Best Prusa Slicer Setting For Ender 3
A Winning Team
The Ender 3 is one of the most well-known budget 3D printers, and it’s popularity somewhat stems from the printer’s compatibility with other components. While most of these are hardware-related, there’s also a variety of software options that you can choose for the Ender 3.
Software for 3D printers primarily refers to a slicer, a program that turns a 3D model into instructions for printing it. PrusaSlicer is a slicer developed by Prusa Research, originally built from another slicer known as Slic3r.
PrusaSlicer is an excellent slicer option for the Ender 3 because it’s a free, open-source program that’s updated and continuously improved. Many people also contribute to making and sharing great PrusaSlicer profiles for different printer models. You can check out the PrusaSlicer GitHub to find custom slicer profiles that worked for other people.
In each section in this article, we’ll discuss a different category of settings that you can change in PrusaSlicer. We’ll include the ideal settings for generic PLA, ABS, and PETG if they differ from each other at the end of every section.
Before we get deeper into each of these settings, here are your perfect profiles for printing on an Ender 3.
- Nozzle & bed temperature: 210 °C; 60 °C
- Layer height: 0.2 mm
- Speed: 60 mm/s
- Retraction: 5 mm at 40 mm/s
- Nozzle & bed temperature: 235 °C; 105 °C
- Layer height: 0.2 mm
- Speed: 40-60 mm/s
- Retraction: 5 mm at 45 mm/s
- Nozzle & bed temperature: 240 °C; 70 °C
- Layer height: 0.2 mm
- Speed: 40-60 mm/s
Retraction: 5 mm at 40 mm/s
Before we get into the settings for a perfect Ender 3 PrusaSlicer profile, let’s start by setting up the slicer. If you don’t already have it installed, you can follow the instructions below to download it:
- Go to Prusa’s website and download the software that’s compatible with your device’s software; Prusa offers PrusaSlicer for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Open the installer file and run PrusaSlicer.
- Once you open the application, skip through the welcome page and the different Prusa printers that you can choose until you get to the section “Other Vendors”.
- Select “Creality” and then click the Ender 3 and tap “Finish” at the bottom.
Now you’ve properly installed PrusaSlicer for the Ender 3, you can change which filament you’re using on the “Plater” page in the top right corner in the slicer.
You can also choose from three pre-made Ender 3 profiles: detail, normal, and draft. Our PrusaSlicer overview goes over more about the slicer and how to navigate it.
Temperature for 3D printers is essential to achieving amazing prints as it impacts all aspects of printing. A too-low nozzle temperature can lead to under-extrusion and nozzle jams, while a too-high temperature can lead to over-extrusion, heat creep, oozing, and zits.
Generally, PLA should be printed with a nozzle temperature of 180-220 °C, depending on the filament material and manufacturer. ABS and PETG command slightly higher nozzle temperatures of 220-250 °C and 220-245 °C, respectively.
The Ender 3 also is equipped with a heated bed, and the bed temperature can affect how well a print sticks to the build platform.
PLA can be printed with a bed temperature of 0-60 °C, while ABS needs a higher bed temperature of 80-110 °C. You should also make sure to print ABS with an enclosure to maintain surrounding heat. PETG should be printed with a bed temperature of 50-80 °C.
You can change the PrusaSlicer’s temperature settings in the “Filament Settings” tab under “Filament”. If these temperatures aren’t working, try printing a temperature tower to see how your printer does with other temperatures.
- PLA: 210 °C; 60 °C
- ABS: 235 °C; 105 °C
PETG: 240 °C; 70 °C
Layer height is the distance the Z-axis moves up every layer. Generally speaking, smaller layer heights result in more detailed prints, while larger ones lead to stronger parts.
The Ender 3 uses stepper motors, which can move in individual and divided steps. According to CHEP on YouTube, moving in Z-steps of 0.04 mm can result in better prints on the Ender 3. As such, make sure to use a layer height divisible by this number.
0.2-mm layer height is a good mix of strength and detail and maintains the magic divisible number of 0.04 mm. If you want more detailed parts, we recommend using a 0.16-mm layer height. If you wish to attain even stronger parts, try using a 0.24-mm layer height.
Layer height can usually be kept the same regardless of material.
- Detailed: 0.16 mm
- Medium: 0.2 mm
Strong: 0.24 mm
Speed is a vital slicer setting for the Ender 3 because it can make or break your prints. Print speed determines how fast your printhead moves while actually printing (pushing filament). Printing too quickly can cause under-extrusion and messy prints, while an excessively slow speed can cause hot end clogs (heat creep).
While some people have pushed the limits of the Ender 3’s print speed up to around 200 mm/s, a safer bet for most Ender 3 users is 60 mm/s for PLA. This setting is usually slightly slower for ABS and PETG, ranging from 40-60 mm/s.
PrusaSlicer is unique from many other slicers because it has different speed settings for printing different sections of a part (perimeters, infill, bridges, etc.). For this reason, we suggest using 50-60 mm/s for the perimeters, infill, solid infill, top solid infill, support material, and gap fill. These settings should have similar speeds, but some print aspects turn out better when printed slower than other features.
As for the rest of the speeds, you can keep them the same as the default value as they don’t matter as much. However, you should print the first layer with a speed of 20 mm/s to make sure you have good bed adhesion.
Travel speed is also a critical slicer setting and determines how fast your printer moves during non-printing moves. We recommend using a travel speed of 130 mm/s for the Ender 3 on PrusaSlicer.
You can change speed settings in PrusaSlicer in the “Print Settings” tab under the “Speed” section.
- PLA print speed: 60 mm/s
- ABS print speed: 40-60 mm/s
- PETG print speed: 40-60 mm/s
- First-layer speed: 20 mm/s
Travel speed: 130 mm/s
Retraction is necessary for 3D printing parts to prevent stringing and other issues. Retraction is the process of pulling back filament when the printhead isn’t printing to avoid the excess filament in the hot end from oozing out.
Retraction can be controlled by retraction distance and retraction speed. For the Ender 3, we recommend setting your retraction distance to 5 mm for PLA, ABS, and PETG. It would be best if you also used a retraction speed of 40 mm/s for PLA and PETG and a 45 mm/s speed for ABS.
Retraction distance can vary a lot even between different printers, even other Ender 3s, depending on what upgrades they have. If this setting is too much and causes jams or is too low and stringing occurs, adjust it in increments of 1 mm and 5 mm/s.
You can change retraction settings in the “Printer Settings” tab under “Extruder 1”.
- PLA: 5 mm at 40 mm/s
- ABS: 5 mm at 45 mm/s
PETG: 5 mm at 40 mm/s
Infill settings change the strength of a part as well as how long it takes to print. More robust infill settings usually increase print time while weaker ones decrease it. Infill settings primarily consist of the infill percentage as well as the infill pattern.
The infill percentage determines how full a part’s infill is. As such, a 100% infill is completely solid, while a 0% infill is hollow. We suggest using an infill of about 25% for printing most parts on the Ender 3.
If you want to print functional parts, though, consider using an infill percentage of 40-60%. If cost is a concern and strength and functionality aren’t, you should use a smaller percentage of about 10%.
There are a variety of options in PrusaSlicer such as grid, triangles, gyroid, star, cubic, honeycomb, and more for infill pattern. PrusaPrinters recommends using a gyroid pattern for most parts because they state it’s a fantastic all-around choice for strength, speed, and weight.
We suggest using the lines or zig-zag infill pattern for models and parts that don’t need to be strong. A tier above the lines pattern, the grid option is a great infill pattern for “standard” prints if you don’t want to use a gyroid pattern. For strong parts, consider using a cubic or cross infill pattern.
You can change infill settings in the “Print Settings” tab under “Infill.” These settings aren’t material specific.
- Infill percentage: 25%
- Infill pattern for most parts: Gyroid, grid
- Infill pattern for weak parts: Lines, zig-zag
Infill pattern for strong parts: Cubic, cross
As we now know, infill is the filling of a printed part, while shells are the solid outline and exterior of a part. They can be a vital setting for getting strong parts as each shell is an additional “outline” added to a model.
As you might have guessed, the more shells you have, the longer a print takes, but also, the stronger the part is. PrusaSlicer divides shells into horizontal shells and vertical shells, and within horizontal shells, you can adjust the number of top and bottom shells.
Ideally, you want the same number of vertical (called perimeters in PrusaSlicer), top, and bottom shells. This makes your part’s exterior equally as strong all-around.
With this in mind, we recommend setting your vertical, top, and bottom shells all to three. If you need a really strong print, raise this number, and if you need a quick print, lower it.
You can adjust the number of shells in the “Print Settings” tab under “Layers and perimeters.” This setting isn’t material specific.
- Vertical shells: 3
- Top shells: 3
Bottom shells: 3
Skirt & Brim
Using a skirt, brim, or raft is an easy way to ensure that your your first layer is more successful. A brim or raft can also improve bed adhesion for parts, especially ones printed in ABS, where warping is a significant issue.
A skirt is just an external perimeter that goes around your print but doesn’t contact it. This feature is great for priming your hot end before it starts printing your part, so your first layer comes out nicely. Printing with a skirt is a default setting for PrusaSlicer.
On the other hand, a brim is a few perimeters that make contact with your print. A brim primes your hot end and also attempts to keep your part from warping. You can adjust settings for a brim by setting the brim width in PrusaSlicer.
Lastly, a raft is essentially a raised brim that your print sticks to rather than the build plate. A raft offers the best bed adhesion because it’s made right under the print so the print isn’t directly touching the bed. Rafts take a considerable amount of material to activate, so make sure only to use them when necessary and adjust the number of raft layers in PrusaSlicer.
If you want to save filament and reduce printing time, try using a skirt. However, if you’re printing with ABS, we highly recommend using a brim (5-mm width) or a raft (three layers).
You can change skirt and brim settings in the “Print settings” tab under “Skirt and brim.” The raft option and settings can be found in the same tab, but under “Support material”.
- Brim width: 5 mm
- Raft layers: 3