February 3, 2018

3D Printer Calibration Tutorial To Smooth Layers

Is your 3D printer is not delivering good prints? If yes, then this article will learn you how to calibrate a 3D printer like no other!

Why Do You Need To Calibrate Your 3D Printer?

When you are working with a 3D printer it’s like caring for a baby, you need to look after it and keep it well maintained by doing this you need to calibrate it regular. We no longer use meters or centimeter this because the most used unit now is millimeters and microns, things can’t get more precise than this. The more the environment affects, this will result in plastic dilatation and the diameter but it will mostly affect the natural stretching of the belt.

What Is And How To Use Calipers?

Calipers are a device that are used to measure length, it’s like a ruler but it is more advanced. I would like to suggest  that you should buy a digital caliper, they can be a bit expensive but the price will pay off. You will need to get a calipers with at least 0.01mm precision or 0.0005. You can buy these from a DIY store.

Where to buy Price
  1. Amazone
  2. eBay
  1. £26.99
  2. £12.19


Before Making Changes, Make a BACKUP!

It’s always good to make a backup before any configuration changes, it doesn’t matter if your doing work on a computer, mobile phone or a 3D printer anything bad can happen this will result in you losing all progress you have worked on, so make sure you do regular backups.

Okay so to preform a backup of configurations for a 3D printer you will need Repetier Host this will be the software you will need to get before you can do anything else. You will need to connect your 3D printer using the USB cable provided, place this into a USB slot in your computer, press Control + P to open the configuration panel.

You can change the port but i tend to leave it on auto, the baud rates are usually (115200 – 250000) then press “OK“. On the main screen you will see connect (click this) then go into Config > Firmware EEPROM Configuration.

Now that you are on the EEPROM setting menu, click on export EEPROM data, i suggest you may want to take a print screen of the parameters in case you will need to access a single value. After you have backed up your firmware you can now start to mess around with the 3D printer.

Calibrating The Extrusion Step/mm

You need to start by calibrating the extrusion step/mm this you will need to pre-heat the nozzle to liberate the extruder, set the temperature to around 170ºC. After you have pre-heated the nozzle you will then need to dissembled the exturder, this will be a lot easier if you have a bowden system, but if you don’t it’s okay. If your 3D printer has a direct driver system, you will need to remove the hot end block with dissipator this will help the plastics to more more freely.


Extruder Bowden And Direct 3D Printer


Preparing The Calibration

Another good idea is to check the extruder tensioner, if loose it won’t pull the plastic correctly

Start to remove the bowden tube from the snapfit locker, you can do this by pressing the blue and black plastic parts down, pull the bowden tube up. Once you have finished removing the PFTE tube, you will then need to cut any excess filament away. Try and get it as close as you can to tube as possible.

Measuring The Current Calibration

Once you have done the previews step, you will need to go back into Repetier host and “click on” extrude to 100mm only press this once. You will now have sent the  extrusion commands, wait until the filament has stopped flowing out of the PFTE tube. Now place the calipers with the left “ear” touching the PFTE tube and the right “ear” place it where the plastic ends. Using the digital calipers it will display the value right away make sure you right this done.

You will need to go back in the EEPROM firmware setting, to do this a quicker way you can press ALT + E and then find where the E-Steps value is and write this down too, Do not close the firmware down as you will still need this up on the screen.

You will need to calculate the steps, this can be a simple equation. For example

The formula is: New _steps = old_steps (expected lengh / real lengh)

One this case: New_steps = 157.16 ( 100 / 99,45   >>> New _steps = 158,0291

Write the new vale down on the firmware screen and press “ok”

Finishing The Calibration

After saving the final value on your 3D printer, you should measure the results again, this is because there may be a small error. Follow the previews instructions until you get exactly 100,00mm. After fine-tuning the extruder step/mm you will then need to reassemble the bowden tube.

Now you will have a extruder that is calibrated! you should not have any problems with over extrusion or under extrusion again. Remember to set the “extrusion multiplier” to 100% on the slicer of our choice, otherwise it will override the calibration!


Calibrating The X, Y and Z Step/mm

To begin you will need a calibration test model, there are hundreds on Thingverse but the one that most people will use is called Benchy. This model is designed to measure from specific points to ensure accurate printing including dimensional accuracy, warping, deviations and tolerances.

3D Benchy 3D Printer Calibration Test


After the print has finished, open the firmware configuration you will find the X, Y and Z steps/mm, put then into a calculator and measure the print with the calipers. the correct value should appear on the calculator,replace this into the firmware, remember to save everything and make a back up of the new value.

To be sure that everything is in working order, print this part again, the measurements should be within 0.05 of the expected value. This guide is not intended to fix bed leveling issues or bad quality filaments those are requirements for this calibration to work.


So you like 3D Printers then why not have a look at this Our choice of top 6 printers.


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About lynne


I got into doing this about 3 years ago and it has been one hell of a journey to get where we are at now, there will be a lot more but will take time to plan everything out to get it perfect. If you have any question please feel free to contact 1 of the admins or send us a message on facebook.

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