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3D Printing Bridging

  • 6 min read

3D Printing Bridging Explained: Troubleshooting & Perfection Tips

In the ever-evolving world of 3D printing, mastering intricate techniques is crucial for producing high-quality prints. Among these techniques, 3D printing bridging stands out as a pivotal skill for enthusiasts and professionals alike, allowing the creation of parts and components with gaps or spans without the need for support material. This article aims to provide a clear and comprehensive perspective on the intricacies of 3D printing bridging, uncovering the common pitfalls that lead to poor bridging, and sharing expert tips on how to master this essential technique. Whether you are deepening your existing knowledge or are new to the world of 3D printing, grasping the nuances of bridging is a key step in refining your printing skills. Let’s explore this essential technique together!

What Is 3D Printing Bridging?

3D printer bridging refers to a technique used in the layer-by-layer additive manufacturing process when a 3D printer produces horizontal spans over open spaces without support structures underneath. During the bridging process, the printer extrudes a thin strand of melted filament across a gap, starting from one edge and finishing at the other. The filament must be extruded with just the right speed and cooling to ensure that it doesn't droop or collapse, forming a stable 'bridge'. It is a crucial aspect to consider in the early stages of designing a 3D model, as it enables the creation of overhangs or suspended sections without the need for additional support structures. Proper bridging helps reduce material usage, print time, and post-processing efforts, resulting in more efficient and higher-quality prints.

What Causes Poor Bridging in 3D Printing?

Achieving successful bridging 3D printing is a delicate balancing act. Understanding the factors that contribute to poor bridging is crucial for troubleshooting and improving your 3D printing results. Let's delve into the common causes:

Inadequate Cooling

One of the primary culprits behind poor bridging is inadequate cooling. When the extruded filament doesn't cool and solidify quickly enough, it tends to sag, resulting in a droopy bridge. Effective cooling is crucial, especially in the case of longer spans, where the filament needs to hold its shape across the gap. Insufficient cooling can stem from a lack of proper cooling fans or suboptimal fan settings.

High Print Speed

High print speed is another factor that can cause poor bridging in 3D printing. Rapid printing may result in the extrusion of more material than necessary, leading to uneven layers. The increased speed also means that the printed material has less time to cool and solidify, ultimately causing issues with bridging. Slowing down the print speed during the bridging process can greatly improve the overall quality of the print.

Layer Height and Overhang Angle

The layer height and overhang angle both play a critical role in determining the accomplishment of bridging in 3D printing. A larger layer height can lead to weaker bridges, as the filament has less surface area to adhere to. Additionally, the overhang angle should not be too steep, as steeper angles result in more overhanging material that needs to be supported, increasing the chances of poor bridging.

How to Avoid Poor Bridging in 3D Printing?

Having explored the common causes of poor bridging in 3D printing, it becomes clear that precision and fine-tuning are key. Here are some effective strategies to enhance your bridging capabilities and achieve high-quality results:

Optimize Print Settings


  • Adjusting Cooling:As we learned, proper cooling is essential for successful bridging. To optimize cooling, ensure your printer's cooling fans are in good working order and properly oriented towards the print. Adjusting fan speed is also crucial – increasing it during the bridging process can help the filament cool and solidify faster, preventing sagging.
  • Fine-Tuning Print Speed:Slowing down the print speed during bridging can significantly improve the quality of the bridge. A slower speed allows for more precise filament deposition, ensuring that each layer has adequate time to cool and solidify. Experiment with different speeds to find the sweet spot for your specific printer and filament type.
  • Layer Height and Overhang Angle Adjustments:Generally, a lower layer height improves bridge quality, as it allows for better filament adhesion and stability. Additionally, consider the design of your object – adjusting the overhang angle to be less steep can make bridging more manageable.

Use Support Structures if Necessary

While the goal of bridging is often to avoid supports, in some cases, they are necessary. For particularly challenging bridges or overhangs, adding temporary support structures can provide the stability needed. These supports can be removed post-printing, leaving a cleaner and more precise bridge.

Design properly


  • Mind the Gap: Be mindful of the span length when designing. Shorter bridges are generally easier to print than longer ones. If possible, design your object to have shorter span lengths.
  • Angle and Orientation: Consider the orientation of the bridge in your design. Sometimes, reorienting the model in the slicer can result in better bridging performance.
  • Test and Iterate: Designing for 3D printing often requires iteration. Conduct a 3D printing bridge test by printing smaller sections of your design to see how well bridges are formed and make adjustments as needed.
By understanding and applying these strategies, you can significantly reduce the instances of poor bridging in your 3D prints. Remember, each printer and filament can behave differently, so experimentation and fine-tuning are key to mastering the art of bridging in 3D printing.

As we've explored the complexities and solutions for mastering 3D printing bridging, it's important to have the right tools that can handle these challenges with ease. At AnkerMake, we understand the intricacies of 3D printing and have developed products specifically designed to cater to these needs.
Setting a new standard in the industry, our AnkerMake M5 3D Printer is a marvel of speed and precision. Powered by PowerBoost™ 2.0, the M5 achieves speeds up to 500 mm/s without sacrificing print quality. Its direct drive extruder and robust aluminum alloy structure ensure 0.1 mm precision, even at accelerated speeds, offering superior control for challenging bridging tasks. The integrated AI camera is invaluable for meticulous printing and monitoring of bridges, ensuring each layer is perfect. With its 7×7 auto-leveling system and significant print volume of 235×235×250 mm³, the M5 stands as a top choice for enthusiasts seeking efficiency and quality in bridging and beyond.


For those prioritizing power and customization in their 3D printing endeavors, our AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer offers a compelling solution. It mirrors the M5's 500 mm/s high-speed capability and further enhances it with a powerful extrusion flow rate of 35 mm³/s and an 82 mm³ melting chamber. The direct drive extruder ensures accurate motion control, critical for bridging, and the upgraded all-metal hotend, operable at 300℃, expands filament compatibility, allowing for a wide range of bridging applications.

Complementing these printers, at AnkerMake, we are committed to providing premium filaments that are ideal for bridging in 3D printing. Our PLA 3D printer filaments have been rigorously tested for over 12 months in our Speed Lab, ensuring their resilience and durability. With a minimal shrinkage rate of just 0.33%, our filaments not only ensure precise printing but also exhibit enhanced resistance to the common causes of brittleness.
By choosing our M5 or M5C 3D Printers and our high-quality PLA filaments, you are equipping yourself with the tools necessary for mastering the art of 3D printing bridging. At AnkerMake, we are dedicated to enhancing your 3D printing experience, ensuring each bridge you print is as strong and precise as possible.


Navigating the complexities of 3D printing bridging can be a challenging yet rewarding journey. As we've explored, factors like inadequate cooling, high print speeds, and the interplay of layer height with overhang angles can significantly impact the quality of bridging in 3D printing. By fine-tuning print settings, considering support structures, and thoughtfully designing your models, you can substantially improve your bridging results. Remember, mastering 3D printing bridging is not just about overcoming technical hurdles; it's about pushing the boundaries of your creativity and precision in 3D printing. Embrace these challenges as opportunities to enhance your skills and elevate your 3D printing projects to new heights.


Here are some commonly asked queries about 3D printing bridging.

What is the best temperature for bridging PLA?

The best temperature for bridging PLA (Polylactic Acid) generally ranges between 180-200°C. However, the optimum temperature heavily depends on the specific printer model and the environment in which you are printing. As a rule of thumb, cooler temperatures usually provide better bridging results due to quicker solidification.

How far can you bridge 3D print?

The maximum distance you can bridge in 3D printing largely depends on the printer's capabilities, the material being used, and the print settings. It is typically possible to obtain good results with bridge lengths between 50 and 100 millimeters. Some exceptionally proficient printers can even handle bridges exceeding 150 millimeters. Testing your specific printer with a bridge test can give you a better idea of its bridging limits for different materials and settings.