One of the best parts about 3D printing is, without a doubt, the vast array of materials we can use to print our models, which provides incredible flexibility that allows us to 3D print parts that are suitable for almost any scenario.
On the other hand, as each material comes with a set of distinct requirements for a successful printing process, such as different nozzle temperatures, printing every type of filament with every 3D printer available is not always possible.
Today, we will be exploring the compatibility between Creality’s Ender 3, which is perhaps the most popular 3D printer on the market right now, and ASA filament, primarily known for its physical durability and resistance against various factors such as UV, water, chemicals, and heat.
So, is it possible to print ASA filament with the stock Ender 3?
While it’s technically possible to print ASA with the stock Ender 3 as the heat block can reach 280°C, which exceeds the optimal ASA print temperature range of 240-260°C, we highly recommend against it as temperatures above 230-240°C pose a severe threat to the PTFE liner, creating considerable safety risks.
Moving forward, we will examine whether it’s possible to print ASA filament with an Ender 3 in more detail, discuss whether upgrades such as an all-metal hotend and an enclosure are necessary for successfully printing ASA with an Ender 3, and finally, find out the optimal print settings for the process.
Can You Print ASA Filament with the Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
A few distinct factors determine whether a 3D printer is compatible with a particular filament, such as the maximum nozzle temperature and the presence of a heated bed, to name a few.
The short answer to the question of whether it’s possible to print Ender 3 with the stock Ender 3 is a no, even though the heat block of the Ender 3 is capable of reaching the temperatures of 280°C according to the specifications by the manufacturer, which far exceeds the required nozzle temperature range of 240-260°C for printing ASA.
The reason behind the answer being a no is due to the existence of a component called the PTFE liner in the stock Ender 3 hotend, made out of the same material that the Bowden (PTFE) tube is, extending from the top of the hotend, all the way down to the nozzle.
While the PTFE liner serves the important purpose of allowing the filament to travel smoothly through the hotend, it comes with the critical downside of decomposing around the 230-240 degrees Celsius range and releasing toxic fumes in the process, which makes it a safety risk for both your and your Ender 3’s health.
Since the PTFE liner is in direct contact with the hottest areas of the hotend at all times, the hotend reaching temperatures above what’s safe for the PTFE lining means that the PTFE lining will also be exposed to such temperatures, and due to this, we highly recommend never going above 230 degrees Celsius of print temperature with the stock hot-end at most.
Is an All-Metal Hotend Necessary for Printing ASA with the Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
An all-metal hotend essentially unlocks the maximum potential of a 3D printer by allowing the printing of filaments that require higher nozzle temperatures, where PTFE would be unsuitable for the task due to it degrading at such temperatures.
For the purposes of printing ASA, an all-metal hotend upgrade is something we would definitely deem to be necessary, as the print temperature range required to print ASA successfully exceeds the safe temperatures that the PTFE liner of a stock Ender 3 hotend can handle.
In the case of an all-metal hotend, the PTFE liner does not exist, meaning that the component that poses a threat to the printing process when the temperatures get way too high is removed from the equation, and you can use the maximum potential of the heat block without having to worry.
While there are some downsides to using an all-metal hotend as well, such as it becoming harder for the filament to move through without the PTFE lining to help, using one is the only way to safely and successfully print filaments that require high temperatures, such as ASA.
Is an Enclosure Necessary for Printing ASA with the Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
While an enclosure is an addition that brings many positives to the 3D printing process, regardless of the filament you’re printing with, such as draft and dust protection, temperature stabilization, and noise reduction, it can also be a necessity for conducting a successful printing process with some filaments.
In the case of printing ASA with your Ender 3, an enclosure is not a complete necessity but highly recommended due to ASA being quite prone to warping and dimensional accuracies caused by sudden shifts in temperature and drafts especially if you aren’t printing in a closed environment.
If you currently don’t have access to an enclosure, our best advice would be to conduct the printing process in a room with all the doors and windows closed and any devices that may introduce temperature shifts or drafts to the room (such as an AC or a fan) disabled during the printing process.
What Are the Optimal Settings for Printing ASA with the Ender 3 (Pro/V2)?
Correctly configuring the settings of your 3D printer is a vital part of successfully conducting the printing process with a new filament type you haven’t utilized before, especially considering that some parts of the configuration show drastic changes among filament types.
Below, we have listed the optimal print settings for printing ASA with the Ender 3:
- Bed temperature – 90 to 120 degrees Celsius
- Nozzle temperature – 240 to 260 degrees Celsius
- Cooling fan speed – 0% for standard printing, 10%-50% for bridges and overhangs depending on the scenario
- Print speed – 50-60 mm/s
- Retraction – 40-45 mm/s speed, 5 mm/s distance (Bowden)
Please note that the optimal print settings may vary among different brands of filament, and we always recommend going with the manufacturer’s recommendations above any generic information, including the ones we have provided.
We highly recommend finding out whether your 3D printer can handle printing a new filament you haven’t used earlier before moving forward with the printing process, as trying to print a filament that is not compatible will result in a loss of time and money.
To quickly recap, even though the Ender 3’s heat block can reach the temperatures that ASA requires for a successful printing process, the fact that the stock Ender 3 hot-end isn’t all-metal means the PTFE liner inside can’t handle such temperatures, making printing ASA with a stock Ender 3 a no-go.
As there are serious safety risks involved, both for you and your Ender 3, if you attempt to print with temperatures above the 230-240 degrees Celsius range without an all-metal hot-end, we once again would like to say that we absolutely do not recommend printing ASA with your stock Ender 3.