3D Printing Guide


The calibration of a 3D printer is something very important to have a good looking object. It takes some time to get the hang of it for the people with manual calibration, but that means that you have full control over the quality of the object at the end. About the printers with automatic calibration, almost everything we’ll comment here can be done with just a few clicks and almost every time the result will be with the same quality. Anyway, the things that you need to know about the calibration are Propper bed leveling; Speed & temperature options; Retraction speed; Supports options; Layer height; Brim, Skirt, Raft; etc.


Bed Leveling

The proper bed leveling is very important for your object to stick to the bed. However, the bed leveling isn’t the only factor for the object to stick to the bed. The heated bed is also a big factor. The printers with a heated bed have a very good bed adhesion and the filament can stick easily to the bed. The printers without heated bed have to use at leas glue stick before every print. Otherwise the print not just won’t look good, it won’t be even an object. The result will be just a ball of filament because when the print pops off of the bed the printer will print in mid-air. From there can happen anything if the printer isn’t watched: It can block the hot end, It can jam the motors, etc. There are several clues that can help you figure out if the print is well stuck to the bed.

  1. The extruder motor – If the extruder motor makes a clicking sound means that the bed is too close to the hot end. If the printer has a manual calibration – lower the bed. If the printer is automatic – look in the program – you might have control over the height of the bed in millimeters – lower the bed.
  2. The layer itself – You can simply try to print a rectangle at the wanted layer height. If you can lift the layer by simply gently rubbing your finger on the surface – the layer isn’t stuck well and your print will fail – higher the bed.

You have to be sure that all the corners of the bed are leveled equally. For that reason, there are G-Codes that have the hot end moving to each of the corners at the most used hight (like in this video – the G-Code is in the description of it, but only for the Ender 3). Then you can just take a sheet of paper and get it under the hot end. When you feel the slightest resistance from the hot end – stop, the height is ok. If on the center of the printer feels loose when the corners are perfectly leveled – you might have a curved bed. This is a little problem because your bed can never be at equal height. Luckily, people have made special firmware for the printers which has a mesh bed leveling called the Marlin firmware.


Speed Options

The speed options are important too. The speed can be regulated in the slicer. If you use too high-speed option-problems as warping will occur. For you that don’t know what warping is, warping is just the material shrinking back to itself causing the corners to lift(depends on the speed option how big the warping will be). For example, if you stretch a piece of duck tape and stick it onto some kind of surface and continue the process for about 5-6 times – the corners of the tape will lift. Also, warping depends on other factors too. The other reasons are the object itself; The orientation of the object; and so on. To make a good quality print you should use a lower speed option. Sometimes people make the option with that precision that the layers almost cannot be seen! But because of this, the print time is growing drastically.


Temperature Options

The temperature options are important for the filament and the merging of the layers – the different types of filaments have different temperatures of melting and the merging of the layers makes the part stronger.


Retraction Speed

The retraction speed is important for the stringing – if the speed isn’t high enough – it will cause stringing, which is annoying to remove and it leaves marks onto the object. Also if the object has a small surface to stick with a combination of warping the retraction has to be regulated carefully! If it’s too slow, it can pop the object off the bed and if too high – the bed can knock the object off! The speed that is automatically set is a good speed, but just in case that it forgets or the speed has been changed for some reason you have to know the best speed for your object and printer.


Support Options

The support option isn’t required to make a good looking print. This option is often used to make a piece with a big rectangular hole for example and you can’t print it in another direction. The support option can be avoided if you have a good temperature set so that immediately after the filament is being extruded in mid-air it hardens enough so it can stand. But sadly this isn’t always possible. The support is needed for some prints and sometimes it takes a lot of filament and time. Also, the settings have to be set carefully – if the support is too close to the object, they can merge together and when it’s removed it can leave pretty big scars.


The Layer Height

The layer height is important for the quality of the object at the end. If the layer height is low – it can have a breathtaking result and if it’s high (like 1mm) it can look like it’s melting.



The brim is often used to prevent warping. The brim is just one layer that is around the object and later is removed like a support material. I personally don’t use the brim function often. It’s hard to remove from the object without leaving a mark.



The skirt is used to prevent the filament from not coming out of the nozzle at the start of the print. It is just in the first layer and it makes a couple of lines around the object in order for the material to start coming out. For me usually workes just 3 lines.



The raft is the most material costing function. It’s used when it doesn’t matter if you have an excellent first layer and don’t want any warping on the object. It works by building a small platform underneath the object so that it won’t have any special effect on the bottom (like a glossy finish or a rough finish) or warping. I have used it when I leveled my bed incorrectly and I had the bed leveled about a millimeter higher than it should be! But now I finally know the correct way of doing it.


Model Orientation

The model orientation is a key part of 3D printing. The orientation can be useful for many things like the support options that we talked about earlier. It can save you time and material. So, how to know the correct orientation? There are two ways. The first way is with a program called Meshmixer. It’s an Autodesk program but the interesting thing is that it’s free! However, the second way is by rotating it manually. For the people who don’t have the geometric logic to tell the correct orientation when needed, I recommend Meshmixer because it’s easy to use and very powerful.


Model Creation

3D printers are becoming more and more popular every month but not many people make their models/parts with it. It’s true that the other people create and post objects and tools on websites like Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory but there isn’t everything that you might need, so it’s important to know how to create the needed model. Now there are so many programs for modeling as I have said in my 3D Printing page – Fusion 360(there is an educational license for 3 years for free), XYZ Maker, Tinkercad, Blender, SolidWorks, etc.Тhe different programs have a different start of the object. Some use sketches for start, some use ready figures to manipulate the size but after all, I think the easiest way is to start from a sketch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.