What are some important qualities to consider when choosing a high-speed FFF 3D printer?

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There seems to be a surge in the market for “high speed” FFF 3D printers, but what exactly should you be looking for in these machines? For years, typical desktop 3D printers had a speed range of around 40-80mm/s, and there wasn’t much variation in terms of speed among different products. However, recent advancements in firmware have allowed for the development of “high speed” 3D printers that can compensate for the vibrations generated during fast printing. As a result, we now have a wide range of these printers available on the market, some at very affordable prices. But how are these machines built to achieve high speeds? What features should you consider when choosing a high speed 3D printer? And what does “high speed” really mean?

Let’s start with the definition of “high speed”. This phrase is often used by 3D printer manufacturers in their marketing, but it’s actually not very informative. It simply implies that a machine is fast, but it doesn’t tell you how fast exactly. All you can gather from the term “high speed” is that the machine is capable of printing at speeds higher than the typical 80-100mm/s. However, it’s important to note that there are two speeds to consider: the maximum speed and the practical everyday speed. While a machine may be advertised as being able to print at 250mm/s, for example, the recommended print profiles might suggest a safer speed of 150mm/s. In other words, the practical speed of a machine is often lower than its maximum speed. Unfortunately, vendors often focus on the maximum speed and neglect to mention the practical speed. So, when you see the phrase “up to”, it’s a clue that the machine might not consistently achieve that speed. Furthermore, I have noticed that high speed FFF machines can vary in their speed capabilities. Some desktop 3D printers labeled as high speed run at 150mm/s, while others claim speeds of “up to” 600mm/s. This four-fold difference is quite significant, and it highlights the inconsistency in terminology within the industry. Ultimately, it’s crucial to pay attention to the practical printing speed specification, rather than getting carried away by the words “high speed”.

Now let’s talk about the challenges faced by high speed 3D printers when it comes to vibrations. These machines generate a significant amount of vibration due to the rapid movements of the toolhead. This vibration becomes particularly noticeable when printing a flat surface, as the toolhead snaps quickly from one direction to another. Each change in movement direction creates a lot of momentum, which needs to be managed effectively. Some manufacturers address this issue by using a “cube style” frame, which is more expensive to produce. Others try to strengthen their gantry by using thicker metal extrusions. To counteract vibrations, reliable high speed machines employ robust metal extrusions for their frames. If you come across a high speed machine with a flimsy-looking gantry, it might cause issues during printing.

The most popular motion system style for desktop FFF 3D printers today is the “i3” style. In this configuration, the Y-axis represents the print bed and moves back and forth during printing. The X-axis holds the toolhead and moves it left to right, as well as up and down for the Z-axis. The i3 design is simple to construct and relatively cost-effective, which explains its popularity. However, it struggles to maintain stability at high speeds. Since the Y-axis moves the entire build plate, it also moves the print-in-progress, adding momentum that needs to be compensated for. This is challenging because the printer does not have knowledge of the model’s geometry, which could potentially be flapping around while being rapidly shifted. The increased momentum can also impact adhesion, causing the model to detach from the build plate if not securely attached. The solution to this problem is to use a CoreXY motion system, which keeps the print plate stable (except for the slower Z-axis movements). The CoreXY system is more complex and relies on belts to move the toolhead. In summary, CoreXY 3D printers are more likely to achieve the highest speeds compared to typical i3-style 3D printers.

Finally, when printing at high speeds, the amount of material extruded from the nozzle needs to be increased as well. This is because faster printing requires a higher flow rate to maintain proper layer adhesion and overall print quality. Some printers may have specific features or settings to help manage this extrusion rate, so it’s worth exploring this aspect when choosing a high speed 3D printer.

In conclusion, the growing market for high speed FFF 3D printers brings with it a variety of options to consider. When selecting a high speed printer, it’s important to focus on the practical speed specification rather than getting swayed by vague marketing terms like “high speed”. Additionally, pay attention to the construction and stability of the machine, particularly the gantry and frame. Consider whether a CoreXY system might be a better choice for achieving high speeds. Lastly, factor in the necessary adjustments for material extrusion at higher speeds. By keeping these considerations in mind, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision and find the high speed 3D printer that fits your needs.

Improving the High-Speed 3D Printing Experience

When it comes to 3D printing, speed is a crucial factor that can greatly impact productivity. However, achieving high-speed printing requires more than just a fast machine. In this blog post, we will explore the key elements that contribute to successful high-speed 3D printing and how they can enhance your printing experience.

To begin with, let’s discuss the extruder and hot end systems. These components play a vital role in delivering the required flow rate of material. Typically, standard systems fall short in providing enough material to keep up with the print speed, necessitating enhanced extrusion and hot ends. Dual-geared extruder arrangements are preferred as they can ram the filament down rapidly, generating the force needed to push more filament at higher speeds. Single gear extruders may struggle to keep up with the demands of high-speed printing.

As the material passes through the hot end, it needs sufficient time to soften before emerging from the nozzle. At higher speeds, this can be challenging as the material has less time to undergo the necessary softening process. While raising the extrusion temperature might seem like a solution, it is not ideal as slower printing speeds do not require such high temperatures. To address this issue, a redesigned hot end with a longer area of heat exposure is necessary. This allows the filament to move faster while still providing ample time for the material to soften, ensuring optimal print quality.

Another critical consideration for high-speed 3D printing is cooling. Since high-speed printers finish a layer much faster, it is essential to ensure proper solidification before the next layer is printed. To prevent any potential issues, such as warping or incomplete solidification, advanced cooling systems are recommended. Look for printers equipped with higher speed fans and enhanced ducting designs that ensure optimum air circulation around the nozzle.

Moving on, firmware plays a pivotal role in high-speed 3D printing. While it is possible to set an absurd print speed in a slicer, without the right firmware, it will not translate into smooth and accurate motion. Vibration issues often arise during directional changes, leading to a phenomenon known as “ringing”. Ringing manifests as a repeated pattern on the print’s surface near corners and can negatively impact the model’s geometry. To overcome this, firmware adjustments are necessary. Firmware can control stepper motor speeds during directional changes to compensate for momentum shifts and mitigate ringing. However, precise calibration is crucial for optimal performance. Manufacturers may use different firmware solutions like Klipper or integrate momentum compensation software into their firmware. So make sure to check for mentions of “input shaping” or “momentum compensation” when considering a high-speed 3D printer.

While these features are essential for high-speed 3D printing, it is important to note that not all printers on the market incorporate them. As the demand for high-speed printers increases, manufacturers are working to catch up and release machines with some or all of these capabilities. In the near future, we might witness a time when slow-speed 3D printers are no longer available, and high-speed printing becomes the norm.

In conclusion, achieving high-speed 3D printing requires attention to various aspects of the printing process. From extruder and hot end systems to cooling and firmware, each element plays a crucial role in ensuring seamless and efficient printing at high speeds. By upgrading the extruder, optimizing the hot end, implementing effective cooling mechanisms, and selecting the right firmware, you can elevate your high-speed 3D printing experience to new heights.

Title: Demystifying Machine Speed: Unveiling the Truth behind Specifications


In a world brimming with technological advancements, the buzzword “high speed” has become increasingly prevalent. From smartphones to laptops and beyond, manufacturers present their creations as the epitome of velocity. But let’s pause for a moment and ponder this question: are these machines truly as speedy as they claim to be? The answer lies in investigating their specifications and making an informed decision. In today’s blog post, we delve into the realm of machine speed, demystifying the hype and revealing the truth behind those much-awaited specifications.

Unveiling Misconceptions:

Often, our buying decisions are influenced by flashy advertisements and catchy marketing jargon. We’re constantly bombarded with claims of superior speed, leaving us with the impression that every machine labeled as “high speed” will effortlessly exceed our expectations. However, the reality is far from it. Simply relying on such statements without delving into the nitty-gritty of specifications can lead to disappointment and regret.

Understanding Specifications:

Let’s address the elephant in the room: specifications. They are the key to uncovering the truths behind a machine’s speed claims. Words like gigahertz, cores, and memory might appear overwhelming, but don’t fret! Understanding these specifications can empower you to make a truly informed decision.

1. Processor Speed:

One important factor to consider is the processor speed, commonly measured in gigahertz (GHz). A higher GHz value generally indicates a faster machine. However, it’s crucial to remember that a higher GHz alone doesn’t guarantee superior performance. Consider other factors such as the architecture and optimization of the processor.

2. Cores and Threads:

When traversing the world of machine speed, one must also pay attention to the number of cores and threads a processor possesses. Multiple cores allow for parallel processing, meaning tasks can be split amongst the cores to enhance overall performance. Similarly, having more threads can improve multitasking capabilities. So, it’s essential to consider these specifications in conjunction with other factors to assess a machine’s actual speed potential.

3. Memory:

Another key component in determining speed lies in the machine’s memory, often measured in gigabytes (GB). A higher memory capacity prevents systems from slowing down when handling multiple applications simultaneously. Therefore, it’s wise to opt for a machine with ample memory to avoid bottlenecks that might hinder your workflow.

Making an Informed Decision:

Armed with an understanding of these specifications, you are now better equipped to assess a machine’s true speed potential. Remember, it’s not merely about obtuse numbers but comprehending how these components interact to influence overall performance.

Think about your specific needs: Will you be using the machine for intensive tasks like video editing or graphic design, or is it primarily for daily mundane activities? Analyzing your requirements can help determine which specifications are paramount for your desired speed. By aligning your needs with the machine’s capabilities, you can make an informed decision that ensures a satisfying user experience.


In the realm of fast-paced technology, the term “high speed” often becomes an overused buzzword. However, by venturing beyond mere claims and delving into the intricacies of specifications, we can separate the wheat from the chaff. The speed of a machine depends on a myriad of factors, with specifications serving as valuable indicators. So, the next time you encounter claims of “high speed,” arm yourself with knowledge, scrutinize the specifications, and make a decision that truly aligns with your speed requirements.

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