When to use MakerBot’s new feature: MinFill

20 Apr 18:09

MakerBot just recently released a software update to MakerBot Print (not available on MakerBot Desktop) called MinFill. MinFill uses an algorithm that calculates the infill structure based on the geometry of the 3D object being printed. Previously infills had been continuous patterns filling the inside and depending on the print that wasn’t always necessary.

So hurray for the new MinFill! According to MakerBot, using the new feature we will generally see a 30% faster print and use 30% less filament. Saving time and money! Who doesn’t like that!

And when you are prototyping, this could be a game changer.

I was eager to try this out and had been printing a sonic screwdriver for the husband. I wasn’t happy with the first print and wanted to find another and thought this might be a good time to test the new feature.

I loaded the file from thingiverse and selected the new option. My settings were: ~31 g and 2hr 25m for the print. Ok, so let’s see how that compares to the Balanced option. Those settings showed: ~30 g and 2hr 31m for the print. WHAT?

MinFill Option

Balanced Option

So, ya, it’s not the best option for all prints. These were smaller parts with not a lot of large interior cavities to take advantage of the MinFill algorithm. Makes sense, but it was curious to see that with the new MinFill option actually uses slightly more filament.

Time to try another object. This object was a custom part I had built in SketchUp to mount an antenna on an aircraft. I had to print several iterations to test the fit, using the Draft option I get ~84g and a 3hr 27m print and compared to using MinFill I get a ~69g and 4hr and 31min print.

Draft Option

MinFill Option

I think for this, I would choose the MinFill option. The time difference is about an hour more for MinFill, but you are saving about 15g. And one thing to take into consideration is that Draft mode will not produce the surface quality that MinFill will.

Here is the Balanced option, showing the standard diamond infill pattern. Note that it is using ~83g.

Balanced Option

I do think that MinFill will have benefits with many prints, such as prototyping or testing surface quality, but before defaulting to that option go through and compare the other options. You might be surprised.

Visit MakerBot for the full downlow on MinFill: