Temperature Calibration Tower for Prusslicer

In this post I will show you how to print a temperature tower with Prusslicer. 

Temperature Calibration Tower

This temperature tower has markings for temperatures in 5 degree increments from 240 C downto 185 C. The printing is done in reverse to prevent cold extrusions (which are bad!!!) if the temperature is too low. Note, I use this temperature tower for PLA with a 0.5 mm nozzle, which requires a higher melt temperature than normal. You may require a different range of temperature for your nozzle, printer, and material. Results may vary, but you can adjust these steps with any model.

Start by downloading the model from the link below.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2625999

Configuring Prusslicer

Load the model in your slicer do a preliminary slice. Use the preview window to identify the layer_z index immediately above the first temperature marking as layer_initial. Next, identify the height between layers as layer_increment. Copy the code snippet below and edit it as necessary, changing the first value for “layer_z<=” value to layer_initial, and then adjusting each subsequent layer by layer_increment. In the example below, layer_initial=9 and layer_increment=7. If necessary, adjust the gcode value to correspond to your temperature tower. In the example below, M104 S240 sets the initial T tower floor to 240C and then increments each layer by 5C until the final layer of 180C.

Copy the code and paste it in Prusslicer at  “Printer Settings->Custom G-Code->Before Layer Change”.

;BEFORE_LAYER_CHANGE
{if layer_z<=9} 
M104 S240 
; T tower floor 1
{elsif layer_z<=16}
; T tower floor 2
M104 S235
{elsif layer_z<=23}
; T tower floor 3
M104 S230
{elsif layer_z<=30}
; T tower floor 4
M104 S225
{elsif layer_z<=37}
; T tower floor 5
M104 S220
{elsif layer_z<=43}
; T tower floor 6
M104 S215
{elsif layer_z<=50}
; T tower floor 7
M104 S210
{elsif layer_z<=57}
; T tower floor 8
M104 S205
{elsif layer_z<=63}
; T tower floor 8
M104 S200
{elsif layer_z<=70}
; T tower floor 8
M104 S195
{elsif layer_z<=77}
; T tower floor 8
M104 S190
{elsif layer_z<=84}
; T tower floor 8
M104 S185
{else}
; T tower floor 9
M104 S180
{endif}

Perform a print with your preferred settings.

Evaluating the Results

Rather than repeating what has been said elsewhere, I will direct you to the following site which has some great tips on how to evaluate the results.

In my case, I found the following:

  • Temperatures below 195 lost adhesion completely.
  • Mechanical tests revealed that a temperature of at least 215 C would be needed. I was able to manually break the bridge and separate layers with temperatures below this.
  • From this point forward, temperatures beyond 220 C showed significant warping on the bridge.
  • All of the temperatures showed stringing which probably is a sign that I need to adjust my retraction settings, or program in a new linear advance value. In this example, I used a linear advance setting of 0 which effectively disables the feature.

In a future post, I discuss calibrating linear advance. I chose this option because Prusslicer only allows adjusting retraction settings on a Per Machine/Extruder basis. I will likely need different settings for each filament, therefore, I will customize the K-Factor for each filament instead.

Makergear M2 and PrusSlicer

The MakerGear M2 is an old, but very reliable printer. My model M2 has been up and running consistently since I bought it in 2015. It replaced my less reliable RepRapPro Mendle, which I built from a kit, once I realized I was having less fun fixing the printer and wanted to spend more time designing and printing.

When I made the switch, free slicer software was not up to par with its commercial alternatives and as a result I used Simplify3D which was recommended for use with the printer. Simplify3D is really a a fantastic piece of software with an easy to user interface that has helped me print hundreds of high quality prints over the years. 

With that being said, it seems that development on the software has ceased completely, and no updates have been provided for almost two years now. This being said, I could continue to use the paid software, but it is quickly becoming obsolete when compared with freely available alternatives.

Of the alternatives, there are at least two I considered: Ultimaker Cura and Prusa Slic3r (prusslicer). Neither of these slicers support the MakerGear M2 out of the box. I suspect this is because the printer is a competitor and the printer is really old. Of the two options, it seems like the MakerGear community has a very hot post about supporting Prusslicer.

In the following posts, I will focus on how to transition from Simplify3D to PrusaSlicer. If you are following along, hopefully these steps will help you make the transition as well.