Unlocking 3D Printing: Feed Rate vs. Flow Rate Demystified!

3D Printing Jargon: Unpacking Feed Rate & Flow Rate


Ever scratched your head over the terms Feed Rate and Flow Rate in the 3D printing universe? You’re not alone! This piece dives deep into their intricacies, ensuring you emerge with clarity. Let’s break them down!

Feed Rate versus Flow Rate: The 3D Printing Dance

In the world of 3D printing, Feed Rate and Flow Rate may sound similar, but in reality, they dance to different tunes. The Feed Rate delineates the pace at which the printer’s components move, including its extruder. On the flip side, the Flow Rate maps out the quantity of filament directed to the nozzle within a specific time. Another name for Flow Rate? Yep, it’s the Extrusion Multiplier.

Now, while these two have distinct roles, there are shared characteristics:
– Both measurements come in percentages.
– Both start off at a default of 100%.
– Both can be tweaked via your slicer, in your G-code, or even on your printer’s screen. Think of it as an on-the-spot edit to remedy any glitches observed during the printing process.

Diving into Feed Rate

Feed Rate, in essence, is a value that modifies the printing tempo, usually captured in percentages. Here’s the lowdown: Tweaking the Feed Rate is akin to altering the speed-related inputs in your slicing software, as it impacts the motion of the printing motors.

When the Feed Rate is set at 100%, the slicer’s speed parameters stay consistent during the print duration. Amp it up to 200%? Your printer accelerates, doubling its original pace.

And yes, altering the Feed Rate is a breeze. With printers like the ones from Creality, a simple twist of a knob can hike up or drop down the default value.

Certain slicers, like Cura, present options like Minimum Feed Rate within the Printer Settings domain, where a base Feed Rate speed can be fixed in mm/s. Handy, right?

And if you’re looking to change the Feed Rate percentage during print without manual meddling, certain plugins and scripts can be your ally.

Unraveling Flow Rate

The Flow Rate, in layman’s terms, represents the volume of material squirted out by the nozzle. It’s influenced by the might of the extruder motor, and the melting speed of the filament in the hotend.

Venture into Cura, and under the material section, you’ll spot the Flow Rate options. There’s a plethora of sub-settings available for fine-tuning.

Since Flow Rate dictates the extrusion quantity, it intertwines with other parameters like layer thickness and line breadth. Its main role? Counteracting issues like over or under extrusion due to printer glitches or filament properties.

And, similar to Feed Rate, on-the-fly adjustments on your printer screen are possible. Isn’t that convenient?

Print Speed & Its Relationship with Flow Rate and Feed Rate

Print Speed sets the pace for the model’s creation, while Flow Rate oversees the filament’s extrusion. Boost the Print Speed? Your slicer recalibrates the Flow Rate to ensure ideal filling of line dimensions. However, altering Flow Rate won’t budge the Print Speed.

On the other hand, Print Speed steers the overall tempo, influencing sub-settings like Infill or Wall Speed. Contrastingly, Feed Rate acts as a multiplier, impacting all speeds, be it Print Speed or Travel Speed.

Simply put, Print Speed decides the printer’s movement velocity during printing. In contrast, Travel Speed focuses on the printer’s pace during its travel phase (sans any extrusion).

The beauty of Feed Rate? It allows on-the-spot changes, perfect when the print feels too sluggish or brisk.