An STL/OBJ file is a series of triangles arranged to create a closed (watertight) mesh. A slicing program turns that STL into a file that can be printed. During that slicing, you (the user) gets to determine many different things about the object. How many shells (perimeters) do you want the object to have? Do you want it hollow or solid? Course or fine? The article below will go over some of the basic settings you may want to change in the Polar Cloud slicer.



For visualization, we'll be using the desktop version of Cura. The Polar Cloud uses Cura Engine for slicing behind the scenes, so the terminology and produced G-Code is more or less the same.




We'll start with the 3D Benchy found on Thingiverse. As an STL, you can see it above in yellow.



Here it is in sliced or "layer" view. Cura shows the different parts (perimeters, infill, etc.) as different colors - so that's what you see here. The Key is shown in the box in the top right.



Lets take a closer look at layer resolution. On the left you see an example of the FINE setting, where the layers printed are at 0.1mm or 100 micron layer heights. This will produce a finer object, but will take longer to print. You can make changes to your resolution by going to PRINT SETTINGS > BASIC > LAYER THICKNESS.



Next we'll look at infill. Infill is the waste plastic extruded inside of the object. It gives the object integrity and rigidity. You can edit this by going to PRINT SETTINGS > ADVANCED > FILL > INFILL AMOUNT. A 0% infill object is hollow, and a 100% infill object is completely solid. Above you'll see an example of 5% infill, 20% infill, and 50% infill. Even if you're going for strength, anything over 75% is considered pointless, as you're not adding much strength at that point. Consider adding more perimeters or using a different plastic instead. More info on perimeters below.



Above you'll see an illustration of 1 perimeter, 3 perimeters, and 5 perimeters. Perimeters may also be referred to as "shells" or "outer walls", depending on where you look. An object with more shells will have a stronger exterior. You can edit this by going to PRINT SETTINGS > ADVANCED > QUALITY > WALL THICKNESS (SHELL COUNT)*.


These are the three basic settings that have the largest impact on the look and strength of your print. If at any point you're lost and need more information on the settings you're changing, hover your mouse over the tooltips icon, shown below.