3D work best for these types of prints.
One commonly overlooked setting with infill is the infill line direction. This is set at 45 degrees by default so that both the X and Y motors work together to print the infill at maximum speed. However, it may be advantageous to orient the infill at a different angle in order to provide maximum strength or flexibility to the part.
Another commonly overlooked setting is gradual infill. This setting makes infill denser near the outside of the print as compared to the middle. This can save material and time while still providing sufficient strength to a large part that requires rigidity. With low infill, it is difficult to close top surfaces due to the bridging needed between infill lines. This denser infill closer to the top surface is useful so that a clean top surface is obtained.
License: The text of "Cura Infill Patterns – All You Need to Know" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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