Pillowing How to Fix it Now

Master the art of 3D printing with our expert guide on resolving pillowing and top layer issues. Elevate your prints’ quality with our proven techniques.

by Editorial Staff: We are a team of 3D Printing Enthusiasts who have build a lot of knowledge about 3D Printing the last 8 years. Our aim is to create the knowledge hub for 3D Printing covering all minor and major topics. Providing one source of reliable Information for everybody regardless of Beginner or Expert.

Comprehensive Guide to Resolving Pillowing and Top Layer Issues in 3D Printing

Introduction to Pillowing in 3D Printing

Pillowing in 3D printing is a common issue characterized by a top layer with buckling or gaps, resulting from inadequate overlap between the top layer and the underlying infill or perimeter. This issue often leads to a compromised finish on the printed object. Understanding the root causes and implementing effective solutions are key to achieving optimal printing results.

Enhancing Infill and Outline Overlap

Adjusting Overlap Settings in Slicer Software

Slicer software plays a crucial role in setting the right overlap between the perimeter and the infill. The overlap percentage, typically set at 15%, can be increased to 20% or 30% for better results. This adjustment ensures that the top layer adequately bonds with the infill, reducing the risk of pillowing.

Optimal Part Cooling for High-Quality Prints

Managing Temperature and Cooling

The cooling process is critical when printing with low viscosity materials or at high temperatures. Ensuring rapid cooling post-printing is vital to prevent pillowing. This involves correctly using the part cooling fan and ensuring the fan and ventilation slot are optimally positioned.

Setting Appropriate Infill Density

Finding the Right Infill Percentage

Infill density significantly impacts the top layer’s quality. A density range of 10-25% is standard, but this can vary depending on the material and printing settings. Conducting tests with a cube model can help determine the most effective infill percentage for your specific printing setup.

Increasing the Number of Top Layers

Customizing Top Layer Settings

Typically, 3-6 top layers are set based on the infill density and other printing settings. In cases of pillowing, increasing the number of top layers can provide additional strength and stability, ensuring a smoother and more uniform top layer.


What causes pillowing in 3D printing?

Pillowing occurs due to insufficient overlap between the top layer and infill, often caused by inadequate infill density, high printing speed, or poor cooling.

How can I adjust the overlap in slicer software to reduce pillowing?

Increase the overlap percentage in your slicer software settings, typically from the standard 15% to 20-30%, to ensure better bonding of the top layer to the infill.

What role does cooling play in preventing pillowing?

Effective cooling, especially for low viscosity materials or high-temperature prints, is crucial. Use a part cooling fan and ensure it’s optimally positioned for rapid cooling.

What is the ideal infill density to prevent pillowing?

While 10-25% is a common infill density range, the ideal setting varies with material and printing conditions. Test prints can help determine the best infill percentage.

Can increasing the number of top layers help with pillowing?

Yes, increasing the number of top layers from the typical 3-6 based on your printing settings can provide extra strength and improve the smoothness of the top layer.

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