By Andy Leer
There are a lot of things that can affect how long your print takes to print. Everything from the type of material to the style of 3D printer you’re using and, of course, all of your slicer settings. For those unfamiliar with 3D printing lingo, a "slicer" is the application you use to take your 3D printed file, usually in .stl format. and write instructions that your 3D printer can understand. There are a lot of settings and options, so we’re going to take a look at a few settings that can help reduce the total time it takes to 3D print your file.
The slicer we’ll be using in this article is Ultimaker Cura - be sure you have the latest version! As Ultimaker Cura has speed options, the obvious solution seems to be to simply start bumping up numbers. If your printer is well-tuned and everything is working at peak performance this may work for you. However, anytime you increase the speed of your print you risk overall quality. For demonstration purposes, we've set up a cube within Ultimaker Cura.
Generally, on a stock Ender 3 or Ender 3 V2 I tend to not go above 70mm/s, often sticking to around 50-60 mms/s. On flexible materials, you will want to reduce the speed even further so as not to ruin your print. I recommend around 45 mm/s.
So with speed explored a bit, what other items can we adjust? Layer height is one area we can make up some time. By taking this 40mm cube from .2mm layer height to .3mm layer height we can save ~30min. with all other settings staying the same. By printing fewer layers your part will not be as smooth though depending on your use case, this may not be an issue. For most of my prints, a .3 mm layer height is fine enough.
Layer height @ .2mm
Layer height @ .3mm
Adjusting the infill can also help in improving the time it takes to print your part. Taking this cube again, at .3mm, from 30% to 15%infill reduced the time printed by 23 minutes. The type of infill can also change the length of time of the print. A lot of folks now are recommending “lightning” infill which saved an additional 10 min. Keep in mind that lightning infill may not be the best for parts that will be under any weight or stress as it doesn't have the same strength, but for display prints, like models or figurines, this may be a great way to shave off some time.
Infill @ 15% Zig Zag.
Currently, our cube is set up to print with three layers on all sides - top, bottom, and edge walls. This helps with rigidity overall but may be unnecessary depending on the print. If we reduce the layers from three to two, we can save 21 minutes. You’ll want to make sure your top and bottom layers are a multiple of your layer height, though, so if your layer height is .3mm, for 2 top and 2 bottom layers, set it to .6mm
Outer Walls and Top\Bottom Layers @ 2
With all of these modifications, we were able to take this 40mm cube running @ 70mm/s from 1 hour 48 min. to roughly 55 min. That’s quite a time savings in the 3D world. Of course, we’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg here. There are many other things to consider, especially when using supports or other advanced functions. The more time you spend 3D printing the more you’ll pick up on what you’re able to adjust and how you can create effectively timed 3D prints.
Thanks for sharing! Great tips here!
Thank you for this helps me help customers with 3d printing questions
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