This demonstrates the differences with the Build Plate Adhesion setting in Cura.
The Skirt is one or more passes around the model, but not touching it. This is the most common setting. It primes the extruder so the filament is ready to go when it starts printing your model.
The Brim setting has one or more passes around the model, attaching to it. This is useful when your model has very little surface area touching the build platform, and effectively increases the attaching surface area. Since it is only one layer thick, it is relatively easy to peel the brim off your print when it is done.
The Raft setting builds up several layers of filament underneath the model. This creates a large, solid surface attaching to the build platform, and also provides a solid platform for the model to be printed on. Your model should break away from the raft easily after printing, and the raft is discarded. This is slower to print and uses more filament, and is usually unnecessary. It is useful in the most difficult prints.
This demonstrates the effect of layer height on the print. The lower the layer hight, the greater the detail of the print, but the longer it takes. The layer height units here are in mm. The 0.4mm layer height model on the right took about 12 minutes to print, and the 0.1mm model on the left took a little over 30 minutes.
We've printed out a number of models to help visualize and feel some of the most common 3D printing settings. Stop on by to check out the models in person, but if you can't, here's some photos!
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This one really benefits from the in person experience and being able to touch the material. Here we have several test strips of various 3D printing filament materials.
PLA: The easiest to print and most common 3d printing material. Unfortunately, one of the aspects that makes it easy to print (low melting temperature) also makes it less durable. It is the least durable of all the printing materials. It is also sensitive to moisture, so please don't leave the PLA filament out.
ABS: More difficult to print, also a very common printing material. It is much more durable than PLA, more flexible, and has a higher melting point. It also shrinks more as it cools, which contributes to the difficulty in printing it.
PETG: More durable than PLA, easier to print than ABS, less common than both.
Nylon: Difficult to print, fairly flexible.
TPU: Difficult to print, but the most flexible of all the materials. The sample above is downright floppy.