Print The Porto

A collection of tips about 3d printing.

e3d volcano hot end tips

Getting good prints with a e3d volcano hot end can be very tricky. But I've figured out a couple of base rules to follow that can help with printing. For my example, we'll be using a 0.8mm nozzle/width.

Step right or step off

First thing first, this guide is totally useless if you haven't properly calibrated your extruder steps. I explain how to easily do that in a previous post. Go a head and read how to calibrate your e-steps guide. After that, you can check that you are extruding the proper width. Once that's done, continue below.

It's all about the size

First thing to know don't try to print layer heights larger then 80% of the nozzle width. It's a general rule to follow for any nozzle type not just even a volcano. For our example of 0.8mm width 0.6mm layer height would be your max.

Printing speed is dictated by layer height

If you want to print fast, (ie.: 60mm/sec), you want to use a smaller layer height in comparison to the width of the nozzle. The height should not exceed more then 50% of the width of the nozzle. For this example, you can print at .4mm layer height with the 0.8mm nozzle and get a reasonable looking print with speeds of 60mm/sec. If you go faster make sure to set a smaller layer height. Your millage will vary, but seems to hold true on my system and of course the type of filament you print will also have an effect.

Go large, go slow

When printing at 80% height of the nozzle width you want to print slow around 30mm/sec. What I have personally found is printing at layer heights of .5 and .6mm at anything faster then 30mm/sec, would not get good layer adhesion and would stretch out and begin a ball of spaghetti. There just isn't enough time to squash down the filament to the previous layer.

Heating and cooling

Lastly, sometimes it might help to either reduce the temperature you normally melt filament or increase it if you are going fast. This is something that is totally dependent on your printer. But be aware to make sure you use active cooling, since the filament retains more heat due to the thicker lines it lays down, overhangs can be an issue. Good active cooling can help with this, even on filament such as ABS etc...

Throw everything out the window when messing with flow rate

Just when you thought things were clear, there is one exception to all of this. The flow rate better known as, the extrusion multiplier. Can be used to help print quicker at larger layer heights. So lets take the example of printing at 0.6mm layer height. For my printer, in order to get a decent print I have to run it at 25mm/sec speed. At 0.86 extrusion multiplier, I get a perfect .96 diameter line when printing. But at .6mm layer height I can't print any faster then 25mm/sec. If I increase that multiplier to 1.5 I can print at higher then 25mm/sec, but I lose a bit dimensional accuracy. The reason for this, is that you are pushing out much more plastic then before. There is a simple formula to figure out how much more plastic you are pushing out:

Print speed * extrusion width * your layer height = flow rate mm^3/s

My example would net: 25 * .86 * .6 = 12.9mm^3/s.

So what can we do with this number? I'm not really sure to be honest, other then you have some sort way to keep track of things numerically.

I think it's easier to just write down and track at what speeds you can print with and play with the extrusion multiplier to increase speeds on larger layer heights. No need to work with a formula. For example I have the following saved and I refer back to it when I need to print things:

0.32mm layer height
best quality, printing speed at 35mm/s
good quality, printing speed at 40 and 45mm/s
ok; sloppy infill quality, printing speed at 65mm/s
sloppy infill quality, printing speed at 75mm/s

Just use a calibration cube with an infill of 20% and run a bunch of tests at different speeds and layer heights. Keep a log of how things print out. And you have a handy chart to follow.

Retraction and stringing

One thing you will start to notice is a ton of stringing, especially if you use PLA. So far I've been using a retraction distance of 4mm and an Extra Restart Distance of -0.4mm. The last part completely removes blobs and zits caused from the retraction starting points. This is something you will need to experiment with and can change with different filament.

I'll make sure to add on more info as I discover more. Good luck and I hope this can help another 3D printing soul.

Categories: tips

Tags: tips, 3d printing, e3d, e3d volcano

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True print speed

Ever wondered what the true print speed really is when you add in all of the factors. Found this great explination from Solidoodle forums

true print speed = feedrate * layer height * layer width

Print head types:

jhead = 100mm/sec * .3mm * .4mm = 12mm^3/sec
volcano = 25mm/sec * 1.2mm * .9mm = 27mm^3/sec

A Volcano is twice the speed of a standard j-head that printing at high speed. 1.75mm prints faster than 3mm when it comes to Volcano, confirmed by E3D.

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Updating your Printrbot firmware to use e3d v6 thermistor

I wanted to update to the firmware on my printrbot simple metal to the latest as of this writing (August 7, 2015), for the Rev F version 5 boards on Mac osX.

Here's a handy download of the simple metal hex file.

There is a excellent write up on the whole process at But for brevity sake here is how to do it quickly on a Mac.

Download the following:

  1. Pre-configured Arduino build environment for compiling Marlin on a Mac with the Printrboard This also requires java, if you don't have it installed go to
  2. Grab the latest firmware files for your board version on their Github page:
  3. Flash tool from Printrbot:

Once everything is downloaded we need to setup the Arduino app.

Start up the app and then go to the menu and choose Arduino > preferences. Next to the "show verbose output:" Make sure to turn on the "compilation" checkbox. Click "ok" to save the change.


Next set up the board that Arduino should use, "Tools > Board:" set to "usbtinyisp".

choose board

Now let's open the file to edit go to the firmware files you downloaded. For my particular case, I went to "Downloads > Marlin-RevF-Version-5 > Marlin" folder and double click the "Marlin.ino" file.

Go to the Configuration.h tab and scroll down to the line that says: #define TEMP_SENSOR_0 1. You want to change that "1" to a "5" So now it should read #define TEMP_SENSOR_0 5.


A few lines below change the max temperature for the hot end to 290, #define HEATER_0_MAXTEMP 275 to #define HEATER_0_MAXTEMP 290.


The last change to do is comment out #define ULTIPANE. Scroll down to line 457 and add '//' to the front of the Ultipanel line, change #define ULTIPANEL //the ultipanel as on thingiverse to //#define ULTIPANEL //the ultipanel as on thingiverse. Make sure to save the file after the changes.


Bonus from a member of the printrbot forum on facebook (Joe Nappi). Go to the tab tha reads config_adv.h and let's turn on the "heat Sanity check" by uncommenting it. Remove the "//" from lines 18 and 19 and save the changes after un-commenting them.

#define WATCH_TEMP_PERIOD 40000 //40 seconds
#define WATCH_TEMP_INCREASE 10 //Heat up at least 10 degree in 20 seconds

sanity check

Go to the language.h tab and edit line 25 #define FIRMWARE_NAME "PB Marlin Rev F v5" to #define FIRMWARE_NAME "PB Marlin Rev F v5 modded 4/5/16" and save the file. This allows you to run the M115 command to display firmware info and ensure you're running the modified firmware.

Lastly, compile the source into a firmware file, by clicking the big checkmark in the upper left corner of the app. On the bottom of the app, you should see a bunch code scrolling by. Eventually it will stop and you have a hex file. The easiest way to get to the file is by using the terminal to copy it to the desktop. Open the terminal app by using spotlight and type out "terminal".

When it is open you want copy the 2nd to last line in the output window of the audrino app (this is the location of the output firmware file) and type the following in the terminal window cp */*/*/Marlin.cpp.hex ~/Desktop/Printrbot.hex

For example I did the following for my configuration:
cp /var/folders/s2/pvmb1wld19j9p8ht3llnpcsw0000gn/T/build3876152333868340870.tmp/Marlin.cpp.hex ~/Desktop/Printrbot.hex

With your new hex file, you can use the firmware update application you downloaded earlier. Please refer to step 3 of You can follow the instruction on there for your machine. But quick overview is to first, make sure to short the boot jumper, which is located in the center of the board. If you don't have an extra jumper laying around, use folded aluminum foil. Start the firmware flash app you downloaded earlier and follow the command prompts from the application.


Categories: printrbot simple metal

Tags: printrbot simple metal, firmware, e3d

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