How to Calibrate the Extruder on Your 3d Printer

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Intro: How to Calibrate the Extruder on Your 3d Printer

If you're one of the many who have bought into the 3d printing craze you've probably realized they require a great deal of tinkering to get optimum results.  I'll show you how to calibrate the extruder in order to get better quality prints.  As you can see by the printed table above, a poorly calibrated extruder can have adverse effects on your prints.  These easy to follow instructions are great for beginners because all you need is about 20 minutes and some basic tools.  These instructions will be shown for a Solidoodle 2 but will work for any RepRap using Repetier Host.  The best part is, they require no permanent modifications.  Lets get started!

Step 1: What You Need

Gather the following Materials:

- A No. 1 Philips Screwdriver 
- Metric Caliper ( Metric ruler will also work)
- Sharpie or other marker
- Pen and Paper
- 3d Printer
- Computer

Optional

- Drinking Straw
- Scissors

Step 2: Remove Cover

Remove the screws holding the cover on.  This step may not be applicable for everyone.  If you have a Solidoodle there are 4 screws.  There will be two on each side, towards the front-bottom.  There will also be two screws at each bottom corner at the rear.  Carefully remove these four screws and lift the cover straight up with a slight tilt to the rear.  At this point you should also have your printer powered and connected to Repetier Host.  Under the Manual Control tab click "Heat Extruder".  This will save you from having to wait for it to heat up later.

Step 3: Measure

Mark a 100mm segment on the filament.  This can easily be achieved with a 100mm length of drinking straw or a steady hand.  Take note whether the top or bottom of the mark signifies the correct length.


Step 4: Line Up

Set Extrude length to "1" and click the down arrow until your bottom mark is lined up with the top of the extruder [this can mean top of mark or bottom depending on your measurement/mark technique].  In my picture you'll notice the top of the mark is level with the extruder.


Step 5: Extrude

Set extrude length to 100 and click the down arrow.  If everything is working properly the top mark which is 100 mm above the bottom mark should be lined up with the top of the extruder. 

Step 6: Measure

Mark the filament at the top of the extruder and measure the difference between the two marks[This may require pushing the up arrow to reverse your extruder].  If the original mark you made is lined up with the top of the extruder, skip to step 9.

Step 7: Ratio

Click on Config, then EEPROM Settings[this will be at the top of the window].  On the first line you will see "Steps per mm".  All the way to the right you will see "E:" then a number.  This number is the number of steps your extruder stepper takes to extrude 1mm of filament.

Create a ratio from the expected extrusion length [100mm] and the actual extrusion length [105.03mm].  

(expected length) x steps = (actual length) x new steps     

We know three of these numbers so we can easily solve for the new steps.  This will tell us the amount of steps the extruder must actually take in order to extrude 1mm.  We extrude 100mm for the test because the greater length amplifies the minute error. 

A simpler form of the ratio is New steps=  (100*113.68)/105.03

New Steps=107.958

Type the new number in Steps per mm: and click save to EEPROM


Step 8: Clean Up

Clean up the mess from the extruder.  And re-assemble your printer.

Step 9: Conclusion

If you followed these steps correctly you should be producing much better prints.  As you can see below the extra 5mm measured makes a tremendous difference.  If you were to repeat these instructions from step one you should get no leftover extrusion when you extrude 100mm.

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    21 Discussions

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    DaveK41

    4 weeks ago

    Thanks for the tutorial. I had replaced my extruder motor when I added a Bowden extruder to my Anet A8. When I ran this test I found out that it was only feeding 72mm. Used your formula and it was right on the money. Made a world of difference. Thanks again.

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    Droxz

    11 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, works great on my i3 to.

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    IanM292

    1 year ago

    You really should measure where it comes out of you're extruder it might just be eating it and that might need some adjustment too .You should try to reprint it with adjusting you're flow rate down a little in you're slicer program try it at 98% and see what happens the nozzle puts pressure on the filament and its goes out fat you should try that and those lines will disappear .You will get sharper more accurate edges. good job on the calibration tho .

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    pballerss

    1 year ago

    Thank you so much!

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    ImreS10

    1 year ago

    Thank you !

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    JonasN22

    1 year ago

    Man u saved me !!! Thanks!

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    JamesR78

    2 years ago

    When I open the Config for EEPROM, the boxes are all full of zero's.

    20160314_110215.jpg
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    RobY7

    2 years ago

    Or add a custom g-code for the startup of your printer. For an example I use mattercontrol with the sunhokey prusa i3. Without altering the firmware, I add a custom g-code for when the printer connects. the extruder steps/mm gets changed.
    So I added. M93 x## y## z## (factory settings) but then add e## ( new calibrated number there )
    I double check on the lcd before I launch a print to make sure and I'm good to go. No custom firmware to mess with and no worries about setting being irreversible.

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    IvanV26

    2 years ago

    Hi, I have a GEEETECH Prusa I3. I followed your steps. I got better results indeed but I realized in the next day that configs were not saved into firmware. How can I leave the configs saved into the firmware?

    1 reply
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    LeviW4IvanV26

    Reply 2 years ago

    i had same problem mate, Watch this


    then this

    http://www.geeetech.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16433&sid=9392223ff07374419213840cadf47059&start=0

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    BadZombie

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much. I used this to calibrate mine and it worked great. you are so much help.

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    transistor2

    4 years ago

    I have a Solidoodle and it works great I found that hairspray will help stop warping if you just spray it on build platform before print, also just add 15°c to the standard temp for bed/extruder.

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    ral dossery

    5 years ago

    Thank you so much your are beg help :-)

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    zwilson5

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I had no idea how off my printer was. Thanks so much

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    rusty0101

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job. I gather from the screen shots that there are other possible calibration options to look into as well, perhaps you could expand on the instructable with any suggestions for doing calibrations for x/y/z movements, or the like. Presumably that's stuff done during initial setup, but as a printer ages, you may find it useful to recalibrate those as well I would think.

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    valveman

    5 years ago on Step 9

    Nice Instructable. I just purchased the Solidoodle 3 and awaiting its arrival. I will be following your instructions. Also I hear you must level the table with the extruder as well. Have you done this also?

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    gathem

    5 years ago on Step 7

    you lost me at this step. Where does the config button come from? Where is this dialogue page located?
    Is this part of pronterface? Is this a specific application for modifying the marlin settings without recompiling/pushing to the arduino through the arduino ide???