3D Printing Raft vs Brim: Which is Better?

3D printing has revolutionized the manufacturing industry, allowing for the creation of complex and intricate designs with ease. However, when it comes to printing certain objects, such as those with large surface areas or overhangs, issues like warping and adhesion can arise. This is where support structures like rafts and brims come into play. In this blog article, we will delve into the world of 3D printing raft vs brim, exploring their differences, advantages, and which one is better suited for different printing scenarios.

First, let’s understand what exactly rafts and brims are. A raft is a series of horizontal layers that are printed underneath the object being printed. It acts as a sacrificial layer, creating a stable base and improving adhesion to the build plate. On the other hand, a brim is a single layer of material printed around the base of the object, extending its footprint and enhancing stability.

Rafts: Enhancing Adhesion and Stability

Rafts are particularly useful when printing objects with a large surface area or those that tend to warp during the printing process. By providing a solid foundation, rafts prevent warping and improve adhesion, resulting in a successful print. Additionally, rafts can compensate for inconsistencies in the build plate, ensuring a level surface for the object to be printed on. This added stability minimizes the risk of failed prints and allows for the creation of intricate designs that require precise layering.

The Benefits of Using Rafts

There are several benefits to using rafts in 3D printing. Firstly, rafts act as a buffer between the object being printed and the build plate, reducing the chances of warping. This is especially important for larger prints that may be prone to curling or lifting due to uneven cooling. Rafts also improve adhesion, particularly when using materials that have poor bed adhesion properties. By creating a larger surface area for the first layer to adhere to, rafts increase the chances of a successful print.

When to Use Rafts

Understanding when to use rafts can significantly improve your 3D printing experience. Rafts are highly recommended when printing objects with a high risk of warping, such as those with large flat surfaces or sharp corners. Additionally, certain materials, like ABS, tend to contract as they cool, leading to warping. Rafts provide an effective solution to counteract this issue. Furthermore, if you’re using a new printer or have an uneven build plate, rafts can compensate for any inconsistencies, creating a level surface for successful printing.

Brims: Addressing Issues with Small Footprints

For objects with small footprints, brims can be a game-changer. They increase the surface area of the print, enhancing stability and minimizing the risk of detachment from the build plate. Brims are particularly useful when printing delicate or intricate models that require additional support during the printing process. Additionally, brims can act as a barrier, preventing the edges of the print from curling or warping.

The Advantages of Using Brims

Brims offer several advantages when it comes to 3D printing. Firstly, they provide enhanced stability for objects with small footprints. By extending the base of the print, brims create a larger contact area with the build plate, improving adhesion and reducing the chances of detachment or shifting during the printing process. Brims also act as a safeguard against warping or curling at the edges, which can be especially crucial when working with materials that are prone to such issues.

When to Choose Brims

Knowing when to choose brims over other support structures is essential for achieving successful prints. Brims are ideal for printing objects with small or delicate footprints, as they provide the necessary stability to prevent shifting or detachment. Additionally, if you’re working with materials that tend to curl or warp at the edges, such as PLA, a brim can help alleviate these issues. Brims are also useful when printing models with fine details that require additional support during the printing process.

Comparing Rafts and Brims: Pros and Cons

Now that we understand the individual benefits of rafts and brims, it’s time to compare them head-to-head. Each support structure has its own set of advantages and limitations, and understanding them will help you make an informed decision based on your specific printing needs.

Rafts: Pros and Cons

Rafts offer several advantages, such as improved adhesion, prevention of warping, and compensation for uneven build plates. However, rafts also have their limitations. For instance, they can be time-consuming to remove, especially if the print has intricate details that require careful post-processing. Additionally, rafts consume more material and may leave a rougher surface finish on the bottom of the print.

Brims: Pros and Cons

On the other hand, brims have their own set of advantages and limitations. Brims are easy to remove, especially compared to rafts, as they are typically a single layer of material. They also consume less material compared to rafts. However, brims may leave a small scar or mark on the bottom surface of the print, which can be undesirable for certain applications. Additionally, brims may not provide as much stability as rafts for larger or more complex prints.

Best Practices for Using Rafts and Brims

Printing with rafts and brims requires careful consideration and proper implementation. To ensure optimal results when using these support structures, here are some best practices to keep in mind:

Adjusting Settings

Experimenting with your printer’s settings can help fine-tune the performance of rafts and brims. For rafts, adjusting the raft air gap can affect the adhesion and ease of removal. Similarly, adjusting the brim width can impact stability and surface finish.

Choosing the Right Materials

Not all materials work well with rafts and brims. Some materials have better adhesion properties than others, while some tend to warp more easily. It’s essential to choose the appropriate material for your specific project to achieve the best possible results.

Optimizing Support Structure Thickness

The thickness of rafts and brims can also impact their effectiveness. Thicker support structures provide more stability but may require additional material and increase printing time. Finding the right balance between thickness and stability is crucial for successful prints.

Rafts vs Brims: Print Speed and Efficiency

Print speed and efficiency are crucial factors to consider, especially for large-scale projects. Both rafts and brims can impact the printing process in terms of speed, time, and material usage.

Printing Speed

In general, printing with brims tends to be faster compared to rafts. Since brims are a single layer, they require less time to print than multi-layered rafts. However, the difference in speed may vary depending on the size and complexity of the object being printed.

Time Considerations

Rafts can add significant print time, especially for larger models, as they require multiple layers to be printed. On the other hand, brims are quicker to print due to their single-layer structure. When time is a crucial factor, choosing brims can help expedite the printing process.

Material Usage

When it comes to material usage, rafts tend to consume more material compared to brims. Since rafts are multi-layered, they require additional filament to create the sacrificial layers. If material efficiency is a concern, using brims can help minimize waste and reduce overall printing costs.

Advanced Techniques for Rafts and Brims

For experienced 3D printing enthusiasts, there are advanced techniques and settings that can maximize the benefits of rafts and brims. These techniques can help fine-tune your prints and achieve outstanding results.

Adjusting Raft Density

Experimenting with the density of rafts can impact their effectiveness. A higher density can provide better stability and adhesion, but it may also increase print time and material usage. Finding the right balance is crucial for achieving optimal results.

Modifying Brim Width

Changing the width of the brim can influence its stability and surface finish. A wider brim provides more stability but may leave a larger mark on the print’s bottom surface. Adjusting the brim width based on the object’s requirements can help achieve the desired balance between stability and surface quality.

Troubleshooting Raft and Brim Issues

Just like any aspect of 3D printing, rafts and brims can sometimes present challenges. Here are some common issues that may arise when using support structures and troubleshooting tips to overcome them.

Poor Adhesion

If you’re experiencing poor adhesion with rafts or brims, adjusting the first layer settings can help. Ensure that the first layer is properly leveled and that the nozzle is at the correct distance from the build plate. Additionally, using adhesion aids like glue, hairspray, or a build plate with a textured surface can improve adhesion.

Difficult Removal

Ifyou’re having difficulty removing rafts or brims after printing, there are a few strategies you can try. Firstly, using a spatula or a removal tool designed for 3D printing can help gently pry the support structure away from the print. Applying a bit of heat with a heat gun or a hairdryer can also soften the material, making it easier to remove. However, exercise caution when using heat to avoid damaging the print itself. Furthermore, adjusting the raft or brim air gap settings can make them easier to detach without compromising their effectiveness during printing.


Choosing between rafts and brims in 3D printing ultimately depends on the specific requirements of your project. Rafts excel in providing stability and preventing warping, making them ideal for prints with large surface areas or materials prone to shrinkage. On the other hand, brims are perfect for enhancing stability in prints with small footprints and minimizing the risk of detachment. Understanding the pros and cons of each support structure, as well as implementing best practices and troubleshooting tips, will help you achieve successful 3D prints.

Experimenting with different materials, adjusting settings, and considering factors like print speed and efficiency will further enhance your 3D printing experience. Remember to choose the right support structure based on the size, complexity, and material properties of your print. By incorporating rafts or brims into your workflow, you can overcome common challenges associated with warping, adhesion, and stability, ultimately ensuring high-quality prints every time.

With a comprehensive understanding of 3D printing raft vs brim, you are now equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions about support structures that best suit your printing needs. Whether you opt for the stability and adhesion provided by rafts or the enhanced footprint and stability offered by brims, these support structures will undoubtedly elevate your 3D printing capabilities and enable you to bring your designs to life with precision and success.

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