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Ender 3 Print Speed: Recommended settings and max possible

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Learn about the Ender 3 Print Speed, how to maximize it (for free and for cheap), and what the best print speeds are for PLA, PETG, TPU, and other filaments.

Can you get a good print speed and good print quality from an Ender 3 series?

Yes… if you know how to calibrate it.

Ender 3 series 3d printers (Ender 3, Ender 3 Pro, Ender 3 V2, and Ender 3 S1 – listed from cheapest/oldest to most expensive & newest) are quite affordable… which means they also need some love out of the box.

My first 3D printer was an Ender 3 V2 and, after printing for a day or two, the first thing I thought was “how can I make my Ender 3 v2 print faster?

Fun fact: as of this writing the fastest Ender 3 can print at over 1000 mm/s and print a Benchy in under four minutes instead of the typical 1.5 hours it usually takes.

But for those of us with a stock or slightly modified Ender 3, our print times are much, much slower than 1000mm/s.

So what’s the Ender 3’s print speed and what print speed settings should you use for the best print-to-quality?

The maximum listed mechanical speed of an Ender 3 series 3D printer (Pro & V2 included) is 200 mm/s. But the max actual print speed is often closer to 40 or 60mm/s depending on your material, line height, and nozzle size.

Let’s dig into why there’s such a difference between mechanical and actual print speeds.

My work-in-progress Ender 3 V2… being built for bananas speed (goal = 1000mm/s and a sub 10 minute, quality benchy)

Get the Ender 3 on Amazon for only $221.99

There is no ‘one size fits all’ print speed. This is because there are quite a few settings related to printing pace.

In most slicer engine software programs, “printing speed” is a setting that used to calculate various settings that will decide how fast the nozzle will move.

Here we will refer to speed as the least amount of time needed to create a part when the machine is set to its fastest speed setting. Let’s assume we’ll use the default calculations to derive the other speed settings just like various other printers using a similar-sized printer bed.

What is the fastest the Ender 3 Pro, max, or V2 can print?

Creality lists the mechanical max print speed for a stock Creality Ender 3 3D printer as 200 mm/s.

BUT, the maximum print speed of any 3D printer is usually limited by the flow rate from your hotend.

Typical volumetric flow rates are 8mm³/s to 12mm³/s, depending on your hotend setup. These flow rates translate to 90-100mm/s and 140-150mm/s (respectively) at 0.2mm layer height with a 0.4mm nozzle depending on how your slicer handles the math.

The max speed also depends on the type of filament you use, what STL/model you’re building, and how nice you’d like the part to look.

But if you really want to have an incredible print speed, learn how to build a 1000mm/s Ender 3 for under $600.

What is the fastest an Ender 3 can realistically print?

The fastest you can print depends on:

  1. The filament you have
  2. The nozzle diameter you have
  3. The later height you’re printing with

For example, PLA would give you 60 mm/s while other filaments would have their own ranges. Keep scrolling for stock (0.4mm nozzle, 0.2mm layer height) speeds for your Ender 3 based on material or

Check out the Ender 3’s recommended print settings here

What Factors affect print speed?

Apart from the filaments used, there are also many other factors that are responsible for printing speeds.

how the Size and Complexity of the Model affects your ender 3’s print speed

Imagine trying to paint the Sistine Chapel in a day. To print detailed models you’ll need to slow your print speed to reduce artifacts such as ringing and ghosting.

For an Ender 3 (pro/V2) plan on 40 to 50 mm/s for detailed builds or as high as 70 to 80 mm/s for rough models and builds.

how Your ender 3 Hotend affects your print speed

Print speeds are limited by physics, namely, how much filament can you melt and solidify in a given amount of time. This is known as volumetric flow rate and is your real physical limitation on print speeds.

More on that in the next section.

how your Slicer settings affect your ender 3’s print speed

A few settings make a huge difference on print speeds and print times. Layer height, number of perimeters, and amount and type of infill are major culprits.

Perimeters generally print slower than infill. Having too much infill adds weight, time, cost without any gain. And types of infill can make a massive difference in print speed.

How to make the ender 3 print faster (without upgrades)

There are two major ways to decrease your print times and increase print speed:

  1. Increase volumetric flow rate
  2. Adjust your model settings

200mm/s is not really your print speed, it’s a movement speed… even when printing.

When trying to print faster, it’s critical to focus on how much filament your printer can put down per second. This is known as the volumetric flow rate.

For example, a 1.6mm nozzle printing at 20mm/s will put down exactly as much filament as a 0.4mm nozzle printing at 80mm/s.

So, to print as fast as possible without upgrading you must:

  1. Calculate your maximum flow rate (which will be different for each printer) then
  2. Calculate your maximum print speed – or linear speed – based on the max flow rate.

How to calculate the max flow rate for a stock Ender 3 (v2/pro)

To find the max speeds for your printer, you need first to find the maximum volumetric flow rate for any given combination of nozzle size, material, and speed. You first pick a filament and temperature, then manually feed Gcode to your printer pushing more and more filament until it eventually starts clicking.

Why do this?

Every hotend is limited by how much energy (heat) it can send to the filament to melt it.

Hotend temperature will temporarily drop if you try to shove filament through faster than the hotend can heat it. When the hotend temp drops you’ll get under-extrusion, extruder clicking, and uneven print widths.

It’s gonna be a bad time.

For a very detailed walkthrough and discussion of testing methodologies, see Bob’s project notebook on calibrating volumetric flow rate.

Calculating your max print speed from the volumetric flow rate

Now that you know your maximum VFR, here’s how to calculate your maximum linear print speed from your volumetric flow rate

Total Time: 1 minute

  1. Find your layer height and extrusion width (not nozzle width)

    In Prusa Slicer you can command/control + f (to search) and type “extrusion width” to find your settings.

    I use the largest width (Prusa allows for different widths depending on line type – aka external perimeter vs infill) to be sure that I don’t under extrude a feature.

  2. Divide Volumetric flow rate by line height

    Be sure to keep units consistent – so this should be mm (usually 0.2mm for drafts/quick prints, 0.1mm to 0.15mm for finer detail)

  3. then divide that number by the extrusion width

    It’s important that you use the extrusion width, not the nozzle width, as this is the actual flow of material leaving your hotend. Again, be sure to use consistent units (mm, typically)

  4. You’re done

    Your result should be roughly 100mm/s, up to 200 and not likely below 80.

    If your result falls outside of that and you started with 8-12mm^3/s then check your math.

    For reference, the math is:
    Linear speed (mm/s) = VolumetricFlowRate(mm^3/s) / (lineHeight(mm) * extrusionWidth(mm))

Adjust model settings to print faster with your ender 3 (pro/v2)

What upgrades will make the ender 3 (v1/pro/v2) print faster?

Bondtech CHT nozzle – $20 and 2 minutes for 30% faster Ender 3 print speed

The cheapest and fastest way to improve print speed is to get yourself a CHT nozzle. They split filament into three parts – allowing faster heating of the filament and increasing flow rate by 30%.

For $20 – it’s the fastest and cheapest way to boost print speed. They’re also offered in MK8 (Stock Creality) and RepRap (aka M6)… though the MK8s are harder to find and the stock Creality hotend is a great thing to swap out.

The CHT Nozzle by Bondtech will give you an immediate 30% speed boost.

All metal extruder to juice your ender 3 print speed

Next up, ditch your plastic extruder with the stock Creality gears. You have a lot of options, but I went with the Micro Swiss Bowden Dual Gear Extruder.

Holding the stock Ender 3 V2 extruder (notice the brass gear with large teeth) next to my new Micro Swiss dual gear extruder.

How fast can the Ender 5 print?

A well-calibrated Ender 5 can print at linear speeds of 80-120mm/s. This is because the Ender 5 is nearly a CoreXY setup, where the bed only moves up & down (the Z axis) and the print head moves in the XY plane.

This allows for faster print speeds as the actual printed item stays still.

It also means that you’re not slinging the bed around, which for an Ender 3 weighs nearly 1 kilogram (the glass alone is ~500g). Not an issue at low speed but a major issue when printing fast.

Due to the CoreXY-ish setup, the printing pace of the Ender 5 is faster than the Ender 3 series counterparts.

Depending on the material you can usually print good quality prints at around 80mm/s and craft high-quality models without compromising the overall quality of your prints.

In summary

There are no universal speeds for 3D printers and the general rule is “slow” (~40mm/s).

They are dependent on the filaments and personal quarks of the specific printer when it comes to build times.

To optimize the pace of your printer, keep the machine well-tuned and experiment with it to find the optimal settings for your 3D printer.

Also, if you want to increase your print speed be sure to:

  1. Measure and set the actual average diameter of your filament,
  2. calibrate your e-steps,
  3. calculate your max volumetric flow rate (see above),

And it wouldn’t hurt to print a better part-cooling system.

Good luck and be sure to check out our build where we’re aiming to print at over 1000 mm/s for less than $600 including the cost of the printer (or, at least print a benchy in under 10 minutes for that price).

Photo of author

Garrett Dunham

A trained Mechanical Engineer and lifelong tinker, Garrett chose to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's engineering proram because they had a 3D printer... back when they were called "rapid prototypers". "The first time I held something I designed and 3D printed, my mind exploded. Just hours earlier my idea was just a thought - and now it's a thing I'm holding." Now, years later, Garrett brings his love of tinkering, inventing, engineering, and 3D printing to the Makershop community.

3 thoughts on “Ender 3 Print Speed: Recommended settings and max possible”

  1. You’re estimates seem very low. I routinely print PLA with my Ender 3 Pro (properly calibrated esteps, linear advance, etc) at 150 mm/s and achieve exceptional results.

    • Thanks for the heads up, Greg. I’m the new owner of Makershop and am working on cleaning and updating content. Got a reference for us to link to on calibrating so we can hit 150 mm/s?

      Thanks mate!

      • Went back and re-wrote the article. My Ender 3 V2 is pushing ~12.8 mm^3/s. At a 0.45mm extrusion width and 0.2mm height, that gives me a max linear speed of 142mm/s. To get past 150, I’d have to reduce the layer height (0.16mm H = 177mm max speed) or nozzle width.

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