Category: 3d printer first layer calibration

One of the last steps of assembling a Prusa i3 MK3 3d printer is to manually adjust the Z height. At the same time, I became curious about what size that Lulzbot Mini can print. A simple test print answered both questions. To test the maximum printable area, I created, in FreeCADa rectangle in the XY plane that was the same width and length as the specified print area of the Mini: mm x mm.

I extruded this shape in the Z direction 1 mm, just to give the test print a little height. I then imported that shape into Cura Lulzbot Edition and… oops. Handily, that article also pointed to a video showing how to print the full x mm area with a bit of messing around.

Testing Your 3D Printer’s First Layer Height Calibration

So it seems the Lulzbot Mini can print to its advertised area. Curious what area object I can print without that size trick, I tried various width and length 1 mm high rectangles. The result: the maximum area my Cura Lulzbot Edition 3. I also printed that object, just to make sure. It worked great!

Once the rectangle started printing, I realized that this little test object is also a great way to look at the bed leveling and Z height over the whole printable surface, by flipping the printed rectangle over and looking at the uniformity of the first layer fill. Here things look… ok. As you can see if you click on the image above, the first layer looks a little different in the back-left corner lower-right in this picture and front-right corner, which suggests the auto-leveling is a tiny bit off.

For example, my printed square measures Not bad at all. So I now have a handy rectangular object I can print to test several things about my printer: 1 maximum print area, 2 First layer quality across the entire print bed, 3 absolute dimensional accuracy, 4 bed leveling.

That print shows the same differences in the corners of the bed as the first, but prints in about 25 minutes instead of over an hour. This is a poor first layer. The next photo shows the same part of the same test print, printed with Z Offset set to Notice how dramatically more merged the lines of filament are.

There are two other hints that this Z Offset value is better: the filament looks more flattened in fact a bit too much in cross-section, and the print sticks to the bed far better. You can see how they both show a similar ripple pattern. The most likely cause so I hear is loose belts. See my next post, on extruder tensionto find the what turned out to be the problem. All this handy diagnostic information was gained from one print model: a full-bed picture frame one layer thick.

It printed a mm x mm rectangle with no sweat Once the rectangle started printing, I realized that this little test object is also a great way to look at the bed leveling and Z height over the whole printable surface, by flipping the printed rectangle over and looking at the uniformity of the first layer fill. The first layer is good across the whole print bed As you can see if you click on the image above, the first layer looks a little different in the back-left corner lower-right in this picture and front-right corner, which suggests the auto-leveling is a tiny bit off.

Taken with a Celestron digital microscope.This page serves as a companion for this video: 3D printer calibration revolutionised - Step by step to better print quality.

It aims to make calibrating your 3D printer as easy as possible. If you find it helps you and you would like to say thank you, here is a donation link: PayPal. Watch the video and then work through each tab. I have created a custom gcode generator to assist in making testing towers. This used to be a laborious process and beyond the skills of many users.

Other times pre-sliced gcode was used from the internet, but it is impossible to have gcode available for every printer configuration. Until now! Every attempt has been made to ensure this is safe but ultimately there always is risk in running pre-sliced gcode from the internet. Preview the gcode in your slicer or Gcode. Only print this gcode when you are present, alert and capable of stopping the printer in case of emergency.

Validation has been built into the forms to only allow sensible min and max values, however this is not foolproof. To be compatible, your printer should have a miniumum bed size of x mm. The largest print is 85 x 95 x 30mm. To ensure there are no underlying problems with the frame or mechanical components of the 3D printer.

It would be easy to use the techniques elsewhere on this page to try and fix problems that were actually caused by a problem with the physical components, so we will eliminate this possibility first. Many of these procedures are covered in this video: Complete beginner's guide to 3D printing - Assembly, tour, slicing, levelling and first prints.

Top Ten Prints to Calibrate your 3D Printer

Move around the machine and check all fasteners. Crucial ones include those on the print head gantry such as those that hold the hot end on.

If your printer has a motion system based on V-roller wheels riding on V-slot extrusions, check they are properly tensioned. Each location will have one eccentric nut.

3d printer first layer calibration

This can be twisted to either add or remove tension on the wheels. If the wheels are too loose: Wobble will be present in the assembly, which will show in the print as surface artefacts.Ideally you would do most of these steps for every print or every individual roll of filament. If you use a single brand you could setup profiles for each material, if you use a single brand and single material you could do this once. You should do this for every spool of filament or every print. Step 1: Calibrate your extruder This only needs to be done when something changes.

Using a caliper, measure your filament diameter at several locations. Average out the measurements, at least 3and enter that into your slicer under filament diameter. Step 3: calibrate your z height and first layer. Do this whenever something changes in your printer. Do this every print, to be a little lazy every roll, to be really lazy every brand and material, if your slacker only once. Before and after you calibrate temperatures and any time you change a fan or move something or a season changes.

PID tune your hotend and bed to keep your temperature fluctuations to a minimum. I have a Delta with three really powerful layer fans. As noted above if your fans in any way change the temperature of your hotend all layer fans do you should PID tune the hotend with the fan set at the most common speed to keep temperature fluctuations to a minimum. I left a lot of details out and some things are vague. Also my formulas may be off. I have a Velleman Vertex K printer with a 0.

Printing with 1. Step 2: Measured the filament between 1. Am I to print only the first layer of a Cube, so rectangle of 20x20mm? How should one use the measurements to adjust the bed or code z offset? Step 4: Measured 9 times between 0. Step 4. On step 4: The cube that I printed is under extruded at 1. You then measure the height of the print in several places in order to find out if your z height is set correctly. On Step 4 what was your line width set to?

With a. If your extrusion is looking weird or under during this you may just have bad filament? Can you attach a picture of the cube you printed and tell me a little more about the filament, brand - how old is it - how is it stored. Follow up question to Step 3: So if I measure 0. Step 4: first picture, and print to the left on the second picture See pictures attached from the first 20mmx20mm cube test that had an average wall thickness of 0. Step 4 - take 2: second picture, and middle print Based on the first test I reduced the extrusion multiplier to 0.

I printed this only 10 mm tall to see the difference between the two. Printed wall size was then measured to 0. Step 4 - take 3: second picture, print to the right Based on the second test I decided to use the new Beta version of Cura 2.

I set the layer height to 0. Regarding the question on the filament. It was opened 2 weeks ago. Since then it has been stored on the printer in room temperature of about 23 degree C. Do not see any info on production date. There is something wrong with your — Filament or Hotend Temperature or Extruder — the prints in those pictures are not due to calibration or tuning of extrusion.When we test a new printer or material, we will usually run them through these set of different calibration prints.

Each model is designed to test one specific facet of the 3D printing experience, from overhang quality to Z-banding to support removal. MAKE would score each test from 1 to 5 with 1 being a total failure and 5 being a perfect print with no defects related to that test and one test was pass or fail.

With this set of 3D models, you can fine tune your 3D printer to optimize your 3D printer's capabilities and finished 3D print quality. As the print head makes a quick movement, it can oscillate, which creates a ring effect. The oscillations diminish on longer lines and the vertical surfaces clear up until a sharp turn is made again. Ghosting can come from a lack of rigidity like a loosely mounted hotend or a wobbly frame, springy belts, printing at high speeds with a heavy direct-drive print head, a bed that isn't rigidly mounted, or firmware settings for acceleration or jerk that are too high for what the printer can achieve.

Some printers can handle high jerk and acceleration, where others will falter and show significant error because of it. With three different sections - flat, slope, and domed - you are able to see any sort of artifact or ridges from where the perimeters start and end. The more noticeable these points, the lower the score. When you're printing coasters and keychains, it doesn't really matter if a part is 0. Slots for connector pieces can be just fine off of Printer A but too tight to use from Printer B, or holes for nuts and bolts are supposed to allow for easy installation, but require unnecessary force to assemble.

The second level of this pyramid is supposed to be 20mm wide and deep, and loses points based on the average deviation from 20mm; if the average deviation is between 0 and 0. If the deviation is between 0. If you get a bad score, you should run through a calibration sequence for your extruder, making sure that your e-steps are accurate. This test is designed to see how well the printer can cool down the hot plastic as it is extruded; the better the cooling, the cleaner the bottom surface is.

3d printer first layer calibration

Printing speed does affect cooling, so the lower the print speed, the more time for freshly laid down filament to cool before the next layer is ready. A small print with high print speeds is going to need much more cooling than a large print at slow speeds since material will have only a very brief amount of time to cool enough to solidify.

It is important to consider that the type of fan used for layer cooling axial vs radial and the direction your fan outlet is facing will impact how well an overhang is printed, so it would be wise to print this test rotated every 90 degrees to see if some faces fair better than others.

You might even consider a new ducting for the cooling fan to try and direct the airflow toward the part. Drooping, curling, and hanging filament all lower the score, especially when the lower angles have difficulty. Most slicers have the ability to detect bridging, which is where filament needs to cross an unsupported span. Usually the slicer will turn up the layer cooling fan, slow down the print speed, and change how the this section is printed so the span is efficiently crossed with long strands rather than small zigzags.

You can expect to see some minor bridging over holes in the side of a model, over grooves, or over slots for inset nuts. Much like the dimensional accuracy test, it's important that negative space is accurately replicated. When you're trying to insert screws cleanly without drilling it out or threading the plastic, it's important to know how much extra space you need to model into your part to accommodate.

In general, when I need to insert an M3 bolt, I'll model a 3. One point is earned for every pin that can be pushed out. This test is hard to quantify the difference between a 4 and a 5, but the main thing this is looking for is retraction optimization. This is one of the toughest slice settings to calibrate due to just how many factors affect retraction, like the number of retraction settings, and even things like layer cooling, print speed, extruder style, or even your extruder's ability to extrude and retract without chewing the filament.

Whether you're using a dedicated support material like PVA or HIPS or you're using a single extruder printer and using the same material as your support material, it's important to have your support settings calibrated.

Same material supports are printed with what's called an "air gap" where the print head rises above the print to create a slight gap between the roof of the support and the bottom of the printed part, giving the filament extra time to cool and droop onto the supports, preventing them from permanently adhering to each other. That air gap is something that needs to be optimized; too small and the supports adhere to the finished print, too large and the bottom surface will be really stringy and droopy until it can recover.

Dedicated support materials produce a bottom surface finish almost as clean as the top surface, because they are printed without an air gap since they can be dissolved away.The First Layer Calibration is used to calibrate the distance between the tip of the nozzle and the print surface. The aim is to adjust the nozzle height until the extruded plastic sticks nicely to the bed and you can see that it is being slightly squished.

The printers assembled in the Prusa factory are already fine-tuned and this calibration is needed only in case you build the kit version at home. During this process, rotate the knob to manually adjust the distance between the nozzle and the bed, while the printer is printing a zig-zag pattern.

With a newly assembled printer, you will start at zero and move into a negative - value, reducing the distance between nozzle and heat bed. Turn the knob counter-clockwise to bring the nozzle closer to the bed and moving the value away from zero. The value is unique to each printer and it may also slightly change with time and use.

You must, therefore, check visually when adjusting the height, not by a set value. The first layer calibration being set incorrectly can lead to various issues.

First Layer Calibration

With the nozzle too far from the print surface, you risk your print not sticking properly, which can result in a blob. On the other side, if set too close, you can experience clogging and poor print-quality, or damage to the hardware, like heatbreak, print sheet, etc.

It is therefore important to get this right. Before you proceed, make sure that the print surface smooth or textured steel-sheet is clean. You can find information on how to clean it in PEI print surface preparation. There are some small differences between how it should look on the textured and smooth steel-sheet.

We will, therefore, present pictures and guidelines for both, starting with the smooth sheet. You want the line flattened, but not squished. On the square at the end of the test-line, you do not want any gaps between the lines left picturewhich means it is too high. In that case, the value will be too close to zero.

If the nozzle is set too low right picture you will see the line squished completely flat and the end square will have ridges between the lines, which is a clear sign it is set too low and the value will be too far away from zero.

When it is too low, the edges of the square can also start curling upwards. In the extreme, the filament will be spread so thin you will be able to see through the printed filament, leading to clogging of your hotend.

A correct adjustment will show you an even surface center picturewith no gaps between lines, nor ridges. As stated, the numeric value depends on the exact position of the P.

Teaching Tech 3D Printer Calibration

However, a common range is from The textured sheets are thinner than the sheets with smooth PEI, therefore you need to move the nozzle bit closer, but you are seeking the same results as with the smooth sheet. Again, if it is set too low right picture the filament can start curling up around the edges like it is not adhering. The numeric value will be too far from zero and must be adjusted back. If set too high, you will see the line being round, and have gaps between the lines of the end-square.

In this case, the value is too close to zero. A single layer is about 0. Having a look at the nozzle and its distance to the sheet can also be helpful.

However, measuring the printed layer with calipers is not a recommended method to calibrate the first layer. You should run all calibrations if you move the printer to a different location.YOU SHOULF USE THIS APP!. THIS IS LIFE CHANGING. A very good way to track your orders so you don't have to worry about losing packages.

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First Layer calibration on the Prusa I3 Mk3 - No Frills Instructions

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3d printer first layer calibration

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3d printer first layer calibration

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