What is So Important About Calibrating The Extruder of Your 3D Printing Machine?

Despite the fact that 3D printing machines increasingly resemble the typical inkjet printers, the maintenance work they require so they stay in top working condition is frequently becoming difficult and more challenging. 

3D prints

Between maintaining a flat print bed and maintenance cleaning of the extruder, 3-dimensional printing (otherwise known as additive manufacturing) requires a significant amount of maintenance work. This needs to be carried out with regularity.

Calibration of the extruder is an interesting example of a task that you’ll need to perform often with your 3D printer if you have one. Even more so if you want your prints to look as similar to the 3D model as possible. 

How critical is the calibration of your 3D printer extruder? But most importantly, what are the telltale signs you can look for to tell you when the moment is right? What steps are necessary?

Importance of Calibrating Your 3D Printer Extruder

To understand the significance of calibrating your printer’s extruder, you must first understand why we need to do it: this is to ensure that your 3D printer extruder is extruding only the correct amount of filament while the equipment is in use.

If your printer is not working right, it could be extruding more filament than it should. Known as over-extrusion, this usually manifests in the form of strings or blobs that you see in your prints. Over-extrusion takes place due to the excessive amounts of filament that pass through the extruder remaining molten in the nozzle. Eventually, it becomes heavy enough that its only direction to go is to droop down to the building platform.

If the excess filament is let to build up for too long, your nozzle will get clogged. As everyone who has dealt with a blocked nozzle knows, this is a far bigger issue that will almost certainly necessitate removing your extruder for a quick fix. 

Under-extrusion, on the other hand, can create holes or leave gaps in your printer where they shouldn’t be. This is triggered by your extruder not being able to extrude enough filament to produce a completed print that matches the reference model.

Layers that are thinner than optimal are a less evident indication of under-extrusion, and they can produce layer adhesion issues or a mechanically inferior completed print. How do you know when it’s time to adjust the extruder on your printer?

printing model


If any of these aforementioned issues appear and persist despite your best efforts to dial in the perfect settings for your filament. It’s quite hard for your final print to be of acceptable quality if you don’t do so.

Final thoughts

With an array of moving mechanical parts, keeping your 3D printer in good working shape necessitates you to give it regular maintenance work. The entire process of extruder calibration is just one of approximately a dozen other minor adjustments that you’ll need to give regularly to your 3D printer. 

By such measures, you can have peace of mind in knowing that you won’t run into any kind of printing issues anytime soon. Ultimately, you have that assurance that your finished prints are of the highest possible quality.