High Speed Printing Guide
Welcome to our High-speed printer guide on the importance of increased hot-end temperatures to ensure material flow in the new range of high-speed printers. We will explore the benefits of high-speed printing and discuss the factors affecting material flow to provide you with practical tips to optimize your hot-end temperatures. Let's get this started and get you printing faster than you have ever printed before.
Understanding High-Speed Printing
So what is High-speed printing? It’s been around for some time now although only really available as an off-the-shelf option since the back end of 2022. Pre-2022 you could build your own high-speed printer with the likes of a Voron and RatRigs being popular high-performance kit build options. These are limiting options for a large percentage of customers, as both need to be built and also programmed with the likes of Kipper.
In late 2022 along came Bambu Labs with their X1 Carbon and P1P. Both printers being out the box solutions and negate the effort and experience required to build them from scratch. At this stage, the barrier to entry was lowered and high-speed printing broke into the mainstream market.
As a viable option for the community was now available, the benefits of high-speed printing were brought into the spotlight. Reducing the print times by 50% over a conventional printer could now be achieved. This was a monumental step forward! Although 3D printing has always been magic its definitely slow magic. However high-speed did bring with it some challenges and that’s really what this guide is all about.
Factors Affecting Material Flow
The increased speed brings an increased flow of material, this material flow comes with certain challenges on the components to maintain the higher flow levels that are needed for high-speed 3D printers. The viscosity of the polymer is important and maintaining this during the print is vitally important. Using high-quality polymers that are stable at higher temps will be helpful in achieving high-quality finished prints. Finding a balance for larger nozzles is also important and understanding that fitting a larger .6 or even .8 nozzle is only going to increase the demands on the printer’s components that may already be working close to their limits. We have found that hot-end temperatures have a significant effect on the ability to maintain these high printing speeds without causing printing issues. Material Flow, Print speed and hot-end temperature are all linked intrinsically and if you adjust one variable then it will affect the other. Finding a balance for each brand of filament is important and prints like temp tower and calibration cube are still very important if not more so than ever before.
Importance of Increased Hot-End Temperatures
Having a high enough hot end temperature to support the given print speed I vitally important. Failure to read the signs from both the printer and the printed item could end up giving you nothing but a frustrating printing experience. Worst case this could also result in failed prints or blocked hot ends. One of the biggest indicators of how the printer is performing and whereabouts in the temperature profile of the material you are is the surface finish of your printed part. This is easiest to see on dark colours vs light.
Using our Jet black as an example you can see in the image of two cones.
Both of these cones have been printed in the same material. One is glossy
and the other a satin finish, the only difference was the hot end temperature.
The glossy print was done at 225°C at 80mm/s and the satin print at
205°C at 80mm/s . The cooler temperatures of the hot-end have
not polished the polymer as it passes through the nozzle and thus affected
the surface finish of the extrusion. This results in a diffusion of the light
reflecting off the surface and resulting in a smooth satin finish. Although this technique can be used to give a desired surface finish it can also be used to identify the optimal settings for your printer. Understanding how the given material is performing in your printer will allow you to make appropriate adjustments to fine-tune it.
Interestingly on the satin printed version, you can see as the
printer slows down as its deals with the Z seam, the material
flow also drops and it turns glossy. This is due to the increased
dwell time of the material as flow is reduced, the heat has more
time to penetrate the material before the flow rate increases for
the rest of the outer wall. It’s at this point that the satin finish is restored.
Understanding this effect will allow you to understand how clogging and blockages could form in a hot end. Although the area is very hot fresh material is effectively cooling the hot-end down. Add too much fresh material too quickly and it will stop melting and actually solidify. Needless to say but being too close to the lower end or even the upper end of the working temperature range will have a negative effect on your print quality.
Optimizing Hot-End Temperatures for High-Speed Printing
As you can understand optimising your hot end is important in general with 3D printing although with high-speed printing you have other challenges to deal with as the cooling effect of fresh material plays a significant role in your high-speed printer's set-up.
The first layer is generally printed much slower than subsequent layers, as such special temps are required for the first layer alone. For our PLA we would normally recommend a setting of 220°C and then progressing up to 250°C for 400 mm/s as an example.
Using the information above and the satin or glossy indicators should allow you the ability to really fine-tune your printer, couple this with our basic recommendations you should have all the tools that you need to calibrate our material to your printer. Don’t be afraid to bump those temps up more than you have ever done before. We have tested our PLA to 270°C in a Bambu Labs printer at maximum printing speed with no issue. Its important that any slower points of the print ie the first layer are done at a much lower temperature. But once up to speed it does need to be much hotter.
Don’t forget to monitor your prints, what works for one may not work
for another. In general, the settings are stable but, in some instances,
you may need to make some adjustments to get the desired results.
High-speed printing can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency in additive manufacturing. By understanding the impact of increased hot-end temperatures on material flow and implementing the tips provided in this guide, you'll be well-equipped to achieve successful high-speed prints. Remember to monitor and fine-tune your settings to find the optimal temperature range for your specific printing materials. Happy printing!
Note: It's important to keep in mind that while increasing hot-end temperatures can aid material flow, it's crucial to follow safety guidelines provided by your printer manufacturer. Always exercise caution and take appropriate measures to prevent any potential hazards.