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  • Writer's pictureM Aerospace RTC

6 Tips for Printing Perfect 3D Bridges

Not only is bridging an essential tool for anyone with a 3D printer, but it also allows you to cut down on your 3D print support structures, saving you a lot of time and money! However, if you are new to 3D printing bridges or have had bridging issues and want to prevent lousy bridging using less filament, this is the most helpful guide to follow!

Within these six tips are two different types of solutions for perfecting your bridge printing: slicer/software solutions and physical solutions. Now let's get to the tips that will allow you to create unique 3D printing bridges and overhangs!

Tip #1: Lower Print Head Temperature

Try lowering your print head temperature. Lowering your print head temperature can be done by several degrees, but look at the optimal temperatures for your specific filament. One of the leading causes of lousy bridging is the extruder being too hot, which ultimately increases the 3d printer flow rate, not allowing it to cool enough. This is an excellent example of why bridging tests are often included in 3D printer temp towers.

Tip #2: Increase Cooling Fan Rate

Try increasing the cooling fan rate if you have already cooled the temperature and your filament is still sagging. This will move heat away from your filament more quickly by elevating the air the fans blow on your print.

Tip #3: Decrease the Extrusion Multiplier

Try decreasing the extrusion multiplier calibration if adjusting the temperature and cooling fan rate still need to fix your bridging problems. If the number of the extrusion multiplier is too high, you may experience globs in your print, as the multiplier determines the rate at that filament is extruded. On the other hand, lowering this number by a small amount might be the answer to all your problems!

Tip #4: Decrease Printing Speed

High printing speeds can result in highly messy 3D printer bridging. In addition, high speeds may cause gaps in your 3D prints. Try messing around with your print speed and reducing the speed in increments of 10-mm/s, but make sure not to go too slow because this will cause the filament to eventually droop.

Tip #5: Invest in High-Quality Filament

The tighter tolerance in high-quality filament allows for less variation in the cross-sectional area. That said, consider purchasing high-quality filament, as this creates more consistent extrusion, significantly reducing the chances of your filament sagging during 3D print bridging.

Tip #6: Use Dry Filament

Your 3D printer filament is the ultimate bridging material and must be in excellent condition. This means your filament must be fully dry to prevent inconsistent extrusion and bad bridging.

Lastly, if none of these tips seem to be the answer you were looking for, you can always 3D print with support, although it is technically considered cheating since the goal of good bridging is supposed to be avoiding supports. So try these six tips before breaking out the 3D printing support patterns, and get your bridging on!

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