Cura First Layer Setting Explained

In this quick reference guide, let’s talk about Cura first layer setting, and we have gathered some community feedback on this topic to help you better setup the print.

It’s important set up your first layer the right way for a successful print, plus a few other related settings.

Cura first layer settings allow the user to adjust the initial layer height and line width. The goal of the first layer is to establish good bed adhesion before anything else. If the nozzle is too high, the print material wont stick to the bed. It needs to be just right to create material compression to the bed.

Simply just go under the “Advanced” tab inside the “Quality” section, and go to “Initial Layer Thickness.”

Always Level The Bed First

Whether it’s a manual bed leveling or automatic, always level the bed before moving onto the next step.

It’s recommended to relevel the bed for around 2 – 4 prints.

The initial layer should be about 90% lower than the other layers.

Here is a quick reference guide – layer height vs. your initial layer height.

Layer HeightFirst Layer Height
0.30 mm0.27 mm
0.25 mm0.23 mm
0.20 mm0.18 mm
0.15 mm0.14 mm
0.10 mm0.09 mm

Setting Initial Line Width

Line width should be:

  • Close to the nozzle size
  • Layer height

Adjust the line width of the outer wall adds more detail to your model. Increase infill line width will speed up the printing process.

Ensure Bed Adhesion

Adjusting the height of your nozzle is a good start for getting your first layer to stick. Here are other things to consider:

  • Bed surface preparation – Things like ABS slurry, painter’s tape, hair spray and more. Learn more here
  • Proper extruder heating – Filament jams will cause poor material heating. Learn how to fix it here
  • Print skirt, brim or raft – These are build plate adhesion type to help set up the print based on the part design

Evaulating Nozzle Height

Judging the nozzle height is never a perfect science. It takes practice and experience

Remember that there is no perfect gap size setting for every print. You need to take into account:

  • Nozzle size
  • Material
  • Print speed
  • Print surface

Here is how to tell if the nozzle height is properly set

  1. Nozzle is too high. Filament is coming out into the air and not being pressed into the building plate
  2. Nozzle is too low. Filament is compressed too much onto the build plate. This can cause a thin first layer, and also nozzle blockage
  3. Nozzle is just right. Your filament is being compressed between the nozzle and the build tip and will lay down precisely. This first layer will lay down nicely and adhere to the build plate, creating a successful first layer

Other Settings To Check

Shell thickness – Cura automatically add or reduce lines for the shell thickness (wall thickness)

Bottom & top thickness – Set the number of solid layers at the bottom and the top of the print

Bottom & top pattern – Either lines, zig-zag, or concentric pattern. Cura can set the settings separately from the top and bottom to prevent “pillowing”

Set Different Print Speed For Different Layers

Adjust print speed for each part layer will create a better print. Always pick the appropriate speed for a better product than a sloppy print.

Speed TypeOptimal Speed Setting
Travel SpeedHigher speed creates better filament flow feed control
Initial Layer SpeedLow speed helps build good build plate adhesion
Skirt/Brim SpeedStick with first layer print speed.
Maximum Z-SpeedSet at max

Infill Speed – Adjusts how fast or slow to print the infill material. Use slow speed to build better strength

Outer Wall Speed – Slow speed creates a better overall part finish

Inner Wall Speed –

Top & Bottom Speed – Lower the speed for top and bottom increases the print quality.

Support Infill Speed – Speed doesn’t really matter if the supports are built to hold the print until completion

Support Interface Speed – Print at a slower speed to ensure good adhesion

Define Infill Shape

Always ensure the structure integrity for the design to function properly. For example, features designed to support weight or keep integral parts connected.

The user can also adjust the shell thickness to reduce print time and materials needed based on infill pattern for your model.

  • Rectangular: This is the standard infill pattern. Good strength in all directions and can be easily applied
  • Triangular: Takes longer to print
  • Wave/Wiggle: Use this pattern to create flexibility in the part
  • Honeycomb: Provides optimal overall strength in all directions like rectangular

Temperature Setting

Different material properties require different temperature settings. The cooling fan helps to cool the material before moving onto the next layer to increase the overall print quality.

Yes, the user can adjust the fan speed for different materials and for the separate layers of your model.

A higher fan speed can reduce oozing and will result in better cooling, but can also increase shrinkage.

Other Common Sense Tips To Follow

Print Sequence

All At Once: One layer of each object will be printed before moving onto the next layer (Not recommended unless its the same part)

One At a Time: Print parts separately


This will print your model in reverse, and it’s just the shell of the part.

Minimal Mold Width: Specifies the minimum width of the mold.

Mold Roof Height: Specifies the height of the mold.

Mold Angle: Maximum angle the mold may take outside of the model.

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