Microstepping calibration set

by whosawhatsis, published

Microstepping calibration set by whosawhatsis Jun 12, 2012
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This part is specifically designed to make the moire/tree ring effect, caused by inaccurate microstepping or otherwise insufficient horizontal resolution, visible. Use this to test for it so that you can recalibrate to get rid of it. You probably won't need to worry about it unless you are trying to print layers .1mm or smaller.

You don't get the full effect on the round pieces from the pictures, but check out the full-size (which is also upside-down for some reason) to get a better look: http://thingiverse-production.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/7e/1e/bb/0e/66/Photo_Jun_12_12_40_03.jpg


The effect will be easier to see when your vertical resolution gets better than your horizontal resolution. The print shown is at .1mm, and I calculated the rings to be caused by an effective horizontal resolution of .17mm (with proper calibration of my pololu drivers, it should be 1/16 of that).

To make the effect most visible, print with shiny filament at .1mm or better vertical resolution.

More information on this effect:

Additional reading:

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Getting new stepper drivers is both more effective and cheaper than buying new motor. Im not sure why you're suggestion new motors. If you have an OLD machine with only a few neutral resting points between the magnets (fewer stator/rotor magnets) then buying a new motor would make sense. But modern motors and printers dont generally suffer this problem anymore. Steppers have come a long way. So no, unless your printer is really old, get stepper driver chips, not motors.

Take it from an IT engineer that actually designs printers for a living.

Did you notice that this thing was posted in 2012? It was designed for use on a CupcakeCNC, which not only IS a really old printer (for any value of "old" that makes sense to use in this space), but also comes with stepper motors that are famous for being the most horribly-spec'd motors ever used in a 3D printer (IIRC, they were rated for 14V and were 35 ohms/phase, with inductance that was also, of course, way too high). Replacing those motors, even with different 200-step motors, could make a big difference. The stock stepper drivers were also horrible by today's standards (and IIRC only did half- or maybe quarter-stepping). In the early days of stepper extruders on those, it was also common to drive the extruder motor with PWM generated by a (Atmega168-based) extruder controller through a dual H-bridge chip rather than using a proper current-limiting stepper driver.

BTW, I have also (in the years since this thing was posted) designed 3D printers professionally. With the vast number of printer companies we have in the market today, that's not a particularly exclusive claim. Do you find being trained in IT helpful when doing mechanical engineering?

Nice, I first noticed those on my soap pump: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:16775http://www.thingiverse.com/thi.... Honestly I think it's kind of a neat looking effect, but good to know that it's also fixable.

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by emmett

Cool! What do we do if we get the tree ring things? How do we fix it?

The uneven steps can be caused by a sense resistor with the wrong value for your stepper, or by the wrong current setting. The motors I am using are rated for too-high a voltage, resulting in insufficient torque at 12V unless I crank the current high enough to cause these uneven steps. If you're using a cupcake or an early-model ToM (at least if you're not using the gen3 drivers that only to half-stepping anyway), get new motors! Gen4 drivers have a pot for the sense resistor, but for pololu drivers, you may need to swap out a resistor for best results. More information:


If you have a "normal" stepper driver, they should have a little potentiometer that you can adjust to get the right current value to hit the "sweet" spot of your motors. Read this: http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?219,94354,94546,quote=1http://forums.reprap.org/read....