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Printing architectural buildings

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Hello Community!


(my very fist post)


Since halfway last year i own a Ultimaker 3. I mainly use the 3D-printer for my own small buisiness as creater of scale models for architects / urban designers / landscape designers.

I mainly print with PLA white (ultimaker Original fillament). I would like some advice from fellow ultimaker 3 users who print buildings and such aswell.


since a few weeks my prints started showing some problems:


- top/bottom layerlines not connecting

- under extruding

- infill showing through top layers (eventhough it prints 5 top/bottom layers).


So i started tweaking my settings, cleaned my bowden tube/ printcore etc.

Now it prints like it did before ( still see the infill through the top layer sometimes) but it takes forever to complete a printjob. (example: rooftop: 14 x 9 x 1.5 cm, takes almost 9 hours).


My settings(0.4 nozzle):


Layer hight: 0.2

wall thickness: 0.8

top bottem thickness: 0.8

printspeed: 20 mm/s

print temp. : 210 degrees

infill density: 15%


The image shows an example of the level of detail i usually print

Its a scaled model i printed a few months ago. I need to reach that level of detail.



So i kinda need some advice on how to print faster while the quality does not drop to much.








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Hey @Florisvh , welcome to the forums! 

Good to see another architect here. I was thinking of opening up a special segment under 'Field of Work' for Architecture. 

Would you be interested to post some more of the things that you do there? It could lead to some interesting discussions and eventually create educational synergies. 


Anyway, regarding your questions; 20mm/s is indeed on the low side. Do you remember how fast you were printing before when you achieved your desired quality?

The attached model looks great by the way!! 


I think your wall thickness is pretty thick, which also causes your print to take longer. Do you have some photo's of your 'failed' prints? I can almost not believe infill shows through 5 printed layers, perhaps there is something else going on too. 


Looking forward hearing from you! 



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Hello Sander, thanks!


i would like that, 99% of my work consist of architectural buildings. I can definitely post some more pictures.


The prints u see in the picture were printed at 30 or 40 mm/s i think. But when i use that speed on these files they either start to under extrude or not connect properly.

Thanks:) took me some time. 


What thickness would you recommend for my walls and infill %? 


here are the pics of the 'failed' prints. They printed completely fine and look neat, besides the triangles showing through the top layer ( eventhough the thickness of the top/bottom layer is 1.2 mm which equals 5 layers.


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Hi, we do architecture too, although not as intensely as you clearly do. Firstly some observations. I think your layer height of .200 is a good compromise, that is what we use for architecture normally.

For your current settings I think you are too hot. With .4 nozzle .200 layers and 20mm/s we would be below 200; of course filament and your printer will affect this but likely to be within 5 degrees. Going cooler will probably improve your quality that you experienced with the previous models.

0.8mm for top layers is too marginal for 15% infill. Take it to at least 1.2mm. If we use infill it is normally 40% or greater and we use 1.0mm minimum for top layers. 15% infill needs more unless it is a very small model. This building was printed with .200 layers at 30mm/s and temp of 200. Size is 257mm x 145mm x58mm with a total print time of around 35 hours if I remember correctly.



Things to try.

1.       Do you actually need infill? – you seem not to have open windows so people cannot see inside. If you have a flat roof then either print it separately or print as many top layers as you need to get a decent finish. We never print infill in our buildings.

2.      White is the worst colour; if it is possible use a different colour which will give you a better finish and so perhaps let your print faster (yes I know white is popular in modern architecture!)

3.      Are you using Cura 2.n or 3.n? They have an increasing number of tuning options. Go for a faster speed and try some of them to see if you can recapture the quality.

4.      Set all your print speeds the same, except 1st layer and travel.

And do not forget that with all other things being equal, speed is the enemy of quality :'(.


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Congratulations @Florisvh, you've just made the first post in our new architecture forum category! ;)

I've moved your post here. I would be interested if you would be willing to share some more about your work. Perhaps besides photo's something about your work as a small business and what software you use etc. I think it could be interesting for others to read and hopefully it will ignite some other interesting conversations.

Do you also work in Revit for example? How do you make the transition towards 3D printing / Cura?



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@Florisvh, you said you performed maintenance and started tweaking your settings. Have you tried going back to your original settings, after you did the maintenance? (I interpret as if you did these things at the same time in an attempt to fix the under extrusion you were facing at that moment).


Do you always/usually print with PLA?


I just checked default Cura settings, and it is actually 5 layers. I would also advice to make your top layer a bit thicker.

And can you tell us anything about your cooling? If the layers don't cool (properly/fast enough) this can make them sag more than they should, which can also cause a similar affect. 

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@Florisvh since I don't know exactly what is going on with your printer or what type of model you are printing .... I am going to throw some tips your way and see if anything helps. I know it can be frustrating but you are not the only one going with through this. 


problem can occur due to 1. mechanical issues such as maintenance of the machine, it can be that the screw on on the extruder is too tight, that the hot end needs a cleaning or the bed is not clean and/or not calibrated. However my experience was so far that 99% of problems come from category no.2 the model and/or poor slicing. 



Here are my fail proof settings: 

Layer hight: 0.2

wall thickness: 1.2

top bottom thickness: 1.2

printspeed: 70 mm/s (I usually print at 100 but I have no patience in my blood)

travel speed: 90 mm/s (120 mm/s - cause I have no patience)


print temp. : 200 degrees (210 if you have aa 0.8 and 190 if you have aa 0.25 )

infill density: 5% which pattern though?


However, since you are using UM material why not go for their standard already over-tested profiles ... and their standard settings - when in doubt - use the profiles! (if you are unclear where does are and how does work, drop a line and I will attach a screen grab)

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@SandervG thanks! :)


Yeah ofcourse i will. where should i post that? 

In regards to my original post, i tweaked my settings a bit to get a better result for the next print( photo), i am using cura 3.1.0 btw.

Its a garage/ living area which will be connected to the main home. i will post the full result when its finished. 


infill density: 25%

to/bottom thickness 1.2

wall thickness 0.6


printing speed is still at 20 mm/s - 210 degrees. whenever i go to 30 mm/s (and 50 mm/s for infill) it starts to show tiny gaps between my first (closed layers). 





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@Stefania Dinea Hi!


im pretty sure its not mechanical issues as i calibrate daily, cleaned the head, bowden tube and unscrewed the feeder just a tiny bit. 

I would love to see the standard ultimaker settings as i cant find em online or know how to set them in Cura. 


U print at a high speed haha

Does that give the same level of detail as my pictures show? 

the thing is, whenever i go over 20 mm/s it starts to show tiny gaps. i might just go full 70mm/s and see if the big difference shows any result. 

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@SandervG Lol you suggested that a year or two back, which I did but it never went anywhere! We have not done much lately. We are engineers and the engineering side is doing well and, for us, is much more interesting that modelling buildings:sunglass:. But always happy to contribute if you/someone in that area gets a sub forum going

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well, at least I am consistent :p But a lot of things have changed, one being we have significantly more architects in our community. I am actually talking with @Stefania Dinea who is also an architect (if that wasn't clear yet) to write some valuable content/tutorials and I can tell you, there are some very interesting things in the pipeline. Focus is to help fellow architects by making knowledge more publically. It may sound a bit idealistic, and maybe you've heard me say it before but if we have a group of experts here, let's say 10, and everyone shares a little bit of their knowledge you gain '9 lessons' while only giving away one. Result; everyone becomes much better at their job and can focus on what matters instead of unnecessary operational challenges. 


Actually, now that you say you are an engineer and part of a group of engineers, I'm also talking to another engineer. Similar goals as what I shared above. I'll make sure to tag you / include you when that manifests :) 



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@Florisvh quality is a matter of opinion. So see photo and decide for yourself - that is unfortunately the only one I can share now. I have attached the Cura how to - in images as well, you have to select the Ultimaker material and automatically it will change the settings, than instead of custom you go to recommended and balance off the quality level from there. 


another tip - top/bottom thickness should be a multiple of layer height and wall thickness should be a multiple of nozzle. 




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i will try to do that. get the same speed for both. As i can see the fans work the same as they did when i bought the Ultimaker. After this print i will speed up the printing and see what happens. 


As for your previous post about the lessons from other fellow architects/ urban designers. i am really up for that!



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What I see is too many smaller firms that, instead of hiring an outside source with proper tools and know-how, try to do everything themselves and limit their possibilities or are just stuck with the idea of "why fix what ain't broke?" Yet, they do not realize just how broke it really is and how much can be done with just a change or two. I cannot tell you how many people I know that are still trying to do 3D work and renders with Autocad. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


As for percentages, I have no idea. I am currently shifting away from my old way of bidness to doing completely new things and will be going to college in the fall to study radically new things.

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