Tuning and Calibrating The Ender 3 Pro

Once you get a few initial settings tuned, you'll know your printer is performing properly: and then you can have some fun printing things you really enjoy!

Here is the bare minimum to do and get right:

  1. Tune you Hot End and Bed Temperature (10-20 minutes - automatic!)
  2. Tune your filament extrusion rate, a.k.a Extruder e-Steps (2 minutes, need a ruler and a pen or piece of tape)
  3. Ensure your bed is level relative to your hot end - a.k.a. Tramming (5-20 minutes depending on how good you are, need a piece of paper)
  4. If you Installed a CR Touch, Set your Z Offset

That should be sufficient to get you started. 

If you plan on doing extremely sensitive prints (e.g., printing a part where it needs to be extremely precise) then for intermediate tuning and dialing it in there are additional steps which I'll link to.

I would suggest just do these 3 and then that is sufficient for taking your printer out for a spin especially if you're printing fun models to start.

Calibrate Your Hot End and Bed Heater:  PID Auto Tune 

There are two parts of your 3D printer that heat up: your heated bed and the heating element in your hot end, which heats the filament before it prints.  Your printer motherboard sends signals to these heating elements telling them to heat or not heat, and expects them to react based on tuning of 3 values called P, I and D.  If these values are not tuned, you'll get wild fluctuations in temperature.

Fortunately you don't have to do anything. Just run the auto tune and it'll figure the values out for you. I walk through the steps here - Calibrate Your Ender 3 Pro  Hot End and Bed Heater:  PID Auto Tune (Marlin 2.0)

Tune your filament extrusion rate, a.k.a Extruder eSteps

There is a motor that turns and pulls filament off your spool, and pushes it through the bowden tube and to the hot end. Your printer motherboard controls it, and based on how fast it believes the motor pushes filament, tells the motor how much to turn the gear while you are printing.  Suppose the motherboard wants to push 1 mm of filament:  If these values are synced up correctly, you get 1 mm of filament. If they are not synced up (your motherboard has values that are not tuned), you might get .8 mm (under-extrusion) or 1.2 mm (over extrusion).  

It's simple to tune this - follow the steps here Calibrate Your Ender 3 Pro Stepper Motor Extruder eSteps

Bed Tramming - a.k.a. "Level Your Bed"

Your printer will print a tiny amount of filament at a time. Each bit of filament it extrudes needs to stick to something - either the bed (your first level) or to the previous layer of filament you printed.

Getting your bed level so the nozzle is equally spaced from the bed at every point of the print area will ensure you have a good first layer.  Bed tramming is the first step - getting all 4 corners to be equally distanced from the bed.  You can see how here -> Bed Tramming for Ender 3 Pro Using Marlin 2.0

Setting Up CR Touch

If you installed a CR Touch, there is some additional set up you should do. See that here - setting up CR Touch on Ender 3 Pro.

All Set!

That's it! You're now ready to start printing, either off the included SD card, or after slicing and creating your own GCode.

If you want something to print, and aren't sure what to start with - well you can print something new *and* do more calibrations by printing the XYZ Cube and 3D Benchy, the two most common calibration prints. And the Benchy is a nice little boat that you can enjoy as your first print. 

Read more about that here -> Advanced Tuning and Calibration for Ender 3 Pro

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