What is a Brim in 3D Printing: From Bed Adhesion to Perfect Prints

Bed adhesion is very important for 3D printing, it will affect the success rate of printing and the overall stability of 3D prints. In order to avoid printing failure, adding 3D printing brim to enhance bed adhesion has become a common 3D printing skill. This can help increase the stability of the first layer and ensure the foundation of subsequent layers. In this guide, we'll cover 3D printing brim, when to use it to enhance bed adhesion, and how to add 3D print brim step-by-step.

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What is a Brim in 3D Printing

What is a 3D printing brim? The brim is present in the first layer of printing, it is an extended structure that surrounds the bottom of the 3D print. Adding a brim to a 3D print will extend the bottom layer of the model, increasing the surface area of the first layer. The 3D print brim provides more contact with the printing bed, which helps improve the bed adhesion of the first layer and effectively reduces warping problems.

When to Use 3D Printing Brim

In FDM 3D printing, three commonly used added structures include skirt, brim, raft. Under what circumstances should we choose to use brim in 3D printing? First, let’s briefly introduce these three commonly used edges. The skirt is not in direct contact with the 3D print and cannot provide support or increase the attachment surface for its bottom. It is mainly used to help the filament be extruded smoothly. The raft is a thicker support layer printed under the 3D print, which is very strong and suitable for models with large contact areas. The brim is one of the effective solutions to improve bed adhesion. It is often used on the bottom of small 3D prints and is especially useful for models with limited contact points. For 3D prints with smaller bases, brim is very common and effective. When using filament materials that are prone to warping, such as ABS filament, both brims and rafts are useful solutions.

Brim in 3D Printing: Pros and Cons

Brims can be the best option in many situations because they print faster and use less material to improve adhesion than rafts. Being a single layer of material that touches the bottom of the model, the brim is also easy to remove, and has little impact on the bottom layer of the 3D prints, making post-processing simpler.

Pros of 3D print brim
  • Increase bed adhesion
  • Effectively prevent warping
  • Easy to remove
  • Less materials used
  • Suitable for small footprint 3D prints
Cons of 3D print brim
  • Edges in contact with model may need to be cleaned
  • Limited solution to warping issues
  • Not suitable for all 3D prints

How to Add a Brim in Cura

Popular slicing software, such as Cura, PrusaSlicer, Simplify3D, they all support the ability to add brim. Choose the slicing software you use frequently and you can usually find the option to add brim in the print settings. Below, we use Cura as an example to provide a guide on how to add brim to your 3D prints.

Run the Cura software and open your model file as a new project. Configure the printing parameters according to the 3D printer and materials you are using. When you need to add the brim, find "Print Settings" and click "Build Plate Adhesion". In this part of the settings, you can select brim, raft, or skirt.

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After you toggle the switch and enable brim, you can further configure it. Adjust the settings to "Expert" mode. and in addition to the "Build plate adhesion type", here you can also choose to set: Brim Width, Brim Distance, etc. For example, the brim width refers to the distance from the model to the outermost brim line. Setting a larger brim width can increase the contact area with the printing bed and enhance the adhesion to the printing platform plate, but it will also reduce the effective printing area. Balancing these settings will allow you to optimize your print results.

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Finally, click the Slice button to generate G-code with brim. Save the G-code file and use it with your FDM 3D printer. This is how to add brims to 3D prints using Cura slicing software.

In Conclusion: Brim in 3D Printing

3D printing brim is one of the effective ways to prevent warping problems, and is usually suitable for small footprint 3D prints. Try using brims in your 3D prints, it's a useful trick worth learning that can help you improve bed adhesion.