What Is A 3D Printing Raft And When Should You Use One?

Open-source 3D printing is exploding, and one of the most exciting developments has been the introduction of filaments for 3D printed rafts. These spools are designed specifically to be used as a raft in order to produce objects without a finishing stage. If you have ever wanted to design and print beautiful objects on your own, then this article is perfect for you!


FAQ’s About Rafts

What Is A 3D Printing Raft?

So what is a 3D printing raft? Essentially, it’s a thin layer of plastic extruded from the nozzle of your printer that is placed on top of an object during the print process to stabilize the supports. It can be useful in various ways, such as when printing large objects that have supports not making contact with these. In this case, using a filament with a raft will keep them from snapping and breaking off.

When Should You Use A 3D Printing Raft?

Just like any other filament, you should use it when it’s suited to your needs. However, when you’re using a raft that can be easily removed from the finished object, that means you shouldn’t take them off right away. By leaving the raft in place until after they are properly dried and hardened, it can help to prevent the support material from breaking off later on down the line.

Are 3D Printing Rafts A Replacement For Support Material?

While it is certainly possible to print objects that only require a raft, you shouldn’t consider it as a replacement for solid support. The reason for this is simple: with just the raft, there’s no way to get rid of those supports completely. Instead of producing a beautifully smooth surface, you’ll usually be left with an uneven top that doesn’t look quite like you expected.

What Should You Know Before Using A 3D Printing Raft?

Before you get started with using a 3D printing raft, it’s important that you know the basics about them and what they are capable of doing. Below are the most important things to be aware of when getting started with this filament.

  • You should use one if you want to print multiple objects in a row. Since the raft is so easy to remove, it means you can place it on top of the same object over and over again. This can cut down your production time significantly since you won’t have to worry about setting a new print bed in between items.
  • You shouldn’t use a 3D printing raft if you want a smooth surface. While using a raft will allow you to print objects faster and with less hassle, it means you’ll have to sacrifice on the quality of the finished product.
  • You should always keep your rafts on the outside edges of an object. This will prevent them from warping or curling due to high heat, which can make removing them very difficult at best and impossible at worst.
  • Drying time is important. You should let your raft sit for at least four hours before moving on to the next step of your print, and eight hours if you’re using a transparent raft that will be used on the outer edges of an object.
  • Un-stranded filaments (i.e., those without any colored portions) make great objects for printing onto a raft since they tend to hold their shape better than other filaments do when they dry completely.
  • You should consider your filaments carefully. For example, if you’re going to be placing a raft on top of another raft, you should only use materials without cross-linking agents or volatiles. With these types of filament, the lifting and breaking off process will be much easier and smoother.

What Can A 3D Printing Raft Be Used For?

Sometimes it can be hard to think of how a particular type of filament might be used in real-world applications. However, with a raft, there are so many cool applications that you can use them for in your everyday life. What about printing:

  • Picture frames that are already elegantly designed? Just print onto a raft and hang onto your wall. Not only will your pictures have an interesting new look, they’ll also be easier to get off the wall when it’s time to change them out.
  • Decorative items for your house, like a fancy tiled table or a set of chair legs? With the right designs, you can make your furniture look so much more impressive than it already does.
  • Spare game pieces for when your favorite games are all missing one piece or another? With a raft, you can simply print out new ones and replace them with ease. And thanks to advances in 3D printing technology over the past decade, it’s easier than ever to create objects like these at home in no time at all.

Pros Of Using A 3D Printing Raft

A 3D printing raft is a great way to ensure that your design prints with perfect adhesion. You can use it as a safeguard against warping, or you can use it to build more complex designs.

Designers need to make sure that their designs print exactly like they were planned and engineered. This is where A 3D printing raft comes in handy. In addition to this, the 3D Raft is also a great way to define the perimeter of your model.

Cons Of Using A 3D Printing Raft

Although having a 3d raft really ensures that your print will adhere perfectly to your print bed, there are some drawbacks to this method. There are times when the 3d printing raft for your model does not print exactly like you want it to.

Apart from this, it can be too complicated to use a 3D Printing Raft and that is why there are some people who do not think it is worth the time and effort.

But the good thing about this method of printing is that you will get a great looking 3D printed model which is going to work exactly as the engineer intended.


There are times when engineers design and print models that are quite complicated, making it difficult for them to get the print to look exactly as they planned, especially if there are long walls. There is also the chance that the print might not adhere perfectly to your bed. This is why you should use a 3d printing raft. It will give you a model that adheres perfectly to your build plate and gives you a model on which you can move freely without worrying about it warping or shifting.

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