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3D Ambient Temperature



Using our Ender 3 printer in a small outside workroom  that has Micro monitoring the ambient temperature and also connected to a smoke alarm which feeds back to the PC in the house.

While using PLA/+ and PETG filament any suggestions as to the Minimum and Maximum ambient temperatures before heating or cooling needs to be switched on ?

As I understand it, the ideal environmental temperature in the vicinity of the print is around 20C below Tg (glass transition temperature) with lots of air flow onto the print (at that same temperature). That combination of temperature and active cooling typically yields the best results in terms of print quality and minimal warping.

Regular PLA with a Tg of around 55C will print nicely at 35C ambient and lots of cooling air. It will do okay at lower temperatures and moderate air flow, in part because PLA tends to have a higher heat capacity than many other filaments (more energy transfer per degree temperature change). At 20C there will probably be some minor corner lifting but not the massive warping and layer delamination typical of, e.g., ABS printed in a too cold environment. That's why open frame printers do so well with PLA.

PETG varies but a Tg of 80C is typical, so an ideal chamber temperature would be around 60C. However, PETG is significantly more flexible than either PLA or ABS and so can withstand a lower environment (even room temperature) without significant warping assuming that the stars are properly aligned. A shielded but not necessarily fully enclosed chamber helps a lot.

Heat removal from the cold end also plays a part. If the filament softens in the feed tube then a cold end jam is all but certain. How well a given extruder assembly performs at keeping the incoming filament rigid until it reaches the melt pool in the nozzle is a major factor in how well the printer will perform at elevated chamber temperatures. Printing PLA at 35C ambient may be ideal once the filament leaves the nozzle but that may be too hot for some home/hobby setups to handle without jamming.


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