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top and bottom layer, initial layer, shell thickness

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Top and bottom thickness is what it sounds like and this setting adjusts how many mm of 100% infill layers cura will use to create them. So if you set it to 0.6mm cura will lay down 0.6mm of solid plastic for the top and bottom layers. How thick you want them depends entirely on what you're after.

Initial layers sets how thick the very first layer will be. Some people like to set this fat at 0.2mm or 0.3mm. People say it helps with bed adhesion and making up for a poorly leveled or uneven bed. Personally I like to set it at 0.1mm with the UM2 to get really nice mirror bottoms on the print. Personally preference again IMHO.

Shell thickness determines how thick the outer walls of the object will become. I always set this in 0.4mm increments to match the nozzle. You can set other thicknesses as well and cura will attempt to fill it as best as it can but in my opinion it's better to keep it simple. In the olden days slicers weren't able to handle this all that great and left a void in the middle of a wall if the last remaining void was thinner than 0.4mm. This setting is probably the most important setting when it comes to strength of a part.


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The top and bottom thickness needs to be an exact multiple of your layer height. Generally you will want 5 to 10 layers for solid flat tops on parts. Generally, the thinner each layer, the more layers are needed to bridge smoothly over infill. So for 0.2mm layers, you might go for 1mm thickness = 5 layers. For 0.06mm layers (the thinnest I usually do), I go with 0.6mm top/bottom = 10 layers.


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