To get started, the stock profile on Cura for the Ender 3 is remarkably good, so definitely load it up as a foundation:
- Click “Settings > Printer > Manage Printers”.
- In the preferences box, head for “Add > Add a non-networked printer”.
- Scroll to “Creality3D”, expand the section, and select Ender 3.
From here, you’ll have default settings from which to build your perfect profile. Naturally, you’ll have to adapt to individual filaments and resolutions. By default, we’ll build this profile for PLA but also mention settings for ABS and PETG.
Below is a quick summary of the profile we recommend, with the rest of the article providing a more detailed breakdown of each setting.
Perfect Ender 3 PLA Profile:
- Printing Temperature: 200 °C
- Bed Temperature: 60 °C
- Speed: 50 mm/s
- Layer height: 0.12 mm
- Retraction: 6 mm @ 25 mm/s
- Infill: 20%
- Initial Layer Speed: 20 mm/s
- Initial Fan Speed: 0%
1. Control the temperature
When printing with PLA material it is important that the temperature is right. Therefore, begin with a starting temperature of 200 °C will ensure that you give yourself the best chance of success. The temperature can then be reduced or increased by 5-degree increments to obtain the right quality of print and strength so that they complement each other. Some high quality PLA plastics can be printed at a lower temperature because it contains a higher level of pure resin with fewer contaminants. To improve the adhesion to the build plate, it is important that it is heated to 60 degrees.
2. Look out for stringing (temperature too high)
If the temperature is too high then strings will appear between the separate parts. The extruder will leak PLA material when it moves between the different areas during printing. Should this occur, then you will be required to decrease the temperature. Do this in increments of 5 degrees per step, until the extruder stops leaking so much material.
5. Keep the PLA filament dry
PLA material needs to be storaged in a cool and dark place, preferably in a sealed bag. By doing this, you will preserve the quality of the PLA plastics. Consequently it will ensure that the result of the printing process is as expected.
3. Layers fail to adhere (temperature too low)
Should the printing temperature be too cold, you will find that the filament will fail to adhere to the previous layer. Which will then create a surface that looks and feels rough. It can also mean that the part will be weaker and can then be pulled apart easily. If this should happen, the printhead temperature should be increased by five-degree increments until the printing looks good and the line segments for each layer are right. As a result the part will be stronger once the job has finished.
4. Lower level of viscosity
It can occur that a filament has a lower level of viscosity when compared to other types of PLA material. For that reason leaking will be higher at lower temperatures. If this is the case then the retraction should be increased by a few millimeters. You can change the retraction distance in the 3D printing software, for example in Simplify3D.