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Print Temperature Calibration Piece

by Fastrack, published

Print Temperature Calibration Piece by Fastrack Nov 20, 2012

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I've posted topics asking how to come up with the proper print temperature and read many posts as well. All that came back or what I read was "do it by trial and error", no one really gave any direction. The more I thought about it, the correct print temperature has to result in the highest bond strength.

So I developed this... The base is 25mm x 5mm, spindle is 10mm x 40mm.


NOTE: This might be obvious to some, but pay attention to the print quality as well as the strength. I just tried my test pieces with some filament from a2aprinter and the best bond was 245C, but the print quality was garbage. So I analysed the pieces (top surface) and picked the strongest piece with the best print quality. This roll has some air bubbles in it as well which would affect the bond strength and the print quality.

UPDATE: Green filament is from Repraper (Voxel Factory in Canada). There are 2 rows of 215c, 220c, 225c. The second row is with a FAN cover installed UNDER the headsinks/fans on the Replicator 1. These pieces were the strongest pieces I've ever made!! I could barely break them. However I'm having trouble printing the amazing marble run (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:30166) with the FAN cover installed. The bottom of the tracks where the magnet is inserted curls up - the slide portion is fine. I'm going to try reducing my HBP heat from 115C to 105C. To all those that say the FAN cover "might make a difference", I can tell you that the bonding seems about 10x the strength. So much so I was about to get some pilers to break the temp calibration pieces!

** Make sure your platform is level, your filament diameter is correct as all these factors can contribute to bond strength.

Print with 10% and 1 extra shell (2 in total). Print at the temperature you think is close to the best. I used 4 settings 230C,235C,240C,245C. Make sure you label them (I labelled base & spindle).

As pointed out by theverant in the comments. Speed also affects the bonding of the plastic my test was done at 80mm/s. Higher/Lower will change the print temperature slightly, I'm not sure by how much I haven't experimented with that yet.

Once all your desired pieces are printed, grasp the base & spindle and break off the spindle, the result was shocking to me! I was expecting them all to look like 230C (as that's how my objects have been since I got the replicator).

The end result 235C was the best bond, it actually ripped off the 3 layers of infill from the base and produced a clearly visible hole! As you can see 245C was going downhill again in bond strength.

I believe I'll have to do this for Black, White and coloured plastics.

Just wanted to add...
The amount of force required to break the pieces changes as well (which is expected), so even if the end result is similar. Try and gauge the required force as you break the pieces. Unless you own a force gauge :)

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I'd like to pass along a warning: Attempting to replicate this test with Cura as the slicer didn't work as expected. I don't have an infilled base with a solid top and then an infilled peg sitting on top. Since the base and peg are a single solid object, the whole thing has a shell and infill. That is, I would never have a solid base "remainder" after breaking as in the 230C and 245C examples in the picture. There is only infill in the interior transition from base to peg.

UPDATE: Confirmed "improper test" with this setup. All three (195C, 200C, 205C) broke with about the same effort and with the same pattern, given that there is no bonding between the peg and the base. All three pegs were well-bonded when I tried to use pliers to pull them apart along the Z-axis.

fulg - in reply to psujobu

You can do this easily with Simplify3D by using two processes (first one stopping at 5mm then the second starting at 5mm), then both sections of the print will be capped with solid layers, as if they were separate objects.

Thanks for this, it is exactly what i needed to go in a different direction on how to handle the chameleon filament from M3D.

I’ve being thinking, surprisingly:

Could it be that the orientation of the infill affects the strength?

Yes it does. That's why I suggest 10%. I'm more interested in how the material is melting together, ie you could have 50% and the wrong print temp and the piece could be hard as a rock.

Skeinforge for me original was using hex infill, but I quickly switched to rect infill and I fill it produces a stronger infill. The order of the Loops/Perm/Infill matters too.

There's so many factors!


This comment has been deleted.

In the picture, which of the four was your ideal temperature?

How are you snapping the spindle, by hand?

I did posted this in the Comments.... It's quite long...
"The end result 235C was the best bond, it actually ripped off the 3 layers of infill from the base and produced a clearly visible hole! As you can see 245C was going downhill again in bond strength."

I have determined on average if your doing VERY large objects like 100x100 I've been adding about 5C-10C to the print temp determined by using this piece. I do have another piece that tests large objects but of course it uses a lot more plastic


I don't understand what you mean with FAN cover. Do you have a link?

There's many different ones. When I was trying it. I just used some stiff cardboard.

Here's some links:

I found that if the part had very small details, even with the Cool plugin in Skeinforge enabled it would melt the previous layer. Maybe because I also have an enclosure? Anyway I run without the Fan Cover now.

Louvered fan cover
Replicator's FAN cover ?Replicator?????????????
Replicator Protective Fan Cover V2
Makerbot Replicator Fan Cowl

I am amazed that there really isn't more tests like this done.
Very helpful for the data but more importantly for the methodology.
There are way too many variables.
I recently got to talk with a rep from a distributor of a comercial 3d printer.
One very important factor for ABS at least is the ambient temp.
In fact the comercial printer has a patent on the chamber being regulated.

I enclosed my printer and put in a light bulb controlled by a simple thermostat; between that and the exhaust fan it maintains the chamber temperature at 90F. This made a big difference in my parts. I have printed parts almost the full bed area on my Emaker Huxley (140 mm square) with only SOME lifting on the corners. The bulk of the part comes out nice and straight.
I've been very frustrated by filament too; some filament foams due to residual styrene monomers and some doesn't. I've gotten stuff from the same company where one batch was beautiful and the next foamed.

I started using a glass plate with a glue stick and haven't had any problems at all with parts lifting off which I used to with the hairspray. I have to really try to pull the parts off

I haven't tried a glue stick yet with ABS on a glass plate. I did try it for Taulman Nylon and it worked ok for small objects.

I would love to see some information on your enclosure setup if you have time to do a writeup!

I actually found if I blocked the airflow from the replicator fans it greatly improved the bonding (more heat). But on small objects there was too much heat generated.

Wow, awesome! Seems like THE way to calibrate the right temperature for printing support. You want good print quality, but bad adhesion for easy removal.. Thanks, will try later.

Very true!! So many variables :) Too high a temperature and overhangs suffer as well.


Looks like I printed one and it broke as well as the best one shown.  So I'm calling my settings good.  Thanks for the test.  I was wondering how to calabrate the best temp.

The Replicator is my first 3d printer and I've spent a ton of time calibrating it.  The temperature has been bugging me.  So far this seems to work.

I also noticed the about of force required to break the pieces quite a bit different as well, between the temperature ranges.

Simple and empirical - what's not to like?

Yes it would ... I figured anyone with a 3d printer would know that :)  But I'll add that as a tip .. 

During your tests did you find that the color of the filament made a difference?  

I've only done the test with white so far, but the test worked so well I had to post my findings! Based on the reading I've done the dye used in coloured filament effects the print temperature.  I've also read multiple posts that black is very picky for people.