Wall Thickness In 3D Printing: Ideal Settings & Tips | 3DPrintingWiz.com (2023)

3D printers allow you to maximize your usage of materials and print time versus model strength and appearance by setting wall thickness to whatever you want.

The shell or outer walls are the most important part of the model, because they’re visible and because they provide most of the support for the model.

Deciding how thick to make those walls can be difficult, especially if you’re not used to working with 3D print settings.

In most cases, the ideal wall thickness is a multiple of your nozzle size. Normally, that works out to 0.8mm to 1.6mm for walls and 0.8 to 1.2mm for the bottom and top. However, wall thickness depends on the required strength, and you may want significantly thicker walls.

Role Of Wall Thickness In 3D Printing

The wall thickness includes the vertical exterior of your model or print, usually everything but the top and bottom of the shell. Depending on your slicer, you’ll either see “wall thickness” as “shell”, “exterior”, or “perimeter”.

Cura and Chitubox use “wall thickness”, Prusaslicer and Slic3r use “perimeter”, and Octoprint uses “shell”. They all refer to the same thing: the outer layer of your 3D print model.

In some cases, you can also adjust the thickness of the “inner wall” or “inner shell”. In this case, you’re printing more than one wall.

Often, that means you’re adding internal walls for structural support, which may be necessary on models requiring high strength or more support in one area.

Thickness or wall line count refers to the number of passes the extruder has to make to complete the wall.

A lower setting will reduce filament used and time to print. A higher setting will increase the strength and stability of the model – but will increase the costs and time required.

In addition, thinner walls increase the chance of leaks.

Recommended Wall Thickness Settings

Wall thickness should almost always be a multiple of the line width, or the extruder nozzle size. This is so much true that many slicers like Cura will simply round your wall thickness setting to the nearest line to ensure even passes.

On average, you want a wall thickness between 0.6 and 1.6 mm. However, you can make your wall thickness much higher, depending on what you want the model for.

The rule of thumb is a wall should be at least two passes of the nozzle or twice the thickness of the nozzle. However, three passes are normally considered the minimum for “strong” walls.

See also Prusa i3 MK3 vs. Ender 3: Which One Should You Pick In 2023?

In addition, different materials might require more support than others.

Wall thickness should also vary depending on the model and what you intend to do with it. For example, a light display piece can get away with very thin walls.

Most printers can do walls as thin as 0.4 mm, although it’s not recommended because those walls would be thin and fragile.

Factors Affecting Wall Thickness

Wall thickness is heavily impacted by what you want to do with your model. However, you’ll also have to consider your machine and what you’re printing.

In most cases, there are no hard rules and you’ll have to make adjustments based on your model and the strength required for that model.

Printing Limitations

If your part is too thin, it may peel or deform when it cools. This means that very thin walls may not stick to the rest of the model.

In fact, often, if you’re having issues with the model peeling away from the base, the walls may simply be too thin.

That also holds true with cleaning. If you keep breaking your model while cleaning it or removing supports, it likely means that you need thicker walls.

Support Required

Some 3D printed parts need a significantly larger amount of support than others. That may be corners that are supporting more weight. That’s also true if the model is something you’ll be picking up and using a lot.

On the other hand, if you’re making something for display or for a prototype and you don’t mind if the shell cracks or peels, then you can always go as thin as you want.

Nozzle Size

The wall should normally be at least 2x the nozzle diameter and sometimes 3x if you want a strong wall. That’s especially true if you’re working with a very fine extrusion nozzle, like a 0.25 mm.

You wouldn’t do 6 wall layers with a 1.2 mm nozzle unless you’re trying to build something extremely sturdy. However, you might want to with the 0.25mm nozzle.


Most materials have their own minimum and maximum layer thicknesses.

For example, PLA prints best at about 1.5 mm in thickness, but you can go much thinner. On the other hand, there’s no real upper limit – although your print bed is a limiting factor.

For example, the following settings apply to printing a single wall:

MaterialMin (mm)Recommended (mm)
Resin (clear)0.61
Resin (Rubber)0.82

These settings will change depending on what kind of material you’re using, so be sure to check the recommendations on the materials you’re actually using.

Number of Passes

Wall thickness, number of walls, or line number refers to the number of walls you print together. This dramatically changes the available wall thicknesses you can use.

For example, if you’re 3D printing PLA, you can expect the following results:

Nozzle SizeWall ThicknessNumber of WallsStrength
0.4 mm0.8 mm2Minimum
0.4 mm2.4 mm6Strong
0.6 mm1.2 mm2Recommended
0.6 mm2.4 mm4Strong
0.8 mm1.6 mm2Recommended
0.8 mm2.4 mm3Strong
1 mm1 mm1Weak
1 mm2 mm2Strong
1.2 mm2.4 mm2Recommended
1.2 mm3.6 mm3Strong

Of course, the eventual strength of walls will also heavily depend on your infill settings.

Infill Settings

More infill means more support for your outer walls.

So, if you’re 3D printing resin, your settings could look something like this:

InfillWall ThicknessStrength
None/Hollow2 mmMinimum
20%1.5 mmWeak
20%2 mmStrong
30%1.2 mmMinimum

Normally with resin and good hollowing settings (15-20%), it’s good to keep wall thickness around 2 mm. But, with other materials like PLA or ABS, you can go thinner without too many problems.

In addition, wall thickness should also depend on how much support your walls actually need. So, better infill and better infill shapes will mean more wall support – so you’ll need less wall thickness for a sturdy model.

Layer Height

Some printers recommend that you double, triple, or quadruple the layer height for the wall thickness. This is a good policy for creating strong walls. However, you can absolutely go thicker.

It’s also important to note that you can’t make half lines, so you’ll always need multiples of the layer height.

If you have a 0.2mm nozzle and you choose a 0.7 mm wall thickness, your printer will likely round it up or down to a multiple of 3 or 4 depending on settings – and normally, it’s rounded up, like with Cura.

See also ZBrush vs. Blender: Comparison of Major 3D Features


If you still have questions about setting wall thickness for your 3D printer, these answers might help.

What should wall thickness be for Ender 3?

The wall thickness for filament should normally be 2-4 times the nozzle diameter. This means that ideal wall thickness changes depending on the diameter of the nozzle.

In addition, if you have a very small nozzle, you can still print thicker walls with an Ender 3, it will just take a lot more time. For example, there’s nothing stopping you from doing a 4 mm wall with a 0.25 mm nozzle, it will just take a long time.

However, the standard Ender 3 ships with a 0.4 mm nozzle. In this case, it’s a good idea to do at least 3 passes, or 1.2 mm for most walls and add a layer if you think it needs more strength.

What is the strongest shape for 3D printing?

Triangles are the strongest shape because they provide the most support to corners. That also holds true for infill, where triangular infill offers the most strength.

Triangular shapes are also the least likely to deform, meaning you can sometimes get away with thinner walls.

Final Thoughts

There is no one correct wall thickness setting for any single material, nozzle, or printer. Instead, it’s a good idea to do at least two passes of the extruder, or twice the diameter of the nozzle. A single layer may be too weak and it may deform. If you’re printing with resin, you also want to ensure that your resin is thick enough that it won’t crack and peel – which means it needs support in the form of wall thickness or infill.

So, it’s a good rule of thumb to go 3x the nozzle diameter or a minimum of 1mm and preferably 2 mm for resin. You can then tweak and adjust your settings from there based on how your prints turn out and what you’re doing with them.

Related Posts:

  • ZBrush vs. Blender: Comparison of Major 3D Features
  • 3D Printing Layer Height vs. Nozzle Size: How To Choose
  • Ender 3 Extruder Skipping or Clicking: Here's A Quick Fix
  • Is UV Resin Toxic? A Risk Analysis Guide


How thick should walls be 3D prints? ›

A good minimum wall thickness for 3D printing PLA is 1.5 mm. At Fictiv, the absolute minimum wall thickness a 3D printer can print is 0.6 mm.

How thick should a 3D lab print wall be? ›

Most of the parts are printed with only one perimeter/shell thickness (0.4 mm nozzle gives the best results). Turn on thin wall detection for our slic3r version Thunderbolt.

How does the wall thickness affect the 3D print? ›

If the walls of your parts are too thick, your part will cost more to produce, take longer to print, and may even wind up cracking. If your walls are too thin, the part may not be functional, may warp during printing, or, once again, cost more to produce because you'll have to go back and rework the design.

What is the best thickness for 3D printing? ›

The wall thickness majorly depends on the type of materials. For materials such as TPU, known for flexibility and rubber-likeness, a minimum wall thickness of 2.0mm is enough. For more rigid materials such as PLA, ABS, and Nylon, a minimum of 1.5 mm is enough. However, some people still go as low as 0.8 mm.

How do I choose wall thickness? ›

Minimum wall thickness

If you want to print in high-detail stainless steel, a vertical wall with a surface of 5 mm² only needs a wall thickness of 0.3 mm, whereas a vertical wall with a surface of 100 mm² needs to be at least 1 mm thick. A horizontal wall with an area of 100 mm² would need a thickness of 2 mm.

What is a good wall thickness in Cura? ›

Recommended Wall Thickness settings

The default Wall Thickness value in BCN3D Cura is 1.2mm, which corresponds to 3 wall lines when using a standard 0.4mm nozzle. Using three wall lines offers a good part strength without increasing print time and using too much material.

What wall thickness for .4 nozzle? ›

For example, if you are using a 0.4 mm nozzle, your minimum wall thickness should be divisible by 0.4, so instead of the 1 mm recommended minimum thickness in the table, you'll likely get better results with 1.2 mm thick walls or by switching to a thinner nozzle.

What is minimum wall thickness? ›

Minimum thickness h

4 in. (c) 1/30 the lesser of unsupported length and unsupported height.

What size should I print wall art? ›

1) Wall art should take up 60%- 75% of the available wall space, i.e wall space that isn't covered by furniture or moldings. Start by measuring the width and height of your wall and then multiply them by both 0.60 and 0.75. This will give you the range of canvas print sizes that will suit the space.

Does wall thickness matter? ›

A thicker wall has higher wall strength, while a thinner wall usually has a lower wall strength. Wall thickness is also a factor in how much heat a part can withstand before being damaged. For example, a thicker wall can withstand a higher temperature than a thinner wall before being damaged or deformed.

What does wall thickness depend on? ›

The ideal nominal wall thickness is based on what type of part is being designed, the overall design envelope or size, the resulting part's functionality, what molding equipment will be used, and lastly, what material will be used for the part.

Why is wall thickness an important factor to consider when designing a model? ›

Wall thickness is a very important concept in 3d printing, wall thickness is the distance between the inner and outer surface of the model, the minimum wall thickness directly determines the strength of the printed item, and even determines whether the item can be printed.

What is the wall thickness? ›

General wall thickness should be between 1.2mm and 3mm, although some variation based on materials is expected. Overall, wall thickness should stay below 5mm because thicker walls lengthen production cycle times and could negatively affect functionality and aesthetic appeal.

What is the range of layer thickness in 3D printing? ›

Different printers have different maximum resolutions for layer height. The standard smallest height is generally between 50 and 100 microns (0.05 and 0.1 mm).

What is the best wall thickness for 3D printing reddit? ›

Aim for multiples of 0.4mm. 2mm is a nice, easy number to work with and provides good results. If you're concerned about filament usage, I'd drop it to 1.6mm or 1.2mm for smaller parts.

How thick should wall thickness be? ›

Standard ICF external walls need six inches of concrete. However, areas susceptible to high winds require concrete thickness of at least 8 inches. The engineering tables review several characteristics of the building's design and location when establishing the concrete core size and the rebar layout.

What is the tolerance on wall thickness? ›

The most common tolerance on the wall thickness of straight pipe is 12.5%. This means that the wall thickness at any given location around the circumference of the pipe must not be less than 87.5% of the nominal wall thickness.

How thick is a 0.8 nozzle wall? ›

With a Ø 0.8 mm nozzle, the wall thickness should then be at least 1.6 mm.

What is the minimum wall thickness for FDM for a model? ›

With FDM, the recommended minimum wall thickness is four times the layer height. For example, if you are designing with the minimum FDM layer height at . 007”, your minimum wall thickness should be . 028”.

What is the minimum wall thickness of 0.4 nozzle? ›

For example, if you are using a 0.4 mm nozzle, your minimum wall thickness should be divisible by 0.4, so instead of the 1 mm recommended minimum thickness in the table, you'll likely get better results with 1.2 mm thick walls or by switching to a thinner nozzle.

How thick should a wall be for Binder Jetting? ›

Wall thickness: 2.0 mm The recommended minimum wall thickness for parts produced via Binder Jetting is 2.0 mm. This ensures that the part can be removed from the powder and handled in the green state without being damaged.

What is the required thickness of a seamless nozzle wall? ›

Limiting the minimum wall thickness to 0.5 of the minimum design wall thickness or 3.2mm (as suggested in API RP 579 Level 1 rules for general metal loss).

What is the best aspect ratio for wall prints? ›

2:3 is the most popular aspect ratio for printing.

What size should wall art be in inches? ›

Wall Art Sizes

Typically ranging between 10 to 17 inches in height and width, mini wall art pieces can stand alone or they can be used as part of a collection. Small wall art ranges between 18 to 24 inches in height and width.

What size photo frame is best for walls? ›

8X10 photo prints are the perfect size for putting single image pictures on walls because of the amount of detail that is printed on a 8X10 photo.

What are the 3 different controllable wall thicknesses in terms of 3D printing? ›

Aluminium – 1mm. Brass – 0.6mm for natural finish, 0.8mm for gold and colour-plated finishes. Gold – 0.8mm.

Why are thicker walls better? ›

Thick walls give a building a sense of solidity and protection from the elements. They also increase comfort by raising the mean radiant temperature of the room, and create deep window sills that are great places to put plants, a coffee mug, the book you're reading etc, as well as providing a great sound barrier.

What is the importance of layer thickness in 3D printing? ›

The number of layers required to create a 3D component determines the printing speed and printing time required. The lower the layer thickness, the longer it will take to print your object. For example, an object that's 1cm high may require 100 layers at 100 micrometers or 167 layers at 60 micrometers.

What are importance of wall thickness in plastic product design? ›

Consistent wall thickness is critical during the cooling process in injection molding; if some sections of a part are thinner than others, the part may be vulnerable to warping, cracking, twisting, and overall failure. Uniform wall thickness minimizes both shrinkage and residual stress in the final part.

What is 120 wall thickness? ›

120-wall DOM. That has an OD of 1.75 inches and 1/8 inch wall thickness.

How thick should the first layer be 3D printing? ›

But when you're printing on an automated system, reliability is of utmost importance, and thicker first layers result in more reliable prints. Our recommendation is that your first layer should be at least 0.3-0.4mm thick.

Are thicker layers stronger 3D printing? ›

Most 3D printing services use a standard thickness of about 1.0 - 1.5 mm, but increasing this setting can greatly increase the tensile strength and impact strength of your parts. Increasing the shell thickness of parts can significantly improve the strength of 3D printed parts, even with a lower infill percentage.

How thick should a 3d print wall be for sanding? ›

If you plan to sand the print, it would be better to print at least 3 perimeters/shells or create a minimum wall thickness of 1.2mm. Any wall under this thickness will need a much higher level of care and attention. Start with coarse sandpaper and end with high grit sandpaper.

What is the best wall speed for 3D printing? ›

The best print speed for everyday prints (medium quality) is about 50–60 mm/s. However, users should note that some materials can be printed very quickly (e.g. PLA) while some require a slower rate to prevent warping or print failure (e.g. TPU).

How thick should a 3D print wall be for sanding? ›

If you plan to sand the print, it would be better to print at least 3 perimeters/shells or create a minimum wall thickness of 1.2mm. Any wall under this thickness will need a much higher level of care and attention. Start with coarse sandpaper and end with high grit sandpaper.

How thick are 3D printed concrete walls? ›

The walls typically consist of two wythes of concrete, each approximately 2 inches thick, with a void space in between them.

How thick should walls be for 0.4 mm nozzle? ›

The default nozzle fitted to an Ultimaker 3D printer is 0.4mm, meaning the wall thickness should be at least 0.4mm or a multiple of this i.e. 0.8, 1.2 mm etc.

How thick should 3D printed walls be reddit? ›

Wall thickness for narrow areas, and strength tops out about 60-65% with 40% usually being a good middle ground.

Why are my 3D print walls not smooth? ›

Why are my 3D prints not smooth? The best way to fix 3D printed walls that are not smooth is to identify over-extrusion or under-extrusion issues that you are experiencing and tackle them by changing settings such as retraction or lowering printing temperature.

What is the minimum wall thickness for metal 3D printing? ›

In 3D printing, wall thickness refers to the distance between one surface of your model and the opposite sheer surface. For the Standard Grade, the minimum wall thickness you can use is 1 mm; for the Performance Grade, the minimum wall thickness is 0.5 mm.

What is the minimum wall thickness for resin 3D printing? ›

As for resin 3D printing, it's better to go quite fine with minimum wall thicknesses of 2 mm.

What is the minimum wall thickness for SLA? ›

The recommended minimum wall thickness for unsupported walls is 0.6 mm. Walls that are supported on both sides can be designed with a minimum thickness of 0.4 mm as these are less likely to warp.

What layer height should I use with a 0.4 mm nozzle? ›

Layer height should not exceed 80 % of the nozzle diameter.

If you are using the standard 0.4mm nozzle, the maximal layer height is about 0.32 mm.

What happens if a 3D print is too thick? ›

If the walls of your parts are too thick, your part will cost more to produce, take longer to print, and may even wind up cracking. If your walls are too thin, the part may not be functional, may warp during printing, or, once again, cost more to produce because you'll have to go back and rework the design.


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