The fastest 3D printers on the market can vary in size, price, and of course speed. Print speed can be essential if you’re manufacturing to deadlines. Some 3D printers can today reach print speeds of up to 400 mm/s making them a desirable machine.
The importance of printing speed in 3D printers is a factor that is sometimes overlooked.
It can be both a blessing and a curse, so getting the right speed for the job is essential.
If your print speed is too fast for your printer/model to handle, then you will lose quality. Bad layer adhesion, under extrusion and, visible layer lines are common effects of printing too fast.
Therefore, knowing what speed is needed for your model is essential in ensuring a quality outcome.
Now, not every 3D printer will have the same range of print speeds, and you may have bought a printer but now find that you’re limited to what you can print because of this.
It’s therefore important to either get the right printer for you in the first place, or upgrade to one that will match your need for speed!
In this article, we’ll look at some of the fastest 3D printers available, see if they’re worth buying and if they can actually reach the speeds they say they can.
But speed isn’t everything, and there may be other considerations. We’ll therefore also look at print volume, quality, and other factors that may be affected by fast print speeds.
Factors That Affect Print Speed in a 3D Printer
We’ve mentioned the things that can be affected by the print speed, but on the flip side, what factors have an effect on the actual print speed itself?
Printer Design and Hardware
This is an obvious point, but the better the design and quality of the 3D printer, the more likely it is to have better performance.
For example, a 3D printer with a higher capacity and faster processor will print faster than one of a lower specification. It will have more powerful drive motors as well, which will be better equipped to handle higher print speeds.
We’ve touched on this briefly in our opening section, but the nozzle and print bed temperature will affect the maximum print speed as well.
You’ll see when looking at various high speed 3D printers that the maximum nozzle temperature is much higher than standard, and the same is true of the print bed.
In order to print at high speeds, it makes sense that the extruder will have to feed filament through at a higher speed to the nozzle.
To ensure that the correct amount of filament is getting through, the temperature needs to be higher to enable it to melt quickly enough for the higher print speed.
Consequently, the print bed temperature needs to be higher at the start of the print to ensure good adhesion.
The temperature of your printer’s hot end will also have an impact on which types of filaments you can use.
Some high-end filaments used in the printing of machine parts and tools have much higher working temperatures, so will need a fast printer with a high-temp hot-end to cope.
This ties in with the design and hardware aspect of the printer and relates to the actual operating software/firmware for the 3D printer.
The program that controls the printer needs to have the capabilities to run things at the higher speeds and temperatures required.
If therefore you are upgrading a printer to a new high speed hot end for instance, you’ll need to update the firmware that allows for such an upgrade.
There are different open-source firmware’s available, with Klipper and Marlin leading the list in terms of performance.
Certain filaments may not perform well under either low or high speeds.
This may not have an impact on the speed, but may influence your choice of printer.
For instance, if you are looking to print objects using TPU or another flexible filament, then high speeds won’t work for you.
PLA will work better at high speeds, but it then depends on whether you just want to work in this medium.
The Top Fastest 3D Printers
There are a number of printers on the market now that can handle faster print speeds.
Of course, if you want exceptionally fast printing then you’ll be looking more at the commercial manufacturing side of things, for which you’ll need both a much larger workspace and a much bigger wallet!
Therefore, we’ll be looking at just a few of the fastest 3D printers, aimed more at the home or hobbyist 3D printing enthusiast.
You’ll notice from the list that we’re only looking at FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) printers, as it’s hard to gauge the speed when working with SLA or resin printers.
Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ Kit
Prusa is a well-known manufacturer of quality 3D printers, as well as innovators in the world of 3D model sharing and user tutorials.
Their printers are not what you’d call “budget” models but are well respected and well-received by their users. The Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ Kit doesn’t exactly have the catchiest of names, but don’t let that put you off.
The quality of the printer itself is to Prusa’s usual high standards but as the name infers, it does require some assembly.
This is of course an FDM printer and capable therefore of using a variety of different filament types.
The MK3S+ is an upgrade from the previous version whereby they have now added what they call the SuperPINDA probe for better first layer calibration as well as higher quality bearings and design enhancements.
These are obviously aimed at improving the performance and quality of the printer, but to also make it easier to assemble.
The performance and quality though are still of the same standard as the previous model.
There is the option to purchase a purpose-built enclosure (≤ $325.00) which will help with warping issues, and you can also add their own Multi Material Upgrade 2S (≤ $340.00) which allows multicolor printing of up to 5 colors at the same time.
The build volume of 250 x 210 x 210 mm isn’t the biggest, but the MK3S+ does have an upper print speed of 200 mm/s and a maximum nozzle temperature of 300 °C.
This will allow for use of a variety of different specialist filament types and thereby enable more variety to your printed items
- Print Speed: ≤ 200 mm/s
- Build Volume: 250 x 210 x 210 mm
- More Features: Mesh Bed Leveling, filament sensor, power loss recovery, silent mainboard
- Pricing: $880.00
Creality Ender 5 S1
Creality’s Ender range of printers is possibly the best known and certainly one of the best-selling 3D printers available.
The very popular Ender 3 has gone through many incarnations over the last couple of years. But the introduction in 2022 of its Sprite extruder and hot end setup is what’s pushed it into the realm of fast 3D printing.
The designation “S1” after the name of the printer will tell you it’s got the Sprite on board. So after the Ender 3 S1 it was a natural progression to upgrade the Ender 5 to S1 status.
We’re looking at the Ender 5 S1 rather than the Ender 3 S1 though, due to its more advanced capabilities and better build design.
However, you could still purchase the Ender 3 S1 and achieve the same print speeds.
The Ender 5 S1 has a build volume of 220 x 220 x 280 mm which is the same as the Ender 3 S1, but it’s semi-enclosed and has a different x, y, z axis configuration.
The bed moves up and down on the z-axis, while the extruder/hot end moves along the x and y-axis. This makes for more accurate prints and also makes better use of the increased print speed capabilities.
We’ve mentioned temperature as a factor needed for high-speed printing, and the Ender 5 S1 allows for printing temperatures of up to 300 °C.
This then in turn allows for use of more advanced filaments such as ASA and HIPS. The price is also still in the budget range, so definitely a front-runner in the race for higher print speeds.
- Print Speed: ≤ 250 mm/s
- Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 280 mm
- More Features: Flexible build plate, all-metal extruder, auto bed levelling, 32-bit silent mainboard, color touch screen control
- Pricing: $580.00
AnkerMake is a specialized company with a singular focus and currently just one printer in portfolio: The M5.
The AnkerMake’s M5 FDM 3D printer has rapidly gained recognition thanks to its superfast printing, improved usability and smart tools.
Thanks to the innovative PowerBoost technology, this printer optimizes energy through its Y-axis transmission system to unlock accelerated print speeds of up to 2,500 mm/s.
The standard printing speed of 250 mm/s at 0.01 mm layer height makes it a clear competitor to the two models mentioned above.
The key ingredient is the ultra-direct extruder, which delivers intricate details at 5X faster print speeds.
Despite the extruder’s maximum temperature of 260 °C being slight “below”, the printer effectively leverages its improved extruder technology and double-cooling system to ensure quick filament cooling and maintain high printing speeds without sacrificing quality.
AnkerMake asserts that their printer can be assembled within a mere 15 minutes, making it an ideal choice for beginners and those who may not be tech-savvy.
With the integration of intelligent features such as an AI-powered camera for error detection, auto-leveling functionality, and remote control and monitoring capabilities, this printer offers an attractive, user-friendly experience for novices and experts alike.
- Print Speed: ≤ 250 mm/s
- Build Volume: 235 × 235 × 250 mm
- More Features: smart LCD touch-pannel, automatic print restorations for power outages, auto-created timelapses, two processors, and error alerts
- Pricing: $799.00
FLSUN may not be as familiar a brand as our previous three manufacturers, but they certainly seem to have come up with a contender in the high-speed printing stakes.
The FLSUN V400 derives its name from the fact that it has a “volcano” hot end and can also print at speeds of up to 400 mm/s.
This would seem impossible for those used to slower, standard speeds of around 50 mm/s, but again, the capabilities are there when given the right set-up.
An example given on their website shows a model printed at 50 mm/s and taking 17hrs and 9mins.
However, with the speed at 400 mm/s the same model only has a print time of 5hrs and 18 mins. You can therefore see the benefits of having a faster printer.
The volcano hot end, as it’s called, is bimetal so can therefore take the heat right up to 300 °C.
This may seem to be the same as the Ender 5 S1, so how then does it achieve that extra bit of speed?
Well, the axis rails are linear rather than nylon wheeled carriages, so they can move at a faster and smoother rate.
The linear rail system provides much less friction, and there’s therefore less wear and tear as well.
The V400 has a bigger build volume than most in this category at 300 x 400 mm.
You’ll notice that there are only two dimensions noted as unusually, the V400 has a circular build plate 300 mm in diameter.
The build plate surface itself is flexible and removable, making for easy removal of your printed item. There’s also auto bed leveling and a filament sensor as standard.
- Print Speed: ≤ 400 mm/s
- Build Volume: 300 × 300 × 410 mm
- More Features: Direct extruder, multifilament type support, Wi-Fi data transfer, 7” color touch screen control, pre-installed Klipper firmware
- Pricing: $849.00
We’ve looked at some of the faster 3D printers out there. But is it possible to make your existing printer faster?
Well, the simple answer is “yes”! Upgrades are always a good option if your budget won’t stretch to as new printer, but you’re desperate to get that extra bit of performance from your existing machine.
For example, and as we’ve seen, the Creality S1 range offers higher working temperatures and faster print speeds.
This is down mainly to the Sprite extruder and hot end set-up which comes as standard with these printers. However, Creality discovered that a lot of its customers were happy with their standard Ender 3 or 5 but just wanted to add an upgrade.
The company therefore made the Sprite extruder compatible with both the Ender 3 and 5 range and for less than $100.
All that’s then needed is the skills to change and upgrade the existing extruder and then update the firmware.
You then have a 3D printer with which you’re happy and familiar, but now it prints at higher speeds and temperatures. And, at a fraction of the cost of a new printer.
There are also other manufacturers of extruder and hot end setups which produce upgrades which are compatible with various printers.
For example, the E3D Hemera offers high temperatures and high speeds. But can also print flexible filaments such as TPU at 50 mm/s, much faster than a standard printer.
This again is available for less than $100, but the Hemera is compatible with many more printer brands and models. A full list of these can be found on their website.
So, if you want to upgrade your 3D printer to accommodate faster speeds, it’s worth having a look around to see if something will work with your model.
Benefits of Fast Speed 3D Printing
Whether you’re using your 3D printer for personal use to make models or for commercial purposes to sell your wares; print speed can be of benefit to you.
For the hobbyist, printing at higher speeds may just be a product of impatience and wanting to see the finished item.
However, if printing for commercial use, then printing at high speeds can have a great benefit to your business.
The benefits of this in a business sense are obvious.
3D printers are a great way to print the same item repeatedly and to the exact same specifications.
In a factory setting, this would be performed on a production line using multiple different machines to produce at a high rate. If you’re using just one 3D printer in your home though, you need to print one model at a time.
Being able to do this at a faster rate therefore has the benefit of increasing your overall productivity.
Ability to print multiple objects in a short period of time
You can of course, if your printer can accommodate, print multiple objects in one print run.
If the part is small enough, you may be able to duplicate it and print say 10 or more at one time. This doesn’t however cut down on the overall print time.
An individual object may take for example 20 minutes to print. Adding 10 of those to your print bed at once, and the printing time is obviously 200 minutes.
Having the ability to print at a faster speed and even half that time will have obvious benefits to both the hobbyist and commercial user.
Ability to meet tight deadlines
This again relates to productivity, but also points to time constraints you may be experiencing.
If say you have an order for 100 items, and you’ve promised a certain delivery time. To keep your promise, you’ll need to get printing and fast.
The ability to print at higher speeds will enable a quick turnaround on your printer. And thereby a quicker turnaround for your order.
However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be from a business point of view, but could be that you need a gift printed for a special occasion or a costume part for a cosplay event.
All of us at some point in our 3D printing life have needed something printed quickly.
We’ve looked at faster print speeds and some of the best printers for the job.
You’ll have seen the benefits of being able to print at high speeds, either for personal or commercial use.
There are of course some pitfalls, but hopefully this guide will have steered you in the right direction to avoid them.
High-speed 3D printing can be a costly exercise in terms of getting the right printer, but we’ve also shown you that upgrades are possible and at a reasonable price. Whether you choose to go all-in and buy a high-speed 3D printer or upgrade your existing model, you’ll soon be speeding down the 3D printing highway!