The Z-seam defect looks like vertical line raised on the surface of the model. This issue in FDM/FFF printing is hard to eliminate, but we can adjust the print settings discussed before. Alternatively, you can utilize some tools in slicers designed to hide the Z-seam on the outer wall of the print. So this guide focuses on how to reduce the Z-seam using PrusaSlicer. PrusaSlicer is an open-source and free slicing software that offers numerous features such as organic support, spiral vase mode, and seam position adjustment.
You should calibrate your printer and adjust your print settings before using the Z-seam hiding tools in the software. This will ensure the best possible result in making the seam less noticeable. I recommend checking out this guide on how to fix the Z-seam.
If you have a 3D printer with the Linear Advance feature, it can make the seam on 3D prints much less noticeable, saving you a lot of effort in testing and tweaking slicer settings. Anycubic Kobra 2 Neo is a high-speed printer with Linear Advance, priced at under $200, which enhances the quality and speed of 3D printing.
How to View Z Seam on the Model in PrusaSlicer
Taking a 3DBenchy model as an example, we are using PrusaSlicer V2.6.1, and the interface may vary in different versions. After slicing the model, click on the 'Preview' mode at the left bottom of the interface. Then, there should be a legend at the top left, it shows the colors and what they mean. At the bottom of the legend, you will find several icons, with the fifth one typically indicating 'Seams' and being displayed in white.
Method 1: Enable Spiral Vase Mode
What Is 3D Printing Vase Mode?
Cura and PrusaSlicer both have the vase mode feature. In spiral vase mode, the nozzle performs a continuous extrusion to the outer wall of the object. In contrast to the normal mode, which typically stops extruding after completing one layer until the start of the next layer, the vase mode is a smooth, continuous motion where the nozzle keeps extruding molten material after finishing one layer. This rapid modeling process results in a smoother model surface and hides the Z seam. However, vase mode is not suitable for all models. This mode requires the model to have 0% infill, no support, and no top surface.
How to Print in Spiral Vase Mode with PrusaSlicer
You can activate the spiral vase mode in PrusaSlicer by following the path: 'Print Settings' (on the top menu) >> 'Layers and perimeters' >> 'Vertical shells' >> 'Spiral vase' (check the box to enable).
Method 2: Adjust Seam Position
What Is Seam Position in PrusaSlicer?
Similar to Cura, you can place the Z-seam in a specific position on the model to minimize its visibility and make it less noticeable when using PrusaSlicer. You can hide a Z seam in the corners or at the back of the model, align it, or randomize its position. Here are 4 options for placing the Z-seam that you can choose according to your preference.
- Aligned: Placed at the closest distance to and aligned with the end of the previous layer.
- Random: Distributed randomly at the beginning of each layer across the entire object.
- Nearest: Positioned at the nearest edge of each layer.
- Rear: Placed near the maximum Y-axis, which is the back of the print bed.
What's interesting is that in Prusa software, a seam painting tool allows users to customize the Z-seam in advanced and expert modes.
How to Change Seam Position in PrusaSlicer
Follow the path to change seam position: 'Print Settings' >> 'Expert' mode >> 'Layers and perimeters' >> 'Advanced' >> 'Seam position'