How to Setup a Speed Test Tower with PrusaSlicer

In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through creating a speed test tower using PrusaSlicer, which is an important step to calibrate your printer to get better prints!

When it comes to achieving top-notch 3D prints with your FDM printer, fine-tuning your settings for each filament type is essential. Just like the crucial role temperature plays in obtaining optimal results, there are other factors that can greatly impact your print quality. If you’ve already followed our previous tutorial on setting up a temperature tower, you’re off to a great start in understanding the significance of temperature calibration.

But there’s more to explore! The printing speed also affects significantly the overall quality of your prints and can impact different aspects of your 3D models, such as surface finish, dimensional accuracy, and even print time. Printing too fast may lead to issues like artifacts and imperfections, while printing too slow could result in unnecessarily lengthy print jobs.

By dedicating a small amount of filament and a short time, you’ll gain valuable insights into the optimal speed settings for each of your filaments. This efficient approach saves you from the frustration of failed prints, time-consuming retries, and wasted materials.

Steps

  • Download a model for the speed test tower. The model used in this tutorial is available here.
  • Open PrusaSlicer and import the .stl file of the model you’ve downloaded.
  • Switch to the Expert Mode in the right upper conner and choose the material profile of the filament you’re gonna calibrate. In our case, we’re using the generic PLA profile.
  • Add a brim to increase the contact surface of the first layer.
  • Change Infill to 0%.
  • Go to Filament Settings > Cooling and, if auto cooling is enabled, it is necessary to lower the Cooling Threshold that slows downs the print if the layer time is below a certain value. Change it to 1 second so that the auto cooling settings don’t interfere with our speed test.
  • Go back to the Plater, right-click the model and choose the Height range Modifier option. A new Layers tab will appear in the object list.
  • Select the Layers tab. Here you’ll define the range (start and stop height) for each layer in the speed test. To add a new layer, just click the + button in the Height ranges tab.

The start and stop heights will be defined according to the model you’re using. In our tower, each speed section is 15mm tall, and there’s a 1mm offset at the base of the tower. The layers are created as shown below:

  • Next, we need to add the speed values for each layer. Right-click a layer, go to Add settings > Speed. This will open a smaller window where you’ll select the speed settings you want. Choose “External perimeters”, “Perimeters” and “Small perimeters”, and click Ok.
  • Then, a new tab will appear where you can specify the speed values for each setting. Change them to the value you’ll be testing in that layer, which is, in our case, 15mm/s for the first layer.
  • Repeat the previous steps to each layer you’ve created previously until all layers have the correct speed settings, according to the values you’ll be testing. Then click Slice now.
  • After slicing, you can change the Legend option to Speed and check the speed values for each section of your tower.
  • Finally, click Export G-code to save your .gcode file that’s ready to be printed!

Results

Once your speed test tower has been printed, the next step is to evaluate the results and fine-tune your printing speed settings accordingly. Examine the surface finish, layer bonding, and intricate details of each section of the tower. By comparing these aspects, you’ll identify the printing speed range that produces the best overall quality for your specific filament.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to perform a controlled strength test by attempting to flex or break the print between the layers. This will provide valuable insights into the layer adhesion achieved at different speeds.

Are you now armed with a speed test tower but find yourself uncertain about the ideal printing speed for your upcoming projects? Share your findings and questions with us in the comments section below. We’re here to guide you in selecting the optimal printing speed, ensuring that your prints exhibit enhanced aesthetics and robustness.

Through the combination of the temperature and speed test towers, you’re now well-equipped to unleash your 3D printing potential, yielding prints that are both visually appealing and structurally sound. Happy printing!

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