How to Get the Perfect Printing & Bed Temperature Settings
One of the most important factors when it comes to 3D printing is getting your temperatures correct, but even more so, getting them perfect.
There are a few key ways that you’ll see 3D printing professionals dial-in and optimize their settings, so this article will give you a good idea of how to get that done.
Keep on reading for some useful details and information on improving your 3D printing quality and experience for your 3D printing journey.
What is the Best Printing Temperature for 3D Printing?
Every 3D printer comes with its own set of unique characteristics. Similarly, the printing temperature depends on the type of material you will be using to print items with.
There is no single best printing temperature; it varies greatly with the kind of printer and filament you use. A variety of factors determines the printing temperature best-suited to the material you work with.
They consist of layer height, print speed settings, and nozzle diameter, to name a few.
Before printing, make sure you have a clean and level bed. It is an indispensable part of the printing process.
Best Printing Temperature for PLA
Polylactic acid aka PLA is the gold standard for most thermoplastic printing applications. Formulated with plant-based materials and polymers, this non-toxic, low-odor material does not require the use of a heated bed.
Out of the most popular PLA filaments on Amazon, the recommended printing temperature is in the range of 180-220°C.
Best Printing Temperature for ABS
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene aka ABS is a highly durable and impact resistant filament that prints at a higher temperature than most materials. A heated bed is preferred for best results.
Out of the most popular ABS filaments on Amazon, the recommended printing temperature is in the range of 210-260°C.
Best Printing Temperature for PETG
Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol aka PETG filament is a fine alternative to PLA and ABS, due to its toughness, clarity, and stiffness. You can print over a vast array of conditions and enjoy increased durability at a light weight.
Out of the most popular PETG filaments on Amazon, the recommended printing temperature is in the range of 230-260°C.
Best Printing Temperature for TPU
TPU is the ultimate choice for printing specialized, dynamic designs. Highly elastic and flexible, it’s resistant to abrasion and oils, ensuring durability and performance.
With proper settings, TPU is easy to print thanks to excellent bed adhesion and the filament’s tendency to not warp. Out of the most popular TPU filaments on Amazon, the recommended printing temperature is in the range of 190-230°C.
What is the Best Bed Temperature for 3D Printing?
Heated beds play a crucial role during printing. Reason being that a heated bed ensures better bed adhesion, improved print quality, minimal warping, and effortless print removal.
As mentioned earlier, there is no ideal bed temperature. The best way to find out the optimal bed temperature for your 3D printer is by experimenting. Although filaments come with a recommended bed temperature, they are not always accurate.
You need to adjust print settings and find out what works best for you.
Best Bed Temperature for PLA
PLA is a relatively easy filament to work with. However, issues like sloppiness, poor bed adhesion, and warping can arise if you don’t adjust your bed temperature properly. Out of the most popular PLA filaments on Amazon, the recommended bed temperature is in the range of 40-60°C.
Best Bed Temperature for ABS
ABS enjoys the reputation of being slightly tricky to print with. Bed adhesion is a common issue that users deal with when printing with ABS filament. Thus, getting your bed temperature right is of utmost importance.
Out of the most popular ABS filaments on Amazon, the recommended bed temperature is in the range of 80-110°C.
Best Printing Temperature for PETG
PETG is renowned for having the strength and durability of ABS and effortless printing process of PLA. However, it is not immune to defects. You must find the best bed temperature for your printer by trial and error.
Out of the most popular PETG filaments on Amazon, the recommended bed temperature is in the range of 70-90°C.
Best Bed Temperature for TPU
TPU is a highly popular flexible filament known for its strength and durability. A heated bed is recommended while 3D printing with TPU filament for best results.
Out of the most popular TPU filaments on Amazon, the recommended bed temperature is in the range of 40-60°C.
How Do You Get the Best Printing & Bed Temperature?
Getting the print and bed temperature right plays a significant role in determining the quality of your print. Often, new users and enthusiasts have a hard time knowing what works best with their 3D printers.
An ideal way to know the best printing temperature for your printer is with the help of a temperature tower. A temperature tower, as the name suggests, is a tower 3D printed using different temperature ranges, with one stack on another.
When you 3D print using different temperature ranges, you can see the difference between each layer of the print. It will help you know the best and worst printing temperature for your printer.
A temperature tower is an excellent way to know the best print settings for your 3D printer.
Cura has now added an in-built temperature tower, as well as other calibration tools in the slicer.
The video below by CHEP starts off with a retraction tower, but also explains how to create the temperature tower within Cura, so I’d recommend following this video for getting the best printing temperature.
As far as bed temperature is concerned, we recommend following the filament manufacturer’s guidelines. However, you must also test them since ambient temperatures are not always accurate and can result in differences.
You want to make slight adjustments depending on if you are 3D printing in a cold room or warm room, but it shouldn’t make a massive difference.
How Hot Should Your 3D Printer Bed Be?
Your heated bed is ideal for the best results and a seamless printing experience. However, it is only possible if the bed temperature is set at an appropriate degree. The heat of your print bed largely depends on the kind of filament you are using.
It carries a lot of importance as it helps avoid printing issues like poor bed adhesion, warping, and difficult print removal. That being said, you must seek a temperature that is not too hot or too cold.
A print bed too hot can result in the filament not being able to cool and harden fast enough and may give rise to a condition called Elephant’s foot, where the melted filament blob will surround your print.
A print bed too cold will harden the extruded filament too soon and can result in poor bed adhesion and a failed print.
The key to a proper bed temperature lies in experimenting and using good quality filaments. These filaments come with a recommended bed temperature that you can follow.
However, we also suggest you find the temperature best suited for your 3D printer through trial and error.
Should I Use a Heated Bed for PLA?
While PLA does not necessarily require a heated bed, it is beneficial to have one. Printing PLA on a heated bed has a wide range of benefits. A heated bed means strong bed adhesion, minimal warping, easy print removal, and improved print quality.
Many 3D printers that have PLA as their main printing material don’t have a heated bed at all, so it’s very possible to 3D print PLA without a heated bed.
Using a heated bed while printing will open doors for you. It equips you with the freedom to not only print PLA but a variety of other materials as well. Users and enthusiasts from all over the world recommend using a heated bed while printing PLA.
How to Fix PLA Bed Temperature Warping
Warping is one of the most common printing issues users have to deal with frequently. Although PLA is a filament that is least prone to warping, you need to have measures in place to combat it.
Listed below are a few things you need to take care of:
Make Heated Bed Adjustments
Using a heated bed is the first thing we recommend adjusting to eliminate warping and provide good bed adhesion. It can prevent warping by regulating the temperature. A PEI build surface works very well.
I’d recommend getting the Gizmo Dorks PEI Build Surface from Amazon. It is made in the USA and is really easy to install on top of your existing build platforms like glass due to the laminated adhesive that peels off smoothly.
They advertise that you may not even need to use additional adhesives or tape if you make use of this specialized 3D print surface, even for ABS which is known for warping a lot.
Level & Clean Your Print Bed
Leveling the bed may sound cliché but it plays an important role. If you don’t level the bed properly, your prints are a lot less likely to the stick to the build surface.
You should learn how to properly level your print bed so that the nozzle is the ideal distance from the print bed. When you print your first layer, it shouldn’t be digging into the build surface, or be drooping down onto the bed.
There’s a certain distance where your nozzle pushes out the filament enough where it squishes a little on the build surface, enough for proper adhesion. Doing this will lead to better adhesion and less warping overall.
Likewise, cleaning the bed is equally important.
A dirty and improperly leveled bed can result in poor bed adhesion and warping. You’ll be surprised how much small a small smudge or a bit of dust from your general area can reduce your bed adhesion.
Many people use something like the CareTouch Alcohol 2-Ply Prep Pads (300) from Amazon for their bed cleaning needs.
Equally, you can use something like the Solimo 50% Isopropyl Alcohol from Amazon, along with paper towels to clean up your build surface.
Using an Enclosure
Utilizing an enclosure while printing can help prevent warping to a large extent. A closed chamber can maintain a constant temperature throughout the printing process, along with reducing negative effects from drafts and thus, avoid warping.
You want to make sure temperatures don’t get too hot though since PLA is a low-temperature filament, so try to leave a slightly open space in your enclosure.
Plenty of 3D printer hobbyists have gone with the Creality Fireproof & Dustproof Enclosure from Amazon. Not only does it prevent dust from decreasing your bed adhesion, it keeps in the heat to a good level that improves overall printing quality and success.
On top of these benefits, in the unlikely event of a fire, the flame retardant material means that the enclosure would melt rather than light on fire so it doesn’t spread. You also get some sweet noise reduction from your 3D printer.
For more information about enclosures, I’d recommend checking out my other article 3D Printer Enclosures: Temperature & Ventilation Guide.
Make Use of Adhesives
Adhesives – Using adhesives can go a long way in preventing warping. Elmer’s glue and the standard Blue Painter’s tape are some of the popular adhesives that creators use while printing with PLA.
Using an adhesive can usually solve your bed adhesion and warping problems in one go, especially if you get the right product. Some people have had success with Elmer’s Glue Sticks or Blue Painter’s Tape from Amazon.
These can work really well.
Many people swear by the very popular Layerneer 3D Printer Adhesive Bed Weld Glue from Amazon.
Although it is fairly pricey, it has several positive ratings and rates 4.5/5.0 at time of writing.
With this specialized 3D printer glue you’re getting:
- A long-lasting product that can be used several times on a single coating – it’s able to be recharged with a wet sponge
- A product that costs pennies per print
- Low odor and water-soluble item that works very well
- An easy to apply glue that won’t accidentally spill with the “No-Mess Applicator”.
- A 90-day manufacturer guarantee – full money back if it doesn’t work for you.
Best Ambient Temperature for 3D Printing PLA, ABS
The most important thing about your ambient temperature for 3D printing PLA or ABS is that you have temperature stability, rather than worrying about the specific best temperature.
Regardless of the temperature, as long as it’s within a fairly common range, and isn’t extreme, you’ll find pretty similar results in print quality.
What I would advise is for you to make use of an enclosure to keep temperature stable, as well as to block out any drafts that may come about because that resulting change in temperature can lead to warping in your prints.
If you do want a best ambient temperature for 3D printing ABS or PLA, I’d go for between 15-32°C (60-90°F).