Not sure what’s the best speed for your 3D printing project? Do you want to know how to figure out the perfect 3D print speed?
Beginners usually find themselves experimenting with printing speed because they aren’t sure how to choose the correct setting for their project.
However, aside from delaying production, poor printing speeds could also lead to imperfections and flawed outputs.
Thus, it’s something you should be sure of whenever you do your 3D object, especially if it’s for rapid prototyping.
If you need to learn more about setting your printing speeds, you are just on the right page. By the end of this article, you will know how to determine the perfect speed to produce a quality 3D printed object. Also, I will give you several tips if you want to print faster.
So, let’s get started!
What Is 3D Printing Speed?
3D printing speed is the main speed setting when you are 3D printing.
It refers to how fast your 3D printer’s motor moves, including the X- and Y-axis control and the extruder motor. It is usually measured in seconds (unit of time) and kg, mm or cm3 (unit of manufactured material).
You can download a print speed test model to test your printer’s speed. The test model comes with instructions on adjusting the correct settings because the model linked will essentially print the same shape at gradually increasing speeds, allowing you to see for yourself the optimal setting to achieve a flawless output.
There are many factors when we talk about printing speeds like retraction speed, travel speed and more.
Retraction speed is the speed at which the extruder motor drives back the filament. A good retraction speed is between 1200-6000 mm/min (20-100 mm/s) where retraction performs best. When the retraction speed is too fast, the drive gear may grind away pieces of the filament.
Travel speed is the moving speed of the print head during non-printing status. It refers to the movement of the print head without squeezing the printing material out from the nozzle.
When travel speed is too slow, it could lead to stringing issues on the 3D printed object. A good travel speed for a 3D printer is 100 millimeters per second. But the optimum travel speed might differ for each 3D printer.
Here’s why you should aim for the accurate speed:
When the print speed is too slow, it could cause deformation due to the nozzle sitting on the plastic for too long. And when the speed is too fast, it results in ringing, which is caused by overly excessive vibrations.
Also, when you go too fast, the extruder might not be able to keep up and end extruding less filament than it should.
Hitting the sweet spot will enable the 3D printer to work fast, accurately, and flawlessly without sacrificing the quality of the output.
Print speeds and quality go hand-in-hand; that’s why it’s very important to use the right speed to achieve the desired results.
Overall, you will get a better quality output if you use a lower speed than a higher speed. However, that is only true when your 3D printer is not operating at its optimal conditions.
Also, some would argue that printing speed doesn’t impact print quality. That’s because other factors directly impact the print quality, which is as follows:
Type of 3D printer
The type of 3D printer will also affect the quality of the 3D prints without being influenced by the print speed.
A high-quality 3D printer can be set in a high-speed setting and achieve first-class quality 3D prints.
However, if you use a 3D printer of lower quality with the same speed, you won’t get the same high-quality results.
Type Of 3D Printing Material
The speed will be faster when using a high-quality support material because you do not need to keep unclogging the nozzle.
Also, you do not need to deal with support material getting stuck.
When you are done printing, you will remove the material without reducing the print quality.
How Fast Is A 3D Printer?
Several factors could affect a 3D printer’s speed and it’s necessary that you are aware of them, so you will have the proper expectations from your machine on how fast it could work.
Regardless of whether you are using a slow 3D printer or the fastest 3D printers, several factors directly affect how fast your printer could finish a certain project.
Let’s get into more details below.
Resolution of the 3D printed part
Part of the process before 3D printing is slicing the model into layers on a 3D slicer such as Cura or Repetier-Host.
The more layers, the thinner each layer and the longer it will take to print. For instance, a part printed with 50-micron layers will have twice as many layers as the same part printed with 100-micron layers and take twice as long at the same speed.
Quality of print
Theoretically, you could run a budget 3D printer at its maximum speed — make it work at extremely high speed.
However, do not expect it to yield a result the same as on your slicer. Instead, it will probably result in a mess because the speed was too fast.
Some 3D printers, especially fast 3D printers, can handle high-speed 3D printing, but others don’t, especially budget 3D printers with limited capacity.
3D printing technology
The technology used is another factor that affects the speed. Resin 3D printers are faster than FDM 3D printers.
Yes, that’s true; even expensive FDM printers are slower than low-cost LCD 3D printers.
Aside from resin technologies used in SLA, DLP and LCD 3D printers, the fastest 3D printing technologies include Multi Jet Fusion.
Here’s an overview of the different printing speeds of the different 3D printing technology.
|Maximum speed (claimed)
|Multi Jet Fusion
|2800 cm³/hr to 4000 cm3/hr
Materials or type of filaments use
3D printers cater to different filaments — ABS, PLA, PVA, PET, metal, sandstone, conductive PLA and more.
However, the filaments mentioned above have different complexity.
Some are easier to print than others because they put less demand on the printer and make it print faster.
The 3D object you are about to print could also affect the speed of your machine. Printing a simple box will be easier for a 3D printer to finish than an intricate 3D printed jewelry piece.
Printing a larger object that’s not complex could make the printer work at a faster print speed without significant loss of quality because there are no intricate details needed.
However, the more complex or intricate the model, the more slow the speed is to ensure that it could follow the design as it is.
This factor affects the amount of materials extruded — depending on the level of the infill percentage; it could be between 10% to 100%. Infill settings affect the 3D printing space depending on the complexity.
The more complex the pattern, the longer it will take to finish printing. The effect of infills on printing speeds is through density.
A heavy density infill could promote the strength of the model. However, it also means that 3D printing will take more time or the printing speed is slower.
Size of print
Obviously, the larger the object to 3D print, the longer it will take for the 3D printer to finish. A full-size vase printed using an FDM printer could take 12 hours or more. But a small statue could only take under an hour.
It is true, provided that the two models are not very complex and have a significant difference in their sizes.
For FDM 3D printers, the nozzle size matters in speed and performance. Smaller nozzles are great for working on models with intricate details.
Larger nozzles are not the best when printing objects with intricate details, but they can print faster.
How Fast Can The Fastest 3D Printer Print
There are a lot of fast 3D printers on the market today and the fastest FDM 3D printer — WASP 2040 PRO Turbo — could work as fast as 500mm/s.
Some said it could even print faster than that. Another great thing about it is that it is extremely accurate. However, DLP/SLA printers will always work faster than the fastest FDM 3D printer.
What Is A Good 3D Printing Speed
In 3D printing, everything is about speed — be it print speed, retraction speed, travel speed, low speed. Yes, everything revolves around speed. Thus, it is critical to get the right print speed to get a good print.
Here’s the recommended setting:
For slow 3D printers, it’s best to use 40 mm per second to 80mm per second. Mid-speed printers work best with 100mm per second. If you want to print faster, you can go 150mm per second. Fast-speed 3D printers can work beyond 150mm per second.
But you should note that there is no general print speed that works for all. There are many things that you need to consider to get the best print speed for your 3D desktop printer.
Here are some factors to consider:
Model’s outer wall. You should ask yourself, “how fast do you want the exterior of your model to be printed?” If your priority is surface quality, you better reduce the speed or opt for lower print speed settings.
Interior walls. For the interior, it is recommended that you use the same print speed in printing the overall model. The 3D printer speed needs to reduce the print time without lowering the 3D print strength.
Infill printing speed. For this, you also need to reduce printing time without compromising stability.
Bottom and top layers. For the last speed setting, you have to consider the top and bottom layers, and the best option is to go for a slightly lower print speed for better surface quality.
Print Speed Settings for PLA, ABS & More
Finding the right speed can be quite challenging, especially if you are new to 3D printing.
But after a bit of trial and error, you will surely be able to find what works best for your 3D printer’s software and hardware.
The different 3D printing materials have different recommended print settings.
Here’s the good print speed for PLA, ABS, and more, so you will know how to get started when using them. You can refer to the following section for that.
What is a good 3D printing speed for PLA? When using PLA, you can start in the 40-60 mm/s range. It will give a good balance of print quality and speed.
However, depending on your 3D printer type, stability and set-up, you can increase the speed up to 100 mm/s. Some achieved great results at a higher speed, but the quality of your printer matters too.
A good print speed for ABS is typically similar to PLA between 40-60 mm/s. However, you can increase if you have an enclosure around your printer.
You can print ABS filament at a speed of 60 mm/s and keep the first layer speed to 70% of that and see if it will work for you. It works well for adhesion in some cases, ensuring that enough plastic is extruded out of the nozzle for proper and safe adhesion.
For PETG filament, a good print speed starts in the range of 50-6- mm/s. The filament could rise to string issues, so some will usually opt for 40 mm/s, and according to them, they find good results. PETG is a blend of ABS and PLA; that’s why the recommended print speed is not too far from the two’s recommended settings.
If you are using TPU, you can start with a speed between 15 mm/s to 30 mm/s. The filament is soft and should be printed much slower than the average filament. But if you are using a Direct Drive extrusion system, you can increase the speed to about 40 mm/s.
You can go a bit higher from the recommended speed of 15 – 30 mm/s and experiment. But then again, always remember that this is best printed at a low speed.
A good 3D print speed for nylon is between 30 mm/s to 60 mm/s, but most print with 40 mm/s for great quality and great details. You can also go higher, like 70 mm/s, because it is still sustainable if you increase the nozzle temperature side by side.
10 Tips to Get the Best Print Speed Calculation
Print speed setting is important because it helps you to improve print quality, dimensional accuracy, and print strength.
In addition, it reduces problems such as warping or curling.
Yes, speed is very important because it has to do with your 3D printed model’s quality, accuracy and strength. With the right print setting, you can strike a perfect balance to achieve the three.
Here are some tips to increase print speed from 3D printerly. However, you should note that some of them might affect the quality of your print.
1. Increase print speed in slicer settings
Find the balance of your print speed in the slicer settings. It will be very helpful, especially if you depend on how big the print is because the size of the object is relatively related to printing time. Again, experiment to find the perfect balance of speed and quality, and in time, you will find it.
2. Adjust acceleration and jerk settings
Jerk settings refer to how fast the print head moves from a still position. When setting this, you want its movement to be smooth and fast at the same time.
You can test jerk settings by printing the vibration test cube and seeing whether the vibrations are visible on each axis by inspecting the corners, edges and letters on the cube.
Acceleration settings are how the print head gets to its top speed. A low acceleration means that the printer won’t get its top speed with smaller prints. Acceleration depends on several factors and is not the same in all of your 3D printing projects.
According to AK Eric, who did the test, comparing low jerk values (10) to high ones (40) on a 60 mm/sec speed made no difference in print speed. However, the lower value had better quality.
Increasing the speed at 120 mm/sec decreased printing time by 25% but at the expense of the quality. So, you can use the print speed settings to get what you want, but you might have to choose between speed and quality.
3. Infill pattern
For this, you can choose an infill pattern that prints faster than the others to save much time on increasing the print speed. The best has to be the “lines” pattern due to its simplicity and lower number of movements compared to other patterns. Depending on your model, the infill pattern can save you up to 25% of printing time.
The infill pattern is the strength of your model. It’s the honeycomb pattern. The more detailed it is, the more time it will take, because it will include more turns and movements to follow the pattern. If you want to print fast, you can adjust the infill pattern not to be that high.
4. Infill density
Density is what’s inside your print. An infill density of 0% means that the inside of the model is hallow. On the other hand, a 100% density infill means the inside will be solid. The density could depend on the purpose of the model.
For example, if you want a functional print, you should not sacrifice infill density to achieve the strength of the model. However, if it’s for aesthetics, it’s up to you to go all out for the density or skip it and focus on speed to reduce the print time.
5. Wall Thickness/shells
There is a relationship between the wall thickness or shells and density, so you should consider the other when adjusting either one. The good thing is getting a good ratio will help you achieve a great structure.
The thicker the wall, the longer the print till will be. To speed up the printing time, you can decrease the number of shells or perimeters of your prints in the settings.
You can play around with the print speed settings to find the perfect number, so you can maintain the strength while keeping it low to speed up the printing time.
6. Dynamic layer height/adaptive layer settings
You can adjust the layer height depending on the angle. Cura has this feature called adaptive layers or dynamic layer height.
It can improve the print speed and save you a decent amount of time compared to using the traditional layer method.
For example, 3D printing a chess piece without the adaptive layers setting takes 2 hours and 13 minutes.
However, using this featured in the speed settings could reduce the printing time by up to 30% down to 1 hour and 33 minutes.
7. Print multiple objects
To speed up the process, you can utilize all the space in the printer bed rather than doing one print at a time. To make it possible, use the center and arrange function in the slicer.
It will make a significant difference in the printing speed. However, this method might not apply to big prints.
Printing small objects will allow you to copy and paste the design multiple times on the print bed and print them all together simultaneously to speed up the entire process. Those who have tried this approach agreed that printing multiple objects could increase the speed.
8. Remove support
If your 3D object doesn’t need support, the printing time will be shorter. You can eliminate the need for support in many cases when you split the model in the right place and orient them properly.
So use the best orientation for your model, and you’ll definitely reduce the printing time. It is perfect if you want to increase printing speed.
9. Use a large nozzle when practical
Another great way to speed up the printing time is to use a large nozzle. However, doing so might not apply to all models and could reduce your print quality.
Using a large nozzle might not work when you are printing intricate models. But if your 3D objects are not as complex or intricate, go for a large nozzle to increase the printing speed.
There are many sizes of nozzles to choose from. Choose one that is most appropriate for your model.
• 4x 0.2mm nozzles
• 4x 0.3mm nozzles
• 36x 0.4mm nozzles
• 4x 0.5mm nozzles
• 4x 0.6mm nozzles
• 4x 0.8mm nozzles
• 4x 1mm nozzles
• 10 cleaning needles
10. Increase layer height
The lower the layer height, the better the quality of your prints, but the longer the 3D printing time takes. If quality is not the top priority, you can increase the layer height and improve the printing speed.
You have to familiarize your printer and explore its print speed settings to get the optimal speed and enjoy quality outputs without the unnecessary long wait.
There are many ways to increase print speeds like using a large nozzle and reducing layer thickness, but always consider the results because when the printer works too fast, it might not achieve the quality you desire.
Also, always remember that the different 3D printing technologies offer different 3D printing speeds. SLA printers will always work faster, even when compared to the fastest FDM 3D printer.
The printing speed will affect the quality of your 3D printed object, so always make sure to strike the right balance, so you will achieve the strength, quality, and look you desire for your 3D project.
If you wish to learn more about 3D printing, better check our 3d printing home page.