The Essential Calibration Set

by coasterman, published

The Essential Calibration Set by coasterman Jan 13, 2011
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The Essential Calibration Set by coasterman is licensed under the Public Domain license.

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I've taken all the calibration prints out there and condensed them into one place. I have here:

.5mm thin wall
20mm box
20mm hollow box
50mm tower
perimeter width/t tester
precision block
overhang test
oozebane test
bridge test

and more to come.

All designs are my original work and not taken from other users. But they are inspired by other users.

The 20mm box, thin wall, and 50mm tower are ideas from Spacexula's great calibration set http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2064, and the other ones are my ideas and not influenced by others. After Spacexula's calibration set, there is quite a derivative tree.

Here are some combos I have found with my MK5 extruder:
(In order of: Layer Height, Width/Thickness, Feedrate, Flowrate PWM)
.36, 1.528, 34.1, 255
.3, 1.789, 42, 255
.2, 2.521, 35, 197 *This is still experimental, most prints I try with it fail :(


These instructions assume you know a bit about Skeinforge. If you need help, consult the blog posts on the Makerbot blog about configuring skeinforge.

Some good defaults for a .5mm stock Makerbot nozzle are:
.36 layer height
1.5 width over thickness (all)
34.1 feedrate
255 flowrate
All temps 225

First here is the .5mm thin wall. This is for layer height testing. Print this and make sure that the layers adhere well but the nozzle does NOT drag through while printing. Adjust layer height by .01 increments.

Next is the 20mm test box. This is for making your prints nice and pretty. Set infill solidity to 1.0 for this. Print this and analyze the top. If there is NOT ENOUGH plastic, turn down Infill Width over Thickness by .05 increments. If there is TOO MUCH plastic, turn that parameter up by .05 increments. Once you're feeling close, start bumping it around in smaller increments. Another path to take here is to adjust your feedrate a bit. Adjust the feedrate by increments of 2 or so until you feel close. If it looks really disgusting and blobby, go by increments of 5.mThen go by smaller and smaller increments until you've nailed it. Although you probably just want to decrease Infill Width over Thickness instead of decreasing Feedrate because lowering feedrate will degrade the resolution.

Next is the 50mm tower. Turn down the Infill Solidity to where you want (.23 is a good value). Print this block. If it looks like a blob, turn down all the temps by 5 degrees until you get something good. Chances are you won't need to do this more than 5 degrees. Be careful when going lower than 200, as you can wear out the motor and have to do all the calibration steps all over again.

Next is the perimeter w/t tester. Print it. Then try to insert the smaller block into the larger block. Before you go back into SF to increase W/T, try inserting it differently a few times, and check your belt tensions. If you can get it in a few mm, good. If you can get it in all the way, awesome. The fit should be snug. If it is loose and can jitter around inside, decrease perimteter width over thickness. If you CANNOT get it in AT ALL, and you are sure there are no whiskers blocking it, INCREASE perimeter width over thickness. The latter is more likely.

Then we have the 20mm hollow box. Print this, and if the top droops in, increase the BRIDGE FEEDRATE MULTIPLIER in Speed by increments of .1 until the top stops drooping in.

Then there is the precision block. No real huge calibration parameter here. Just play with this and see how well it does on the overhangs and shapes.

Then there is a simple overhang test. Print and observe the overhangs. This is up to you to figure how to improve the overhangs.

Then there is the long awaited oozebane test. This is to try to control ooze and calibrate it to be useful. Set Early Shutdown distance to 0 and Slowdown Startup Steps to 1. Then print the piece and measure the length of stringers where the extruder shut off and the line is thick before becoming a thin whisker. Take that length and put it into early shutdown distance. Then play with Early Startup Distance Constant until the place where the extruder arrives at the other tower is nice and smooth, so that there isn't any empty space where plastic should be, but there isn't excess plastic extruded.

The bridge test is simply an object to calibrate your printer for overhangs. If it droops, you likely need to decrease "Bridge Flowrate over Operating Flowrate." Or increase "Bridge Feedrate over Operating Feedrate."

Once you have done this, great! You now have a fully calibrated machine.

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Thanks coasterman!

Indeed it is a 20mm x 20mm cube/box I have exactly 20 on one side and 20.2 in the other side.
As far as I am concerned my X,Y are good to go, if this number increases (say 21mm) then I will
roll my sleeves and get to work fixing it!

Everyone else PLEASE! it is a 20x20 calibration box, If you have a problem like people below then you have a problem, simple as that.
It will help you to identify 3 problems I can think of:
1- X,Y measurement ofcourse if you don't get a 20x20 box
2- final top layer, if you have holes on top then address them
3- Infill, If you stop this box mid-way or cut it in half after it finishes, you can see how the infill is being layed down
and address extruding more infill percentage or not.

Odd. The 0.5mm Thin Wall is measuring 0.25mm thick in Netfabb. Also, when I load it up in Simplfy3D or Slic3r, it seems to be 0.25. I have to set my extrusion width to less than 0.25 for it to be considered for printing. Perhaps this is an old model and STL has changed, but is this right? Am I the only one seeing this?

  • Sean

the point of the thin wall is to test a single pass thickness so it is good that it is .25 which is smaller than most every nozzle. Don't worry as much about how thick the wall is but how well the object prints with a single wall layer.

This is correct. I have measured it in FreeCad and is exactly 0.25 thick.

I was able to get the 20mm-hollow-box.stl to print. The resulting print has the dimensions 19.81mm x 20.48 mm by 11.70 mm of Height.

What height should the 20mm-hollow-box.stl be?


What does it mean when the 20mm x 20mm cube is printing out at 20mm (in x) and 22mm (in y). Like on two different printers, I get the same cube. 20x22.

You need to offset your Y axis, google will help with that :)

Thats Not 20mm its 22.5

Thats 20mm, check your steps per mm (steps/mm) settings.

Sorry bro, the part is off in dimentions. If you calibrate your printer accordingly to this file, you will calibrate wrong.

in regards to the extreme overhand on the precision block test, anyone been very successful? recommend better overhand test and settings?

The perimeter w-t will not slice with slic3r had to be ran through Netfabb

Same here also.

The thin-wall is 0.25mm instead of 0.5mm. Is that correct?

Same here. I think the STL is funky. I had to 200% scale to get 0.5mm walls.

all mine ended up being .63mm?

I was able to force the small block into the bigger one without breaking the bigger one - does it count? Should it be that tight?

Thank you, saved me an ocean of frustration.

I have serious issues with bridging ABS with a 0.4mm nozzle on a Budaschnozzle...

No idea what I'm doing wrong, already improved flow and bridge speed, but it's not working :)

It's nice to see documented calibration objects, and this is a great set. Unfortunately I'm trying to calibrate using Slic3r and haven't delved into Skeinforge yet, so I can only loosely follow the instructions.

One thing that has me stumped is the 20mm hollow box. I've tried adjusting a few different settings, but so far the general result I get is that the top inner perimeter, which I assume is to anchor the bridging that follows, doesn't even stick to the edge but just falls into the box, then of course the bridging completely fails.

So what are the general factors in this test that will lead to success? Is it known to produce better results with Skeinforge?

The oozebane setting did not help on my Solidoodle 2. Oozebane was helping with reducing the ooze, but it reduced the quality of the perimeter and fill significantly.

Eventually I ended up changing the Dimension settings by:
1) increasing the Extruder Retraction Speed to 120 mm/s
2) increasing and the Retraction Distance to 1.0 mm (keep small, but there should be no oozing even with Oozebane off)
3) decreasing the Restart Extra Distance in 0.05 increments until the place where the extruder arrives at the other tower is nice and smooth ( -0.20 mm for my printer).

This resulted in very clean corners and good perimeter and fill quality.

I can't get the perimeter w/t to slice in either pronterface or repetier host, anyone else having problems with it?

Run the STL through netfabb (online (http://cloud.netfabb.comhttp://cloud.netfabb.com) or stand-alone app).

i have same problem in pronterface (slic3r 0.9.9-dev):

Slicing C:\DATA\docs\The_Essential_Calibration_Set\perimeter-wt.stl

Slicing: Slic3r/slic3r.exe $s --output $o

Warning: The input file contains a hole near edge 6.000000,20.000000,0.000000-6.000000,0.000000,0.000000 (not manifold). You might want to repair it and retry, or to check the resulting G-code before printing anyway.

=> Processing triangulated mesh

The model has overlapping or self-intersecting facets. I tried to repair it, however you might want to check the results or repair the input file and retry.

=> Generating perimeters

=> Detecting solid surfaces

=> Preparing infill surfaces

=> Detect bridges

=> Generating horizontal shells

=> Combining infill

=> Infilling layers

=> Generating skirt

=> Exporting G-code to C:\DATA\docs\The_Essential_Calibration_Set\perimeter-wt_export.gcode

Done. Process took 0 minutes and 0.378 seconds

Filament required: 1.5mm (0.0cm3)

I too cannot get it to work (I am using Slic3r). Not sure what the issue is because the model looks fine.

I want to rebuild that perimeter-wt test in OpenSCAD. Did you leave any clearance between the shapes or is the cavity exactly the same size as the block?

Do not use these instructions for calibrating a stepper extruder with Skeinforge 40 or later. They are for setting up a DC-motor-driven extruder only and will not work (at all) for volumetric stepper extruders.

Basically, if your Skeinforge has a "Dimension" tab and you have it enabled, look for a different set of instructions.

Just realized that I forgot to mention that these instructions are for DC motor extruders only. Thanks for bringing it up.

In the box calibration, I can't find the "infill width over thickness" using SFACT v41.4.1. Did they change the name to something else?

Thanks for the great calibration set!

Hi I know I'm doing something wrong here.

In Skeinforge it says Flow Rate Setting (float): and the default value is 1.577 and you're recommending 255? I don't get it. I'm currently using Skeinforge 35, please help.

This program assumes you are using a DC extruder, where 255 is 255PWM, because any lower flowrate would cause the motor to stall. Therefore this program solves for width over thickness.

It appears that you are using a newer stepper extruder. I'd recommend using a different program that is designed for stepper extruders (such as Dave Durant's program or the Print-O-Matic inside Skeinforge). Stepper extruders can run at any reasonable speed that you tell them to run at, therefore
the variable you solve for is flowrate.

Nice set of tools.

What would be handy is a very large flat piece just one or two layers think to check that the bed is level.

This is an excellent set for getting your machine work nicely. :)

The search engine does not turn this up in a search for "20mm cube" or "20mm calibration" or "20mm calibration cube". HELLO SEARCH ENGINE.

try 20mm box

You really should link to the original thingiverse sources of these items. Otherwise it appears that you are taking credit for other people's work.

As a matter of fact every single STL here is designed by me in sketchup. I did not use other people's designs.

That doesn't mean you can't give credit to folks like Spacexula who clearly influenced the models you created. On his set he credited others even though he designed his own versions.


Makerbot Calibration set

I was thinking about that...

An interesting selection... but looking through your suggested method of tuning SF leaves me wondering if you realise that the order and pattern you suggest is actually going to produce circular changes... Personally I pick a layer height, then a feed rate, print a single wall shape, then measure the thickness of my wall. That gives you Perimeter W/T. Set infill to the same and you are 90-95% there. And I never, never change the temperature. Once you have set the P W/T though, any changes to the feed rate (as you suggest for correcting infill) will change that... unless you are adjusting the Perimeter feed rate ratio at the same time to compensate.

And what clearance do you have on the Perimeter W/T tester block? Even with my cupcake dialed in, PID/temp/DC extruder variations mean that I need 0.3mm of clearance on any snap-in parts to allow a smooth fit. (And often thats not enough).

How do you pick a layer height and feed rate?

A mix of trial and error, and some educated guesses... you can print any shape to test a layer height and feed speed combo, so long as the plastic isn't swelling up around the nozzel then carry on and do the single wall shape to calibrate. (And get some digital calipers if you don't already have some!)

I normally work in the 0.25 - 0.4 mm layer range, with feed speed normally just pegged at 50mm/s. Remember that the fewer variables you change the easier it is to get things right.

The main benefit I'm recognizing here is the great instructions you've included so not only thanks for gathering these stl files together but thanks for giving some guidance on how to actually employ them.