3D Printer Feed Rate. Things You Need to Know!

by Mike Brooks | Last Updated: June 24, 2022

The 3D printer feed rate determines the overall 3D print speed. It measures how fast the printer moves on all four axes; a higher feed rate signifies high printing speeds.

3D Printer Feed Rate

Equally, a faster print speed leads to lower precision 3D printed parts and an extended print time.

Adjusting feed rate printer settings impacts printer motor movement speed. Also, the printer motor movement speed bears other printer parts’ movement.

The 3D printer has movable mechanical parts that must work well to achieve an optimal feed rate. Keep reading to learn more about the printer feed rate and its impact on other printer movements.

What Is 3D Printer Feed Rate?

3D printer feed rate is a multiplier the 3D printer uses to calculate the movement speed for all axes, including E-axis.

The feed rate applies to all four stepper motor movements. It allows you to speed up or slow down the printing speed.

3D Print Speed

The print speed is your printer’s time to create a single 3D print object. The printer speed depends on what you want to print. It can either be a text or an image.

Additionally, it depends on the printer type, the complexity of the infill pattern, and the plastic filament used.

It is the primary speed setting that influences your 3D print. It determines the 3D printer motor speed. Additionally, professionals and hobbyists measure it using a millimeter per second (mm/s) metric.

3D printers support three sets of printer speeds:

Below are 10 top methods to get the best print speed calculations;

Increase Slicer Setting Speed

You’ll have to establish the balance of your print speed in the slicer settings. You can experiment with different values until you find the balance of speed and quality.

Notably, a higher speed guarantees a short printing span. But a slower pace offers high-quality prints.

Acceleration and Jerk Settings Adjustments

Jerk settings stand for the speed of the print head movement from a still position. It would be helpful to adjust your settings at a value that ensures the hot end moves smoothly but fast.

Conversely, acceleration settings refer to how fast the print head reaches top speed.

Use Simple Infill Pattern

Choose a fast printing infill pattern. A more straightforward infill pattern allows you to print fast, saving time. Line infill patterns are the best because they are simple.

Thus, they need a small number of print-head movements to complete the 3D object.

On the contrary, a complex infill pattern requires a lot of print-head movements before completing the 3D print.

Notably, a simple infill pattern can save you up to a quarter of your print time.

Infill Density

Infill density is what the 3D model contains inside it. For example, a higher infill density signifies a substantial 3D-printed part. Conversely, a lower infill density means the 3D object is hollow and less solid.

Use high infill density for functional parts that require durable applications. However, a low infill density suffices for aesthetics. Also, It will allow you to focus on speed, thus reducing print time.

Shells/Wall Thickness

There is a correlation between shells/ wall thickness and 3D print density. Therefore, adjusting one impacts directly on the other. Getting a good ratio or value setting helps you achieve a massive internal structure.

Adjust Adaptive Layer Settings

Cura slicer is a 3D printer slicing software. The slicer slices the 3D print model into layers to create a G-code. The 3D printer responds to commands from the code as it is written in machine language.

You can adjust layer height depending on the angle. Still, it offers high printer speeds that incredibly save your time.

Prints Several Objects at Once

You can speed up the production time by 3D printing multiple small objects on the printer bed space simultaneously.

Remove Print Support

Removing 3D print support ensures that your production time remains short. You can remove support by splitting and orienting the 3D model appropriately.

Use a Large Printer Nozzle

Speed up the printing time by using a larger nozzle whenever possible. However, it may not work for all 3D objects. Also, it compromises print quality.

Increase Layer Height

Layer height is a setting value that responds to how fast the printer prints the 3D model infill.

A lower layer height provides a better 3D print quality. However, increase the layer height if you want artifacts.

Adjust the Top and Bottom Speeds

Top and bottom speed remain a vital 3D printing speed configuration. It refers to the rate at which the printer prints the top and the bottom parts of the 3D model.

Increase service quality by decreasing the speed.

Adjust the Retraction Speed

This setting responds to the retraction speed or how fast the pulling back of the plastic filament happens. It is the equivalent of your overall retraction speed.

To adjust the retraction speed, start your setting at 50 mm/s. Slow down if you notice any filament damage

3D Printer Feed Rate vs Flow Rate

3D feed and flow rates remain some of the most confused and inter-used terms in 3D printing circles.

The feed rate is the printhead travel speed along the X-Y plane. On the other hand, the flow rate is the volumetric measure of material extruded from the nozzle.

It determines exactly how much plastic the hot end extrudes.

Additionally, the printer uses the feed rate multiplier value to calculate the speed for all G-codes related printer movements.

Differences Between 3D Printer Feed Rate and Flow Rate

Flow rate is the extrusion multiplier given in percentages that determine the volume of plastic 3D printers extruded at a time.

But the printer feed rate is a multiplier, often presented in percentages that the printer uses to determine print speed along all axes.

Additionally, the flow rate is about infill speed during the 3D printing process. As such, it determines the print solidity. Contrastingly, feed rate responds to how fast the printing process takes to complete a 3D object.

Is Feed Rate the Same as Printing Speed?

Feed rate and printing speed look similar, but they are not the same. Print speed is a printer configuration value that controls print head moves during 3D printing.

Significantly, it determines how fast the printer will print the object. In other words, it determines the duration or length of time the 3D printer takes to complete printing a model.

The standard printing time of most 3D printers ranges between 5-8 hours. However, depending on the size of the model, the infill pattern, and the 3D technology used, printing large models can take days.

Contrastingly, the feed rate is a multiplier value the printer uses to calculate all G-codes related movements. It is about the hot end movement along all the axes.

Default Feed Rate and Maximum Feed Rate

Most 3D printers can’t print ABS filament faster than 13.50 mm/s when using a nozzle size of 0.40 mm.

It remains the maximum feed rate for printing ABS filament with this specific nozzle size. However, manufacturers typically give recommendations on different default settings you can use.

The default feed rate controls many functions of your printer. You can set the default feed rate of your printer through your 3D slicer software or the printer drive.

Equally, you can directly change the default feed rate from your 3D printer control panel using the default-setting mode.

Using the same plastic filament as ABS, same nozzle size, and same temperatures, use a fixed optimal feed rate.

However, if you change the filament type, the nozzle size, and the temperature values, then you’ll have to change your optimal feed rate value as well.

What Is the Feed Rate in Cura?

Cura is an open-source slicing application for 3D printers. It remains the preferred 3D printing software for Ultimaker 3D printers.

However, 3D printing professionals use it with 3D printers from other manufacturers as well.

All the 3D printer axes, X, Y, Z, and E, request the feed rate for optimal functioning. If you move only a single axis, that axis will go at a limited speed to the maximum speed of the axis.

Jerk settings and printer head acceleration limit the speed. However, if multiple axes move simultaneously, your marlin will follow a linear motion.

At the same time, it won’t move all axes at a maximum feed rate as is with the single-axis movement. Otherwise, you won’t achieve a smooth linear motion.

The feed rate remains at the desired speed; however, the pace of movement is slower.

How Do You Change the Feed Rate in Ender 3?

3D printing has several settings related to print speed. Print speed is used to calculate other speed-related setting configurations in most slicers.

You’ll have to turn the knob of your Ender 3s to 100 mm/s to adjust your feed rate to optimal values on your firmware.

You may change your printer modification or use a different plastic filament type for 3D printing. There is a tendency for fluctuations in optimal speed to occur from time to time.

If that happens, tune your and experiment with the feed rate settings until you find the optimal value for that print session.

Additionally, it would be best if you made some secondary setting adjustments to your Ender 3 as follows:

Filament Choice

You could have changed your default feed rate to the maximum feed rate, but still, your printing time is significantly low. If that happens, check on the filament type you’re using.

Ensure you use the correct feed rate configuration for the different types of filament you use. For example, you can print PLA at 60 mm/s.

3D Model Complexity

Model details determine the 3D printer feed rate. If you’re printing models with complex infill patterns, you need to use a slower speed throughout the process.

Notably, Ender 3 consists of motors, steppers, and nozzle configuration. As such, you need to abide by the standard feed rate guidelines of 40-50 mm/s for complex models and 70-80 mm/s for simple and rough 3D objects.


As a 3D printing hobbyist, you need to familiarize yourself with print speed setting configurations that determine the print production time and quality.

More importantly, adjusting the proper printing speed settings ensures your print at an optimal speed that saves time and produces top-level 3D prints.

Michael Brooks is the founder of M3DZone.com. He sees a very bright future for 3D printing that's why his mission is to try and make this easy for everyone. Discover your hidden talent and creativity. You can follow here: Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.