My Temperature Philosophy

Nozzle and Bed Temperatures

I noticed a potentially confusing setting name when I was teaching a class about using Cura (the slicer) this weekend. It calls the hotend (or nozzle) temperature “printing temperature.” I guess that is an OK name, but it isn’t specific enough for my liking. I’m pointing this out only because I think most tutorials that you read online would call it something more specific as opposed to a generic “printing temperature.” Cura’s term could be applied to any part of the printing process in my opinion.

Then there is the bed temperature. That is called “build plate temperature” in Cura. I think that is fine and clear.

These are both controlled by temperature sensors that send information to the printer’s control board. I’m sure these are finely calibrated sensors. But, I have to wonder if the temperature sensors are as precisely uniform as we tend to think they are.

Different Printers, Different Temps

My printer may print a roll of filament beautifully at 207 degrees C. Your identical printer might print that exact same roll of filament best at 202. While the temperature sensors are calibrated pretty closely it may be that my printer is saying it is 207 when it is really 204.76 degrees. And yours is saying it is 202 when it is really 204.76 degrees.

In all likelihood, while we may both have the popular Ender 3, we won’t really be printing the same roll of filament (unless we are neighbors and share filament from a large stash that we have between us). Someone may say that you should print PLA at 205, but keep in mind that each printer and each roll of filament might be slightly different. So take that 205 recommendation as a good starting point, but plan to experiment from there.


The truth is, most filament will print well in about a 10 degree range from one printer to another. My default temp is 205 for the two printers I work with regularly. I have only found a few rolls that really needed anything drastically different. My suggestion is to start at 205 and see what happens.

If you have a small model that you can print with each new roll of filament, you can see if your default temperature works well for it. You can also print a temperature tower to dial in a more precise temperature. When you find a temperature that works well for a particular roll, I would write that on the side of the roll.

Keep in mind that even if you use the same manufacturer for all your filament, there may be a few degrees difference between colors.