Can You Print Carbon Fiber Filaments with Ender 3 (Pro & V2 & Neo & S1)?

While carbon fiber filaments come with many benefits for functional prints with their high strength-to-weight ratio, increased stiffness, and better dimensional stability over their base counterparts, they are also slightly more demanding when it comes to obtaining a successful print due to the added properties that carbon fiber brings into the mix.

In this guide, we will discuss whether it would be possible to print carbon fiber filaments with a stock Ender 3, learn more about the hardware upgrades that would come in handy to ensure your Ender 3 can print carbon fiber filaments successfully, and take a glance at the modifications required to the slicer settings for a higher quality print.

Can You Print Carbon Fiber Filaments with Ender 3 (Pro & V2 & Neo & S1)?

As it’s possible for carbon fiber filaments to come in many forms, whether it’s a combination of carbon fiber and PLA / PETG / ABS / Nylon, or any other base filament material that you can think of, whether a stock Ender 3 can print a carbon fiber filament firstly comes down to the material it’s combined with.

For instance, in the case of a Nylon and Carbon Fiber blend, where the base material is Nylon, a type of filament that a stock Ender 3 cannot print due to the hotend temperature requirement being higher than the stock hardware can handle, printing the carbon fiber variant also won’t be possible right off the bat as a result of the same exact limitation.

On the other hand, when it comes to a PLA and Carbon Fiber blend, where the base material of the filament is PLA, a type of filament that a stock Ender 3 (and any stock 3D printer, for that matter) can print with ease due to it not requiring the usage of high nozzle temperatures, printing with the carbon fiber variant also won’t be a problem for your Ender 3.

With that said, even though a stock Ender 3 will technically be able to print the carbon fiber variants of such filaments, there is one problem that the addition of carbon fiber introduces, which is the abrasiveness of the filament becoming much higher compared to its regular counterpart due to the abrasive nature of carbon fiber.

In essence, whenever you print a carbon fiber filament using the stock brass nozzle of your Ender 3, the filament will end up wearing the nozzle out at a much higher pace compared to printing with a standard, non-CF filament, eventually leading to a scenario where the nozzle completely loses its original shape and becomes unusable (or at least highly unreliable, which is likely to lower the quality of your prints drastically) due to the carbon fiber consistently chipping away at it.

While there’s no telling how quickly your stock brass nozzle will degrade to the point where it’s not a good idea to use it anymore, a study done by E3D shows us that printing as little as 250g of CF-based filament with a brass nozzle is fully capable of bringing the nozzle to a state where it completely loses its original shape, which is pretty quick considering that a nozzle should easily last across multiple 1 kg spools without any problems regardless of the material you’re using.

With this in consideration, our primary recommendation would be to refrain from printing carbon fiber filaments with your Ender 3’s stock nozzle whenever possible, as each print will slowly eat away at the nozzle and effectively lead to the quality of your printed parts gradually worsening due the nozzle deformation becoming more and more severe across prints.

While it would technically be possible to keep printing carbon fiber with your stock Ender 3 by constantly replacing the nozzle after every few prints, we can’t exactly consider this to be a proper solution due to the considerable waste it will end up creating both in the amount of time and money you will end up spending.

On the other hand, if you need to print with carbon fiber in a pinch with your stock Ender 3, with no other option available, you can definitely go for a few prints with the carbon fiber blends of the filaments that a stock Ender 3 can handle, as we have discussed earlier, but at the expense of losing a nozzle, as you will need to replace the nozzle as soon as you’re done with printing carbon fiber to refrain from the damaged nozzle reducing the quality of your following prints.

Which Upgrades Should You Add to Your Ender 3 (Pro & V2 & Neo & S1) for Printing Carbon Fiber Filaments?

While a stock Ender 3 can technically print any carbon fiber filament combined with a compatible base material, such as PLA and PETG, replacing the default brass nozzle with a hardened steel one would be our primary recommendation if you plan on printing with carbon fiber filaments frequently due to how carbon fiber can effectively destroy a brass nozzle.

Referring to the study we have talked about earlier to put things into perspective, E3D has found that the hardened steel nozzle hasn’t shown any signs of deformation after going through 2.5 kilograms of carbon fiber filament, compared to the 250 grams it took to render a brass nozzle unusable, which inarguably makes hardened steel the better option, and effectively a must-have when dealing with an abrasive material such as carbon fiber.

That being said, even though a hardened steel nozzle is definitely an upgrade over brass when printing carbon fiber filaments, this doesn’t automatically mean that hardened steel is superior to brass in every way possible, as brass is actually the better option when printing with standard, non-abrasive materials, which is why almost all 3D printers come with a brass nozzle by default.

While this may sound unintuitive at first, as hardened steel is clearly more resistant to wear and tear as a whole, regardless of the material you’re printing, which should make it the better option overall, what makes brass the correct choice for printing with standard filaments is the fact that it has high thermal conductivity, which effectively means that it can transfer heat in an efficient manner to allow the material to flow more reliably and smoothly compared to not only hardened steel but most other materials used for nozzles.

Because of this difference in thermal conductivity, the general recommendation when printing with a hardened steel nozzle is to bump the nozzle temperature up by 5 to 15 degrees compared to what you would use with a brass nozzle, as this is practically the only way to compensate for the loss in thermal conductivity and allow the material to flow out of the nozzle without issues, which is also something to keep in mind when switching to a hardened steel for the first time.

Putting everything we have discussed so far into consideration, our recommendation would be to switch between your hardened steel nozzle and your brass nozzle based on whether you’re printing with an abrasive material for the best results possible, and even though it can definitely become a chore to replace nozzles frequently, it’s the correct thing to do.

On the other hand, when it comes to carbon fiber blends with base materials a stock Ender 3 cannot print, whether it’s an ABS & CF, ASA & CF, or Nylon & CF blend, the upgrades you will need to make will effectively come down to the requirements of the base material, alongside a hardened steel nozzle for the CF, as we have mentioned earlier.

So, for instance, if you would like to print an ASA & CF blend with your Ender 3, you will need an enclosure and an all-metal hotend alongside the hardened steel nozzle, as the stock Ender 3, which comes with a PTFE-lined hotend and no enclosure, won’t be able to print any ASA-based filament by default.

Additionally, while it’s not always a complete necessity, printing with a larger nozzle, such as 0.6 mm or 0.8 mm, instead of the standard 0.4 mm, is usually a good idea when using carbon fiber filaments, as the fibers in the filament can end up clogging smaller nozzles and practically cause your prints to fail as a result, which is something to keep in mind when shopping for a new hardened steel nozzle.

Which Slicer Settings Should You Adjust to Print Carbon Fiber Filaments with Your Ender 3 (Pro & V2 & Neo & S1)?

Even though the base material of the carbon fiber filament is the primary determinant for slicer settings, whether it’s the printing temperature or the build plate temperature – retraction and print speed are the two things we recommend adjusting explicitly due to the filament containing carbon fiber.

While it’s not a requirement that directly stems from using a carbon fiber filament, remember to increase your nozzle temperature by roughly 10 degrees Celsius (we recommend running your own tests to find the temperature value that works best for you) if you have switched to a hardened steel nozzle from a brass nozzle for the very first time!


When creating a slicer profile for a carbon fiber variant of a filament, retraction is the first thing that will require adjustment, as the fibers contained within the filament are a whole lot more likely to build up at a particular area of the extruder and create a clog in cases where your 3D printer retracts the filament through long distances.

Since clogging will immediately lead to a failed print, our primary recommendation when printing with a carbon fiber filament for the first time would be to deactivate retractions completely, as this will reduce the chance of clogging drastically and allow your 3D printer to complete your first test print with success.

cura disable retraction

Once you have your first test print at hand, slowly experimenting with increasing retraction distance values and eventually finding the highest point where your 3D printer can retract the filament without causing a clog instead of completely turning retractions off will most likely be the best way to move forward for a high-quality print, as disabling retractions also have the downside of exacerbating oozing and leading to your prints being severely affected by blobs and stringing.

Additionally, while not directly related to retractions, we highly recommend experimenting with Cura features such as Combing and Coasting in any case where you end up having to use little or no retraction (printing TPU is another example), as these features can help reduce stringing considerably through alternative methods that don’t require retraction, such as redirecting the travel paths to avoid empty areas and cutting extrusion off slightly earlier than usual toward the end of the path.

Print Speed

Print speed is another slicer setting that requires modification when printing with a carbon fiber variant of a filament, as the abrasive nature of carbon fiber puts more stress on the extruder, which in turn increases the chance of clogging.

cura print speed description

With this in mind, our recommendation when configuring the print speed value specifically for the carbon fiber filament variant of the filament you’re printing would be to reduce your print speed by 25% to 50%, which should relieve some stress from the extruder, reduce the chance of clogging, and also make it more likely for the extruder to push clogs through the nozzle in cases where they occur.

So, as an example, if you usually print PLA with a print speed of 60 mm/s, the print speed value you should use for a PLA and Carbon Fiber blend falls between the range of 30 mm/s to 45 mm/s.


While it’s possible to print some carbon fiber filaments with a stock Ender 3, such as PLA carbon fiber and PETG carbon fiber, due to the stock Ender 3 already being compatible with standard PLA and PETG, the fact that carbon fiber is highly abrasive makes upgrading to a hardened steel nozzle practically a necessity.

Combined with some slight adjustments to the slicer settings, such as reducing or even disabling retraction and lowering the print speed, your Ender 3 should easily be able to handle PLA and PETG carbon fiber filaments without the need for more “serious” upgrades, such as an all-metal hotend.