3D Printing Flow Calibration

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Updated February 3, 2023

If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may wonder about 3D printing flow calibration. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers. The “flow” here refers to the extrusion of building materials, so calibration refers to how large or small this flow is. Flow rate calibration (also known as extrusion multiplier calibration) ensures accurate and high-quality prints. This fine-tunes the level of materials released via the extrusion nozzle. So what is flow calibration, and how does it work with the best 3D printers? Keep reading to find out.


  • Adjusting your printer’s flow calibration is crucial for creating accurate prints of high print quality.
  • Calibration refers to the amount of resin or filament extruded via the release nozzle via extruder steps.
  • This calibration is usually completed automatically by the printer’s current values, but you can make minute adjustments to wall thickness using a flow rate calculator.

How to Calibrate Flow on a 3D Printer

Before learning some 3D printer tips, it is helpful to understand how these machines work. The nozzles extrude materials in thin layers if you are learning about 3D printer extruder calibration.

These materials adhere to the print bed while the object is being built if you are looking for the best TPU filament. Modern 3D printers ship in a wide variety of sizes and shapes if you are looking for the best large 3D printer.

Insider Tip

Flow calibration is also assisted by keeping a clean and tidy printer, paying special attention to the print bed and nozzles.

In most cases, the printer handles flow calibration automatically to suit the design blueprint or schematics. However, you may want to make adjustments on your own in specific cases. Here are some tips to properly calibrate your flow.

Print a Test Object

Flow calibration indicates how thick the walls are and how detailed the final object remains. You can test for proper flow calibration by making a simple test object. Many printers include an option in the settings to do just that. So push print and examine the object to ensure the measurements are exactly as indicated via the blueprint. You can also print out a simple cube and perform those same measurements.

Make Minute Adjustments

It is important to note that you are already likely very close to an accurate flow calibration. In other words, any adjustments made will be small. If you print the above test cube, for instance, and notice some discrepancies, the solution is adjusting the extrusion multiplier rate by one or two percent in either direction. Never adjust more than two percent, or your flow calibration will suffer as a result.

STAT: The flow rate calibration is done in order to fine-tune the amount of plastic extruded by the printer. Also known as Extrusion Multiplier, by calibrating the flow rate, you can fix issues caused by under-extrusion or over-extrusion. (source)

Flow Calibration FAQs

Why do the flow rate calibration?

Using a flow rate calculator and a printer's calibration settings is important to maintain structural integrity and print speeds for the average 3D printer user.

What not should you not do?

You don't want to overly rely on the flow rate calculator or slicer settings to make large adjustments. Make simple and small adjustments and keep track of changes with a permanent marker.

How inaccurate is too inaccurate?

This really depends on how these inaccuracies show up in the final product, as extruder steps are not the only way to measure this flow rate. If you make a test cube and the cube wall seems fine, it likely is fine, so refrain from adjusting the flow rate setting.
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