I'm going to 3D print a series of scaffolds and armatures that I'm going to use as the skeleton\structure for clay sculptures as an alternative to using twisted wire, because I can print dozens of identical ones off faster than I can twist them out of wire.

They don't need to look pretty, they just need to be able support a little weight.

What is the thickest sensible layer height that I can uses to get them printed off quickly?

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    $\begingroup$ I assume you are interested in it to print faster. Consider using a larger nozzle instead, so that you need to print only one perimeter instead of 2 (or 2 instead of 3) before increasing the layer height. You may get faster prints and better quality. Also, keep in mind that no matter the layer thickness or nozzle diameter, the maximum melting rate will likely not exceed 10 mm^3/s with the original stock extruder. If you place a dual gear direct drive then you can reach much more. $\endgroup$
    – FarO
    Jan 24 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


Your maximum layer height is related to the nozzle diameter. Typically, a printer is sold with a 0.4 mm nozzle diameter, unless otherwise specified. One expects to be able to print safely to eighty percent of nozzle diameter, which would be 0.32 mm layer height. Quote from linked Prusa site.

Layer height vs nozzle diameter

Layer height should not exceed 80 % of the nozzle diameter. If you are using the standard 0.4mm nozzle, the maximal layer height is about 0.32 mm. However, with a 0.6mm nozzle, it’s possible to achieve up to a 0.48 mm layer height.

  • $\begingroup$ Exactly this - I've seen a concrete-based printer that can do a 2" or 50mm layer height, but it had a nozzle that looked like a fire hose. $\endgroup$
    – Criggie
    Jan 23 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ There might be a different formula involved with concrete printer nozzles. Due to the faster flow of semi-liquid concrete, it might be a max layer at 50 percent nozzle diameter. $\endgroup$
    – fred_dot_u
    Jan 23 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ Or this one which lays down what looks like half-inch-thick and inch-wide lines $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Jan 23 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ Flow rate is certainly a factor, but most plastics have a maximum flow rate too, although it can be more than proportionally higher with a larger nozzle. But then there's also a max caloric rate needed to melt the plastic too. You can also slow down linear head movement, but this introduces stresses that can cause other problems in the final part. This would all be different for concrete vs. plastic. $\endgroup$
    – user10489
    Jan 24 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ Workable flow rate depends on both the filament material and the hot end design. If the flow rate is too fast, the material will not have adequate time to melt. If the flow rate is too slow, one gets heat creep. Of course print speed affects flow rate. $\endgroup$
    – Perry Webb
    Jan 24 at 17:53

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