3D Printing – The First Layer

Within 3D printing getting the first few layers correct is very important as it has a knock on effect with the success of your print. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the techniques to improve your model and the various advantages and disadvantages of using different methodologies.
3D Printing - The First Layer


The purpose of a raft is to sit in between the build platform and your part. Doing so assists with the bed adhesion and prevention of warping. Rafts are often used when printing in ABS. Rafts can also be used to help stabilize models with smaller footprints, creating a stronger foundation upon which your printer can build the layers of your part. Once your print is complete, the raft should peel away from the print and can be discarded.


  • Prevents warping
  • Helps with Bed adhesion
  • Increases structural support


  • Increase print time
  • Increases the amount of waste filament
  • Can be hard to separate your part from the raft


A skirt is an outline that surrounds your part without touching. The skirt is printed before the first layer of the part, helping to prime the extruder and establish a smooth flow of filament. A skirt also allows you to detect and adjust any leveling or adhesion issues before the part has started to print.


  • Cleans out the nozzle of pervious filament
  • Helps printer establish a flow of filament
  • Good indicator of how the print will turn out


  • Provides no extra support for model


A Brim is similar to a skirt however, unlike a skirt a Brim is attached to the part. Typically, a brim would be printed with an increased number of outlines, creating a large ring around the part. The reasoning behind this is to help hold down the edges of parts, preventing warping and assisting with bed adhesion. This can also help with the stability of your print, widening the bed contact area.


  • Uses less material compared to a raft
  • Easy to remove


  • Doesn’t work well with complex shapes

Glossary of terms used:

Warping: This occurs during a print when the material shrinks as it cools, resulting in the corners and other parts of the print to lift and detach from the build plate.

Bed Adhesion: Ensuring the print is fixed in place on the print bed and will not come unstuck during the print.


Find out more about 3D Printing and the best 3D Printers on offer here.

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