3D Printing Speed – what is it?

The Printing Speed in 3D printers is one of the parameters to take into account when preparing the file, and can affect two different planes: the speed of realization of an object, and the final quality. 3D printing is unfortunately not as instantaneous as document printing. 3D printing of an object as simple and small as a normal cup of coffee can take several hours. Long printing times can be a source of frustration, especially if we are not mentally inclined to wait. On the other hand, the plastic used for the realization of objects must exit from a nozzle smaller than half a millimeter, and it takes 5 to 10 layers (depending on the setting) for a millimeter of construction!



Therefore each Slicer software has the setting to control the overall print speed (simply called Printing Speed) and several other separate settings to control the printing speed of special structures such as walls, infill, support etc.

Not to mention accelerations, decelerations and change-of-direction speeds. To allow us to customize as much as possible, according to specific needs.

Setting the printing speed

As a rule, the special settings we set in software always take precedence over setting the overall speed (Printing Speed). Although in this mini guide we want to focus on setting the overall speed and its effects.

The Printing Speed setting refers to the speed at which the print head moves during printing. The default value is normally between 40 mm/s and 60 mm/s.

To reduce printing time, simply increase this speed. However, you need to keep in mind that the increase in printing speed also affects other things and that you need to make the necessary changes accordingly.

When the print head travels faster, the filament may not have enough time to melt and exit the nozzle. This usually translates into fragile patterns. Usually it is possible to solve this problem by increasing the extruder temperature so that the plastic can melt faster.

Higher printer speed, however, implies that the printer head will shake abruptly in direction changes and vibrate more vigorously. As a result, the model could show a very deteriorated surface quality! Therefore higher print speeds usually result in a worse final quality.

Let’s see in this photo how it worsens print quality as speed increases:

Printing Speed

How to find the optimal Printing Speed?

To find the optimal speed it is advisable to start from a moderate speed, for example 45 mm/s and experiment climbing in steps of 5 mm/s at a time. This means, 45 mm/s, and with satisfactory printing 50mm/s and so on until you find the “machine limit”. From test photos we can say that the machine limit is 60mm/s, so we will have to opt for a lower value.

If you cannot increase speed without degrading quality, another idea is simply to increase the Fill Speed setting. This setting controls the speed at which the fill (or infill) is printed without affecting the printing speed of other parts of the model. Because the fill is invisible, the quality of the fill is of little importance. .

In some situations, when we aim for the best possible quality it may be necessary to reduce the printing speed. If you are printing highly detailed models, a lower print speed will help you reproduce the details more accurately.

There are also some filaments like Flexible filaments that require lower print speed settings, depending on the softness. The softer filaments cannot exceed 15mm/s. By clicking HERE you can find a guide on how to print flexible filaments.

Filament manufacturers often indicate a “recommended printing speed” for their special filaments. For highly detailed models.

Print speed at the TOP

If for you the printing speed is a matter of research and development, and you want to be able to print at maximum speed you will have to make some changes to the 3D printer. There are basically two changes that you need to think about for an increase in speed.

3D Printer Frame Reinforcement

The reinforcement of the 3D printer with special angular can lead you to print faster by raising the bar of the print qualitatively acceptable. So maybe even raise the maximum threshold of 20 mm/s. The expense for this change is minimal, and it is very easy to realize. To proceed you have to get angular brakets, better metal, but also acceptable 3D printed, T-nuts and screws. The job will consist only of placing these angles in the joints and fixing them with screws and T.nut.

Here’s what you need:

Here is my achievement:

Printing SpeedPrinting SpeedPrinting Speed

velocità di stampaHot End change with Volcano

This unique Hot end Volcano is specially designed by E3D to increase the flow of material to the nozzle. Especially for Delta printers, which thanks to their peculiar movement can easily reach up to 300 mm/s. This hotend looks totally normal. Except for the fact that the heating box is vertically. This position increases by about 3 times the amount of material that is dissolved simultaneously.

So that’s about three times more material, and it turns out the speed is triple! Look to the picture how a Volcano hotend is made, with the heating cube vertically.

Consecuently even the nozzle (which is not visible when assembled) is very different and has a much longer thread than normal.

When purchasing this upgrade you can opt for the original, higher quality or for a replica. I leave you several alternatives. There are 2 substantial things to pay attention to:

Be sure to take the electric version (12v or 24v) compatible with your printer. And then take the desired version, Direct Drive or Bowden.


Printing Speed: Conclusions

3D printing is an activity of waiting, and a component of expectation is also what keeps us attached to these “magic” machines. Surely you can try to push on speed as proof of technical improvement. Try to see the limits of the print.

If you try to play with parameters you will soon find that, without some hardware modification as above, the increase in print speed will bring surely only problems. This combined with the fact that the completion time does not decrease proportionately. This means that if a print at 50 mm/s will take 1 hour to complete, a print at 25 mm/s will not take 2, but 1 and a half. This is because there are a series of moments: the slow change of direction, the speed of movement, the jerk of the axes and other parameters that remain unchanged and could compromise the printing if setted randomly!

3D printing seems to follow the old saying, who goes slowly, goes healthy and goes far!

If you have found this post useful, please LIKE on Easy 3D Home Facebook’s page to receive updates on all the news of the Blog! You can find other guides about 3D in our Guides section!

Leave a Reply