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On the Calibration of Stepping Motor in 3D Printer

May 27, 2020

Many 3D printer partners don't know what is the meaning of stepping motor calibration. Today, I'd like to share some knowledge about stepping motor with you.

Now let's break down the word "E-step". E refers to the extruder, and "step" refers to the step of the extruder stepping motor. As a result, instead of using complete phrases, the 3D printing community uses the word "E-step.". In most cases, E-step represents the number of steps required by the stepper motor to extrude one millimeter of consumables.

Stepping motor is a very important power component in 3D printer. The extruder with poor calibration will lead to inaccurate printing, insufficient or excessive extrusion, and some very unsatisfactory results. Sometimes, there is no clear indication that the problem is due to poor alignment of the extruder.

How the stepping motor works

The most basic form of step motor is phase controlled AC motor. The main advantage (and the most important quality) is that the motor rotates in defined increments or steps.

These steps are in the set positions and the rotor shaft will first turn to these positions. The rotor shaft or rotor comprises a permanent magnet surrounded by a coil of wire fixed to the outer stator. These coils are activated in a specific sequence, creating a magnetic field around the rotor. As a result, the rotor will rotate to align with the magnetic field, and the coils can be sequenced so that they continue to rotate as needed.

The stepping motor uses a set of electromagnets to rotate the rotor shaft as a magnet, which is activated in one mode. This mode will determine the speed and position of the rotor shaft at any given point in time. This is the basic operation of the stepping motor. Step motor is to receive a command to execute a step, there is no sliding power motor, the distribution of the circle is the accuracy of the motor, the size of a step is the accuracy of the step motor.

The minimum resolution of the average stepper motor used in the 3D printer is 1.8 degrees. Through some simple mathematical operations, we can determine that in order to complete the single rotation of the shaft, the stepping motor needs to perform 200 steps. The higher the number of steps, the higher the accuracy of the stepping motor.

The ability to precisely control the position of the rotor shaft is the reason why we use stepping motors in 3D printers. In terms of extruders, it enables us to better control the extrusion of the filaments.

On the Calibration of Stepping Motor in 3D Printer-01

A standard stepper motor requires 200 steps to complete a rotation. However, more variables should be considered in operation, especially when used as extruder motor. The consumables may slip, the current may not be appropriate, the reverse force may be too large, and the gear holding the consumables may have multiple sizes.

In order to ensure that the right amount of consumables are pushed into the hot end, the extruder calibration and E-step calibration are sometimes important.

When we say that the extruder is calibrated, it only means to check whether the extruder extrudes the correct amount of material during its operation. The electronic step size is the number of steps required by the extruder to extrude one millimeter of consumables. When calibrating the extruder, you need to change this value to ensure the correct setting.


The 3D printer, which just left the factory, has been set in the firmware to perform 93 steps using the extruder stepper motor to extrude 1 mm of consumables. Now, even if the 3D printer has been calibrated in the factory, as time goes on, as parts wear, the accuracy will begin to decline. Therefore, the E-step calibration ensures that the steps taken by the stepper motor correspond to and are accurate for the extruded filament.

Sources from: https://creality3dpro.store/blogs/news