How to find optimal 3D printer settings

How to find optimal 3D printer settings

Although 3D printing technology has been evolving at quite impressive pace, beginner 3D printer users still face numerous challenges that they have to overcome in order to get results that satisfy their expectations. There are several crucial things that can influence whether the print will succeed or not.

One of those things is finding the best filament for your needs. 3Dprintmaterials.guru can help you with this part since you can choose 3d printing materials using easily understandable filament review information that is based on community generated filament test results.

Another just as important part is choosing the appropriate settings for your print. 3D printing has not yet reached the stage when all you have to do is just to click the “print” button and wait. Choosing settings that are not proper is one of the most common reasons why prints fail. Even good quality filament printed with inappropriate settings will generate bad result, therefore you should pay them attention.

The first thing to understand is that there is no such thing as one ultimate best settings that will fit every print. Optimal settings will be different for each case depending on 3D printer, chosen 3D print material, 3D model, its features and many more details. At first this process can seem confusing since there are plenty of different parameters that can be changed. In this article we will help you by starting to introduce you with few of the most important and most common parameters and their influence.

1. Temperature. Important thing to take into account regarding printing temperature is that for different filaments the preferable temperature can differ quite significantly. Even the same brand and plastic but different color 3D print materials can have different characteristics.

Mostly manufacturers indicate the suggested printing temperature for each filament. However, usually these ranges are quite wide and produce very different outcomes, therefore here are some things to consider when finding the best one. Firstly, setting too high temperature will lead to situation when filament starts leaking. You should try to avoid that because it will result in unnecessary artefacts and threads that have hanging loose. On contrary, insufficient temperature will lead to the case when layers will have difficulties sticking together, therefore either the detail will be very fragile or even it might not match the model.

2. Printing speed. Obviously, this parameter influences how long time it takes to print the detail. The faster the extruder will be moving while extruding filament, the faster the detail will be build. However, there are several reasons why you should be careful not to set the speed too high.

Firstly, if the speed is too high it might be the case that the extruder will lay down next layer although the previous layer had not managed to cool down. This will cause unnecessary bends, cavities and other defects of the detail. Too high printing speed can also result in messy and inaccurate look of the print. This might be particularly important when printing models with many highly-detailed parts.

Similarly like with temperature you should also be careful not to set the speed too slow. We say it not only because it will take longer time but also because slow printing speed can cause problems when it comes to bridging since it may lead to sagging threads.

On very extreme cases when printing huge models, setting slow speed can result in situation when previous layer had cooled down too much, therefore making it harder for layers to stick together.

3. Layer thickness. The main influence of layer thickness will be on surface quality and how detailed the print will look. The smaller layer thickness you will choose, the smoother and more detailed the result surface will be, therefore in an essence it can be perceived as resolution. However, most of consumer class FDM 3D printers can print only about 0.1 mm and larger layers because they are quite limited when it comes to smaller layer thickness.

On contrary since it is the height of each layer, the smaller layer thickness you will set the longer it will take to build the detail because there will be more layers to print, therefore in cases when you don’t need the model to be highly detailed you can set higher layer thickness.

We also have some recommendations how to approach the process of finding the optimal settings. Our first suggestion for beginner 3D printer users would be to learn from other 3D printing community members. On 3Dprintmaterials.guru platform you can take a look at what settings other community members used for each of reviewed filaments and see detailed results and pictures of the outcome. Moreover, for each review you can find information about 3 different prints, therefore you can directly follow and see how changing each parameter influenced the quality and which set of parameters produced the best outcome.

Secondly, play around with these parameters yourself to get to know your printer better and learn how it interacts with different 3D print materials. Lastly, our suggestion would be to start with changing one parameter at the time, therefore you will be able to observe exact influence of each parameter and make conclusions from that.

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