Surface Finish Calibration Test Shape

by whpthomas, published

Surface Finish Calibration Test Shape by whpthomas Dec 24, 2012
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If you are having problems with uneven surface finish in things with curved surfaces, this calibration shape provides a quick print shape with a diversity of surfaces to check. I made this as an alternative to the standard 20 x 20 x 10 calibration cube.

UPDATE (Feb 7th 2013)
New Slic3r Config files for the Replicator 2. You still need to use ReplicatorG to load the sliced gcode files and export as x3g to print. Scroll to the bottom of Instructions below for installation guide.

I have also recently added a new 340 micron profile for when you just want to print something quickly, and a new 340 ZERO FILL to make it easier to create Stretchlet Bracelets like emmett's http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:13505

Version 6 profiles have been tweaked for the new 7.0 firmware. I have also described all the key changes I have made in these profiles so you know what I have changes and why, so you can experiment yourselves. I have tried to be a bit conservative with the settings in the profiles provided here, so read the comments below to tweak them even further if you feel the need to.

Because a few of you have asked - Paypal donations graciously accepted - whpthomas at yahoo dot com


print, review, tweak, calibrate...

ReplicatorG Profiles

I have included my best Replicator 2 profiles for 0.1 and 0.2 mm layer heights in ReplicatorG. To install them, select an existing profile you have already duplicated, then in the ReplicatorG menu select GCode->Edit Slicing Profiles... and click on the Locate button. On my mac this opens up ~/.replicatorg/sf_50_profiles/... with the folder of the currently selected profile highlighted. Select the parent directory i.e. ~/.replicatorg/sf_50_profiles and unzip the profile files in that parent folder. They should turn up in the GCode->Edit Slicing Profiles... and Generate next time you run ReplicatorG.

If you are using the latest version of Makerware, download the Makerware_profiles-xx.zip and unzip them into your ~/Things/Profiles folder. For more info on using these scroll down to the bottom.

These profiles were saved from my Mac, so if you unzip on a PC, check in the skeinforge Alteration Module to ensure the start and end code file names are correct as well as the Home Module. Sometimes these will be blank - so copy the filenames over form a working Replicator 2 profile if they are missing.

Make sure to measure each roll of filament you load and enter the diameter under Print-O-Matic->Plastic, if you can't 1.75 is a good starting point.

100 micron print settings

Infill 30%
Layer Height 0.1mm
Number of shells 3
Feedrate 80 mm/s
Travel Feedrate 150 mm/s
Print Temprature 230c (*)

200 micron print settings

Infill 20%
Layer Height 0.2 to 0.3 mm
Number of shells 1
Feedrate 80 mm/s
Travel Feedrate 150 mm/s
Print Temprature 230c (*)

The 200 micron profile uses the Skin Module to print the outside layer at half the layer height i.e. 100 micron for a 0.2mm layer height, however the surface finish is not as good as the 100 micron profile, but it prints twice as fast!

340 micron print settings

Infill 10%
Layer Height 0.34 mm
Number of shells 1
Feedrate 80 mm/s
Travel Feedrate 150 mm/s
Print Temprature 230c (*)

*If you are in a hot humid climate like me (34c & 90%) and having problems with stalls, droping the print temperature a few degrees can help.

340 micron zero fill (for Stretchlet Bracelets)

Infill 0%
Layer Height 0.34 mm
Number of shells 0
Feedrate 80 mm/s
Travel Feedrate 150 mm/s
Print Temprature 240c


These are the Skeinforge settings I modify - and why.


Firstly the material is set as ABS - I know, the Replicator 2 only prints PLA - WTF? However its just the way it has been setup, changing the material to PLA seems to break everything, so better to leave well enough alone - promise to have a go at 'correcting' this some time in the future.


Clip Over Perimeter Width = 0.2

This helps to reduce the little blobs or zits that form where the nozzle loops start.


Minimum Layer Time = 2

This is supposed to help endure that small layers don't melt. But if the nozzle slows down too much, it just sits there and melts the thing it is trying to cool.


Extruder Retraction Speed = 20

Filament Diameter = 1.75

Filament Packing Density = 0.97

I have tried values between 0.93 and 1.0 but I think 0.97 is the most reliable. If you are getting too much plastic, 1.0 may be better, however if inter-layer adhesion is an issue drop down to 0.93. I have also found that clear and white PLA prefer higher packing densities like 1.0, whereas black and grey prefer lower numbers like 0.95.

Retraction Distance = 0.5

This helps to get rid of excessive strings. However too much retraction and too much heat can lead to jams as it sucks in air bubbles.

Restart Extra Distance = 0 to -0.1

This will also reduce the little blobs or zits that form where the nozzle loops start by relieving back pressure. However make sure this is a very small negative number - larger numbers can cause printing gaps, or worse unload your filament mid print if there are too many islands, and positive numbers will increase back pressure and lead to jams.


Extra Shells on Base Layers = 2

Helps to stitch overlapping layers to the perimeter. Use in conjunction with either 1 or >= 3 extra shells in Print-O-Matic

Grid Rectangular

I think this is both the fastest and strongest infill pattern, and it works with both 0% and 100% Print-O-Matic settings

Solid Surface Thickness = 3 for 200 micron and 6 for 100 micron

Sets the number of layers printed for the top and bottom layers.

Start From Choice = Nearest

Stops all the little blobs and zits forming in the Lower Lefthand Corner.

Loops -> Perimeter -> Infill

Ensures the best surface quality on the outer perimeter shell.


Infill in Direction of Bridge

Generally I leave this feature on, to ensure overhanging bridges are filled in the right direction. However, if you have a shape where the first layer is the bottom of a curved surface that is protruding outward this will result all the base layers printing in the same direction, so if you notice this happening, turning off this feature will correct it.


Jitter Over Perimeter Width = 2 or 10 to 15

Alters the perimeter starting point (called the zipper) - spreads imperfections around so they are not all in the one place. Although sometime you want this to be 2 so its in one discrete line that is hidden in a crevice somewhere.


For my 200 micron prints I activate this module.

Horizontal Infil Divisions = 2
Horisontal Perimeter Divisions = 1
Vertical Divisions = 2

This gives your 0.2 mm layer height prints a 0.1 mm skin - so you get twice the print
speed with a surface finish almost as good as 100 micron.


Convex enabled
Gap over Perimeter Width = 10

Runs a bead of filament around your base layer before it starts so as to prime the
extruder and ensure your base layer gets off to a good start.


Having problems with the first layer sticking too hard to the build plate

Object First Layer Feed Rate Infill Multiplier = 0.9
Object First Layer Feed Rate Perimeter Multiplier = 0.9
Object First Layer Flow Rate Infill Multiplier = 0.8
Object First Layer Flow Rate Perimeter Multiplier = 0.9

Having problems getting the first layer to stick

Object First Layer Feed Rate Infill Multiplier = 0.6
Object First Layer Feed Rate Perimeter Multiplier = 0.6
Object First Layer Flow Rate Infill Multiplier = 0.53
Object First Layer Flow Rate Perimeter Multiplier = 0.6

If you are printing directly onto your acrylic build plate, and having problems with PLA sticking too well, a light dab of olive oil and polish with a tissue to create a very thin film will help. With a light sheen of vegetable oil objects will still stick, but also snap off easily. If you put too much on, rub down with a bit of mentholated spirits or rubbing alcohol.

Perimeter Feed Rate Multiplier = 0.5
Perimeter Flow Rate Multiplier = 0.5

For mechanical parts with fine tolerances - particularly small parts, setting the Perimeter to 0.4 or even 0.3 can improve surface accuracy and remove ringing artefacts.


In MakerWare there is no Print-O-Matic for custom profiles - so this is where you find those settings in skeinforge.

Infill (%) = Fill->Infill Solidity (ratio)

With this one, make sure to divide the Infill percentage you usually use by 100 to get the ratio.

Number of Shells = Fill->Extra Shells on Alternating Solid Layer
Layer Height = Carve->Layer Height
Temperature->Extruder = Temperature...
Speed while extruding = Speed->Feed Rate and Speed->Flow Rate Setting
Speed while traveling = Speed->Travel Feed Rate

Filament Diameter = Dimension->Filament Diameter


Use the Flle->Load Config to set each configuration. Save a 'Replicator 2' printer settings, 'PLA 1.75' filament setting (and maybe one for any other filament sizes you have eg. 1.69) and one print setting for each config (100, 200, 340 micron). You still need to use ReplicatorG to load the sliced gcode files to export the x3g file to print from your SD card.

Slic3r can be downloaded from here http://slic3r.org its OSX, Windows and Linux compatible. Slic3r is a fast slicer, and the default infill pattern also prints fast. You can also make hollow objects like vases really easily.

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It looks like a buttplug

Maker Select V2 - prints the test elephant and chair flawlessly. Can't get any other "organic" shapes to print on my own though...geometric shapes such as boxes and cylinders print fantastic. As soon as I try something more organic this happens...it's as if it's not printing the walls/outer shell, only the infill. I've tried fooling around with the settings in CURA but no luck yet. Again, I'm certain it's not the printer because the test organic objects print great, it's only when I try on my own through CURA.

Using PLA .4mm, 210 degrees extruder, 50 degrees base, 1mm, 50mm/s speed

Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated!!!

Just in case others have had similar issues, I took someone's suggestion and increased to .2mm layer height and it vastly improved the print. Still issues with the top of the knob/dome that I cannot figure out. Added top layers, increased fill %, slowed it down, played with retraction quite a bit, got into z-hops...nothing helped. That said see the results here: https://www.thingiverse.com/make:448976

Surface Finish Calibration Test Shape

The shape of this makes me super uncomfortable

Why? It's just a nub. It's not a weirdly phallic rod.

That little thing is great! First, I threw it to Slicer3D. No way. The base is from ok to great, nice infill, nice walls, nice top+bottom. But the dome comes out like a porous sponge. Outer walls, inner walls, infill - all is affected. And i tried about 30 different settings, including some from Slicer3D support. You can break the dome just like that, and then you can see that the infill in the base is as it should be, defined, stable, etc, but the next layer is a mess. As if Simplify3D decides that everything needs just 50% of plastics there. General underextruding is not the problem because the base (and many more objects I printed, like tons of http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40643) is ok. One if the suggestions of the support was a 100% infill. Unuseable for a real object, but hey, give it a try. result: nice base with great, solid infill and smooth walls, porous dome.
Then I tried Cura, default settings. The result was 99% perfect, and with just a litte tweaking it made the 100%.

UPDATE: I found the culprit! Cura use absolute extruder positions (gcode M82), but Slicer3D use relative ones (M83) by default. You can change that in the "G-Code" section of the process by ticking off "Relative extrusion distances". Then the test object is sliced/printed very nicely. But don't use two processes, sequential printing, with one process/object set to relative and the other to absolute extrusion. Slicer3D does not put the M82 command after the first object, so the printer interprets the absolute values as relative and tries to extrude tons of material.

Vertical Turbine - Derived
by julienM

Hi I just posted something almost exactly like your issue but reverse, I'm using CURA! Same thing...rectangle base prints flawlessly, but the knob part comes out like a sponge. It's as if it's not printing the shell/outside walls of that organic shape. It happens on all organic shapes for me, not just this file. Squares, rectangles, cylinders...all print fantastic. All organic shapes look like sponges though, the outer walls are not printing.

Any suggestions for someone who is using CURA? Seems like I have the same exact problem, is there a setting in CURA you can suggest I alter?

Can anyone give me some pointers here if possible, I would really appreciate it. I have checked my extrusion and it is dialed in, could it be the print speed is too quick? This is at 200u. Print speed is around 45mm. Using ABS at 225C and 70C heated bed. I get great prints with these settings and the filament brand that I am using but this surface test is stumping me a bit.

You can view my picture here: http://ifmarkllc.com/Misc/surface_test_01.jpg

Thanks in advance!

You are under-extruding, badly. And you're making calibrations for the community? Because that makes sense right......? Also, your surface texture should be smooth. If its not then youre doing it wrong, in his pics its under extruding, and i suspect hes doing so because it clogs or skips when he extrudes properly, because his nozzle is shot...... And he wants to help you calibrate yours now.... careful. Hes also printing too hot and too slow for this model, see the sloped edges? < part of that is under extrusion allowing compression, the other part is too hot and too slow. Some people in this community really crack me up.

The 'long slow wipe' seems to simply drop the extruder at the maximum X,Y and extrude a glob of plastic at that point. Has anybody else had this issue?

Comments deleted.

Well, this object is, ahem, well, very sensual. LOL

Hey! I was wondering if anyone had used these configs with sli3cr 1.2.0? My prints are coming out a little too big in X/Y with these settings and a replicator 2 and I am not sure what I should do it fix it!

1.2 is way early beta and I had to go back to the stable version as it had various issues for me besides just crashing before I even did any slicing I was just changing settings.

Hi, thanks a lot for your Replicator Slic3er profile(s)!!! I'm currently adjusting them a bit to get them working with Flash Forge Creator Dual-Extruder. But I'm stuck at one of the gcode start lines. The one is "G1 X-137 Y-70 Z0.1 F1000.0 ;Slow wipe"....what does it do? As Flashforge dimensions are lower than those of the Replicator, I guess this lines makes my device create noise (ratatatkrkrk). Everything else workes fine. After I'm dine, I will surely upload the profiles as a remix of yours! :-) Once more, thanks!

Would these profiles (for SF and Slic3r) work on a Replicator 1, dual, out of the box? Or there's something fundamentally different, eg. the start / end gcode or other things? Thanks!

There are a couple of things you will have to check. The packing density for ABS is 0.85 whereas PLA is 0.97. The retraction distance for ABS is probably less.

So I've seen someone printing at .05 layer height. Has anyone had any experience with this? I'm not sure if there would be a noticeable difference from .1

Hey whpthomas, I love these profiles(I met have said this before) but are you seeing or hearing of any issues since the new makerware release or new firmware? I am having problems when I use your profiles in makerware now

I have not had a successful print with Makerware in about a month. I am waiting on the replacement plunger from makerbot to arrive.

HOWEVER, I installed these profiles and switched over to rep G. I have had nothing but successful prints all day.

thank you so much for these, and for your informative videos on youtube. You legend!

MrPlastic, are you familiar with whpthomas's extruder upgrade/delrin plunger replacement? In terms of people having problems, it has fixed everyone's... If you can't print it just search on ebay like "makerbot replicator 2" a few people are selling the kits

Are these profiles the same for the sailfish firmware as well? What speeds would you recommend for 100micron with sailfish?

I have always used your profiles with great sucess until this morning I upgrade my makerware, and now RepG is not updating the extrude temperature in the gcode, it is starting from the right corner instead of the left, and it is trying to heat the bed. Any suggestions???

Is the correct printer type selected? Try doing a factory reset of the onboard preferences under machine in ReplicatorG.

Correct printer is selected. I will try the reset, but I doubt this... The Gcode that is generated has not had the temperature updated from the print-o-matic settings, and now contains a heated bed command.
'Use default Gcode' should be UNCHECKED' right? (If I check it, it generates the right temperature and no heated bed command.

Correct printer is selected. I will try the reset, but I doubt this...
The Gcode that is generated has not had the temperature updated from the print-o-matic settings, and now contains a heated bed command.
'Use default Gcode' should be UNCHECKED' right? (If I check it, it generates the right temperature and no heated bed command.

I made this thing with your makerbot profiles. The 200 & 340 seems to be good, but the 100 has a very rough surface. I'm totally new in 3d printing, so i dont know why?

Clear PLA is trouble - you may have to drop the temperature a few degrees, or measure your filament diameter and enter the correct value in Print-O-Matic under plastic. From memory, my MBI clear PLA was about 1.80mm

What bots do you have other then Rep 2 ? I am looking at a replicator and wondered if these profiles will work for it as we'll.

Only a Replicator 2 :(

How do I install this using MakerWare? dying to try it out.

Download the Makerware_profiles-xx.zip and unzip them into your ~/Things/Profiles folder

Can I activate the skin module in makerware through the edit profile menu? Thank you for your contribution!!

Yes. But only for the skeinforge (high quality) slicer not MiracleGrue.

Thanks a bunch, I put these into practice and the first 100micron print worked perfect, where makerware failed everytime.

I'm having the same issue as Kevinkevin. When I go in to edit the profile, it looks like it is defaulted set to ABS as the material. I'm using PLA. Should I change it there? I tried that, and it seemed to radically change what I was looking at...

Hi Major,
I have corrected this by creating a separate set of profiles for Makerware - not sure what was causing the incompatibility.

Hi thanks a lot for your time spent giving back to the community!
Similar to major platypus, I've installed your makerware profiles and gone to edit them but it is defaulted to abs and as soon as I change it to PLA because I'm using a rep2 all the settings completely change, does it matter that the profile is ABS because I guess you've already set all the relevant values?

Yeah, best to leave the material as ABS, this is just the way the default profiles Makerbot provides were set up so I just focused on getting them to work, not making it look pretty or "correct" - it is beta software still.

Cheers, I aim to print and integrate your pinch roller on my rep2, I've been having various problems with the plunger I assume, amongst other things. Looks like a well thought out solution.

Coolness, thanks! I will give them a try!!!

Just used the 100 micron profile on a Rep2 that was mis-behaving, so far so good! Thanks.

I'm having difficulties using these profiles through Makerware (latest version). The slice gets to 100%, then I get a message saying the slice has failed (although the machine still starts up). The Rep2 display also gives me an error saying that it received a command for a heated build platform. Any idea why I could be getting these errors? Heading into month 2 of trying to get my machine to work beyond medium default settings, any help is greatly appreciated.

Hi Kevin,

I have created a separate set of profiles for Makerware - you can download them as a zip file.

I assume I am doing something wrong. I tried slicing with your new profiles in makerware and the slicing hangs on 100%. However, going through your changes and making a new profile manually means it works fine (prints are great by the way). I also thank you for your contributions!

Great piece of advice! Thanks for your contributions here and in Google Groups!

I used this profile and it works GREAT! Thanks for sharing.

I had a slight issue with the 100 micron profile and it adhering to the build platform. I re-set the http://bottom.pybottom.py from .1 altitude to 0 and it seemed to resolve this however. For the 200 Micron profile I had a issue where I was getting way to much filament blob in the starting lower left area. So I set it to nearest and it seemed to fix this as well. The start area on the 100 micron profile has this issue as well, so you can try it for that too :)

All good suggestions. On my Replicator 2 I level with a 0.1 mm feeler gauge for some reason I need the 0.1 altitude. The nearest fill setting is a good change too.

Hi thanks for the settings but I'm having a few issues with my replicator 2 and them. First off at the end of the program I get a temp error on the replicator 2 lcd when the program ends right after it plays the ta da song and I hit a key to exit. Also I'm getting feedrate too high on the 200 micron settings. I'm getting lines like this G1 X-0.1 Y-20.38 Z71.05 F59940.0

Any tips?

The feedrate problem can be ignored as it will be on the z axis, not sure what is causing the temperature error though - check that the end.gcode filename in alterations module is correct.

I believe the temperature issue is the program looking for a code from a heated build platform and given I have the replicator 2 It doesn't get one. I can leave it after a print for a half hour then come back and click on the screen and then the error pops up at the machine. I'm not sure where to fix this though.

So, I don't have a makerbot, or the softwear talked about above. I do have a Printrbot(Printrbot Jr. actually), and I use slic3r. Will this be of any use to me?

Profiles are fantastic - getting great results - better than anything I've tried so far - thanks!

OK new to this... how do I install the new profiles in the software?

As stated above - To install them, select the ReplicatorG menu GCode->Edit Slicing Profiles... Then click on the Locate button. Unzip the files in this folder.

Ok I understand that part... Should I see the changes in the window after I choose the new location for the profile? Should the 'generate GCode' window show the setting changes? and will it save these as default or do I have to locate each time I want to use them. Can't wait to try it. :)

On my Mac this folder is ~/.replicatorg/sf_50_profiles you should see all the other custom profiles you have duplicated in this folder. After you unzip my profiles here they will show up in the list next time you select GCode->Edit Slicing Profiles or Generate. BTW when you click locate it will it will have the folder of the currently selected profile selected - don't unzip it inside here or it won't work. Unzip it in the parent folder.

Thank you... I will give it a try. I am a newbie with this software and have had no luck so far will any prints at all. Only software I have used is makerware

Really nice setting, thanks!!