3D printing guide

Best 3d printer test prints for calibration test

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In 3d printing, the calibration (torture) test is very important. There are 3 scenarios where you will want to perform calibration tests

  • When you buy a new 3d printer, you want to test how accurate your 3D Printer is.
  • When you use a new filament, you want to test if your 3d printer works well with the new filament.
  • When you replace a part of a 3d printer that may affect the quality of the 3d print such as hot-end, extruder…
  • You have a complex model and want to find the optimal print setting to get a high-quality 3d print.

There are many different calibration tests, and each test requires a specific print test model. The following in-depth tutorial will help you understand what types of calibration tests need to be performed and along with it, I will provide the most suitable 3d print models (STL file) for each calibration test.

Why you should do calibration tests

3d print calibration test helps you fine-tune your 3D printer’s settings, achieving maximum precision and accuracy for your 3d prints.
3d Print Calibration Torture Test
3d Print Calibration Torture Test

Bridging Test

What is bridging in 3d printing?

Bridging in 3d printing is the extrusion of material that connects two points horizontally without the underlying support structure (just like a bridge).
Usually, with a short bridge, there is rarely a problem. However, if the distance between two raised points is far apart, sagging, drooping, or gaps between the extruded segments can occur.

Bridging Test 3d Print

If there is a problem with the print in the bridging test, don’t worry too much because usually, the actual prints will not have a large bridge length like in the test print. However, you should still consider tweaking your print settings for better results.

There are 3 important tweaks to improve bridging:

  • Increase the cooling (or fan speed)
  • Reduce the printing speed
  • Reduce the printing temperature

You can refer this video for more detail on how to optimize slicer settings for better 3d printing bridges

Suggested models for bridging test

Bridging test by Walter

Bridging Test By Walter Thingiverse

>> Download STL file

Bridging test by 3dme

Bridging Test By 3dme

>> Download STL file

Overhang Test

What is overhang in 3d printing?

3D print overhangs are shapes that are printed in midair that extends outwards and beyond the previous layer. There’s no support for overhangs, so if you don’t have proper settings or your filament is not appropriate for overhangs => There’s a high risk that your print will be ruined (drooping and curling).

Overhangs Test 3d Print

There are many factors that can improve the quality of overhangs

  • Increase the cooling fan speed and decrease print speed: a high cooling fan speed and lower print speed will give the melted plastic enough time to solidify before the next layer is extruded
  • Make sure the filament is not wet: If the filament is wet, it will easily cause stringing and make the protruding part soft and easy to sink. You can read this detailed tutorial on how to dry filament.
  • Lower nozzle temperature: When you lower the nozzle temperature, the plasticizing time is reduced, resulting in less drooping and curling.
  • Increase layer height: thicker layers better resist drooping as they have more strength.

This video by Farnz includes many tips for improving 3d printed overhangs

Suggested models for overhangs test

Bridging test by Walter

Bridging Test By Walter Thingiverse

>> Download STL file

Bridging test by 3dme

Bridging Test By 3dme

>> Download STL file

Dimensional Accuracy Test

Why Dimensional accuracy test is important

The Dimensional Accuracy test allows you to check the accuracy of dimensions of 3d printed objects.

Dimensional Accuracy Test 3d Print

You probably won’t care much about dimensional accuracy if you just 3d print simple objects for entertainment or decoration purposes. However, if you are printing objects that require high precision (eg: an object made of many small parts) => dimensional accuracy is very important to keep things fitting properly

Tolerance for the dimensional accuracy test.

  • Greater or less than 0.5 mm is BAD
  • 0.2 – 0.5 mm is GOOD
  • Less than 0.2 mm is FANTASTIC

If your printer dimensional accuracy test results are not good, you can refer to the following factors to improve your 3d printer’s dimensional accuracy

  • Machine Accuracy (resolution)
  • Type of printing filament
  • Model Size
  • Impact of First Layer
  • Nozzle: Clogged nozzle, Nozzle size
  • Printing Temperature

If you are having problems with Dimensional Accuracy, take a look at this video by Crosslink to learn how to improve dimensional accuracy on your 3D printer:

Suggested models for Dimensional Accuracy Test

FDM printer benchmark by Notebookcheck

Fdm Printer Benchmark By Notebookcheck

>> Download STL file

Calibration cross by lukeskymuh

Calibration Cross By Lukeskymuh

>> Download STL file

XYZ 20mm Calibration Cube by iDig3Dprinting

Xyz 20mm Calibration Cube By Idig3dprinting

>> Download STL file

2015 3D Printer Shoot Out Test Models by MAKE

2015 3d Printer Shoot Out Test Models By Make

>> Download STL file

Negative space test

The negative space test is an especially useful test if you often 3d print objects with many small parts and require joining prints or parts together into one assembly. With the small Negative Space tolerance, it’s easy to put the parts together without using too much force.

Imagine you need to 3d print an object like the image below, but your printer has a large Negative Space Tolerance => It will be difficult for you to pull out the bolt.

Negative Space Test

Suggested models for negative space test

Make: 2017 3D Printer Test Files
Negative Space Test 3d Print

>> Download STL file

Make: 2015 3D Printer Shoot Out Test Models

2015 3d Printer Shoot Out Test Models By Make

>> Download STL file

XYZ Calibration Cube

This is a simple but essential print test that allows you to test actual model dimensions against the expected dimensions.

This test is performed on a cube with 3 X-Y-Z axes that are exactly 20mm in length. If your printed cube has X, Y, and Z axes that are not 20mm in length (for example 19.5) => you should consider adjusting your e-Steps per mm in your printer’s firmware.

Measure Xyz Cube Length

Make sure your bed is properly leveled before printing or you won’t get an accurate result.

Here’s a video by Tom Buck on XYZ Calibration Cube test:

Suggested models for XYZ Calibration Cube test

Dual Color XYZ 20mm Hollow Calibration Cube
Dual Color Xyz 20mm Hollow Calibration Cube

>> Download STL file

XYZ 20mm Calibration Cube by iDig3Dprinting

Xyz 20mm Calibration Cube

>> Download STL file

Retraction test

The retraction test helps you check the most suitable retraction setting for your 3d printer as well as your filament to reduce stringing.

Retraction Test 3d Print

As you know, the retraction setting is one of the most important settings to combat stringing.

This test helps you find the most suitable retraction setting (including 2 main parameters: retraction speed and retraction distance) to minimize stringing by instructing the nozzle to move through the 4 pointed towers.

Good Setting Vs Bad Setting Retraction Test

If you have a stringing problem, try changing the following parameters through the slicer software to find the most optimal setting:

  • Print temperature
  • Retraction speed
  • Retraction distance
  • Prime speed

Also, check to see if your filament is wet or if the printer’s nozzle is clogged. For more details, you can check this instruction on how to fight stringing.

Here’s a very detailed video by Frank about Retraction Calibration

Suggested models for retraction test

Retraction test by deltapenguin
Retraction Test By Deltapenguin

>> Download STL file

Randomized Retraction Test (Customizable) by walter

Randomized Retraction Test (customizable) By Walter

>> Download STL file

Bed Center Calibration test

Sometimes, your 3d model was printed outside the heat bed print area, especially with large-sized 3d models. The cause of this is that the printer recognizes the wrong center of the heat bed.

The Bed Center Calibration test helps you identify the center of the bed and assists you in changing the bed center to the actual bed center

Bed Center Calibration Test

Here is an example of a 3d printer that wrongly recognizes the center position of the printer bed

Wrong Bed Center 3d Print

If the deviation is not too large, you can use slicer software to re-align the center position. However, if the deviation is large and affects the print, consider repositioning the center of the printer bed immediately.

You will need to interfere with the printer’s firmware to change the bed center. Please refer to the following guide Bed centering with Marlin Firmware 1.1.X from an expert to follow.

Suggested models for bed center calibration test

Bed Center Calibration Tutorial (using parametric crosshairs with square)
Bed Center Calibration Tutorial (using Parametric Crosshairs With Square)

>> Download STL file

Ender 3 Pro Bed Level Test + Calibration Wizard

Ender 3 Pro Bed Level Test Calibration Wizard

>> Download STL file

Bed Level Calibration test

Bed level is one of the very important factors for a high quality 3d print as it lets the material extrude evenly across the entire build surface.

Uneven Build Surface
Uneven Build Surface

An uneven or wrapped 3d print bed will lead to some of the following bad consequences

  • As the surface is uneven, the filament will not stick evenly on the build plate surface because the first layer does not stick properly to the bed.

Nozzle Is Too Low

  • If the distance between the build surface and the nozzle is too small, excess filament will stick around the nozzle and could lead to the print being pulled from the build plate or distorting the print.
  • The gap between lines of extruded filament various across the printer bed

Bed Level Calibration test allows you to check if the 3d printer’s build plate is even or not, thereby making the appropriate adjustments to level the build plate.

Bed Level Calibration Test

Here’s a video detailed video by Michael Laws on how to level bed for perfect first layer for beginners.

Suggested models for bed level calibration test

Ender 3 Level Test by elmerohueso
Ender 3 Level Test By Elmerohueso

>> Download STL file

Bed Level Stripes Test

Bed Level Stripes Test

>> Download STL file

Surface Finish Calibration Test

Sometimes, you may experience rough print quality when printing curved surfaces.
The most common cases are bulges appearing on curved parts of 3d prints or layers don’t overlap 100%

Poor Print Quality On Curved Surface

When facing the above situation, you should perform the Surface Finish Calibration test by printing a shape with a diversity of surfaces to check

This test will test the surface finish in the curved parts of the model by changing parameters such as Infill and Layer Height.

You will find detailed instructions from the author on how to set the print parameters for each test in the description on Thingiverse.

Instruction On Thingiverse

Through tests with different printing parameters, you will find the most suitable setting to apply to your actual prints and get the best results.

Suggested models for Surface Finish Calibration Test

Surface Finish Calibration Test Shape by whpthomas
Surface Finish Calibration Test Shape

>> Download STL file

Surface Finish Calibration Shot Glass by MkMan

Surface Finish Calibration Shot Glass

>> Download STL file

Temperature tower test

The temperature tower test helps you check which printing temperature is best for the filament you are using
Through this quiz, you will understand the impact of different temperatures on the bridging, stringing, and overhangs of your 3d print.

Temperature Tower Test 3d Print

The temperature tower test helps you check which printing temperature is best for the filament you are using. Through this quiz, you will understand the impact of different temperatures on the bridging, stringing, and overhangs of your 3d print.

This test works by printing each block of the tower at a different temperature. Usually, the difference should be about 5-10 degrees Celsius.

To use this test accurately and efficiently, you will need to set the print temperature for each block of the tower through slicer software such as Ultimaker Cura. If the setting is correct, the temperature will change automatically when the print head moves to the next block

Change Temperature For Each Layer

You can refer to this video to learn how to configure Cura for the best result on the temperature tower test

By inspecting the tower after printing, you will be able to easily check the optimal temperature for the type of filament you are using. Usually, the optimum temperature will reduce the stringing and increase the strength of the 3d print.

Inspecting The Tower After Printing

Suggested models for temperature tower test

Smart compact temperature calibration tower by gaaZolee
Smart Compact Temperature Calibration Tower By Gaazolee

>> Download STL file

Customizable Temperature Calibration Tower by kerog777

Customizable Temperature Calibration Tower By Kerog777

>> Download STL file

Lithophane Calibration Test

If you’re looking to design and print Lithophane with your 3d printer but haven’t found the most optimal setting, this is an extremely useful test that you should take.

Lithophane Calibration Test

As you can see, each block has a different thickness, ranging from 0.5mm up to 7.0mm. Once finished and lighted through lithophane you will see which thickness is best for you.

If you make good use of the Lithophane Calibration Test and find the most optimal setting, you will have a perfect lithophane as shown below.

Enjoy The Result 3d Lithophane

Suggested models for temperature tower test

Lithophane Calibration / Test by MakerMaveric
Lithophane Calibration Test By Makermaveric

>> Download STL file

Lithophane Calibration Test 0.4 Nozzle

Lithophane Calibration Test 0.4 Nozzle

>> Download STL file

Dual-Extrusion calibration test

Dual extrusion is the process of 3D printing two filaments with two separate nozzles.

Due to the complexity of dual extrusion printing, if you do not perform calibration tests before performing actual printing, there is a high chance that you will have 1 print with an undesirable result.

Dual-extrusion Calibration Test

The dual-Extrusion calibration test will help you check the printing ability of your dual extruder to avoid problems like stringing, Layer Shifting, Overlap & Oozing.

Dual Extrusion Problems 3d Print

Suggested models for Dual-Extrusion calibration test

Lattice Cube 3D Printer Torture Test (Overhangs and Dual-Extrusion)
Lattice Cube 3d Printer Torture Test

>> Download STL file

Dual Extrusion Calibration using Slic3r

Dual Extrusion Calibration Using Slic3r

>> Download STL file

All-in-One 3d printer test

In addition to the above separate tests, I also make a list of test models that can help you perform many calibration tests right on 1 print.

All In One 3D Printer test

This is one of the most used calibration tests according to Thingiverse statistics

This test includes multiple test in one model: support test, scale test, overhang test, hole test, diameter test, and bridging test. Print this with 100% Infill without support.

All In One 3d Printer Test

>> Download STL file: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2656594

3d benchy

3DBenchy is a 3D model designed by Creative Tools specifically for testing and benchmarking 3D printers.
This is the most loved 3d print torture test with over 4,250 Thingiverse users have posted Makes of this model.
With 3d benchy, you can perform multiple tests such as: overhangs, bridging, inclines, small details, and dimensional accuracy. 3DBenchy also supports Dual Extrusion test.
3d Benchy Calibration Test

Funky Hollow Calibration Cube

With a size of only about 30mm on each side of the cube, the Funky Hollow Calibration Cube has the advantage of a material-saving print test. This model allows you to perform tests on dimensional accuracy, stringing, retraction and bridging.

Funky Hollow Calibration Cube Printed By Community

Test your 3D printer (3 Versions)

Test your 3D printer is a complex test print including many different tests like Bridging, Stringing, Temperature, Retraction, Dimension accuracy, Overhang tests.

The maker creates a complex design containing many different tests to help you perform an overall test with only one model.

The author also points out common problems and ways to fix them, you can refer to the description for more details.

Things Could Be Wrong With The Test

Version 1

Test Your 3d Printer Version 1

>> Download STL file:https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:704409

Version 2

Test Your 3d Printer Version 2

>> Download STL file: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1019228

Version 3

There’re 20 different tests in this version, you can have an quick overview on this picture:

20 Test In One

This latest version includes some new test such as: Z-Height Check, Warp Check, Spike Hole in wall, Raft Test, 2 different extrusion widths: 0.48mm & 0.4mm

Test Your 3d Printer Version 3

>> Download STL file: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1363023

Wrapping up

In addition to helping you make more precise adjustments to your printer, calibration tests are also an effective way to save time and printing materials.

Hopefully the tests listed above along with the stl test model files will help you perform the necessary tests for your 3d printer. All calibration tests are designed to serve a specific purpose, so if you have time, you should try them all to get your printer perform at its best.

If you feel there are any necessary tests missing from the above list, please leave a comment in the comments section. I will gladly add them to the list if they are relevant and useful

Hung Tran is the founder of 3dsage.com, he loves sharing 3d printing experience.

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