Getting Started Guide 2 – How to Setup and Tune Your 3D Printer

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Machine-Specific Setup and Tuning Guides

We’re tirelessly working to make new, high quality guides to step you through printer setup. They can be found here at the top with specific instructions. Keep reading for the general guidance if you don’t see your model.

  • Bambu
    • X1 Carbon – In Progress
  • Creality
    • Ender 3 /Pro – In Progress
    • Ender 5/ Pro- In Progress
  • Sovol
    • SV07 Plus- In Progress

General Setup Instructions

Tool Recommendations for Setup

  • Calipers – Its hard to measure things accurately without them,
  • Feeler Gauge – For leveling your bed. Paper is fine but precision gauges are better.
  • Metric Allen Wrenches – Metric printers require metric tools. Your printer comes with some that are useable but any set you buy is better.
  • A carpenters square (Very Optional) – Most 3D printers are made up of aluminum sections that meet each other at 90 degree angles. This tool is helpful for checking those angles on the bits you have to install yourself and the ones that come from the factory. (I’ve had to adjust more than a few.)
  • The Slicer of your choice. See “Slicing Software Showdown 2K24“.

General Tips for Machine Setup

  1. Unbox the parts for your printer.
  2. Assemble it as per the instructions.
    • Dont fasten the screws completely tight.
    • When you have the parts together use the carpenters square to ensure the frame parts meet at 90 degree angles as appropriate. (Usually the mfg does pretty well but every now and again it will cause an issue and its a real pain to troubleshoot. Who thinks to check the squareness of the frame of the printer.)
  3. Power up your printer
    • If you have a problem where it doesn’t start properly, flip the power switch off, unplug it and then check the power supply for a voltage switch and flip it. Note: If you are unsure which to use, 110 volts is standard in the United States, where 220 volts is the European standard.
    • If that doesn’t work inspect the connectors to the main board, They may wiggle loose during shipping.
    • If that doesn’t work contact the MFG for further troubleshooting, a refund, or replacement.
  4. Calibrate your extruder.
    • Raise your Hot end 50-100mm.
    • Heat your hot end to the extrusion temp for your filament (215-220 for PLA Pro)
    • Using the calipers and a sharpie measure and mark the filament 100mm and 110mm from the extruder. Try and be accurate but dont fret too much.
    • Tell your extruder to squirt 100mm of the plastigoop.
    • Once it stops squirting use your calipers and 110 mark to figure out if you overshot the 100mm mark. (The 110 mark should measure 10mm from the extruder port.
    • Use the e step calculator (at the bottom of the page) and adjust as needed.
  5. Level your bed.
    • Tighten all 4 bed leveling screws as far down as they can go.
    • Put whatever print surface you are going to use on your bed.
    • Home your hot end (this should be a preset you can call up from your printer UI)
    • Choose a corner and move the hot end nozzle directly over the bed screw in that corner.
      • If you have additional presets for these corners available on your printer use those, otherwise disable the x and y steppers to move the hot end manually.
    • Raise the bed to within 1 or 2 mm of the hot end’s nozzle. This can be done by eye. Repeat for each corner.
  6. Fine leveling
    • Using the feeler gauge raise or lower the bed until you feel the vibration of the hot end fan through the feeler gauge. Move it up until you get to the strongest vibration and then move it just a hair further.
      • Don’t force the feeler gauge into the bed enough to move the bed.
      • Don’t rest your hands on the bed.
    • Do at least 2 laps of your print bed. Optimal would be 4 or 5 laps. Continue until satisfied.
  7. Prep a calibration print.
    • Download a calibration cube and drop it into your slicer.
    • Head to the bed or build plate adhesion section and give it a brim with a width of 8mm
    • Something like this –
    • Slice it and drop it to the SD card or upload it to your printer.
  8. Start the print
    • Watch the first layer go down.
    • Make sure it sticks to the bed.
      • If it does not adjust the bed up or down until the filament properly sticks to the bed.
    • Make sure the lines touch as it fills in the brim. Continue gently adjusting up and down until they do.
    • Assuming you get all of this done during the brim let the print continue and move on to stepper calibration. If not cancel the print, clean the bed and try again.
  9. E step calibration.
    • Finish the calibration cube.
    • Each face should measure 20mm
    • Measure the cube on each axis around the middle. Enter the value into the Estep calculator along with the current e-step value and the length the measurment should have been.
    • Set the new e-step value from the calculator on your machine. Remember to save the settings. Most printers do not automatically save.
    • With klipper based printers the process is more or less the same except the term used is rotation distance and you need to use the other calculator.
    • repeat for each axis.
    • Reprint the cube to confirm.
    • Repat until satisfied.
    • I usually get each side within +- .03mm with an Ender 3.
  10. Print a gun.
    • There’s actually several other calibration prints I like to do before I get into guns on a new printer. But theoretically you have consistent, dimensionally accurate prints.
    • Other calibration file recommendations
      • A nut and screw that thread together.
      • A support calibration test – I havent found one I really like
      • An overhang test.

Stepper Motor Calibration Calculator

Choose your calibrator depending on your printer’s firmware


Comments

2 responses to “Getting Started Guide 2 – How to Setup and Tune Your 3D Printer”

  1. bulletsd1 Avatar
    bulletsd1

    I just got my first 3D Printer in the mail today. I’ve been to busy all day to set it up, now I’m barely about to get it done.
    I’m really excited about printing my first ? .
    Thanks for the videos. I would of never bought one if these ” getting started ” videos were not here .
    Thank You

    1. ctrlpew Avatar
      ctrlpew

      You’re welcome!

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