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Optimizing printer settings with XYZ Calibration Cube

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Posted · Optimizing printer settings with XYZ Calibration Cube

Hello All,


I have two Airwolf3D AXIOM Dual Direct Drive printers that I’ve worked with for several years off and on for small/medium sized prints in ABS and Polycarb. But I’ve always had issues from day one to get good quality part finishes with my printers, to the point where I found myself spending literally hours reprinting parts again and again to optimize the print profile to come out *mostly* decent.


In the past day or so, I determined to spend time to look into the problem and really tune the printer to work well with ABS prints (Polycarb and PLA prints generally come out much better with little to no adjustment of the factory profile settings).


So, I printed a series of the Calibration cubes from Thingiverse using the standard and Fine ABS print profile settings (with no modifications) to get a baseline to work from. I was wondering if some here could give me some tips on settings I can adjust to clean up some of the issues I’m having.


Printer 1 has a 0.5 mm nozzle installed with a white ABS spool and Printer 2 has a 0.35 mm nozzle installed also with a white ABS spool (both Airwolf’s brand).


I've attached images of the cubes printed from Printer 1 and 2 on both the Standard and Fine print profile settings (unmodified except for changing the nozzle size to 0.35 for printer two)




Printer 1 - Standard ABS Profile

  • Three of the four edges of the cube are not very sharp, but wavy.
  • The layers of the cube seem to be a bit uneven
  • The detail of the embossed lettering looks pretty uneven and jaggad at spots
  • One can see the infill lines a bit poking through the sides
  • Uneven, dull surface finish on the top
  • Small pits in the sides of the letter Z in the top

Printer 1 - Fine ABS Profile

  • Sharpness and detail of lettering looks much better (makes sense, fine profile)
  • Corners generally sharper and more even
  • No more pitting in the Z on the top
  • Still has dull, uneven surface finish on the top
  • Some warping on the bottom (may be my fault for not using enough bed adhesive)

Printer 2 - Standard ABS Profile

  • All the same problems as Printer 1 but worse
  • Looks like top surface got overheated (pit holes)
  • It does seem to have a nicer, smoother schene due to the higher temperature

Printer 2 - Fine ABS Profile

  • Generally similar characteristics as Printer 1’s Fine profile cube
  • Noticeably better layer surface finish and top surface finish
  • Y letter looks better but X looks worse than Printer 1


This is what I see so far. I’m trying to see if there are some general tweaks I can make to both printers to improve the appearance and finish for parts. It’s clear that temperature is one factor (I know that Printer 2’s bed temperature seems to run a couple of degrees warmer than Printer 1 for the same setpoint, which could account for the surface finish differences. But questions I have are:

  1. How to sharpen the corners on all four sides, especially for the Standard profile setting?
  2. How to get smoother layer to layer stackups and top surface finish without causing surface pitting on the top layer?
  3. Are there any guides out there with systematic calibration test print I can use to dial in my settings? I'm hoping to eventually find a more systematic way to tweak things to minimize wasted time and materials.


Any other observations/advice you can provide are extremely helpful! I’ve been putting off doing this for a while but really want to get much better prints with ABS without wasting lots of time and material for each individual part I make (especially large parts).



Jason O

Printer 1 - Standard Print.png

Printer 2 - Standard Print.png

Printer 1 - Fine Print.png

Printer 2 - Fine Print.png

Side by Side Comparison.png

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