I've noticed that there is a lot of conflicting information about good settings for slicing STL files. Much of this is because all 3D printers are different, settings that work for one printer may not work well for another. I'm writing this article to try and provide Type A Machines customers with fairly basic information about Cura settings and what works well vs. what does not work well. This information is mostly specific to printing PLA on our Series 1/Series 1 Pros but I'll also try to point out some places where our settings may differ from what works with other 3D printers. Each printer has a definite learning curve and it will take some time before you figure out what kinds of settings you like, but these will hopefully help you figure things out a little more easily.
I highly recommend that you always start with our material profiles on our latest version of Cura (available here: http://support.typeamachines.com/hc/en-us/articles/206312135-Cura-For-Type-A-Machines-your-slicing-software-), as they have all been successfully tested, then feel free to tweak things slowly from there.
The most important thing to know about layer heights is that thinner is definitely not always better. I almost never print anything with below a 0.15mm layer height, not because the printer can't handle it, but because I feel like there is very little noticeable improvement in print quality once you go below that. If I don't care about the speed of the print I usually set it at 0.2mm and if I'm trying to speed things up a little, I use a 0.25mm layer height. If you are printing with clear/transparent filament, sometimes thicker layers look nicer, they will make the part slightly more transparent and shiny. It's also good to make sure the your top/bottom thickness is set to a multiple of the layer height. For example, if I'm using a 0.2mm layer height, I usually set my top and bottom thickness 0.8mm. Personally, I like to have 4 layers for the top and bottom, but if the layers are thinner I might want 5 or 6 top and bottom layers. It can be helpful to know that having too many solid layers on the bottom of your print will likely cause increased warping and make it more difficult to keep prints flat on the bed
You can find more information about how to keep your prints stuck to the bed in this article: http://support.typeamachines.com/hc/en-us/articles/205715759-Making-your-prints-stay-put
I almost often default to a 2 perimeter wall thickness but that's just my personal preference. The main thing you want to make sure of is that your wall thickness is set to a multiple of the nozzle diameter. Since the Series 1 has a 0.4mm nozzle diameter, I usually set my wall thickness to 0.8mm. If I'm looking to strengthen a part I might set it to 1.2mm (3 perimeters). The only time that I have ever printed with walls thicker than 1.2mm, it's been while using ProMatte and am planning to sand and carve it a significant amount. Wall thickness is usually something I would leave to your personal preference. Having 2 perimeters (vs. 3 or more) can also help reduce print time significantly. If I'm trying to do something decorative, I've printed with 0 wall thickness, so you just see the infill pattern in the shape of whatever object you're printing.
In the past, I almost always used a way denser infill that necessary (20-30%). having a higher infill can help increase strength but if strength isn't super important you can usually get away with less infill. Imagine printing a pyramid or cone shape, as long as the angle upwards isn't too steep, you could get away with using no infill at all. However, if there are any large horizontal/flat planes on your part, you're going to want some infill so that your printer doesn't have to bridge any large gaps without support. When you are printing something that will need infill, I've found that 4 layers of top thickness is enough to smoothly cap an area with 12% infill.
If you are looking to decrease the amount of time on a print, lowering the infill percentage can be very helpful. If you're really looking to get a strong, high quality print, you're going to need to sacrifice some time for quality and most likely have a denser infill.
Print speed can play a big role in the quality of a print, but it is worth noting that it's not the only thing that can be changed to increase quality. If I'm printing a fairly complicated object or really looking to get a great quality print, I usually wont print above 45mm/s but depending on the complexity of the part you can certainly print faster. Under the advanced tab in Cura, you can set the initial layer of a print to run at a slower speed that the rest. I often set the initial layer to run at 30-50mm/s (this helps it stick to the build plate more strongly) and then have the rest of the print run at 60-70mm/s. Contrary to what might be instinctive, if you a printing something very large that will take more than 10-20 hours, I recommend printing at 30-40mm/s. When you print at high speeds for long periods of time, you are putting a lot of strain on the electronics and will have higher failure rates.
When the tool head jumps from one place to another, the extruder retracts the filament slightly to prevent it from leaving strings of filament across the area it jumped from. If you're seeing a particularly stringy print, it can help to increase the retraction a tiny bit (I wouldn't raise it more than .2mm) but raising the retraction can also cause your nozzle to clog so be careful if when it comes to changing those settings around. Decreasing the retraction speed by 10mm/s or lowering the print temperature by 5C are good alternatives to messing with retraction. For printing PLA on the Series 1, I normally set my retraction settings to 0.4mm at 40mm/s. This is much less than I have seen on other printers. Most other printers I've worked with have all suggested retraction between 4 and 5mm.