What is the Best Print Speed for 3D Printing? Perfect Settings

One of the key settings you’ll find with your 3D printer is the speed settings, which simply enough, changes the speed of your 3D printer. There are many types of speed settings within the overall speed setting which you can adjust.

This article will attempt to simplify these settings and guide you on the right track for getting the best speed settings for your 3D printer.

What is the Speed Setting in 3D Printing?

When we talk about the printing speed of a 3D printer, we mean how fast or slow the nozzle moves around the part to print each layer of thermoplastic filament. All of us want our prints quickly, but the best quality usually comes from slower printing speeds.

If you check Cura or any other slicer software that you’re using, you’ll find that “Speed” has a section of its own under the Settings tab.

It all depends on how you tweak this setting. Different changes will have their own variations of results. This is what makes speed a fundamental aspect of 3D printing.

Since it is such a vast factor, speed cannot be covered by one setting alone. This is why you’ll observe several settings within this section. Let’s take a look at these below.

  • Print Speed – the speed at which printing occurs
  • Infill Speed – the speed of infill printing
  • Wall Speed – the speed at which walls are printed
  • Outer Wall Speed – the speed at which outer walls are printed
  • Inner Wall Speed – the speed at which inner walls are printed
  • Top/Bottom Speed – the speed at which the top and bottom layers are printed
  • Travel Speed – the moving speed of the print head
  • Initial Layer Speed – the speed for the initial layer
  • Initial Layer Print Speed – the speed at which the first layer is printed
  • Initial Layer Travel Speed – the speed of the print head when printing the initial layer
  • Skirt/Brim Speed – the speed at which skirts and brims are printed
  • Number of Slower Layers – the number of layers that will be specifically printed slowly
  • Equalize Filament Flow – controls the speed when printing thin lines automatically
  • Enable Acceleration Control – adjusts acceleration of the print head automatically
  • Enable Jerk Control – adjusts the jerk of the print head automatically

Print speed directly affects infill, wall, outer, and inner wall speed. Should you change the first setting, the rest will adjust on their own. You can still, however, change the subsequent settings individually.

On the other hand, travel speed and initial layer speed are lone settings and have to be adjusted one by one. Although initial layer speed does influence initial layer print speed and initial layer travel speed.

The default print speed in Cura is 60 mm/s which is a satisfactory all-rounder. That said, there are great differences in changing this speed to other values, and I’ll talk about all of them down below.

Print speed is a simple concept. What’s not so simple is the factors that it directly affects. Before getting into the perfect print speed settings, let’s see what does it help with.

What Do 3D Printing Speed Settings Help With?

Print speed settings help with:

  • Improving print quality
  • Making sure your part’s dimensional accuracy is on point
  • Strengthening your prints
  • Helping reduce problems such as warping or curling

Speed has a lot to do with your part’s quality, accuracy, and strength. The right speed settings can strike the perfect balance between all said factors.

For instance, if you see that your prints are suffering from poor quality and aren’t as accurate as you’d like them to be, reduce the printing speed by 20-30 mm/s and check out for the results.

Several users have said how tinkering around with print settings has brought forth amazing outcomes especially when they were experiencing issues with their parts.

For part strength and good adhesion, consider changing the “Initial Layer Speed” and experiment with different values. The right setting here can definitely help with your first few layers which are the foundation of a solid print.

As the speed of the print head increases, more momentum starts to build up, which usually leads to a jerky movement. This can cause ringing in your prints and other similar imperfections.

To solve this issue, you can reduce your travel speed a bit, alongside decreasing print speed in general as well. Doing this should increase your printing success rate, as well as improving the overall print quality and dimensionally accuracy.

Some materials such as TPU require a significantly lower printing speed to even come out successful.

I’d recommend using other methods to speed up your 3D prints. I wrote an article titled 8 Ways How to Speed Up Your 3D Printer Without Losing Qualitywhich you should check out.

How Do I Get the Perfect Print Speed Settings?

The best way to find the perfect print speed settings is by starting your print at the default speed setting, which is 60 mm/s and then changing it in increments of 5 mm/s.

The perfect print speed settings are the ones that you observe yourself after consistent trial and error. Repeatedly going up or down from the 60 mm/s mark is bound to pay off sooner or later.

This usually depends on the type of print you’re trying to go for, either strong parts in less time or more detailed parts that take considerably more time.

Looking around, I’ve found out that people usually go with 30-40 mm/s to print parts that look really nice.

For the inner perimeters, the speed can be increased up to 60 mm/s easily, but when it comes to the outer perimeters, a lot of people half that value and print somewhere around 30 mm/s.

You can reach higher 3D printing speeds with a Delta 3D printer vs a Cartesian printer, though you can increase your speed capabilities by increasing stability, and improving your hotend.

Getting the perfect printing speed all comes down to many factors, such as how much you want the highest quality, as well as how fine-tuned your machine is.

Experimentation is what can lead you to find the optimum print speed settings that works better for your 3D printer and material.

This is because not every material is the same. Either you can get high-quality prints at lowered speeds, or average quality prints at fast speeds for more efficient purposes.

That said, there are materials that allow you to print fast and get amazing quality as well such as PEEK. This, obviously, falls down to the material you’re printing with.

This is why I’m going to tell you good printing speeds for 3D printers in general and for some popular materials as well down below.

What is a Good Print Speed for 3D Printers?

A good print speed for 3D printing ranges from 40mm/s to 100mm/s, with 60 mm/s being the recommended. The best printing speed for quality tends to be in the lower ranges, but at the cost of time. You can test print speed by printing a speed tower to see the effect of different speeds on quality.

However, you should know that your print speed shouldn’t be too slow. This can overheat the print head and cause major print imperfections.

On the same side, going too fast might ruin your print by giving rise to certain print artifacts like ringing. Ringing is mostly caused by overly excessive vibrations of the print head when the speed is too fast.

I wrote a post about Ghosting/Ringing/Echoing/Rippling – How To Solve which can help you improve your print quality if you are being affected by this issue.

With this out of the way, let’s take a look at some good print speeds for popular filaments.

What is a Good Print Speed for PLA?

A good print speed for PLA usually falls in the 40-60 mm/s range, giving a good balance of print quality and speed. Depending on your 3D printer type, stability, and set up, you can reach speeds above 100 mm/s easily. Delta 3D printers are going to allow for higher speeds compared to Cartesian.

For most users, I’d recommend sticking to the range, but there are instances where people have used a higher print speed and had great results.

You can also try increasing the speed, but yet again in increments. PLA’s low-maintenance nature allows one to increase speed and get good quality prints as well. Be careful, however, not to overdo it.

What is a Good Print Speed for ABS?

A good print speed for ABS typically lies between the 40-60 mm/s range, the same as PLA. The speed can be increased even more if you’ve got an enclosure around your 3D printer and other factors such as temperature and stability are kept well in check. 

If you print ABS at a speed of 60 mm/s, try keeping the first layer speed to 70% of that and see if it works out for you.

In some cases, this can greatly help with adhesion by making sure that enough plastic is being extruded out of the nozzle to adhere properly.

What is a Good Print Speed for PETG?

A good print speed for PETG is in the range of 50-60 mm/s. Since this filament can give rise to stringing issues, many people have tried printing relatively slow—about 40 mm/s—and have found good results as well. 

PETG is a blend of ABS and PLA, borrowing the latter’s user-friendliness while consisting of ABS’s temperature resistant properties. This is also a reason that this filament prints at higher temperatures, so watch out for that too.

For the first layer, go with 25 mm/s and see what that brings as a result. You can always experiment as well to see what works better for your 3D printer.

What is a Good Print Speed for TPU?

TPU prints best in the range of 15 mm/s to 30 mm/s. This is a soft material that’s usually printed much slower than your average or default print speed which is 60 mm/s. If you have a Direct Drive extrusion system, however, you can increase the speed to about 40 mm/s. 

Anywhere between 15 mm/s to 30 mm/s is usually fine, but you can experiment and go a bit higher than that, similar to the strategy with the rest of the filaments.

Bowden setups struggle with flexible filaments. If you’ve got one, it’s best that you print slowly while keeping your 3D printer’s composure.

What is a Good Print Speed for Nylon?

You can print Nylon anywhere between 30 mm/s to 60 mm/s. Higher speeds like 70 mm/s are also sustainable if you increase your nozzle temperature side by side. Most users print with 40 mm/s for great quality and high details.  

Increasing the nozzle temperature is necessary if you want to achieve high speeds when printing with Nylon. This can help prevent under-extrusion since that becomes an issue when going very fast.

What is the Best Print Speed for the Ender 3?

For the Ender 3 which is a great budget 3D printer, you can print as low as 40-50 mm/s for detailed parts with aesthetic appeal, or go as fast as 70 mm/s for mechanical parts that can compromise on details.

Some users have even gone way beyond that by printing at 100-120 mm/s, but this speed mostly works well on upgrade parts that do not affect their function.

If you want your prints to be upright beautiful, I recommend going with a 55 mm/s print speed that balances speed and quality perfectly.

Apart from all this, I’d like to mention that experimentation is key here. You can use the Cura software and slice any model to find out how long it’ll take to print.

You can then go through some test models with varying speeds to check where quality drops and where it does not.

I wrote an article about the best filament for Ender 3, so you can definitely refer to that for more details on the subject.

For PLA, ABS, PETG, and Nylon, a good range for speed is 30 mm/s to 60 mm/s. Since the Ender 3 features a Bowden-style extrusion system, you’ll have to be careful with flexible filaments like TPU.

For these, go slow at about 20 mm/s and you should be fine. Many users say that decreasing your speed while printing flexible works great with the Ender 3.

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