The many different filaments available for usage play a vital role in the flexibility of the 3D printing process, allowing us to print models that are capable of fulfilling their purpose regardless of the use case, as long as the filament selection is made correctly.
On the other hand, the fact that each filament has a distinct set of attributes and advantages also means that they have different requirements for a successful print, meaning that your 3D printer may not always be suitable to print with any filament.
In today’s article, we will be analyzing the compatibility between the Ender 5 and TPU filament, in particular, and find out whether Creality’s popular printer is capable of printing with the filament primarily known for its elastic properties.
So, can you print TPU filament with your Ender 5 3D printer?
While printing TPU filament with a Bowden tube can be slightly challenging due to the flexibility of TPU causing it to get trapped, which can eventually lead to the jamming of the extruder, the Ender 5 is perfectly capable of printing TPU filament without any modifications.
Moving forward, we will take a deeper look into the compatibility between the Ender 5 and TPU filament, find out the optimal settings to use for a successful printing process, and finally, go through the process of configuring TPU-specific settings for the Ender 5 in Cura.
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Can You Print TPU Filament with the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus)?
As there are a few conditions that a printer must fulfill to be compatible with a particular type of filament, it’s vital to ensure that your printer can print the filament you intend to use before moving forward with the print.
Printing TPU filament with a stock Ender 5 is entirely possible as long as you configure the print settings correctly since the hotend can easily supply the required temperature that TPU requires for a successful printing process.
The one thing that has the potential to create some issues while printing TPU filament with the Ender 5 is the Bowden tube, as depending on how flexible the TPU you’re using is, it can end up bunching up in the Bowden tube and create a clog.
Fortunately, in the case where you are facing issues related to the Bowden tube while printing TPU with your stock Ender 5, there are some things you can try to allow the TPU to flow better, which we have listed below:
- Reposition the extruder with a 3D-printed extruder arm to reduce the length of the Bowden tube. With a shorter distance between the extruder and the hotend, and as a result, a shorter Bowden tube, the chance of the filament getting stuck in the tube and jamming the extruder will be much lower.
- Use a 3D-printed direct drive extruder mount to turn your stock extruder into a direct drive one. It’s possible to find some mods that you can 3D print yourself to convert the stock Bowden extruder of your Ender 5 to a direct drive one in a fairly straightforward way, getting the Bowden tube entirely out of the equation.
- Use TPU filament that has a higher hardness value. As not all TPU filaments are equally flexible, specifically going with one that is slightly harder can prevent it from getting stuck in the Bowden tube and make way for a more reliable printing process.
On the other hand, for the absolute best experience possible while printing TPU with your Ender 5, there is no denying that the best thing to do is to switch to a direct drive extruder, which will allow the TPU to move much more consistently and eliminate the risk of it getting bunched up in the Bowden tube.
What Are the Optimal TPU Settings for the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus)?
Ensuring that you have configured the print settings as optimally as possible is the next vital step for a successful printing process after confirming that your 3D printer can handle the filament you intend to use, as, without the necessary configuration, your 3D printer won’t be able to perform well enough.
Below, you can find the optimal Ender 5 settings that we recommend using while printing with TPU filament:
- Print Temperature – 220 to 250 degrees Celsius
- Bed Temperature – 50 to 60 degrees Celsius
- Travel Speed – 150 mm/s to 200 mm/s
- Print Speed – 20-30 millimeters per second
- Layer Height – 0.16 mm (for a 0.4 mm nozzle)
- Initial Layer – Height: 0.28 mm | Temperature – 225-255 degrees Celsius | Bed Temperature – Heated bed off or 50-60 degrees Celsius
- Retraction – Distance – 2 mm | Speed – 20mm/s
- Cooling Fan Speed – Off, or 20-40% (Higher end for overhangs and bridges)
How to Configure TPU-Specific Settings for the Ender 5 (Pro/Plus) in Cura?
Saving the specific settings you have configured for a particular type of filament as a profile is something we highly recommend doing, as this will allow you to reload the configuration whenever necessary and save you from the hassle of manually going through the settings every time you switch filaments.
Here is a step-by-step guide you can follow to configure TPU-Specific settings for your Ender 5:
- Click the Prepare tab on the top of the Cura window.
- Click the middle pane to find the Material settings.
- Click the Material dropdown.
- Hover over the Generic option, and choose TPU 95A from the list.
- Click the right pane to find the Print settings.
- Click the Custom button if visible. Else, skip this step.
- Click the Profile dropdown, and choose one of the default profiles you would like to use as the baseline.
- Apply the desired TPU-specific configuration through the Print Settings dialog.
- Click the Profile dropdown, and choose the “Create profile from current settings/overrides…” option.
- Input the name you want to give to the profile, and click OK.
Making sure that your 3D printer is compatible with the filament that you intend to print with is the first thing you should do before purchasing a new type of filament for the first time, as attempting to print with a filament that won’t work will only result in frustration, lost time, and lost money.
To quickly recap, the Ender 5 is absolutely capable of printing TPU filament without any issues, but as with any other printer that has a Bowden style extruder, the process may be slightly challenging due to the flexible nature of TPU not playing well with a Bowden tube, potentially leading to clogs.
If printing TPU successfully with a stock Ender 5 becomes too much hassle, it’s always possible to make some modifications that will make the process more reliable, such as changing the extruder position, and in the case that you want the best solution possible, it’s always an option to replace your Ender 5’s Bowden extruder with a direct drive one.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.