Budget-friendly 3D printers are the rage these days, with their prices and improved performance becoming a compelling choice for beginners.
3D printers of today far exceed the performance and print speed of their older counterparts.
When we say ‘print speed,’ we refer to the time it takes for a printer to produce a single print.
In terms of 3D printers, print speed is the amount of manufactured material over a given time limit. The unit of time is in hours, and the unit of material is in kg, mm, or cm3. The print speed refers to only the build stage, which is a sub-component of the entire process.
Without upgrades, the ideal print speed for the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) is 50-60 mm/s. You can print low speed (40-50mm/s) for detailed prints and high speed (70-80mm/s) for rougher models and prototypes.
With upgrades like the Klipper open-source firmware, you can easily increase the print speed to 100 mm/s. Klipper is meant to work with a 3D printer mainboard alongside an additional single-board computer, like a Raspberry Pi. It utilizes the additional computing power to assist the mainboard in processing commands and cancels out resonances/vibrations with stepper movements, allowing you to print faster and more precisely.
This article will give you an understanding of the print speed of the most affordable and popular 3D printer today, the Creality Ender 3 (Pro/V2). We will review Ender 3 print speed briefly and look at various factors that affect its speed.
What is the Ender 3 Print Speed?
There are few equals to Ender 3 when it comes to affordability and seamless performance. The Ender 3 series has an excellent print speed and uses high-quality parts. It means that it can create materials far more quickly than its other printers using inferior components.
The point to consider here is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to Ender 3 print speed. There are settings that relate to printing pace and the quality of result it generates. In most cases, print speed is a setting that decides the speed of the nozzle movement.
Here we refer to speed as the least amount of time taken in creating a build using the highest speed settings. We have to assume that the default calculations drive speed settings similar to various other printers that use the same size print bed.
What is the Fastest Print Speed for Ender 3?
According to Creality, the maximum print speed of the Ender 3 is 200 mm/s.
However, this is misleading because it usually refers to the speed of a travel move rather than a print move. If aesthetics aren’t a priority on your part then you can print between 90-120 mm/s for function over form. That said, the ideal printing (move) speed for most users is 50-60 mm/s.
The speed may vary depending on various factors like filament and upgrades to your printer.
Fastest Print Speed in Reality
The fastest print speed of an Ender 3 printer depends on the filament you choose. PLA can give you about 60mm/s speed, while a Klipper-assisted Ender 3 can do 120-150mm/s for standard prints with fewer aesthetic requirements. Models with aesthetics go for about 60-70mm/s.
Factors that Affect Print Speed
Factor 1: Filament Choice
The first factor that influences Ender 3 print speed is the filament type. There are various types of filaments available, each with its strength and print speed. Here we will discuss the most used filament of choice, namely, PLA, TPU, PETG, and ABS.
PLA is the most basic filament that beginners use and learn to print. It is an easy to print, biodegradable product with medium strength and low flexibility. Typically you can print around 60mm/s with this filament.
PLA has low difficulty in usage with minimal shrinkage and is non-soluble. Bed temperature is 20–60 °C but usually not required.
If you want to see our review of the best PLA filament check out this article.
TPU is a highly flexible, rubber-like filament that prints at a much slower speed compared to PLA or PETG. Due to its softness, the material needs to print slowly at the speed of 20-40mm/s maximum.
TPU is low strength and high flexibility material that need no heated bed to start printing. Compared to other filaments, TPU has more rigidity, making it easier to print. It also has a better capability to retain elasticity in cold.
PETG is a filament material that prints at a much hotter temperature than PLA. It is an all-purpose, durable filament material with medium strength and high flexibility that are great for outdoor prints. Due to its durability, your printed builds can withstand high temperatures compared to PLA.
The print speed of PETG is the same as that of PLA, which is 60mm/s. Due to its stringy nature, the speed needs to decrease to 40mm/s, which is an ideal print pace. It also does not require any heated bed for printing.
Check out our review of the best PETG filament brands here.
ABS is an impact-resistant and durable filament usually used to form functional parts. This filament type is best suited for experienced users, as it requires an enclosure around it to print.
Typically it prints at the same speed as that of PLA or PETG, which is 40-60mm/s. However, it needs a bed temperature of 50-100 °C to print with medium strength and high durability.
Products made of ABS boast high durability and a capacity to withstand higher temperatures. However, users have to remain wary of the warping that happens during cooling or in potentially hazardous fumes. Ensure printing in a well-ventilated space or enclosure.
Factor 2: Model Detail, Size, and Complexity
The level of detail, size, and complexity depicted in a model affect the Ender 3 print speed. The more detail you need in a model, the slower speed you should go with (with lower limits).
Ender 3 is a regular-sized machine with a standard nozzle, motor, and stepper setup in terms of size. The print speed general guidelines are: low speed (40-50mm/s) for detailed prints and high speed (70-80mm/s) for rougher models.
The more detailed the print, the better it is to slow the speed to avoid any deformation in the model.
Factor 3: Ender 3 Quirks
The maximum speed of an Ender 3 model goes to 200mm/s (according to the manufacturer). However, some users may take the speed much faster than its usual settings. This model’s primary limitation is maintaining a level bed since the assembly is more fragile (not as sturdy) compared to other printers.
If you have a slight wobble in the plate, the machine has difficulty in maintaining the build due to high inertia in back and forth moves. Higher speeds may disturb the required dimensions and size of the model. Hence durability is something of concern when using this machine.
When it comes to Ender 3 print speed, there is no universal speed limit. The speed depends totally on filament choice, model details, and the limitation of maintaining the level bed. The key to reaping the benefit from the speed lies in keeping the machine well-tuned and experimenting with different settings.
Additionally, these cheaper 3D printers have different qualities according to specific units. Even the most extensive of testing might not provide sufficient answers. The best way is to try out the device and experiment with different filaments and speeds.