Retraction Settings Parameters? When we talk about 3D printing, all we can imagine is smoothly polished objects with perfect dimensions, right? If yes, you are not alone, even though we thought similarly. However, to our dismay, 3D printing was not as easy as it seemed; it required a lot of patience, calibration, and good knowledge about different settings.
Moreover, no 3D printer to date can print out a smooth object without small thread-like strings hanging around. However, there are ways to reduce stringing; one of them is to calibrate the retraction settings accordingly. If you are using Ender 3, half of your problems are already solved, and the other half will get solved after reading this article further.
What is a 3D Printer Retraction, and its importance?
A layer of an object is printed when the hot filament passes through the extruder and then the nozzle. However, it’s not as easy as it seems, the printer settings need to be well calibrated for the nozzle to deposit the perfect amount of filament at a specific place. Moreover, as we said earlier, printing any 3D model without a bit of string is impossible. This stringing takes place when the extra filament oozes out of the nozzle. Hence, to counter this problem, a 3D printer has retraction settings. These retraction settings help in pulling back the filament and thus reducing stringing.
Important Parameters Of Ender 3 (Pro & V2) Retraction Settings
The retraction distance will decide the amount of filament the nozzle will pull in. we know it is hard to imagine. Let’s explain it with an example. Suppose you have set the retraction distance of 6mm, then the nozzle will retract 6 mm of filament. Many professionals recommend maintaining the minimal retraction distance while making sure there is minimum stringing. On the other hand, if the retraction distance is high, the filament will surely get damaged due to frequent pulling and heating.
The speed with which the filament is pulled in by the extruder is known as retraction speed. It’s usually in mm/s and can quickly retract the filament out of the nozzle. However, the filament will get damaged if you choose the highest reachable speed. We would recommend using 50 mm/s as a starting point and lowering or increasing the speed according to your preference.
Retraction extra prime amount
This retraction extra prime amount setting compensates for the oozed-out filament. It will not make your print any good so leave it at the 0 settings while balancing the retraction distance setting properly.
Maximum retraction count
The maximum retraction count setting decides how many times the extruder will retract the filament at a specific point. While retracting and priming, the extruder can damage the filament. Hence, it’s better to keep this setting to a low number. From our experience, starting with 10 will work better as the setting is too low to damage the filament, and you can even increase it further.
Minimum extrusion distance window
The minimum extrusion distance window setting lets you decide the retraction count over a specific length of the filament. It means that if you set the minimum extrusion distance window as 15mm with the maximum retraction count as 10, the extruder will retract the filament only 10 times while on a 15mm filament length. It is tricky to set the perfect number for this setting. Hence, many professionals set this number near to or the same as the retraction distance.
Limit support retractions
The support strings your print has been important for better support. This setting will reduce the support strings if you enable it by clicking on the checkbox. However, it won’t totally make them disappear from your print because they help in building the object. Also, it’s impractical to think of a 3D-printed object with no support strings.
The combing mode is used for protecting the filament by reducing the retractions. It has four types, namely: within fill, off, all, and not in the skin. While the others are not that worthy, the within-fill combing mode is worth choosing. It searches for the infill areas and keeps the nozzle over it while printing any object.
Besides faulty retraction settings, stringing is also caused by high nozzle temperature. Because of over extrusion, the filament oozes out of the nozzle, gets deposited in unwanted areas, and ruins the print. Hence, for a better print with lower strings, you should try lowering the nozzle temperature. When the nozzle temperature is low, the pressure inside gets less which prevents over-extrusion. If you use PLA filament, you can start with 200 degrees and increase or decrease the temperature accordingly.
Stringing can make your 3D object look awful; it might take time to polish it. The retraction settings have a major role in building your object, so you should have excellent knowledge about them. As we said earlier, printing an object without strings is impossible. However, these Ender 3 retraction settings will surely help in reducing them. If you are a newbie, make sure you read the user manual of your 3D printing before following any of these steps.