How to calibrate a 3D Printer

Your 3d printer is delivering bad and off-scale printings? If the answer is yes, this is exaclty what you need, you will learn how to Calibrate a 3d Printer like a ninja!

Why i need to Calibrate a 3d Printer?

When working with 3DPrinters, we no longer talk about meters or centimeters, the most used units now are millimeters and microns. as more precise things get, more the environment affects the result (and the plastic dilatation / diameter), and mostly the natural  stretching of the belts. that’s why we will need to regularly calibrate a 3d Printer.



-A working and leveled 3DPrinter

-A caliper with 0.01mm or better precision (must be in millimeters)

-EEPROM enabled on the 3DPrinter

-Repetier host (click here to download)

-Repetier or Marlin firmware

-STEP/MM calculator and XYZ Calibration file (click here to download)

What is and how to use an caliper?

The caliper is a device to measure length, like a ruler, but the precision is better. If you have never used a caliper before i would like to suggest you to buy a digital caliper, they are a bit more expensive but the price pays off. You will need a caliper with at least 0.01mm precision (or 0.0005″).  If you need to buy one, I’ve selected two great options, both delivery the needed precision regardless of the price

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Before everything, make an BACKUP!

It’s always good to reinforce, make a backup before any configuration changes, doesnt matters if you are doing something on your computer, smartphone or 3DPrinter, bad things can happen, and they will if you are not ready.

To perform a backup of the configurations on the 3DPrinter you will need the software Repetier Host,
You will need to connect the 3DPrinter to the USB port, press Control + P to open the configuration panel,

Select  the port (or leave it on AUTO) and the proper baud rate (usually 115200 or 250000). Press “ok”

on the main screen again, click on connect, and then on Config > Firmware EEPROM Configuration

Now on the EEPROM Settings menu, click on “Export EEPROM Data”,  its also a good idea to take a print-screen of all the parameters here, just in case you need to access a single value.

After the firmware backup, we will start messing around on the 3DPrinter.

3d printercalibrationstep/mmsteps/mm
Comments (6)
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  • Rene

    Calibration the XYZ-steps/mm with printing parts and measuring them is wrong. You did write up fine for Extruder, but XYZ have to be calculated not measured. This article has to get reworked otherwise it is just wrong.

    • Italo Soares

      That’s complicated. I have readed some other guides that condemn this too, and i’m not saying its right or wrong, simply that it works. When calculating the steps/mm (i’ll use my example – using 1.8º motor + 20teeth pully ) i will get exactly 80mm. But when i print an part with (for example) 100x100x100mm, i get less or more than 100mm. In a perfect system, using really rigid 3dprinter and high quality pulley/belt/stepper, maybe this could work, but that is not the case for most of the 3dprinters on the market (specially the DIY style).

      Thats why i use this method, and all my printing are within 0,1 mm for the nomimal value (including interior measurements, i’ve corrected them using the horizontal compensation, but that is for another post).

  • MKatsouris

    A great guide for calibration!! Respect!

  • Tom Baxter

    Lots of info here! Now to just make sense of it…

  • Michael Champlin

    Great guide will help when I get win this 3d printer

  • Richard Bynum

    Right now my head is spinning a little after reading this but that’s just because I don’t have my 3D printer yet. It will be here in a couple of weeks (I think). I’ve bookmarked this article to go back over and use when I get my printer. I know that when I start working with it all this will come easier to me. Thanks for posting this! I knew there was a lot that went into 3D-printing so I’m not surprised. But I’m amazed at all the different software out there! G-CODE, EEPROM, the slicer stuff, firmware…I have a LOT to learn! But, I’m fine with that. I can’t wait until I’m able to print exactly what I want! FUN!