Pleasant Hardware's blog deals with the nuts and bolts of 3D printing, and recently they've been doing experiments with their MakerBot. One of the experiments involves printing "without a raft". The raft is that cross-hatch base layer used to isolate the object from the build platform itself. Their advice:
I recently started with printing objects without a raft (another thing not really advisable without a heated build surface).
Printing without a raft is still tricky, especially when printing complex shapes (like tooth wheels or something like that). So I started with more or less rectangular objects.
Removing the raft obviously saves wasted material, but also simplifies the finishing process since you don't need to shave the raft off your shiny object.
We are truly encouraged by this type of activity; not so much because we have another iPod dock printed, but because it represents something very important: home-based 3D printing is slowly being tuned by not only Pleasant Hardware, but by many others too. The crowd is improving MakerBot, little by little.
Where will we be in a year?