Getting the temperature right on your build plate and hotend is crucial for any print to be successful. Each material requires its own settings for both. The devices used for temperature reading are called thermistors and thermocouples.
he settings for both the extruder and the hotend change for each material. PLA is printed at 180°-220° celcius, and while they do not require a heated bed, it is extremely recommended to heat yours to around 60° C (its glass transition temperature) to prevent warping and prints being knocked off. ABS, on the other hand, has to be printed from 220°-260°C and requires a heated build plate of around 110C. Large ABS prints also require ambient temperature be around 55°C to not warp or delaminate.
Unique materials have unique settings. Some nylons and flexible materials require a coat of a PVA/water solution be laid to a 45°C bed for proper bed adhesion. Trial and error, as well as research, are required for a successful print in each material.
Thermistors are the most commonly used temperature reading device in 3D printing and come stock with almost every hotend. Thermocouples are able to be more accurate at higher temperatures, but require specialty electronics that not many boards accept.
Thermistors are very thin and brittle objects. This is why it is key to be precise and careful with the assembly of the thermistor to the hotend. Make sure to have the cords tied tight without any chances of being tugged on by any obstruction mid print. As always, be sure that no wires or parts of the thermistor are exposed. Some thermistor-hotend setups have the head of the thermistor smashed into the hotend via a screw and washer.
Being a mechanical and frail part, this will eventually give you troubles and require maintenance. You will see a “Min Temp” error for the extruder when a thermistor is not reading. We prefer to use third party thermistors on our E3D hotends that screw into the hotend and come with strong insulation. These have a much longer life, require much less labor to install, and allow you to remove the hotend without tweaking your wire configuration or removing the entire extruder.