Getting Started with Protopasta

We've created this page to support a premium printing experience with our reliable material. Did you know we create colors and composites in-house from scratch to ensure consistency? This gives us confidence that you receive good material and can get a good experience with good hardware, settings, setup, adjustments, maintenance, and knowledge/understanding.

Follow below to improve your 3D printing experience. In other words, here's your shortcut to awesomesauce for your pasta. If at the end of this page you have questions or need assistance, please contact us at

Filament Handling

Loose coils can be tricky to manage. Wrangle your loose coils with an old empty spool or print a spool like this one! Learn more in this blog post.

Filament Tuck

And for spooled filament, never leave the end loose! When opening a new spool, carefully remove the plastic wrap to expose the end. Once the end is exposed, hold it to avoid tucking under another strand of filament. Tuck it away in the cardboard spool's corrugation (like above) when not in the printer extruder.

Avoid sharp bends and excessive force when handling filament. Most Protopasta is stiff and not meant to bend much before break. Make sure to avoid sharp bends and do not force the filament.

About Moisture

Filament from most manufacturers is delivered in a sealed bag with desiccant.  While this is the industry standard, it does not guarantee “dry” filament because all bags are permeable to moisture.  When working with PLA/PETG it is generally more important to have consistent conditions than a specific level of dryness. I print most filaments at room conditions and recommend leaving it out of the bag for 24 hours before using it to prevent the results from changing as you print.

Given filament with a stable moisture content, you can set a temperature where the filament melts without oozing excessively during a no flow condition and print for a good visual result with good settings and setup. This is typically at the low end of the suggested temperature range.

Drying can allow higher temperature printing without stringing and improved mechanical properties, but not without trade-offs. Once drying, you'll want to keep the material dry as filament can reabsorb moisture in a matter of hours. During this reabsorption time, you'll have a changing moisture condition that can lead to process inconsistency.

If drying, do not dry above glass transition temperature. This can heat treat HTPLA and for filament with particles (much of Protopasta), this can make them more brittle and difficult to print without breaking. For PLA, dry below 50 C (125 F) and for PETG, dry below 65 C (150 F).

Dry if you like, but do so with caution, and know that you can likely get a good result without drying with good settings and setup. More on that next.

Prints, Settings, and Setup

Note the spool edge guard in the above photo. This print is great for testing your printer's limits as well as gaining a smooth guide with edge rollers like on the Bambu X1 with AMS. An edge protector is the one essential upgrade for the Bambu X1 which gives a good experience with Protopasta in stock form.

This is one of several quick prints for a better printing experience. We make reliable filament, but reliable printing depends on many other variables like your hardware, settings, setup, adjustments, maintenance, and knowledge/understanding

Below are some example parameters for typical machines with stock 0.4 mm nozzles. The goal is to avoid too low of a volume rate and avoid putting material in the same place twice:

Machine(s): Prusa MK2/3, Prusa Mini, Creality Ender 3, etc.
Nozzle: 0.4 mm brass or plated brass w/ heater block sock
Nozzle Temp: 195-225 C (PLA/HTPLA) | 210-230 C (PETG)

Bed Temp: 50-60 C (PLA/HTPLA) | 70-80 C (PETG)
Bed Prep: Clean; Magigoo for adhesion + easy release when cool

Outlines: 3     Top/Bot layers: 4     Infill: Grid (0-50%)
Overlaps: 0     Min layer time: 0     Min Speed: 0
Fill gaps: no (fill gap speed = 0)     Expansion: 0

Layer height Ext width Speed Fan
 1st Layer 0.22 mm 0.44 mm 20-30 mm/s 0%
Rest of print 0.22 mm 0.44 mm

20-30 mm/s outline

up to 40 mm/s infill


All 3D printers benefit from a calibrated first layer that is not too close to the build platform. Leaving enough room for material to come out without restriction, yet still close enough to stick, is key for more trouble-free printing. Try Magigoo if you need help sticking. Also beware of nozzles made from restrictive geometries and/or low thermal conducting materials.

Some 3D printer hardware is more finicky than others (especially near 2 cu mm/s or less), but most machines perform well at 3-4 cu mm/s. If you are struggling with a 0.4 mm nozzle, increasing to 0.6 mm can make for a more reliable experience.

To modify settings for a 0.6 mm nozzle, you can increase extrusion width to slightly greater than 0.60 mm (0.64 mm for example). Note that increasing nozzle size (and thus extrusion width) also increases volume flow for the same speed and layer thickness.

For example:

With a 0.4 mm nozzle, 0.44 mm x 0.22 mm x 20 mm/s = 1.9 cu mm/s

With a 0.4 mm nozzle, 0.44 mm x 0.22 mm x 30 mm/s = 2.9 cu mm/s

With a 0.6 mm nozzle, 0.64 mm x 0.22 mm x 20 mm/s = 2.8 cu mm/s

Changing only the nozzle size (and extrusion width) increase volume rate and can take the printing process to a more reliable minimum and average volume rate. Careful because a larger nozzle can also more quickly take the process beyond a maximum volume rate that exceeds your process limits.

In short, mind your volume rate (all settings really) and make test prints to measure the result in controlled, known conditions. Then be sure to maintain these conditions. Learn your printer's behavior and limits with prints like this single wall one found on Printables. For more quick prints for a better printing experience, consider the PDF slide show shared earlier.

Printer-specific Considerations

Any 3D printer can print with Protopasta! Here's some printer-specific considerations for popular printers:

Prusa Mini - Your Mini can print Protopasta! With the stock heatbreak, the PTFE junction is at the top of the melt zone. It's crucial there is no gap to the PTFE to avoid hang-ups. Here's a link to Prusa's PTFE installation instructions. To print with less risk of hang-ups, we swapped to a Bondtech heatbreak. This moves the PTFE junction farther up and away from the melt zone. Swapping to e3d v6, lite6, or revo, slice engineering, or hardware without features/junctions at the top of the edge of the melt zone can similarly reduce hang-ups. Here's how one customer reworked his Minis for a reliable print farm fleet.

Prusa MK - Your MK can print Protopasta! With the stock Prusa heatbreak, there is a 0.1 mm feature at the top edge of the melt zone. You'll find higher print temperatures (like 235-240C for HTPLA) may be required so the material at that edge is hot enough to melt. This high temperature can create other issues. At low volume rates, the material gets overheated, expands to take up more space, and can can lead to blockage and/or inconsistent extrusion. To avoid these trade-offs and print with typical lower temperatures, we recommend swapping to e3d v6, lite6, or revoslice engineering, or other hotends and heatbreaks without features/junctions at the top of the melt zone to reduce hang-ups. Still, stock Prusas can perform well. Out of Darts operates a fleet of 10s of Prusa MK printers with stock heatbreaks and enjoys high reliability with Protopasta filaments.

Creatlity Ender 3 - Your Ender can print Protopasta!  This machine let's you know it's limits nicely with an audible click when it cannot extrude. This makes it great to learn limits of the stock hotend and bowden drive system as well as first layer distance and leveling. The stock hotend doesn't allow high temperatures with the PTFE in the middle of the melt zone, but the placement of the PTFE junction does make it tolerant of low temperatures and low volume rates. This makes the Ender good for detail prints as long as you mind the layer fan does not excessively cool the nozzle. I don't recommend modifying the printer before learning it's limits. It can and will print well up to 4 cu mm/s volume rate when properly setup. And when you are ready to tinker with the Ender to get more out of it than in stock form, check out CHEP's YouTube.

Matching hardware with process and material for a positive experience is not always straight-forward, but Protopasta can work for you! Qualify, manage, and maintain your process with known hardware, settings, and materials. Be careful when changing variables. Please consider this PDF for a better printing experience.

    Need more help? Consider typical pitfalls and fixes below.

    Typical pitfalls

    • Too high or too low volume flow rate
    • Inaccurate flow (check extrusion width)
    • Excessive nozzle cooling from layer fan
    • Poor assembly or adjustment of components
    • Internal hardware hang-ups
    • Excessive retraction and/or short movements
    • Too small/tight tubing
    • Excessively moist filament

    Typical Fixes

    • PTFE position adjustment or replacement
    • Nozzle position adjustment or replacement
    • Heatbreak replacement
    • Changing layer fan speed
    • Installing heater block sock
    • Changing temperature
    • Managing volume flow
    • Adjusting drive gear tension
    • Bowden tube coupling/replacement
    • Spool mounting position/conditions
    • Replacing tubing
    • Drying fialment

    We visited Joel and ended up with a helpful video on the subject.

    Also consider our blog how-to section.

    Still can't figure it out? Sorry, 3D printing isn't always straight-forward. Email us at