Calibrating your MAKEiT printer is a simple process with easy to use, semi-automated features. All calibrations should be done with the print plate removed and the print bed clear of debris or contaminants. Make sure the nozzle clearance cavities (4 indentations on the print bed) are clear of obstructions prior to running calibration.
It is best practice to go through the full calibration procedure in any of the following situations:
- Following unboxing and first time setup of the printer
- After approximately 100 hours of printing
- When adjusting two-nozzle leveling for different printing types
- When any visible error in leveling is noticed on the first layer of your print
- If proper bed adhesion is repeatedly difficult to acheive
- If the printer has been moved from one location to another
- After removing and replacing the print head module (Z-axis only)
- After replacing printer nozzles from within the print head module (Z-axis only)
- Following any other major maintenance such as belt tightening, drive gear cleaning, axis lubrication, etc.
Always perform calibration with the print bed completely clear of debris and without the build plate on the print bed.
- Remove the print plate from the heated bed.
- Press down on the control dial to enter the SETUP menu.
- Select CALIBRATION from the SETUP menu to enter the calibration menu.
- Select X-AXIS LEVELING from this menu to begin automatic leveling of the X-axis. The screen will display LEFT AND RIGHT ARE LEVELED once completed.
- Press down on the control dial to return to the CALIBRATION menu.
After X-Axis leveling has been completed, only the two screws mounted along the front edge of the heated bed need adjustment. The two hex screws along the back edge of the heated bed should not require adjustment under normal circumstances. Be sure to check out the manual (on your included SD Card) for more info on leveling the back edge of the heated bed.
- Keeping the print plate off of the heated bed, select Y-AXIS LEVELING from the CALIBRATION menu. The printer will now take measurements from each corner of the heated bed.
- Once measurements are taken, the printer will display two readings on the LCD screen, such as FRONT LEFT HI: 0.25 and FRONT RIGHT LO: 0.08 . These measurements (in millimeters) indicate how much to adjust the hex screws at the front edge of the heated bed. One full turn of the adjustment screw moves that particular corner of the hot bed up/down by 0.5mm. Turn the screws clockwise/counterclockwise to lower/raise that side of the bed.
- After making the proper adjustments, run Y-AXIS LEVELING from the CALIBRATION menu again. If the bed is level, the screen will show a message to indicate that Y-axis leveling is completed. Otherwise, repeat the Y-AXIS LEVELING process, following the on-screen prompt to make the proper adjustments.
- Press down on the control dial to return to the CALIBRATION menu.
Z Calibration – Standard Method
Nozzle distance calibration requires two separate adjustments: Overall height of the print head is adjusted via printer calibration menus, while the difference in height between the two individual nozzles is adjusted using your hex driver inserted into the small hole on the top right of the print head.
- Remove the print plate from the heated bed. Make sure there is no plastic/debris on the bed.
- From the CALIBRATION menu, choose NOZZLE DISTANCE. The nozzles will heat up to soften any residual material. Once heated, the print head will complete an auto-cleaning motion before positioning itself in the center of the heated bed. From this position, turning the control dial will raise/lower the print head. (Turning the control dial clockwise will increase the distance between the nozzles and the heated bed. Be careful to avoid lowering the nozzles further than the bed allows.)
- Use a piece of common printer paper as a feeler gauge for nozzle height. Place the paper flat on the aluminum bed and slide it underneath the nozzles. If the paper cannot slide underneath the nozzles, raise the print head by turning the control dial in the clockwise direction.
- With the paper underneath the nozzles slide it forward and back. Proper height calibration requires noticeable friction between the paper and printer nozzle as it slides. The proper amount of friction should allow you to push the paper forward underneath the nozzle without it creasing or bunching. Adjust the overall height of the print head using the control dial until one or both nozzles have noticeable friction against the paper.
- Keeping the paper flat against the bed, rotate the paper around the nozzles in clockwise & counterclockwise directions. The nozzle closest to the bed behaves as a stronger pivot point for the paper.
- Look for the adjustment screw located in the hole on the top-right of the print head. With your hex driver, you can the adjust difference in height between the two nozzles to fit your printing needs.
- To adjust the difference in height between the nozzles, insert your hex driver into the print head at the adjustment screw. Turn counterclockwise to raise Nozzle 1 and lower Nozzle 2; turn clockwise to lower Nozzle 1 and raise Nozzle 2. Because two nozzle leveling works on a pivot, lowering one nozzle results in raising the other nozzle. For this reason, it may be necessary to go back and forth between adjusting overall print head height and two nozzle leveling to get proper calibration for both nozzles.
Important Note: Not all print applications use the same nozzle leveling setups:
Single Nozzle Printing: level the primary nozzle you are using to be the lowest.
Dual Nozzle Duplication Printing: Level both nozzles to be the same height.
Soluble Support Printing: Level your primary material nozzle to be only slightly lower than your second material nozzle. This will help prevent the second nozzle from inadvertently contacting the main part.
Z Calibration – Alternate Method
For users who find the standard method of Z calibration difficult for calibrating dual-extrusion, or for quickly switching between setups for single or dual nozzle printing, there is an alternate method available. This method relies on visual assessment and real-time adjustments during a print using the printer’s on-board TUNE menu (“on-the-fly tuning”). Please refer to the Menus section of the Printer Overview page of the manual for more information on using the TUNE menu/on-the-fly tuning.
- Complete the basic calibration procedures for X and Y axis and load filament into both extruders
- Insert the SD card included with your accessory kit into the printer and start the test print labeled “PLA-2MaterialTestPrint”. The print will begin with a long perimeter of material surrounding the test object.
- When the test print begins, open the printer’s TUNE menu by turning the control dial, select “Nozzle Distance.”With “Nozzle Distance” open, turning the control dial will raise or lower the overall height of the X-axis gantry
- Observe the printer nozzle carefully as it begins to lay down material, raising or lowering the overall height of the X-axis gantry as needed.
- While printing the skirt the printer will switch between nozzles twice, printing two complete outlines with each nozzle. Watch as material is laid down with each nozzle and adjust the height of the two nozzles using the hex driver. You will probably need to make adjustments to the overall height of the print head until material appears to be laying down evenly and smoothly from both nozzles (keep the Nozzle Distance” menu open while you do this).
- If the skirt completes printing before you are happy with the calibration, either continue adjusting as the part begins to print or cancel the print and restart it, beginning where you left off on the previous print.
IMPORTANT: Unlike normal calibrations, adjustments made via this method will not be saved after the printer is shut off unless they are manually committed prior to shutdown.
To save this calibration, cancel the print in progress by pressing down on the control dial and selecting Cancel Print. Enter the “MAINTENANCE” menu from the printer’s SETUP menu, scroll down to the bottom of the MAINTENANCE menu and choose “Save Settings”. Your calibrations will now be saved and remain accurate after shutdown.