3D Printer Extruder Calibration

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Updated January 16, 2023

If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may wonder about 3D printer extruder calibration. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers, and these models regulate the flow of filament and liquid resin via extruder calibration and extruder diameter. So what is extruder calibration, and how does it impact the best 3D printers? Keep reading to find out.


  • Making sure your extrusion nozzle (extruder 1) is adequately calibrated is important for making high-quality and accurate print quality.
  • Much of the calibration is handled automatically by the printer’s stepper motor or by engaging in the settings menu, but there are some manual methods to access extruder steps.
  • Send in a test spool of filament and conduct current value measurements against the finished print via filament diameter.

How Do 3D Printers Function?

Before learning all about 3D printing flow calibration, it is helpful to learn about how these printers operate. It all starts with various motors and belts if you are learning how tight 3D printer belts should be. Filament or liquid resin is extruded via nozzles onto a print bed, which you’ll know after reading a beginner’s guide to 3D printing.

Insider Tip

For exact calibrations, invest in some slicer software or look into the slicing features of current driver software.

In other words, learning how 3D printers work is crucial to maintaining structural integrity as you go about creating high-quality 3D models.

How Do 3D Extrusion Nozzles Work?

These nozzles adjust various parameters like layer thickness and flow amount according to extrusion settings. You can use slicer software or CAD software to manually adjust the wall thickness, which, in turn, impacts how the amount of material flowing through the extrusion nozzles.

What Does Extruder Calibration Do?

This is an extremely important part of the overall 3D puzzle. Extruder calibration tools ensure your printer pushes the correct amount of filament through the hot end during a print. Too much filament, and you’ll end up with a mess on your hands. Too little filament and you will end up with a fragile model. Getting things exactly right is extremely important here.

Making Extruder Calibrations

Each printer boasts its own method for manually adjusting extruder settings, including going ahead with a full calibration. Here are some simple tips to ease some of the frustrations regarding this concept.

STAT: Extruder calibration is crucial to FDM 3D printing for many reasons. The point of extruder calibration is to ensure your printer is pushing exactly the right amount of filament through the hot end during a print. (source)

Mark the Filament

A key part of the calibration process is sending in some filament to create a test print. However, you need to mark up the filament ahead of time with calipers so you can match the test print with the original filament. Mark up 120mm of filament and send 100mm of the filament through the hot end of an extrusion nozzle. Afterward, compare the remaining 20mm of filament with the material you pushed through the printer.

Extruder Calibration FAQs

How inaccurate is too inaccurate?

Generally speaking, if the filament diameter is off by two or three percent, that is considered inaccurate, and 3D printer users should make the necessary changes to the calibration model by using a flow rate calculator.

What not to do?

Don't be hasty here. Go slowly as you conduct calibration tests via various extruder steps and with spools of available flexible filament. Test and retest the filament diameter to ensure accuracy.

What should you check if your motion is not accurate?

Check the various extruder steps and take a look at extruder 1 as you load filament. Also, you should download and install new 3D printer firmware if the previous values did not match up.
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