How-to: 3D printer calibration in 1/4 of the time!

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Ok, so you’re printing away in your 3D Printer and you realize that your parts are getting out crooked. There’s hope. You’ll need to perform a vertical calibration to correct that deviation and get your printer to produce straight up parts again.
Now, this tutorial will cover an advanced technique to reduce the cut the calibration time by 75%.

But before you read this, I recommend that you check your printer’s owner manual and look for the calibration section. They should provide you the steps to get the calibration complete.  Take a second to review it, then come back here when you’re done 🙂

… on hold music plays while you read the manual….

ok, now, as you can see, to perform the calibration, you’ll need to print a calibration part. For my printer, the UP Mini the print preview tells me that printing the calibration part will take little over 1 hour and 6min to print. From experience I imagine that you’ll have to repeat the process 2 or 3 times, until you get parts to your satisfaction. Considering a 1hr print time per calibration part, the total calibration procedure should take you a total 2 or 3 hours. WOW! That’s a lot of time.

calibrate model with time

Since I hate wasting time (and some material) in trivial stuff like that, I though through a way to expedite the vertical calibration, and I came up with an idea that could cut the time by quite a low. Going through the procedure I realized that only one out of the 8 pieces were actually used in the vertical calibration. All the other parts were not related to the process of vertical cal, and therefore it’s just a waste of time and material. So my idea was to print just the  one part that the wants measured for the Z calibration. Why waste time in the whole complex part, instead of just printing the one part required?

Tada! Below is the part that I created to expedite that hole process.

SketchUp - Quick Vertical Cal

This new part that I created prints in just 15minutes. Much better that the 1:06h the original part took.

my calibrate model with time

Nice, hum!

If you look close to the part you’ll see to islands in the opposite corners of the model. At this time (9/2013) version 2 of UP! lacks the feature of storing the part positing in to the area. (or maybe the feature is so hidden I could not find it). So I put those two fiduciary points to force UP! to put the L shaped part close to the edge, just like the calibration file provided by the supplier.

Interested? get the part below:


One last trick, you may need to rotate the part so that the L shaped part comes out in front of the printer.

Highlight the part –>Click Rotate –> Select 90 –> Click “Z Axis”

Click “Z Axis” until part is as shown above.