How To Get Perfect Prints On Your Ender 3
Creality's Ender 3, Ender 3 Pro, and Ender 3 V2 are possibly the most famous 3D printer family of all time, offering an economical starting point in the field of 3D printing. The Creality Ender 3 has a variety of features that make it one of the most popular machines on the market today.
It includes a 220 x 220 x 250mm build capacity, power recovery mode, a tight filament channel that makes printing flexible materials easier, and a heated build plate similar to BuildTak. These are features that are hard to come by in even more costly printers.
Although there are better 3D printers on the market, none appear to combine quality and affordability quite like the Creality Ender 3. To attain the optimal print quality, a little adjusting and patience may be required.
This article contains information about the right setting to help you get seamless prints with Ender 3. This will help save your time and save you the stress of first making bad prints while trying to get the right setting.
Most of the popular filaments like PLA, ABS, and PETG can be used on Ender 3. But before printing with any of these filaments on your Ender 3, you will need to ensure the Cura software is installed and running. Cura is an open-source slicing software used in most 3D applications. This is where we’ll do most of the alterations to achieve an ideal print.
Although there are other slicing software available for use, Cura is the most common with Ender 3 and we shall work with that in this article.
If you don’t have Cura installed, you can download the software to your system (Mac, Windows, or Linux operating system) from the Ultimaker website. Install and open the software, then add your printer profile (Creality Ender 3). Select the material you are printing from the “material” drop-down menu.
There are default settings on the Cura program for each material. The default setting on Cura will certainly work for Ender 3, however, to obtain the best results, you will have to make some adjustments.
Now, let’s go over the Cura setting; explaining each variable and recommending the best values for some of the most popular 3D printing filaments. Let’s get right into it.
- Layer height
The layer height is simply the exact height of each layer of 3D printing filament extruded. Adjusting this setting can influence the print speed, resolution, and surface smoothness. Generally, increasing the layer height leads to an increase in print speed and a decrease in the resolution and quality of your print.
Therefore, to get high-quality prints, you will have to find the perfect value for your printer. For Ender 3, the perfect values are in multiples of 0.04mm; 0.08mm, 0.12mm, 0.16m, 0.20mm, 0.24mm.
For finer detail but slower print speed, a layer height of 0.12mm is ideal. You might want to use an initial layer height of 0.20 or 0.24mm to get a thicker first layer. If you don’t mind coarse details, you can use a layer height of 0.20mm throughout to get a faster print speed.
- Hot End Temperature
Temperature is unarguably one of the most important settings. If you don’t set the temperature right, you might end up getting blobs, and curling or you may even have to deal with under extrusion or over extrusion as the case may be. Each 3D printing filament has its own hot end temperature range.
For example, the printing temperature range for PLA is between 180 – 220 °C, while that for PETG is between 220 – 245 °C and that for ABS ranges from 220 – 250 °C. When printing with Ender 3, we recommend a hot end temperature of 200 °C for PLA, 230 °C for ABS, and 240 °C for PETG.
- Bed Temperature
Much like the hot end temperature, the bed temperature is also a very important setting. This determines how well your print adheres to the build platform. This variable is also a factor of the 3D printing filament.
The bed temperature for PLA ranges from 60 – 70 °C, ABS; from 100 – 120 °C, and PETG from 70 - 80°C. With the Creality Ender 3 printer, we recommend 50°C for PLA, 70°C for PETG, and 110 °C for ABS.
While working with ABS, it is advisable to preserve the heat around the heatbed by building an enclosure to prevent warping and layer splitting.
Retraction refers to the process of pulling back your filament when the print head is not working to prevent stringing, oozing, and other difficulties. You can set the retraction speed and retraction distance for any filament you are printing to minimize stringing.
The recommended retraction distance and retraction speed for ABS, PLA, and PETG on Ender 3 are 6mm at 40mm/s, 6mm at 25mm/s, and 4mm at 25mm/s respectively.
The printing speed may affect your print greatly. Usually faster printing speed results in low-quality prints. Mind you, printing too slowly is also a problem as it causes the hot end to clog.
Hence, it is essential we find the perfect print speed for seamless results. Different materials usually have their own printing speed range. But on Ender 3, we recommend the following speeds for the various filaments listed below:
It is advisable to use an initial layer speed of 30mm/s to give the first layers time to stick to the build platform.
Another variable to consider is the travel speed which determines how quickly your printer moves when it is not printing. For Ender 3, we recommend a travel speed of 150mm/s.
The infill setting has a direct impact on the weight and strength of your print. The infill setting also affects the print time; where a strong infill setting increases the print time and a weaker infill setting reduces the time required.
The value you choose to use is dependent on the application of the item you intend to print. The functional print will definitely need stronger infill settings to increase the strength of the item. Decorative prints on the other hand which are generally lightweight will require lower infill settings.
Using Ender 3, we recommend an infill setting of 0 – 15% for light items, 15 – 30% for standard prints, and 50 – 100% for functional or stronger prints.
Listed and explained above are the slicer variables and the ideal values to get a perfect print using Creality Ender 3.
While you can set the machine and trust it to print perfect items, there are several tips that you can employ to ensure you always get perfect prints. We’ll talk about those next.
- Proper Care of Filaments
You have to ensure you keep your filaments in a conducive environment to keep their quality intact. Bad quality filaments will definitely result in bad prints. Some filaments are hygroscopic, which means they absorb moisture from the environment. Such filaments need to be kept in a cool and dry place to protect them.
Also endeavor to use high-quality filaments for your prints because if the raw material (filament) is bad, then you can expect the finished product to be of the same grade as well.
- Post Processing Your Prints
This is a relevant technique that you can employ to further enhance your prints. It’s more like giving the print a finishing touch. 3D post-processing methods include gluing, sanding, smoothing, polishing, etc. This technique can help improve your printed item’s aesthetics, strength, and some other properties.
- Stabilize Your Printer
Imagine printing an item with a printer placed on a vibrating surface. The result is a messy print. You can avoid this by placing your printer on a stable vibration-free surface.
Vibrations may also come from within the printer itself. This affects the print head and ultimately, the print itself. To combat this, inspect the problem and tackle it to avoid further damage to your print.
- Using Cooling Fans
Just as there are different 3D printing filaments, there are also various cooling requirements for each. It is important that you know the right cooling setting for your preferred filament. For example, PLA requires the fan to be up 100% while ABS and PETG require a low fan setting, around 20-30% for good results.
Note that it is advisable to leave the fan at 0% for the first layers to ensure it sticks to the build platform. The presence of a fan hastens the cooling process and this will ultimately result in poor print quality.
- Frequent Maintenance of Your Printer
Ensure you clean your printer to prevent debris or dirt from clogging the nozzle. Then, always try to fix any faults, replace damaged parts, and download updates that can benefit you. Many software updates include features to improve performance and fix bugs. This might be beneficial to you in enhancing your prints.
The Creality Ender 3 3D printer is a good choice for both beginners and professionals. Its pocket-friendly price as well as certain features of the machine makes it one of the most common 3D printers in use today. On the part of the Ender 3 printer, we have talked about the different slicer variables and their recommended values to get an ideal print. We also provided some tips you can employ on your part to ensure the smooth running of the machine, as well as to further enhance your prints