Choosing the Layer Height - BCN3D Stratos


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configuring layer height


In every manufacturing process, there is a parameter that determines the quality of the product. In 3D printing this parameter is the layer height. In this article, you will learn all about layer height and how to set it correctly.



Table of contents:

What is and how does layer height affect the model

Correctly set the layer height


What is layer height and how does it affect the model

layer height

The layer height defines how thick the layers of the printed model will be.


initial layer height

The initial layer height parameter allows you to modify the thickness of the first layer. A thicker first layer improves adhesion to the print surface. 

Note: Layer height values are automatically shared between extruders so it is only necessary to indicate it in one of the heads.


The thickness of the layers affect different physical aspects of the part and the printing process: 

Surface quality

surface quality example

Reducing the layer height makes the part surface smooth and continuous. It also allows you to obtain a greater level of detail along the Z-axis, which has a significant influence on curved surfaces, on-ramps, and overhangs.  

curved surface quality example overhang surface quality example

Printing time

print time comparison for different layer heights

However, lowering the layer height also makes the printing time longer. Time increases inversely proportional to layer height.

Mechanical properties

the thicker the layers, the greater the mechanical resistance of the piece, this is due to the reduction of weld points, which are the weak areas between layers.

The following graph shows how the mechanical resistance varies depending on the diameter of the hotend and the height of the layer:

mechanical properties of the pieces vs used hotend



3d printed piece post-processing

For post-processing tasks such as sanding and painting, it is preferable that the layer height is extremely small to save time. If you want to know more about how to sand or paint your model, visit the following article: Post-Processing 


Correctly set the layer height

setting the correct layer height for the hotend


info-icon BCN3D Stratos contains recommended profiles with standard parameters for different layer heights, for each BCN3D printer and hotend.


When selecting a layer height, it is necessary to know the physical limitations that must be taken into account:

The diameter of the hotend

hotend X 0.6 mm To ensure the maximum dimensional quality of the piece, it is not recommended to use layer heights greater than 50% of the diameter of the hotend.

The minimum layer height


layer height tower piece

Although printers can ensure steps in the Z-axis of 0.05mm, it is recommended not to lower the layer height less than 0.1mm.


Material flow

layer height affecting filament flow The layer height's effect on the flow of the material depends on the diameter of the hotend, the speed, and the printing temperature. Modifying the following parameters along with the layer height helps preserve the dimensional quality and physical properties of the part.


Print speed

print speed

print-speed-2 Cropped

To keep the extrusion flow constant as the layer height decreases is recommended to slightly increase the printing speed in order  to avoid excess material on the part. 

It is important to note that by increasing speed, the dimensional and surface quality may be affected.   

To avoid problems, vary the speed in steps of 5mm / s and do not exceed the threshold of print speeds of the material.


Printing temperature

printing temperature

configuring printing temperature

Modifying the temperature helps control the amount of filament that is extruded.

By decreasing the printing temperature, the material becomes less fluid, so the amount of extruded material is reduced and it is not as necessary to increase the speed to control the flow.

    To modify the temperature it is advisable to do it in 5ºC intervals and control the height and section of the piece. You can find more information on how to find the ideal printing temperature in this article: BCN3D Stratos temperature



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      Maintenance Plan (Epsilon Series)

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