New to 3D Printing - Advice for LR3 Print Settings

Hi all,

I’m about to set out on an adventure and start printing parts for a (an?) LR3.

I’m completely new to 3D printing, so I’m hoping that the community here can help to fill in a few gaps in my knowledge and understanding.

I’ve got a brand new Creality Ender 3 Neo (0.4mm nozzle, 235x235 bed size) running factory default Marlin FW, and I’m set up with Cura 5.3.1 and PrintRun (PronterFace) 2.0.1 software.

I’ve been able to more or less successfully print a Benchy (some minor first layer adhesion issues that I think I’m able to correct after some additional bed leveling and Z-Offset adjustments, and some very minor stringing that I’m hoping will be corrected by adjusting the nozzle temperature a few degrees).

Right now I just have the short section of PLA that came with the machine, but I’m about to purchase several kg of filament in various colors, which brings me to my first question - which brand and type of PLA to use? I’ve read a few reviews and forums, and ESun PLA Plus seems to be reasonably rated. My questions about this are:

  • Is PLA Plus more or less the same as PLA in terms of suitability for LR3 build
  • Is Esun PLA Plus (+) a good brand, or is there some other brand I should consider instead?

Next questions are related to the Cura settings. I’ve read the documentation (several times). I understand the infill amounts (30% for most, 35% for the core, 50% for two braces and the YZ Plates, 70% for the XZ Plates, etc.),and setting the infill % in Cura seems rather simple.

I’m a bit stumped about some of the other recommended settings - " 2-3 walls rectilinear infill. Thicker layers since these are large parts, no more than 80% nozzle diameter to keep overhangs working". My questions about this are:

  • Cura “recommended” settings for PLA are 0.2mm layer height, 0.4mm line width (including walls and infills). Does this meet the above requirements for “thicker layers”, or should I modify these settings?
  • I’ve been seeing some threads and sites that recommend Gyroid rather than Rectilinear infill. Is it safe to make this change?
  • Is three layers (1.2mm wall thickness) better than two layers (0.8mm wall thickness) for the LR3 parts?
  • There is no mention in the documentation of recommended Top and Bottom Layer thickness (number of layers). Cura defaults to four layers each (0.8 mm), with no Top Layer Skin and Lines as the Top Layer Pattern. Do these settings need to be modified?

I’m sure that I will have other questions once I get started printing, and even more questions once I start building the LR3, but for now if the community can help me out with these newbie questions, I would be very appreciative!

Thanks and cheers,



PLA type: others may have differing opinions but in my experience PLA from different manufacturers are much the same and any will do so long as it isn’t something that has a different formulation like silk or glow in the dark.

Layer thickness: this means layer height not wall thickness. And thicker is better for strength. So with a .4mm nozzle .0.25mm or even 0.3mm height will be stronger than 0.2 - and faster to print.

Infill: you can try it, that’s the fun thing about this stuff! Print something with each of the 2 infills and wall setting and see which is harder to break. I personally left it the way it is in the documentation - it’s tried and tested by Ryan

Top and bottom layers: 4 is fine and the default infill is fine.

Good luck!

One more thing. As it’s a brand new printer - before you start printing everything satisfy yourself it’s calibrated and square. Because the parts are so big small misalignments can cause big problems. Have a read of this and check your printer is squared Der Froschkönig - Lowrider 3 in Oldenburg, Germany - #178 by vicious1


Welcome to the world of 3D printing and MPCNC!

The cool thing and the worst thing about the questions you have asked is that there is no one answer and if the answer is on the internet not one of them will be correct (including mine) ! :wink:

Someone here will have a decade’s worth of experience with an Ender and will no doubt be here to sort out your specific questions, and I don’t so I’ll leave that to others.( I prefer gyroid infill, and thicker perimeters rather than layer heights. )

The quality of the PLA will make a difference to your print settings, and there is often a difference even between colours of the same brand.

Do check that thicker layer heights is better for your specific settings - test that to destruction with a couple of samples. With a 0.4mm nozzle think about adding an extra perimeter or two to beef up the shell thickness.

Because you are new to your machine, order your project to print the smaller pieces first so by the time you are ready to launch into the bigger bits you will have a fair idea of what to expect.

Have fun and pop back often!


Really be certain you’ve got this squared away and understand bed adhesion techniques before printing your parts.

You might want to run prints from an SD card connected to the printer. I’m not certain how powerloss recovery or a computer crash will affect your prints.

These settings don’t need to be changed. You could print up to 0.3mm layer height if you wanted and it would save you some time. Holes and some overhangs might be better with 0.2mm later height though.

Yes. Gyroid and Cubic are 3D infills and are generally considered to be stronger. If they add a considerable amount of print time I wouldn’t bother. More time printing can mean more chance for failure.

Probably. I don’t think 2 would have been specified if it weren’t adequate but generally more perimeter lines equals stronger parts.

This should be fine.

In general, don’t deviate from the recommended settings. Those with experience can experiment but if you’re brand new to printing experimenting can lead to frustration very quickly.


Always happy to help. :sweat_smile::joy: Read the few posts below that one as well.


I’ve got that same printer. Get your bed leveled manually as well as you can, then run the auto bed leveling. Make sure to do these with the printer preheated.

Check your X axis belt to make sure it isn’t rubbing, and if it is print a spacer like this to get it aligned: Ender 3 X-Axis Belt Tensioner Spacer by 3DProtoPlanet - Thingiverse

Other than that, I use the textured side of the glass build plate, clean it off with isopropyl alcohol and have never had issues with adhesion (don’t bother using hairspray/gluestick/blue tape). I often have to pop it in the freezer to get prints to release.


You are doing great for a newcomer to 3-D printing. You’re asking excellent questions.

One the thing that I discovered some years back is that a 0.4 nozzle can be used to emulate a 0.6 nozzle if your extruder is capable of keeping up, and if your hot end is capable of keeping up. I have found that on my BIQU B-1 printers, which are in the same ballpark as a Creality Ender 3 v2, although I think they are a better, the extruder and hot end are able to keep up. So for example, you can change from .2 layer height to .3 layer height, and change the wall thickness from .4 to .6.


Someone above mentioned checking your printer for whether or not the results are dimensionally accurate. This is a good point. You can print a cube (at say 20 or 40 or 60 mm or whatever) by matching length and height and depth, and then measure the printed result with calipers. If it is off in one direction or another, you can Google for how to adjust the E-steps of your printer to get dimensionally accurate parts. Also measure the diagonals to make sure that the cube is a cube instead of a parallelogram or trapezoid.

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Thanks to all for the responses! Much appreciated!

Yes, definitely staying clear of Matte, Silk, Glow in the Dark, etc. I’ve read in a few places that PLA+ variants are typically stronger, so I may try that (as long as it won’t mess things up )

Yes, I think that I understand the difference between Layer Height (Thickness), Line Width, Wall Thickness (Line Width x # of Wall Lines), etc. After doing some quick research, it seems that adjusting Layer Height and/or Line Width can impact strength, speed of printing, layer adhesion, and overall visual quality.

As a newbie, I’m a little hesitant to stray too far from the middle ground, so I’m wondering if I should just stick with default settings for the build. I don’t care if it takes a bit longer to print or uses up a bit of extra filament, I’d rather have it work out right the first time.

Yes, I’ve read that thread, and I definitely plan to print out a few different calibration files (calibration cube, temperature tower, large first layer rectangle to check for skew, etc.) before starting to print the LR3 parts. I’m holding off on doing this until I order the filament, as I want to perform these tests with the same filament than I will be using for the parts.

LOL, that is so true!. While researching about layer height, line width, nozzle size, etc., there was a lot of contradictory info as to what the “best” settings should be.

I have read a lot of different opinions about the “best” PLA to use, and again, a lot of it is contradictory, so yes, I’ll go with a reasonably rated brand (thinking about Esun PLA Plus), and then do a few test prints with each different color to dial everything in.

I’m not sure that I would know how to destructively test test pieces in a meaningful way (sure I could pound the crap out of them with a hammer, but I’m not sure what that will tell me). I am definitely leaning toward more walls (3 minimum, maybe 4)

Yes, that is definitely the plan! I certainly don’t want to try the Core on an initial print!

Absolutely! I’m going to dial this in with the new filament before starting to print any parts .

Yes, the plan is to use the SD card. Pronterface is only for sending individual g-code commands to the printer during levelling, etc.

Bed leveling and Z-Offset have been the biggest challenge so far! I think that I have it dialed in now, using a dial gauge strapped to the print head to level the corners, and a 0.04mm (0.0015") feeler gauge to set the Z-Offset. The dial gauge was great to check the whole bed for tram. After adjusting the corners several times, everything was within +/- 0.001" all the way across the bed in 20mm increments along both the X and Y axis. I then did an Auto Bed Level command from the LCD screen (only 16 points), and saved it to EEPROM.

I did read that the ABL is turned off every time the Home command (G28) is issued by the LCD or from the print file, so I’m thinking to modify the Marlin code to use UBL with 10 test points per axis rather than 4 (100 vs 16 points), and to enable bed level settings after G28.

Thanks, I wasn’t aware of that issue. I’ll check it out!

Yes, as mentioned above, that is definitely in the plans!

Once again, thanks to everyone who responded… This place is great!


I’ve had good luck with ESUN PLA+ here, but I’m in New Zealand and using a printer with 2.85mm filament so my options are extremely limited.

One thing to bear in mind is that ‘stronger’ isn’t necessarily better for what is recommended here. As far as I understand it, it’s stronger (tougher would probably be a better technical term) because it’s slightly flexible which leads to it being less brittle and prone to cracking apart under load. Ryan has said a few times (including in a recent comment I saw somewhere) that he prefers PLA for the rigidity and doesn’t find any of the advantages of PLA+ to be useful here.

It has worked well for me, but I’m one guy with one MPCNC that I’ve never pushed particularly hard (it has aluminium tubes that are half as stiff as the conduit ones, anyway). I have nothing to compare it against, so all I can say is that it’s definitely possible to get good accuracy and reasonable performance out of a machine printed in at least one type of PLA+. I don’t have anything to compare against, though, so that doesn’t necessarily mean anything!

I haven’t noticed any differences in part rigidity when switching from PLA to PLA+, but I’ve definitely noticed that it seems a little easier to print with and the parts are somewhat less brittle. The problem is that printing with ‘wet’ filament that has absorbed moisture from the air can also produce similar changes, so my going from old PLA that I’ve had for years to brand new out-of-the-box PLA+ means that it wasn’t remotely a fair comparison.


Another thing to bear in mind is that sometimes even with the best bed levelling, I’ll still sometimes just have random issues on some parts. I leave a heater on in the room that my 3D printer is when printing bigger stuff to keep it at ~30c to try minimize warping, which helps a LOT for my glass print bed.

Fundamentally, though, it’s a case of trying everything and seeing what works. I used to be able to print fine on just clean glass. I don’t know what has changed but that hasn’t worked for me in a long time. I’ve tried hair spray and glue stick without much luck. ‘ABS juice’ is what worked for me, to the point where sometimes I’ve had to put the entire printed part and plate in the freezer for 10 minutes to get it off the build plate without breaking it.

If you try a bunch of stuff, you’ll get a feel for what sticks insanely well but is annoying, what is easy but questionable etc. Save the annoying processes for critical parts and use the easy process for things that are simpler to print.

Use a brim. Hell, use a raft if that’s what it takes. If it works, it wasn’t stupid :slight_smile:


Thanks for that. I did a bit of reading, and it seems that the biggest difference between PLA and PLA+ is that the + will bend before breaking, so yes, rigidity is significantly lower. Ease of print and quality of finish are supposedly better with the +, but in this case I think that performance (rigidity) would be preferable .

Looks like I will drop the Esun PLA+ as an option, and start looking at regular PLA options instead.

Just talking about this today. Filament (Polar Filament of Troy, MI) - #2 by vicious1

Ryan and Jeff both use hatchox pla. I will be now too!


Hatchbox is my “beans and rice” PLA. I don’t print very often, so I usually have more expensive filament loaded in the printer. Nothing wrong with HB, but I like the ziro CF and the protopasta PLA+ for being extra fancy (I make zero claims that these filaments are better, they just look cooler). I don’t print all that much, so the price difference is NBD. If I am printing a drawer full of containers or a bunch of prototypes, I will load up the HB.

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Thanks to all for the suggestions!

The following is from my build thread, (Bartman's LR3 build thread - A New Adventure!), but most of it is relevant to this thread, so I’m copying it here (hope that is within the forum rules).

I’m making progress dialing in the new Ender 3. I checked the e-steps for the extruder, X, Y & Z axis. The three axis were all within 0.08 mm over 100 mm of travel, so no adjustments necessary. The extruder only pushed 94mm of filament on a 100mm command, so I adjusted the settings and now it pushes 100.07mm (pretty darn close).

I had already leveled the bed, set the Z Offset, created a bed mesh, and tuned the PID for the nozzle and bed. I then printed a single layer bed adhesion test file, and it came out pretty good, as far as I can tell:

Sorry for the crappy pics - photography is not my strong suit.

The rectangles look like there are no voids or gaps, and they were sticking really well to the bed in each location.

Next was a skew test.

The adhesion of these to the bed was through the roof! I literally had to remove the glass plate and use a scraper as a chisel to remove them.

The XY test was within 0.05 mm (100mm rectangle, 140mm diagonal), so that was pretty good.

The XZ test was also pretty close (0.02mm difference), but there is a lot of stringing, along with a bit of elephant foot. Not sure if that is because of the filament (the white stuff came with the printer, and has been exposed to the air for several weeks), or because I still need to dial in the temperature and retraction settings. Now that I have used up the old filament, I’m going to load up the shiny new red Hatchbox PLA and do those tests next.

The YZ test was a little bit less where I was hoping, with about 0.70mm difference, and again lots of stringing and elephant foot issues. Not sure if this is a reasonable amount, or if I need to compensate in Cura or in Marlin. Once I dial in the temperature and retraction settings a bit better, I plan to re-print that test and see how it looks. I should hopefully also be able to do some of the shorter pieces (pretty much everything but the core, I’m thinking) as is, and maybe try to fine tune it a bit more before tackling that one.


Looking good. Stringing is something you can usually correct with either retraction adjustment or print temperature adjustment or both. I suggest trying retraction adjustment. Baby steps.

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OK, still dialing in the settings. Just printed a Temperature Tower, and I’m uncertain how to interpret the results.

Hatchbox recommends 180-210 range. I found an STL file that covers 205-180, so tried that. Virtually no stringing at any temperature (which seems to suggest that the white filament had moisture issues). Top two sections (180, 185) broke off fairly easily. I tried to break off the 190 section, but it was stuck firmly, and it ended up breaking at the transition between 195-200 instead. Similarly I could not break it easily at the 200-205 transition either.

The main noticeable difference is in the bridging. The best quality seems to be in either the 190 and 200 sections, with slightly better quality in the sharp cone area with 190. 195 shows some defects, as do 180, 185 and 205

So given that 190 and 200 seem to show the best results, but 195 possibly shows both strength and bridging issues, which would be the better choice to print the LR3 parts with? As always, I appreciate any input and advice.

Hey @Bartman, expected to see more variance in print quality for the different temperature settings.

Am curious what slicer you’re using? Am using Cura, within Cura can select a temp tower part…

But, I also need to Add, and Configure a Post Processing Script called TempFanTower that will change the nozzle temp at the right layer given the model height and layer height settings am using. To figure out Change Layer settings I do an initial slice, look at the slice Preview and use vertical scroll bar to figure out.

Am using Overture PLA (printing at 215C for my setup) instead of HatchBox, and also using uncommon layer height (0.6mm nozzle, 0.32mm layer height), so you’d need to tweak the Change Layer, Change Layer Offset and other settings to make sense for your setup.

Vaguely recall Teaching Tech and Chep have couple of videos that helped me through this process.

It’s great that you’re investing time up front dialing in your settings so you have good solid dimensionally accurate parts. A critical step for ending up with a decent machine. Learnings from this time consuming exercise will pay off for all your future projects.

Hope that helps!


Yes, I was surprised as well, especially given the earlier stringing issues with the white filament


I used Cura’s Extension - Post Processing - Change at Z - Change Extruder 1 Temp (5 individual scripts for the 5 temperature changes) and used the dimensions given on the Thingiverse site (1.4mm base, each section 10mm) to determine the change location, then confirmed it with the preview function as you described.

Thanks for that. I figure that using up a bit of time and filament now to dial everything in is more useful than spending time and filament to reprint when the part doesn’t come out as planned.


I have tended to over the years get the best results in my PLA prints at 190 or 195. I usually print the first layer at 195, the 190 for the rest.

However, given the variances in machines and filaments, I would probably suggest to just print something in both and see if there is a discernible difference in strength.

If both pass the “strong enough” test, use the one that looks best.

I print at 190 with 5% infill in Overture PLA and am sometimes shocked at how strong the parts can be.

It’s possible you may need to tune your retraction as well. I had this problem recently and found that my retraction settings needed to be cut in half.