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How to build the fastest 3D printer on earth… for under $600

Your guide to achieving 25 times faster print speeds (1000 mm/s!) from an Ender 3

Let’s see, where to start?

I used to have a stock, slow, boring Ender 3 V2 and now I can technically print a Bency in under 4 minutes.

Your silly stock Creality Ender 3 V2 printer maxes out at ~100mm/s – or a flow rate of 9 mm^3/s printing at a 0.2mm height and 0.45mm extrusion width.

But if you follow along, you’ll be able to push over 52 mm^3/s (aka 579mm/s at 0.2mm height & 0.45mm width… or 1,303 mm/s at 0.1mm height & 0.45mm width).

I’ll do the math for you, that’s 5.7 times more plastic pumping out of my printer in the same amount of time.

My Ender 3 V2 “Hurricane”. Able to push a ton of filament… now it’s time to upgrade the steppers and get linear rails. ©Makershop

52mm^3/s is technically fast enough to print a benchy in under 4 minutes.

Of course, at those speeds flow rate is no longer what limits your print speed.

But we’ll get to that.

(And yes, here’s proof that a Benchy can be printed in sub-4 minutes, first accomplished by 3DPrintFun.)

So, how do we build a printer that can print at 1000 mm/s without breaking?

There are four main things you need to do to 3D print at crazy fast speeds.

  1. Boost your volumetric flow rate to at least 45mm^3 per second
  2. Overhaul your part-cooling system
  3. Get your bed to move fast enough by boosting your stepper motor torque, cutting weight, and reducing friction
  4. Upgrade to Klipper firmware (then tune, tune, tune it).

Depending on if you get a deal on your starting printer, you should be able to do all of this and buy the printer for under $600.

Let’s start at the first bottleneck to print speed and look at a low-cost way of boosting speeds by 33% – even if you ignore everything else.

how to Increase print speed – boost your volumetric flow rate

The volumetric flow rate is the total plastic you can push through your hotend.

And your hotend setup and extruder are the first major bottlenecks caused by most 3D printers, especially Creality Ender 3’s and Ender 3 clones.

Namely:

  1. The extruder gears suck and can’t push filament with enough force and
  2. The hotend is usually “meh” powered at a pitiful 40 watts.

Here’s what you need to do to boost your flow rate:

  1. Get a (much) better hotend
  2. Upgrade to a high-end extruder assembly
  3. Boost everything by 30% with a Bondtech CHT nozzle.

Increase print speed on any 3D printer by 30% in 10 minutes for $20.

Right now, go buy a 0.6mm CHT nozzle. It’s the best $20 you’ll spend.

No, you can’t get them on Amazon.

The CHT nozzle uses a patented (and super cool) design that splits your filament into three smaller pieces.

The Bondtech CHT nozzle is a thing of engineering beauty. Please ignore my hangnail. ©Makershop

By splitting filament into smaller pieces there is more surface area touching your heating element. That means you can heat the center of the filament easier, allowing you to push 30% more filament.

For a friggin’ $20 and the time it takes to change a nozzle.

It’s literally the cheapest, easiest upgrade to boosting your max printer speed.

I could keep going but you should just go get one at Slice Engineering if you plan on upgrading your hotend to a V6 style mount like the ones I recommend below (you should).

If you’re sticking with a stock Creality “MK8” hotend you can get a CHT for it direct from Bondtec.

The CHT is offered in both but they’re not interchangeable.

Next, you’ll need to upgrade your hotend.

My choice was the Phaetus Rapido (Phateus Rapido Review).

It comes in high flow and Ultra High Flow.

What’s the difference?

The high flow comes with a “Volcano” length nozzle and a collar, allowing for a larger melt zone.

Phaetus Rapido Ultra High Flow (UHF) disassembled nozzle
Phaetus Rapido Ultra High Flow (UHF) assembled

Go UHF if you’re not planning on getting the CHT.

If you do get the CHT, it doesn’t matter if you go high flow or ultra high flow – you’ll be swapping out the nozzle anyways.

But what’s so special about the Rapido (especially if you’re changing the nozzle)?

Phaetus Rapido assembled into a HeroMe Gen6 cooling system.

See the white cylinder just above the nozzle?

That’s a 360° wrap-around heater rated at 100 watts – 2.5 times more powerful than your stock printer.

This allows a much more direct heat transfer and heats up in literally 10 seconds from dead cold.

It’s bananas.

Last up, the extruder.

The stock extruder on an Ender 3 series (up until the Ender 3 S1 printers) is trash.

If it’s not cracked, it will be.

Soon.

Also, the teeth on the extruder gears are flat and crap.

After a ton of research and trying to talk myself into the Alibaba drop-shipped “red” all-metal extruders, I just couldn’t do it.

It’s clear that most of the Amazon/Alibaba reviews are fake and the ones that aren’t had major issues within a month or two.

We need speed, and speed demands a tight grip on our filament so the extruder can push hard.

So I went with the Micro Swiss Bowden Dual Gear Extruder. It’s the only thing I really couldn’t compromise on budget.

Micro Swiss Bowden Dual Gear Extruder Compatible with Creality Ender, CR10, CR-10 Pro, CR-10S, CR6-SE, Tornado
198 Reviews
Micro Swiss Bowden Dual Gear Extruder Compatible with Creality Ender, CR10, CR-10 Pro, CR-10S, CR6-SE, Tornado
  • Fits: Bowden extruder machines, Fits NEMA 17 size stepper motors
  • Fits: Ender 3, 5, 6, CR10, CR-10s Pro, CR-10S, CR6-SE, Tornado
  • Made in USA by Micro Swiss

Now, the right thing would be to buy a direct drive extruder with built-in pancake motor.

And it might be the way I have to go.

But for now, we’re seeing how far we can get on a Bowden setup as it saves considerable mass off of the print head.

Overhaul your cooling system

You’ll need to upgrade three things:

You can reuse old wiring but be sure to match new voltages or use a step down buck converter to turn the stock 24v into 12v.

Boost torque, cut weight, and reduce friction

As of now, this is where I am. I’ve included some resources for you to use as I continue researching and testing.

Step 1: Boost torque

Step 2: Cut weight

There are always another few grams you can shave off your weight.

That said, here’s where I’m at (so far).

The Creality Ender 3 V2 comes with a glass bed weighing in at ~510g. The problem is, at high speed that’s a lot of mass to be throwing back and forth on your Y-axis.

My first crack at fixing this was to buy the official Official Creality Flexible Magnetic PEI Sheet.

It cut ~180g off of my weight but I think we can still do better and it seems there are several new, cheaper, and (possibly) lighter options:

On sale! Save $2.40Bestseller No. 1
Creality Original Ultra Removable Magnetic 3D Printer Build Surface Heated Bed Cover Ender 3/Ender 3 Pro/Ender 3 V2/Ender 5 Pro/Ender 5 3D Printer 235X235MM
5,328 Reviews
Creality Original Ultra Removable Magnetic 3D Printer Build Surface Heated Bed Cover Ender 3/Ender 3 Pro/Ender 3 V2/Ender 5 Pro/Ender 5 3D Printer 235X235MM
  • ATTENTION BEFORE USE:Firstly, please make sure the bottom of the soft magnetic sticker and the top...
  • ALL NEW FUNCTIONALITY: Introducing the first ever removable, magnetically secured, build surface for...
  • EASY MODEL REMOVAL: The first 3D printing surface designed with model removal in mind. This surface...
  • CUSTOMIZABLE: The flexible surface can easily be cut to any demensions making it perfect for all...
Bestseller No. 2
PEI Magnetic Flexible Frosted Surface Heated Bed 235x235mm for Ender 3/Ender 3 V2/Ender 3 Pro/Ender 3 S1/Ender 3 Prox/Ender 5/Ender 5 Pro
1,057 Reviews
PEI Magnetic Flexible Frosted Surface Heated Bed 235x235mm for Ender 3/Ender 3 V2/Ender 3 Pro/Ender 3 S1/Ender 3 Prox/Ender 5/Ender 5 Pro
  • Spring stainless steel, PEI powder sprayed on the surface, golden yellow on the back. Flexible,...
  • The flexible surface can easily be cut to any dimension making it perfect for all build sizes and...
  • Easy to adhere to the printing surface, easy to remove the prints, flex slightly to pop your print...
  • When used in a 3D printing application, PEI is excellent because it can withstand the numerous heat...
On sale! Save $3.00Bestseller No. 3
Creality Ender 3 Build Plate Ultra Flexible Removable Magnetic Build Surface Hot Bed Cover for Ender 3/Ender 3 Pro/Ender 3 V2/Ender 5/Ender 5 Pro/Ender 3 S1, 235X235MM
1,214 Reviews
Creality Ender 3 Build Plate Ultra Flexible Removable Magnetic Build Surface Hot Bed Cover for Ender 3/Ender 3 Pro/Ender 3 V2/Ender 5/Ender 5 Pro/Ender 3 S1, 235X235MM
  • Super Convenient: This magnetic sheet has great adhesion, prints can be sticked on the surface...
  • Excellent Performance: This magnetic bed has strong flexibility and heat resistance up to 70 ℃...
  • Easy to Install: Magnetic bed comes with upper matte magnetic build plate and lower magnetic...
  • Universal: With 235mm x 235mm size, this 3d printer kit is suitable for all FDM printer models, and...

Step 3: Reduce friction

At high speeds there’s one thing for certain: you’re going to smoke the V-wheels on a stock Ender 3 series printer.

I’m currently testing various linear rails. While Amazon has several options (top 3 listed below) but they can be hit-or-miss, so we’ll be looking into other vendors’ options as well.

Bestseller No. 1
UniTak3D Ender 3 Pro V2 Linear Rail X-axis Conversion Kit MGN12H MGN12C Linear Guide Carriage Bracket Mods Upgrade (Linear Rail NOT Included)
163 Reviews
UniTak3D Ender 3 Pro V2 Linear Rail X-axis Conversion Kit MGN12H MGN12C Linear Guide Carriage Bracket Mods Upgrade (Linear Rail NOT Included)
  • 【Application】:This Ender 3 series linear rail bracket is widely compatible with Ender 3 V2,Ender...
  • 【X-axis Upgrade】:This conversion plate allows you to upgrade your 3d printer's X-axis with...
  • 【Linear Motion Advantage】:Upgrading the POM wheels with linear guide will highly improve print...
  • 【Easy Installation】: No firmware or wiring modification.Just bolt on the bracket with included...
Bestseller No. 2
Haldis 3D Upgrade 3D Printer Kits,Black Knight Aluminium Alloy Profile Modular Y Carriage Plate Includes Kits and Belt Screws for Ender 3 v2(with Hiwin Rails)
16 Reviews
Haldis 3D Upgrade 3D Printer Kits,Black Knight Aluminium Alloy Profile Modular Y Carriage Plate Includes Kits and Belt Screws for Ender 3 v2(with Hiwin Rails)
  • [SUPER DURABLE MATERIAL]: Made of high quality aluminum alloys, Increase the stability of the 3D...
  • [PREMIUM PERFORMANCE]: High quality CNC processing manufacturing,this upgrade kits has higher...
  • [APPLICABLE MODELS]: This Sets we named Black Knight, It was specifically designed and developed for...
  • [WITH HIWIN RAILS]: High quality original hiwin rails,Ensure the printing more smooth.NOTE: This...
Bestseller No. 3
[Gulfcoast Robotics] MGN12 Linear Rail Precision Motion Kit for Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 V2 (Dual Rails, Ender 3 V2)
15 Reviews
[Gulfcoast Robotics] MGN12 Linear Rail Precision Motion Kit for Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 V2 (Dual Rails, Ender 3 V2)
  • Upgrades the Ender 3 Y axis linear motion system for superior performance
  • Eliminates backlash and wheel binding to improve the overall print quality
  • Available as either a single or dual rail configuration for maximum bed stability
  • Steel MGN12 rails and ball bearings reduce maintenance due to low wear and tear

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Until then, check out this printer by 3dprinterfun hitting 1000 mm/s.

1000 mm/s 3d prints by 3dprinterfun
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.