Machines don't come perfect off the production line. Just like computer monitors and factory machinery, 3D printers should be calibrated for maximum accuracy and precision. Here's how to use calibration cubes to get the most out of your 3D printer.
Calibration cubes are simple geometric shapes (usually cubes, hence the name) that help you fine-tune your 3D printer’s settings. They enable you to achieve maximum precision and accuracy in your prints.
These cubes are particularly important for assembly-required kits and lower-end machines that have not been factory-tuned. With these cubes, you can adjust your printer’s settings to produce precise, mechanical parts.
There are many ways to use calibration cubes. Before we get started, however, be sure to calibrate your 3D printer’s extruder. This will ensure that any defects will be strictly mechanical and not caused by extrusion inaccuracies.
Once your extruder is calibrated, there are several things you can do with calibration cubes:
Now that you know how to use calibration cubes, we present a list of the best designs for the job.
What is it? An amped-up version of the classic calibration cube. It features 4 layers, at 25 mm, 20 mm, 15 mm, and 10 mm, with a notch at the front to indicate orientation. This is especially useful for identifying material shrinkage; if dimensions deviate at different amounts for each layer, you should correct your slicing software’s material shrinkage settings as described earlier.
Who made it? Make Magazine
Where to find it: YouMagine
What is it? A calibration cube made cuter. Unlike the other tests on this list, the “Cali Cat” is one that you’ll enjoy keeping after you’re done calibrating. The head and tail are different sizes, so like the dimensional accuracy test, you can use this cat to identify material shrinkage.
Who made it? Dezign
Where to find it: Thingiverse
Hopefully, this guide was helpful in familiarizing you with calibration cubes and how they can be used to tune your 3D printer’s settings. You’re now one step closer to producing precise, mechanical prints!
From here, you can test and improve your printer’s tolerances to create interlocking components.
If you encounter any problems along the way, you can turn to our 2018 troubleshooting guide.
License: The text of "3D Printer Calibration Cube – Best Models & How to Use Them" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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