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Finding the best 3D printer takes a lot of self-education. When researching the best printers, you’ll come across many confusing terms, but to buy the right thing, you need to familiarize yourself with these complex devices. However, we are here to explain things in the simplest possible terms. Below, we’ll explain the differences between 3D printer rafts vs brims.
And for more lessons on 3D printers, check out our articles that cover things like what the best 3D printers are for action figures. And we have a really important article comparing 3D printer nozzle diameter vs layer height.
If you want to save on cost and material, use a skirt or brim instead of a raft.
Before diving into the particulars, it’s good to know what task both options seek to accomplish.
Brims and rafts are otherwise known as adhesion assistants. They are support structures that keep an object attached to the bed of your 3D print object and help avoid things like warping and unlevel surfaces. Overall, the point of using a bed or raft is to ensure that the overall quality of the object turns out great by increasing the surface area.
So which one is better? It largely depends on who you ask, but each has its pros and cons.
A raft is a platform of plastic made underneath the 3D print object. It serves as something that upholds the 3D object being printed.
On the other hand, a brim is a thick ring of plastic that surrounds the outline of a 3D object. However, unlike a raft, it’s shaped more like a lifesaver: the inside is hollow and only supports the surrounding parts of a 3D object.
Similarly, the 3D printer’s bed material affects the overall adhesion power. For more, we have an article explaining glass vs magnetic 3D printer beds.
A raft is always considered the best option for providing the best adhesion. However, although it gives the most support, a raft is only sometimes necessary. Many recommend using a brim for projects that don’t require much support. However, if you’re looking for max support, go with a raft.
Always be careful when removing a brim or raft from your printer’s base. Incorrect removal practices can damage the base.
The major downside to rafts is that they significantly increase print time. In addition, it takes longer to create the raft than a brim, which uses much less material. It’s also good to remember that removing a raft takes much longer than a brim.
For more information on how to print time can differ based on printer type/methodology, we have a piece explaining SLS vs SLA 3D printers, including which is better for faster printing.
STAT: A 3D printer costs $.35 per hour, on average. (source)