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Using a Filament For the First Time

The first time you use AMX3d filament, if you print near the middle of the recommended print temperature it will probably print fine right "out of the box".  For most "hobby" or home printing, this is fine. If, however, your object is more complex, tuning AMX3d filament to your print extruder's reported temperature is recommended. Once you've established the right temperature, you should be able to print any AMX3d PLA filament with minimal adjustments.

Why is calibrating desirable?  The print range specified is determined by both the printing range of the filament and the normal deviations between the sensor "reported" printer head temperature and. the actual temperature where the filament is is melted and extruded. Each printer design is different and even within printers of the same model, even a slight difference in how the heat sensor is placed may make a subtle difference in the actual temperature vs. reported temperature. Add to that enclosed vs. non-enclosed printers, room temperature, drafts and it's easy to see how variations may occur.

When an extruder lays down filament, the higher the temperature, the flatter the filament will be that is laid on the bed, the colder the filament, the "rounder" it will be. The objective of setting the temperature is to get a flat filament that lays neatly on prior rows. Too cold, and there isn't enough surface to adhere securely, too hot and the filament will sag. 

We have created a couple of items to make this an easy task. If you know how to edit G-Code you can use the "Advanced Users" technique. If  you are unsure, use the "Standard Approach" below. 

Advanced Users:

G-Code is the instruction set your printer follows. If you haven't tried editing G-Code, be careful... removing a line or adding an instruction in the wrong place can send your printer head crashing into the bed or the walls of your print enclosure. If this possibility doesn't concern you or you've done it before, we recommend building a calibration tower with layers at various temperatures. When complete, examine the layers at each temperature. Once you've determined which layer has the fewest imperfections, use the temperature that layer was printed at for your print temperature.

There are a number of calibration towers on thingiverse, here are a few:

 ; Calibration Tower Sample #1
; Calibration Tower Sample #2
There are many more... simply search thingiverse for "calibration tower"

 

Standard Approach:

Download our calibration .stl file. This object prints quickly and shows how the filament performs on most of the common surfaces:

  • Vertical walls
  • Horizontal Surfaces (base)
  • "on the bed" support material
  • bridging

You can see pictures here of 3 different temperatures with a filament. For this filament, 190o is the appropriate print temperature. There are 2 different approaches: 

  • Start at the high temperature and decrease 5 degrees until printing shows imperfections. Then select the best temperature from those that have been printed. If desired, intermediate ranges between the closest temperatures can be explored but that doesn't always materially affect the results.
  • Start at the middle temperature then do the high temperature (e.g., for PLA that has a recommended temperature range of 180-210o , print the calibration object at 210o and 195o. Split the difference between the two to find the best print temperature. If 210 has fewer imperfections, try a print at 195 + (210-195)/2, 0r approximately 202o. 

Happy printing!