A Comprehensive Guide on How to Calibrate Your 3D Printer
3D printers are pretty complicated mechanics, with repeated and careful calibration required if you want to create precise and identical creations. For beginners getting started with a new 3D printer, instead of diving into using it immediately, you'd better complete certain 3D printer calibration settings first.
Therefore, here is a full 3D printer calibration guide for your convenience, guiding you clearly on how to calibrate 3D printer to make it create identical high-quality 3D prints for you. Let's get started.
What Is Calibration in 3D Printing?
When a 3D printer is assembled or newly purchased, an adjustment process is required to ensure that identical 3D creations are produced with precision and accuracy. This machine pre-debugging preparation is also called 3D printer calibration. While calibrating 3D printers, you will need to manually adjust and repeatedly test some key parameters or essential components to achieve the best 3D printing quality at accurate consistency.
To calibrate a 3D printer, you need to pay attention to the following main aspects:
- Bed level adjustment:Adjust the print bed to a perfect level with proper distance from the nozzle to ensure flat printing.
- Accurate extruder settings:Make sure an accurate amount of filament is extruded to ensure precise layering and dimension of the 3D prints.
- Stepper motor calibration:Let the stepper motor work exactly at the same distance on the printer's X, Y, and Z axes.
- Temperature settings:Adjust the proper temperature exactly matching the 3D prints' materials to ensure precise adhesion status.
- Print speed customization:Test and adjust the printing speed to an appropriate level to prevent over-extrusion or under-extrusion and create precise 3D prints of the same quality.
Calibrating 3D printer is a skillful job. But by doing it well with all essential parameters and components status set at the best level, you can make 3D creations with great quality in perfect consistency.
How to Calibrate 3D Printer?
With a basic understanding of what to pay attention to while doing 3D printer calibration, let's move on to the detailed guide on how to calibrate a 3D printer.
Dial in the First Layer
To ensure a beautiful and dedicated 3D printing appearance, you should dial the first layer by tuning the Z offset to adjust the nozzle at an appropriate distance to the bed. This can prevent improper squishing or lack of adhesion of the print. The steps are shown as follows:
Step 1.Accurately measure the distance between the nozzle and the print bed via paper (better using a feller gauge to ensure high accuracy).
Step 2. Adjust the first layer by tuning to improve or lower the Z offset according to the measurement result.
Step 3. Test and repeat this process till the first layer reaches the best outcome.
Calibrate the Stepper Motors
Next, you need to calibrate the stepper motors to enable the printer's components to physically move by precise and accurate steps per millimeter, to make sure dimensional accuracy.
Step 1.Measure the accurate values of the printer's head movement (e.g., 100mm).
Step 2.Calculate the exact values you want the printer to move.
Step 3.Input these values to the 3D printer. You can insert some filaments to repeatedly test and adjust them in preference.
Calibrate 3D Printer Extruder
By calibrating 3D printer extruder, you can ensure all 3D creations are printed with the precise amount of filament. Simply follow the steps below:
Step 1.Measure the filament at several places along the spool (take at least 3 places to calculate a more accurate figure).
Step 2. Calculate the average of these measurements and enter the number into your 3D printer.
Step 3.Test the machine and adjust the extruder till it can perform to extrude the correct amount of filament for your 3D creation.
Calibrate 3D Printer Axes
To adjust your 3D printer's head and build platform, move accurately in different directions (X, Y, and Z axes) to make 3D creations layer by layer at high consistency.
Step 1. Manually measure the actual movement of the print's head when it moves in different directions.
Step 2.Mark down the accurate numbers and enter them to be commanded moving on the X, Y, and Z axes following the settings.
Step 3. Carefully adjust them to calibrate 3D printer's physical movement to be accurate.
Adjust Filament Settings
Based on different filaments' materials, you need to apply different filament settings such as the temperature and printing flow rate to get identical 3D prints at the best quality. You can go through the following steps to get it done:
Step 1. Identify filament type and consult its specification. Common materials include PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPU.
Step 2.Adjust the temperature of the nozzle and heated bed according to the filament's recommendation. It's a good idea to start with the lower end of the recommended range and adjust upwards if needed.
Step 3.Further, adjust the printing flow rate to the settings that can create 3D prints with your desired quality.
Step4.Apply both settings and start the 3D creation printing.
Extra Recommendation: 2 Best 3D Printers
In addition to understanding how to calibrate 3D printer, you should also pay a little attention to the 3D printer itself. To create 3D prints with better quality, you should not only follow all the required 3D printer calibration steps, but also use a qualified 3D printer. Through testing and deep investigation, here collect the 2 best 3D printers you can consider to give a try.
AnkerMake M5 3D Printer
AnkerMake M5 3D Printer delivers easy control, quick speed, and precise detail by 0.1mm to print 3D creations in an effortless experience. The PowerBoost 2.0 applied by the 3D printer has greatly enhanced the printing speed to 500mm/s. Also equipped with the M5 acceleration technology, the 3D printer can accurately calculate the printing plan and strictly keep the printer’s performance matching your design to create identical 3D prints.
AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer
The AnkerMake M5C 3D Printer delivers a powerful ability to print 3D creations with a fast extrusion flow of 35 mm³/s and enhanced 1.2GHz XVurst®. It also adds all-metal hot end, supports more types of filament materials, and offers higher temperature to create 3D prints. By the way, it is even more lightweight and easier to carry.
3D printer calibration is an essential procedure to ensure consistency and accuracy in printing 3D creations. If you just got a new 3D printer and are ready to start using it, follow this 3D printer calibration guide to adjust the machine and ensure the best 3D printing quality!
Why is my 3D printer not accurate?
A variety of reasons can lead to the lower accuracy of your 3D printer:
- Set bed level at the wrong state;
- Process inaccurate calibration of the stepper motor and printer axes;
- Use improper temperature or flow rate and speed settings to print 3D creations;
- Apply wrong extruder settings and lead to improper amount of filament usage;
- Other issues caused by firmware, software, or the machine operator itself.
How often should I calibrate my 3D printer?
The 3D printer calibration is based on the frequency you use the machine and also the environmental conditions. Normally, here are some timings you can consider to calibrate 3D printer:
- After a new machine purchase or maintenance;
- Before every printing;
- When filaments are changed;
- Great changes in environmental conditions.
You can also calibrate your 3D printer on a regular basis, like every week or month to ensure the health condition of the machine and to make sure that it can perform correctly.
Can I calibrate the bed level?
Absolutely. Bed leveling can be an essential process while doing 3D printer calibration because it ensures the first layer is created accurately. It is a must-have step to calibrate 3D printer.