What is Raft in 3D Printing: When You Should Use It?

If you are someone looking to get involved in the world of 3D printing, then you need to know the basics. 3D printing allows the creation of three-dimensional objects that are added layer by layer. This is also called additive manufacturing, which is made using designs that a computer makes and executes.

Now, coming to why it is so popular, you’ll be pleased to know that nowadays, the possibilities are endless. Of course, the benefits are also vast. The first one is that since it is a fully automated process, your work will be more precise and accurate. Of course, since it is automated, that also means everything will be so precise that waste is reduced.

However, that’s not the only reason why it is such a popular method to create nowadays. Here are the reasons why:

Easy to create prototypes

This is one reason why 3D printing is so popular in medicine. Its applications to create experimental tools and prototypes are unmatched.

Flexible creation process

You won’t have to stick to the mold when creating prints with a 3D printer since it can match your creativity. Whatever you design and feed into the computer is what you will get.

On-demand printing

Since it can print on demand, this means that your production costs are saved and so are the costs of materials. You won’t have to worry about it not working when you need it the most.

Fast manufacturing

The manufacturing process for 3D printing is considerably faster than in a large-scale manufacturing plant. You can get done with it quicker and more efficiently with fewer costs as labor is not a requirement.

Ease of access

Nowadays, anyone can own a 3D printer, since they are found in different price ranges. If you want to set up your own small business, it is super easy to accomplish.

There are many components, parts, and important tools that are secondary to the 3D printing process, however, it would be much harder to accomplish without them. One such part is called a raft and today’s article is focused entirely on this element.

We are going to discuss what is raft in 3D printing and also see its main advantages and letdowns.

What is a Raft in 3D printing?

What is a Raft in 3D printing

So, what is a raft in 3D printing, you might ask? Well, this is a horizontal base that will be placed underneath your 3D print. A horizontal surface that sits under the object is called a raft in 3D Printing. Each raft might differ since they are made of some layers that need to be predetermined.

The raft also has sides that are placed further away from your project’s sides. Now, moving onto the main aim of a raft, it is there for bed adhesion. Confused? Well, it’s just here to provide stability in most cases. For example, if you are working with an ABS plastic material, a raft can be quite beneficial.

You might be confused about how your object will be on top of this raft since it might get stuck to it as it cools. There is nothing to worry about though since the raft is designed to have a gap between it and between the object. So, when you are done, you can easily wedge something in between to remove the object once it has cooled down properly.

All you have to take care of is to place the raft properly in the first place so that no problems arise. Apart from the grip that it provides, the raft is also an excellent option if you want to decrease the inconsistencies that are being printed in objects. All of the warpings will be confined to the edges of the raft instead.

As we mentioned before, your raft acts as a base. This means it is excellent to increase stability for larger objects that need a decent foundation. Sometimes, objects you print are not asymmetrical which means that they might be heavier from the top but not have enough support at the bottom. The raft can act as a temporary support space.

What are the main benefits of using a raft?

 What is the purpose of a raft in 3D printing

There are quite a few reasons why people continue using rafts in their 3D projects. We are going to list the main ones here:

  • The first reason is that if you are working with a printer that uses a perforated printing bed, then you might appreciate the use of a raft.
  • If you need more support at the base, then printing on top of a raft is ideal.
  • You can use the raft as a stability method especially if the object has a smaller contact area but is heavier.
  • If your printing bed is uneven, it can also affect the object being printed. However, a raft can act as a balancing surface.

What are the main letdowns of using a raft?

However, it is not all positive when using a raft and many people opt for alternatives due to these major reasons:

  • If you are looking to make your printed object’s surface completely smooth, then a raft might not be your best option. In many cases, it cannot guarantee that.
  • Another reason is if you haven’t set it up properly, then the object can also be quite difficult to take apart from the raft. This is especially true if your raft is made denser.
  • It can also lead to extra waste material which is not good.
  • If your object is intricate and smaller, there is always the risk of it breaking apart as you separate it from the raft.


3D printing is quite the technical process especially if you’re just starting and we know it is vital to be aware of the different components that make up the whole experience. By answering the question, what is Raft in 3D printing, hopefully, we’ve made it a little more accessible to readers who are beginners.

About David Shelton

Besides many test devices, David now has his eighth own 3D printer running and loves to print as a hobby for family, friends, and himself. He has over a decade of experience in 3D printing. He is happy to share his experience with each new article to help all of you regarding your printing queries! In his spare time, he loves to travel and watch obscure cinema. Happy printing!!

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