Extruder Calibration: How to Calibrate E-Steps

Mastering the nuances of your flow rate and tweaking the extruder e-steps are vital skills every 3D printing enthusiast must possess. Recognizing its significance for impeccable quality, I, Carolina, am super excited to share this guide with my fellow tech lovers!


To hone in on that perfect flow rate & e-steps calibration, there are specific sequences you need to follow. Begin by generating a calibration model using current settings and then carefully measure the output. The insights you gain from this calibration model will help you pinpoint and establish the ideal settings.

Hold on! Diving deeper into this guide will unravel more nuanced insights to help you achieve perfection.

Always, always, start by calibrating your E-steps before delving into flow rate adjustments. But let’s pause for a moment and understand: why is all this calibration hustle so paramount?

E-Steps and Flow Rate: What are they? How do they influence the quality of 3D printing? Let’s embark on this knowledge journey together!

E-Steps, the shorthand for Extruder Steps, is a firmware setting dictating the steps needed by the extruder’s motor to push out 1mm of filament. It ensures the filament reaches the hotend in the correct amounts. The factory settings may sometimes falter in real-time printing, necessitating routine calibration checks.

On the other hand, the Flow Rate, also known as the extrusion multiplier, is the slicer’s setting. It controls the volume of plastic the printer extrudes. Given that filaments and hotends have inherent variations, the default setting (often 100%) may not always be optimal. Adjustments, like shifting the value to 92% or perhaps 109%, might be needed.

Missteps in E-steps and flow rate calibration can wreak havoc! Under-extrusion, over-extrusion, the dreaded nozzle clogs, stringing, and poor first layer adhesion are just a few glitches that may arise. Precision in these settings eradicates such issues and ushers in flawless prints.

To navigate through these calibration waters, understanding the correct settings and adjustments is vital. Let’s first address how to meticulously adjust the E-steps and flow rate.

Calibrating Extruder E-Steps:

Important: Perfect the extruder calibration prior to adjusting the flow rate, as a misaligned extruder can skew flow rate assessments.

To kickstart the process, you’ll require:
– A measuring tape or ruler.
– A sharp marker.
– Rigid 3D printing filament.
– A PC equipped with slicer software (like OctoPrint or Pronterface).
– A 3D printer, preferably with Marlin firmware.

Some popular 3D printers allow direct E-steps calibration. Yet, for others, relaying G-Code via slicer software becomes essential.

Step-by-step Extruder E-Steps Calibration:

1. Clear any lingering filament in the hotend.
2. Fetch the existing E-steps values.
3. Activate the relative mode with the “M83” command.
4. Preheat the printer.
5. Insert the testing filament.
6. Measure and mark a 110mm segment of the filament.
7. Extrude precisely 100mm of filament.
8. Remeasure the filament length.
9. Adjust E-steps values based on measurement discrepancies.
10. Implement and save the new E-steps values.

Bravo! You’ve successfully recalibrated your printer’s E-steps. A quick printer restart and repeating the steps will confirm the adjustments.

Flow Rate Calibration in Cura:

This calibration is slicer-centric, so here’s how it’s done using Cura.

– A computer with Cura installed.
– An STL test file.
– A digital caliper.

If you’re facing over or under-extrusion issues, it may be wise to recheck your extruder calibration. For more advanced troubleshooting, Polygno Flow Rate Calculator can be a handy tool. Depending on your hotend, the flow rate can range from 10-17 (mm)3/s to even a staggering 110 (mm)3/s for advanced models.

Calculating Steps Per mm for Lead Screws:

For precise steps/mm values tailored to your lead screw, use tools like Prusa’s calculator. Have your motor step angle, driver microstepping, leadscrew pitch, and gear ratio handy.

Now, go out there, calibrate, and achieve 3D printing brilliance!