One of the constant downsides of 3D printing is the amount of time it takes. Any print operation will be slow, and if you try to speed it up, you often face quality issues. Generally, speed and quality are inversely correlated in 3D printing. This means that as you increase the speed the quality reduces, and as you increase the quality the speed reduces. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a print.
The more material that needs to be printed the more time this will take. If you can find areas to reduce the amount of material required, you can save some time. A good place to start is the orientation of your prints. By rotating your models so that they each need the minimum amount of support material, you can save the time needed to print supports and travelling to and from doing so. A raft is a common print bed adhesion aid but due to its size and thickness, they tend to take a while to print. A brim can offer the same adhesion assistance while requiring a lot less filament, making it cheaper and faster.
Print speed seems to be the most obvious change, but as mentioned above, increasing this will generally reduce the quality of the result. One thing you can do is look at the speed of certain operations. For example, some slicing software allows you to adjust the speed for things like infill separately from the shell print speed. In some cases, these speeds don’t even default to the same. If you keep the shell print speed low then that will stay high quality but you can increase the speed of other parts, especially things like a brim that you plan to remove anyway.
If you do adjust the print speed, you’ll want to also increase the temperature to ensure that the filament is completely melting properly. Failing to do so can see you facing under-extrusion and clogging issues.
Travel speed allows you to configure how fast the print head moves between locations it’s printing. Increasing this setting is especially helpful for multi-part prints as it must travel between models on every layer.
Increasing the layer height reduces the overall number of layers that you need to print. This reduction in the number of passes needed to complete the print can have a dramatic effect on the print speed. If you double the layer height, your print time will be roughly halved. The downside is that this reduces the resolution of the print, resulting in a more obvious stepping effect.
Infill pattern and density can also have a big effect on the print speed. The higher the density the more material that you need to print, but you also can’t reduce it too low. Typically, a density of between five and fifteen percent is adequate. The pattern also has an effect on time, as it affects the movement of the print head. The exact patterns that are available will vary depending on the slicing software you’re using but lines and zig-zags tend to be the fastest.
Have you got any other tips to help increase the speed when 3D printing? Let us know down below.