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 (40-50 mm/s) for detailed prints and high speed (70-80 mm/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.
Table of Contents
- What is the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Print Speed?
- What is the Fastest Print Speed for Ender 3?
- Fastest Print Speed in Reality
- Factors that Affect Print Speed
- How to Increase or Decrease the Print Speed of Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
- Upgrades of Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to Print Faster
- Print Speed VS Print Quality
- Final Verdict
What is the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Print Speed?
There are few equals to Ender 3 when it comes to affordability and seamless performance. The Ender 3 (Pro/V2) has 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 results 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 very misleading because this speed is the hardware limit for how fast the extruder stepper motor on the Ender 3 can move, not the actual highest reasonable print speed on the Ender 3.
The actual fastest print speed for the Ender 3 is more like 90-120 mm/s, and it should only be used if you’re okay with losing a good bit of print quality. That said, the ideal printing (move) speed for most users is 50-60 mm/s. At this speed, your part will still come out with details and good print quality.
Fastest Print Speed in Reality
In actuality, the highest print speed for a typical user printing PLA on a Creality Ender 3 is 60-70 mm/s. However, you can go even faster, in the 100-130 mm/s range, if you fine-tune your slicer settings and connect a Klipper server to your printer’s motherboard. But I can only suggest doing this if you’re prepared to invest a lot of time and effort into your printer.
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, a 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.
Check out our review of the best ABS filaments.
Factor 2: Model Detail, Size, and Complexity
Besides material, the complexity of your model also plays a part in determining what print speed you can use on your Ender 3.
If a 3D model has a lot of small and intricate detail, then a slower print speed is required because these features of the print job require more time and care to come out well. If printed too fast, the detail on the print will look really bad, hurting the quality of your model.
So, the less detail, the better!
The general rule of thumb is that a low speed (40-50 mm/s) is best for printing detailed models, like miniatures or intricate figurines. And, for rougher, more-simplistic models, you can get away with a high print speed in the 70-80 mm/s range.
Factor 3: Ender 3 Quirks
Our last factor that influences what print speed you can use has to do with the specific quirks of the Ender 3.
First off, the bed leveling matters. If you’ve used an Ender 3 before, then you already know this, but if you don’t level the bed, there’s no telling what problems will occur. As such, make sure to go through the four-point manual bed leveling process before testing the print speed.
Second, you might notice that the print bed on your Ender 3 has a slight wobble to it, which could be due to the screws or bearings on the bed carriage coming loose after a lot of fast, high-inertia movements. If this is the case, make sure to give those bolts a good tighten so that your bed can move back and forth smoothly and securely.
Lastly, the Ender 3’s stock extruder is plastic. If you’ve replaced it with a metal one, hooray! If not, I advise you to do so because the plastic extruder degrades quickly over time and if it’s too worn, it might start to cause problems with the printing process, resulting in issues with the print speed.
How to Increase or Decrease the Print Speed of Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
Increasing or decreasing the print speed for the Ender 3 is done on your 3D slicer software, like Cura or PrusaSlicer. There are actually a handful of different speed settings in most slicers, but changing the main print speed setting usually changes the rest of them automatically, so you don’t have to.
The first thing you’ll want to do if you want to change the print speed is open up your 3D slicer software. I love to use Cura because of how customizable it is!
Then, scroll down to the “Speed” section or use the search bar and look up “speed”. Here, you’ll find all the relevant print speed settings, including “Print Speed”, which is the main setting, as well as some sub-speed settings like “Infill Speed”, “Wall Speed”, and more.
I suggest changing the “Print Speed” to 60 mm/s for the Ender 3, but if you have another value in mind, go with that.
Cura will then automatically change the other speed settings, like infill speed and wall speed, based on this main speed setting. But you can also manually change these settings too. Personally, I like to use an infill speed of 60 mm/s, a wall speed of 45 mm/s, and a top/bottom speed of 45 mm/s, and these settings work for a lot of Ender 3 users, so feel free to copy them.
Upgrades of Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to Print Faster
There are a few hardware changes you can make to your Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to print faster, which I’ve gone over below. If implemented correctly, these upgrades will enable you to use higher print speeds without seeing a drop in print quality.
The extruder is easily the most important physical part of the 3D printer when it comes to print speed because it’s the assembly that’s actually responsible for pushing filament. You might want to upgrade the extruder on your Ender 3 to print faster because the stock assembly is pretty low-quality.
Moreover, the stock extruder is primarily plastic and has been known to cause issues when used with high print speeds. Upgrading to an all-metal extruder can allow you to use higher print speeds and also improve the quality of prints.
The nozzle that comes on the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) has a standard 0.4-mm diameter exit hole. However, you can achieve much higher print speeds by switching to a larger nozzle, which is a nozzle that has a wider exit hole.
For example, using a 0.8-mm nozzle on your Ender 3 will enable you to safely run speeds between 70-80 mm/s. Just make sure you also increase the nozzle temperature adequately as more heat is needed for higher filament flow!
Some other diameters include 0.5, 0.6, 1.0, and even 1.2 mm! You also have a few material options, including brass, hardened steel, stainless steel, or ruby! Feel free to check out our articles about the best Ender 3 nozzle sizes and the best nozzle options!
The hot end of a 3D printer regulates the flow of filament and this, in one way or another, affects what print speed you can use. The stock hot end on the Ender 3 (Pro/V2) print can only reach up to 260 °C, which is relatively weak. Upgrading to a more powerful hot end, like the E3D V6, which can go as hot as 300 °C, will enable you to use faster print speeds.
A higher-temperature hot end allows for the use of higher print speeds because more heat means more filament can flow through the throat of the assembly and out the nozzle. A hot end like the E3D V6 or Slice Engineering Mosquito, which was designed for high-flow printing, can sustain high temperatures and fast print speeds!
You can check out our article all about the best hot end upgrades for the Ender 3 to learn more about your options. And it’s worth noting that all of the hot ends from that list can handle higher print speeds than the stock hot end.
Once you’ve got a hot end picked out, make sure that you 3D print (or purchase) the right mount to install it on your machine!
Lastly, you should upgrade the fans on your Ender 3 if you want to use higher-than-normal print speeds.
Cooling is just as important as heating on a 3D printer because, once the melted filament comes out of the nozzle, it needs to be cooled to solidify properly, so the next layer can be laid down. The stock part cooling fan on the Ender 3 is honestly a joke and should be replaced with a more powerful fan, like a 5015 cooler fan.
A 5015 fan, like the one linked above, will provide more than enough cooling power to allow for high print speeds, like 120+ mm/s. Just make sure you have a printhead mount that has a fitting for this type of fan or use a different, compatible option!
Print Speed VS Print Quality
A common misconception is between print speed and print quality, but the two couldn’t be any more different.
Print speed describes how fast your Ender 3 is pushing out the filament and can be controlled in your 3D slicer software with a few specific settings. The higher you set the print speed value in your slicer, the faster your Ender 3 will actually print.
On the other hand, print quality is a term that describes how well your 3D prints come out. Print quality doesn’t describe any one element of a print but instead the overall quality. If a model has good print quality, then all of its detail looks good, the shell is printed well, etc.
Print speed and print quality are considered to have an inverse relationship. Moreover, as you increase the print speed, the print quality usually declines. While this isn’t always true, it can be if you don’t change the right settings or you change settings too much, too fast.
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.