Configuring Slicer Settings for Sunlu PLA & PLA Plus (PLA+)

While it may seem unnecessary at first, having separate slicer profiles for different brands of the same filament is actually one of the most efficient improvements you can make to improve the quality of your prints,

In this guide, we will explain how you can configure your slicer’s settings specifically for the Sunlu brand of PLA & PLA Plus (PLA+) and share the Sunlu PLA / PLA Plus-specific Cura configurations that we have prepared for the Ender 3 series of printers, including the Ender 3 S1 which comes with a Direct Drive extruder instead of Bowden.

Configuring Slicer Settings for Sunlu PLA & PLA Plus (PLA+)

When we look at the specification sheet for Sunlu PLA and PLA Plus (PLA+), we can see that print temperature, bed temperature, and print speed values are directly mentioned, which will be the parameters that are the main focus of our guide, along with the fan speed parameter, which we would like to cover as well.

Print Temperature

Print temperature is the very first thing that requires readjustment when configuring slicer settings for a new spool of filament, even if it’s the same type but a different brand, as the material composition of the filament differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, which in turn changes the melting point of the filament, and as a result of this, the optimal print temperature range.

cura printing temperature


As a result of these differences, configuring the print temperature value to be in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations is always better than using the generic temperature range recommended for PLA or PLA Plus (PLA+) filaments, as this will allow you to arrive at the optimal temperature value a whole lot faster.

For Sunlu PLA, the manufacturer recommends using a print temperature value between 200 and 210 degrees Celsius on the product page, which is a pretty narrow range that makes it straightforward to configure the print temperature value correctly without requiring too much testing.

On the other hand, for Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+), the recommended printing temperature value falls between 205 and 215 degrees Celsius (you can also find this information on the product page as PLA), which, once again, is a narrow range that will make it easier to pinpoint the optimal temperature value that works best for you.

Taking these printing temperature ranges into consideration, our recommendation as a starting point would be 205℃ for Sunlu PLA and 210℃ for Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+), and while these temperatures most likely won’t produce perfect results from the get-go, they will allow your first test print with Sunlu PLA / PLA Plus (PLA+) to go through without any issues that would lead to print failure.

Once you configure the print temperature accordingly, you can then run a test print and either go down by 5 degrees if you observe signs of over-extrusion, such as oozing and drooping layers, or go up by 5 degrees if you notice signs of under-extrusion, such as poor layer adhesion and the appearance of small gaps between layers.

Alternatively, if you would like to take a more scientific route for fine-tuning the print temperature, you can print a temperature tower as your first test print, which, for those unfamiliar, is the combination of a 3D model divided into different sections, and a script that tells your 3D printer to print each of these sections at different temperature values.

This way, you can see the effects of different print temperature values at once on the same 3D model and quickly find out which temperature value produced the best results by spotting the section that has the highest visual quality, which will save you from having to run a series of test prints.

cura pla temperature tower example


If you’re interested in this method, our recommendation to print a temperature tower in the most convenient way possible would be to install the Cura Calibration Shapes plugin, which includes both the 3D model and the script required for the temperature tower, allowing you to set up the entire process within Cura.

To learn more about setting the Calibration Shapes plugin up, you can refer to the GitHub page of the plugin and the pages where the temperature tower components for PLA and PLA Plus are explained in specific, which will take you through the entire process of printing a temperature tower.

Build Plate Temperature

Another slicer setting that will require readjustment across different brands of filament is the bed temperature, practically for the same reasons as the print temperature, but this time due to differences in the glass transition temperatures of filaments rather than the melting points.

cura build plate temperature


According to the specification sheet, the recommended bed temperature range for both Sunlu PLA and Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+) is 50 to 65 degrees Celsius, with using no bed heating at all also being an option for 3D printers that don’t have a heated bed attached.

Our recommendation, putting the manufacturer’s recommended bed temperature range into consideration as well, would be to set the bed temperature value to 55℃ for Sunlu PLA and 60℃ for Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+), which are the temperature values that have been working well for us on an Ender 3 V2 Neo when printing with Sunlu PLA and Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+).

Once you complete your first test print, you can then look for signs that would indicate there’s an issue with the bed temperature configuration, such as elephant’s foot, which would tell you that the bed temperature value you’re using is too high, or poor bed adhesion, which would indicate that the bed temperature isn’t high enough for the plastic to adhere firmly to the build plate, and use this information to optimize the bed temperature value.

When performing such adjustments, our recommendation would be to modify the build plate temperature by 5℃ at most after the test print and to run new test prints until you find the optimized bed temperature value that doesn’t create any problems, as this will ensure that you don’t suddenly end up going from a too-high or too-low bed temperature value to the opposite by making drastic changes between tests.

Print Speed

While print speed is mentioned in the Sunlu PLA / PLA Plus (PLA+) specification sheet, it’s a setting that’s more dependent on your 3D printer’s hardware and some of your other slicer settings (line width and layer height, to be specific, which are primarily based on the nozzle size), meaning that there isn’t much of a reason to change it across different brands of PLA or PLA Plus.

cura print speed description


So, if you already have the print speed dialed in from the time that you’ve been using a different brand of PLA or PLA Plus (PLA+) already, you can keep using the same print speed value with Sunlu PLA and Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+) as well, which will allow you to print with these filaments without problems.

On the flip side, if you will be printing PLA or PLA Plus (PLA+) for the very first time with your 3D printer, which would mean that you don’t have an optimized profile in place yet, our recommendation would be to start out with a print speed value of 60 mm/s (lower for direct-drive extruder due to it being heavier, 50mm/s should do), assuming that you’re using a layer height of 0.16 mm, and a line width of 0.4 mm, which is standard for a 0.4 mm nozzle.

Once you have the test print at hand to observe, you can then check for signs that may indicate the print speed you’re using is way too high, whether it’s ringing, which would occur due to the mechanical parts of your 3D printer not being able to handle the high speed, or under-extrusion, which would tell that the 3D printer can’t keep up with the filament flow, reduce the print speed by 5 mm/s at a time if any such sign is visible, and keep testing until you find the value that doesn’t create issues.

On the other hand, if you don’t notice any of the speed-related issues we have mentioned on the test print, you will want to keep testing yet again, but this time, by increasing the print speed by 5 mm/s at a time, as this will allow you to find the maximum print speed value that your 3D printer can handle without any problems.

As optimizing the print speed to be as high as possible will reduce print times, even if slightly; the fact that the time you save will add up to a considerable amount in the long run makes this optimization completely worth it, even if it initially takes you a few more test prints to get things going, especially if you intend to print PLA or PLA Plus (PLA+) frequently for a long time.

Since higher print speeds will increase the flow, which in turn means that the hotend will need to melt the filament more quickly to keep up with the demand, it’s also a good idea to increase the printing temperature by a degree or two every time you push the print speed up by 5 mm/s, as this will prevent possible under-extrusion issues stemming from the filament not melting quickly enough.

Fan Speed

Last but not least is the fan speed, which technically is another value that won’t require change between different brands of PLA/PLA+ but is still one that we would like to mention within this guide due to the many misconceptions regarding PLA fan speed tuning.

cura fan speed description


As a material that can form strong bonds between the layers quickly, using too much cooling isn’t a problem when printing with PLA/PLA+, which is why using as much cooling as possible with PLA/PLA+ is the widespread advice you will see everywhere regarding fan speed tuning for PLA/PLA+ filament in particular, as this yields the highest visual quality possible without any glaring layer adhesion issues.

That being said, this doesn’t mean you can’t use less cooling when printing PLA, as the same formula of allowing the layers to cool down by themselves for increased strength at the expense of visual quality also applies to PLA/PLA+, which means that using the highest fan speed possible isn’t your only option for printing with PLA/PLA+ filament either.

So, for general-purpose printing, where you aren’t looking to squeeze some extra strength out of your PLA/PLA+ for functional purposes, using a fan speed value of 100% is perfectly suitable for Sunlu PLA & Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+), whether it’s which will cause the layers to dry as quickly as possible and retain the highest visual quality without any drooping involved.

On the other hand, if you would like to boost the strength of your part and don’t have access to any other filament that’s more suitable for the task, such as ABS, using a lower fan speed can be the factor that allows your part to have enough strength to fulfill its duty without issues, with the same part possibly being too weak when printed with a higher fan speed value.

Remember to set your initial fan speed to 0% regardless of the fan speed value you’re using, as this is practically necessary to allow the plastic to adhere firmly enough to the build plate without warping as a result of cooling down too quickly.

Example Sunlu PLA Cura Configuration for Ender 3 (Pro & V2 & Neo)

Below are the general-purpose Cura settings we have prepared for printing Sunlu PLA with a Bowden extruder Ender 3.

  • Print Temperature: 205°C
  • Bed Temperature: 55°C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s
  • Layer Height: 0.16 mm (with a standard 0.4 mm nozzle)
  • Retraction Distance: 6 mm
  • Retraction Speed: 45 mm/s
  • Fan Speed: 100%
  • Initial Layer Height: 0.2 mm
  • Initial Layer Speed: 20 mm/s
  • Printing Temperature Initial Layer: 210°C

Example Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+) Cura Configuration for Ender 3 (Pro & V2 & Neo)

You can find general-purpose Cura settings we have prepared for printing Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+) with a Bowden extruder Ender 3 below.

  • Print Temperature: 210°C
  • Bed Temperature: 60°C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s
  • Layer Height: 0.16 mm (with a standard 0.4 mm nozzle)
  • Retraction Distance: 6 mm
  • Retraction Speed: 45 mm/s
  • Fan Speed: 100%
  • Initial Layer Height: 0.2 mm
  • Initial Layer Speed: 20 mm/s
  • Printing Temperature Initial Layer: 215°C

Example Sunlu PLA Cura Configuration for Ender 3 S1

Here are the general-purpose Cura settings we have prepared for printing Sunlu PLA with an Ender 3 S1.

  • Print Temperature: 205°C
  • Bed Temperature: 55°C
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/s
  • Layer Height: 0.16 mm (with a standard 0.4 mm nozzle)
  • Retraction Distance: 1 mm
  • Retraction Speed: 45 mm/s
  • Fan Speed: 100%
  • Initial Layer Height: 0.2 mm
  • Initial Layer Speed: 20 mm/s
  • Printing Temperature Initial Layer: 210°C

Example Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+) Cura Configuration for Ender 3 S1

The general-purpose Cura settings we have prepared for printing Sunlu PLA Plus (PLA+) with an Ender 3 S1 are listed below.

  • Print Temperature: 210°C
  • Bed Temperature: 60°C
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/s
  • Layer Height: 0.16 mm (with a standard 0.4 mm nozzle)
  • Retraction Distance: 1 mm
  • Retraction Speed: 45 mm/s
  • Fan Speed: 100%
  • Initial Layer Height: 0.2 mm
  • Initial Layer Speed: 20 mm/s
  • Printing Temperature Initial Layer: 215°C

Conclusion

Now that you have created a specific profile for your Sunlu PLA / PLA Plus, which consists of the fine-tuned settings that have worked best with this brand and type of filament in particular, you’ll never experience the problems or inconsistencies that can occur due to using the same generic profile across different brands of filaments.

While perfecting the configuration separately for each brand of filament can seem like a lot of work at first glance, especially if you switch between brands frequently, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how helpful it is to have fine-tuned settings ready to go at all times for any filament once you have created profiles for all of the filament types and brands that you commonly use.