The best way to figure out how to calculate 3D printing time is to use Slicer software to tell you based on:
- Layer height
- Nozzle diameter
- Object size
- Infill percentage
- Print speed
Estimate Print Time From STL File
Slicer software like Cura can calculate several instructions the printer gets from the STL file. G Code is the instruction the 3D printer is reading from the STL file.
The following command linearly moves your 3D printer which accounts for up to 95% of G-Code files:
- G1 X0 Y0 F2400 ; move to the X=0 Y=0 position on the bed at a speed of 2400 mm/min
- G1 Z10 F1200 ; move the Z-axis to Z=10mm at a slower speed of 1200 mm/min
- G1 X30 E10 F1800 ; push 10mm of filament into the nozzle while moving to the X=30 position at the same time
This is a command to heat up your printer’s extruder:
- M104 S190 T0 ; start heating T0 to 190 degrees Celsius
- G28 X0 ; home the X axis while the extruder is still heating
- M109 S190 T0 ; wait for T0 to reach 190 degrees before continuing with any other commands
Note: Different slicers can give your different results
Most slicer doesn't account for the time the print bed warming up
Print Speed Calculation
Flow Rate = Extrusion Width × Layer Height × Printing Speed
This is an easy to use equation to determines the temperature, which affects print speed, then calculates total printing time.
How To Estimate Total Weight
Slicer software can estimate the weight of your 3D print.
Infill density, infill pattern and the number of individual walls and the overall size of the desired model.
Then the objected is sliced and an estimate of the weight of the 3D print object in grams is given.
Factors That Can Affect Print Time
There are several settings in your slicer that will affect your printing time:
- Object size
- Infill Settings
- Infill patterns
- Retraction Settings
- Layer Height
- Nozzle Diameter
- Speed Settings
- Acceleration & Jerk Settings
- Shell – Wall Thickness
Out of this list, the biggest time-consuming printer settings are the layer height, print size, and nozzle diameter.
Slicer Software Print Time Estimation Accuracy
Older slicer software had some errors, but the newer versions are getting more accurate.
Try gCodeViewer to estimate your G Code, and this allows:
- Analyze G-Code to give print time, plastic weight, layer height
- Show retracts and restarts
- Show print/move/retraction speeds
- Display partial layers of a print and even animate sequences of layer printing
- Show dual layers simultaneously to check for overhangs
- Adjust line width to simulate prints more precisely
Cura does a pretty good job of estimating printing times, and other slicer programs may have wider differences in their accuracy.
Some people report a 10% margin difference in print times with Cura using the Repetier software.
Acceleration and jerk settings aren’t taken into account, so printing estimate times can differ. The user can fix it by editing the delta_wasp.def.json file and filling in the acceleration and jerk settings on the printer.