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3D Printer Speed

  • 7 min read

Optimizing3D Printer Speed: A Comprehensive Guide

In the dynamic world of 3D printing, speed is a crucial factor that often dictates the efficiency and quality of the final product. The speed of 3D printing is more than just a measure of how fast a printer can produce objects. It's a multifaceted concept that encompasses various elements of the printing process, impacting everything from print time to the detail and strength of printed items. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into what 3D printer speed really means, explore the factors that influence it, and offer insights into determining the optimal printing speed for your needs. Whether you're a hobbyist or a professional, understanding these aspects will help you make informed decisions to enhance your 3D printing experience. Let's get it on!

What Does 3D Printer Speed Mean?

3D printer speed refers to the rate at which a 3D printer completes a printing task, often measured in millimeters per second (mm/s). This includes the speed at which the extruder (the part of the printer that ejects the print material) moves horizontally along the X and Y axes, and vertically along the Z axis. It can vary significantly depending on the printer model and settings.
But it's not as simple as faster equals better. Understanding 3D printer travel speed involves considering the intricate balance between print time and print quality. A faster speed might seem appealing as it implies quicker print completion. However, increasing speed can sometimes lead to a decrease in print quality due to factors like reduced layer adhesion, less precision in intricate details, and potential issues with filament cooling. Therefore, understanding the various elements that affect printer speed can be crucial for optimizing print times without compromising on quality.

Factors that Affect 3D Printer Speed

Several key elements play a role in determining how fast a printer can operate. Let's explore these factors:

Layer Height and Resolution

Layer height and resolution are among the most significant factors affecting 3D printer speed. Layer height, the thickness of each layer of material laid down during printing, has a direct impact on print speed and quality. Thicker layers allow for faster printing as fewer layers are needed to complete the object. However, this often comes at the cost of detail and smoothness in the final print. Conversely, thinner layers, while improving resolution and surface finish, require more layers to be printed, thus slowing down the overall process.


Flow Rate and Acceleration

The pivotal factors influencing 3D printer speed also encompass flow rate and acceleration. Flow rate, measured in millimeters per second (mm/s), determines filament deposition, setting a maximum speed limit. Precise control over flow rate is essential to avoid compromising print quality while exploring higher speeds. On the other hand, acceleration, measured in millimeters per second squared (mm/s²), significantly dictates the printer's agility and how swiftly it transitions between print points. Striking a delicate balance between these elements is crucial, as flow rate imposes a speed ceiling, and optimizing acceleration is key to achieving faster and efficient 3D printing without sacrificing precision and print integrity.


Print Material and Nozzle Size

The type of material being used and the size of the nozzle also impact the speed of a 3D printer. Different materials have varying properties that can affect how quickly they can be extruded and solidified. Materials like PLA print faster as they cool and solidify quickly, while others, such as ABS, may require slower print speeds to ensure proper layer adhesion and prevent warping. The size of the nozzle is a factor as well. Larger nozzles extrude more material at once, which could speed up printing but compromise detail, while smaller nozzles yield finer details but require more time to print.

Temperature and Cooling

Proper temperature control and cooling have a pivotal role in printing speed. A sufficiently heated print nozzle facilitates smoother flow of material, thus can contribute to faster printing. However, once the material is deposited, appropriate cooling is essential. Quick, controlled cooling solidifies the part, helping maintain shape and structural integrity, but cooling too fast or unevenly can lead to deformities or warping. Therefore, managing temperature and cooling is key to truly speeding up 3D printing while still obtaining satisfactory results.

What Is a Good 3D Printing Speed

Determining a 'good' 3D printing speed is a nuanced affair, as it largely depends on the specific requirements of the print job, the type of material used, and the capabilities of the printer.

Balancing Speed with Quality

A key consideration when deciding on the printing speed is the balance between speed and quality. Higher speeds can significantly reduce print times, which is beneficial for large-scale productions or simpler models. However, for prints that require fine details or have complex geometries, a slower speed is preferable to ensure accuracy and precision.

Material Considerations

The type of material being used also influences what a good printing speed is. Here are some general guidelines for various materials:


  • PLA: While the recommended speed for everyday high-quality results is around 50–60 mm/s, PLA is particularly well-suited for high-speed printing, enabling users to significantly increase the upper limit to more than 250 mm/s.
  • ABS: Print at 60 mm/s for optimal quality, with the same speed as the upper limit.
  • PETG: A typical print speed of 50 mm/s works well, with an upper limit of 60 mm/s.
  • TPU/flexible filament: Very slow print speeds (20 mm/s) are recommended due to the risk of clogs and jams.
  • Nylon: Print at 40 mm/s for good results, with an upper limit of 50 mm/s.

Printer Specifications

The capabilities of your 3D printer play a crucial role in determining a good printing speed. Some printers are designed to operate effectively at higher speeds without sacrificing quality, thanks to advanced cooling systems and precise extrusion control. It's important to refer to the manufacturer's guidelines and the printer's specifications to understand the optimal speed range for your specific model.
In summary, while determining a good 3D printing speed involves balancing various factors, advanced high-speed 3D printers can significantly enhance this process. At AnkerMake, we are proud to present our top-of-the-line high-speed 3D printer models, designed to cater to both efficiency and precision seamlessly.
AnkerMake M5 3D Printer


Revolutionizing the printing game, our AnkerMake M5 3D Printer now have been upgraded to an impressive 500 mm/s. With the capacity to deliver a precise 0.1 mm detail, this printer leaves no room for error. It features a built-in AI camera for real-time monitoring and presents users with auto-created timelapses of all prints. Paired with our AnkerMake app that can connect multiple devices, it enhances user control significantly. The 7x7 auto-leveling, easy assembly, and robust aluminum alloy structure make it user-friendly and resilient. With a generous print volume of 235×235×250 mm³, the M5 suits all your printing requirements perfectly.
AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer
With the goal of making 3D printing more convenient and accessible, our AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer comes equipped with easy multi-device control through our AnkerMake app. This feature simplifies your printing tasks, allowing for more efficient management of your makerspace. The M5C stands out with its 500 mm/s high-speed printing capability and a 35 mm³/s extrusion flow, striking a perfect balance between speed and precision. The printer's ability to produce 0.1 mm precise prints underscores our commitment to delivering detailed, high-quality outcomes. Additionally, the 7x7 auto-leveling feature ensures consistent accuracy and quality in your prints, making the M5C a reliable and essential tool for all your 3D printing projects.
At AnkerMake, we are committed to innovating and elevating your 3D printing experience. Our M5 and M5C printers are testament to this commitment, offering high-speed, precision printing solutions that cater to a wide array of printing needs. Explore the possibilities with AnkerMake and revolutionize the way you print!


As we've explored throughout this article, 3D printer speed is a complex subject influenced by various factors, including layer height, material, nozzle size, and cooling methods. Understanding these elements is key to mastering 3D printing and achieving a balance between speed and quality. A "good" 3D printing speed, therefore, is not just about fast printing times but about finding that sweet spot where speed converges with quality and efficiency. As you continue to experiment and gain experience with different settings and materials, you'll develop a more intuitive sense of how to optimize your 3D printer's speed for any given task.


Here are some commonly asked queries about 3D printer speed.

Is it better to 3D print fast or slow?

The choice between fast or slow printing depends on your specific needs and the capabilities of your 3D printer. Fast printing is suitable for simpler designs and quick prototypes but may compromise on quality and detail. Slow printing, while more time-consuming, ensures higher accuracy, better detail, and stronger structural integrity, making it ideal for complex and detailed models.

What happens if you 3D print too fast?

If you 3D print too fast, it might lead to several potential problems. The most common issue is poor layer adhesion, where the layers do not have enough time to bind together, leading to structural weakness. In some cases, the print layers might shift, causing a distorted print. Over-extrusion, heat creeps, and various other hardware issues can also occur due to printing too quickly.

Are more expensive 3D printers faster?

Generally, yes. More expensive 3D printers often offer faster printing speeds. They typically come with advanced features like better precision, higher quality components, and more sophisticated software that can contribute to faster and superior overall performance. However, the speed at which a 3D printer operates often depends on various factors, not just the cost. Factors like the complexity of the print job, the type of material used, and the printer's design, all influence the operational speed of a 3D printer.