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PID Tune your 3D Printer! – Tutorial to get you back on track

Have you just changed your hotend? Seeing fluctuating temperatures while printing? It is more than likely that you’ll need to PID Tune your 3D printer. Here I will show you how you can achieve this and get your printing back on track!

What is PID?

PID stands for “Proportional Integral Derivative “. It maintains the set temperature by way of the control loop, so for example, when it sees the temperature dropping on your hotend, it will keep it at the temperature you initially set. Think of like cruise control on a car. When this is set, and you’re going up a hill, this would slow the car down. However, with the way cruise control works, it will give the vehicle a boost to keep it at the speed set initially.

What will I need for a PID Tune?

The only things you will need to PID Tune your 3D Printer are a USB cable and some software called Pronterface.

Let’s get started!

Firstly, connect your printer to your computer using the USB cable and switch on your printer. Proceed to open up Pronterface and check you have the correct COM port and Baudrate for the printer to communicate with Pronterface. For example, the most common baud rate is 115200. Just try each one if it fails to connect, starting with the highest

Secondly, let’s first get our original values, should we need to revert. In the Pronterface terminal window, type in M503. This will bring up the current saved costs of pretty much everything on your 3D printer. Take a note of the M301 PID settings.

We are now ready to start the PID Tune.

Additionally, if you find that you usually print at the same temperature every time, use this value for the PID Tune. For this example, I typically print at 210, so I will use that value.

If you have more than one hotend, Marlin will use the same PID settings for all hotends, no matter which one you used for autotune

Pronterface

In the Pronterface terminal window, type in M303 E0 S210 C5. They translate to:

  • M303 – PID Autotune
  • E0 – Hotend
  • S210 – Set temperature to 210
  • C5 – 5 cycles

They will heat the hotend to 210 degrees over five periods ensuring it maintains its temperature, so you will see the temperature drop and rise.

It will then report back to you some new PID values upon completion.

To enter these into the printer, likewise in the terminal window within Pronterface, type in M301 P##.## I#.## D##.## (Where # are your reported values)

Once entered, in the terminal window type in M500. This will save your values to the EEPROM. Also, to confirm your costs have saved, an example in M503 and these will display your current settings.

Heated Bed

The same process above can also be used to PID tune your heated bed. Just use the following if you normally use 60 on the bed. (PID will need to be enabled for the bed within Marlin if you are to use this just in case it doesn’t work) Type in Pronterface:  M303 E-1 S60 C5

  • M303 – PID Autotune
  • E-1 – Heated Bed
  • S60 – Set temperature to 60
  • C5 – 5 cycles

That’s it!

That is your PID Tune now complete for your 3D printer. As a result, you should now see your temperature maintain itself without dropping drastically while printing. If it does, then it will most likely be an issue with your thermistor requiring a replacement or the wiring checked.

Thank you for reading! If you liked this tutorial, then why not check out my Wemos D1 Mini Octoprint Monitor tutorial or Wyze Cam; Cheap and easy way to watch your prints.

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4 Comments
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  1. thank you , that is some thing i have not done yet to my printer, will do in the very near future

    • Thanks for your comment Gary. It’s always something worth doing, especially if you do change nozzles or swap your hotends 🙂

  2. I recently bought a 3d printer and I want to tune it properly so I was looking at different guides. I think that you have the most comprehensive guide for tuning a printer.

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