My FDM printer bed moves on the Y-axis and the print head moves on the X-axis and raises on the Z-axis. When printing rectangular objects (a model of Notre Dame in this case), are there print detail quality advantages to aligning the model perpendicular to the X or Y axis, or at 45 degrees? Part strength is not an issue and support is not needed.


  • $\begingroup$ Bowden or direct drive extruder? You know, it’s all about inertia... $\endgroup$ – Roberto Lo Giacco May 5 '19 at 9:22
  • $\begingroup$ Also cooling air flow could influence the quality. windward usually looks better than leeward as the filament cools quicker $\endgroup$ – darth pixel May 5 '19 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @darthpixel this could easily be solved by using a 360 degree cooler like the DiiCooler (or CiiCooler) thingiverse.com/thing:1025471 $\endgroup$ – E Doe May 6 '19 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertoLoGiacco If you use a Prusa style printer with the bed as constantly moving Y axis, bowden vs. direct drive is the least of your inertia worries. $\endgroup$ – towe May 6 '19 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ @towe I’m not sure I agree, stepper motors are quite heavy... Aluminum is not that much $\endgroup$ – Roberto Lo Giacco May 6 '19 at 12:49

In short: Not really.

longer version: It depends.

The main culprit of losing details in this case would be the weight and speed of the thing moving. So if you have a heavy X-axis carriage, acceleration and decelerating the carriage won't be instant. Same with the bed (Y-axis).

Another culprit can be slop in the system, so check your linear bearings and belt tension.

Also keep in mind that you are printing on the bed, so the weight of the Y-axis increases while the print progresses. This shouldn't be a problem for small prints, but if your print becomes bigger it can decrease the quality. Another factor is that every print will bend a little the higher it gets, so if you print a tall slender object, don't accelerate the bed too fast ;)

To summarize, for high detailed prints:

  • Lower the speed
  • Check the system for slop (tighten belts, and align linear bearings)
  • Take the lightest axis for the highest detail (keep the weight of the print in mind)

One thing that you can do to test your machine is to test the ghosting on each axis (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:277394).

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I'm under the impression that your question hints on rectilinear motion by aligning the print part to the axes motion of the printer. So, placing it under 45° would suggest movement of both steppers to make a straight line opposed to one stepper movement for a straight line.

Basically, the weight of the carriage and the play in the system determine the quality of the details. Not how much steppers are involved to print the part. As an example, CoreXY or H-bot style printers use 2 steppers to print a straight line and a single stepper to print diagonally. These printers are capable of producing very accurate prints.

On a Prusa i3 style printer it is not expected to see large differences unless you print very fast so that the inertia or play take a predominant role in the quality.

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