Most Ender 3’s have a built-in onboard PID autotune function built into the firmware. Doing a PID autotune is a great way to fine tune your 3D printer and oftentimes will clear up minor temperature issues that you are having and can increase print quality in general.
The PID setting is often not understood or even known about and even if someone does know about it, it is often overlooked.
Below I have created a step-by-step guide for doing a PID autotune for everyone out there that may need help or guidance through the process.
Also I took all of these photos in black and white because it is better quality due to the Ender 3 Pro monochromatic screen.
Step 1 – Go to the PID settings.
Access the PID settings and current PID values on your Ender 3 by going to Configuration > Advanced Settings > Temperature. This screen will show you your current PID setting and also has the option to run a PID autotune.
Step 2 – Write down current PID settings.
It is a good idea to go ahead and write down your current PID settings for a few reasons. One, to have a record of your current settings to better understand the effects of changing the hot end, nozzles, or the build surface, also, it is good so that when your autotune is complete you can compare the new numbers to the old numbers to ensure that the updates were made.
Step 3 – Start PID autotune.
Start your PID autotune by selecting “PID Autotune E1” for the Extruder or “PID Autotune Bed” for the bed. Upon selecting the PID autotune it will prompt you to input the desired target temperature.
It is recommended to calibrate the hot end to 200C and the bed to 60C.
Step 4 – Wait for the PID autotune cycle to complete.
A PID Autotune typically only takes between 5 and 10 minutes. Upon completion your 3D printer will automatically overwrite the previous settings with the new calibrated PID tuned settings.
Step 5 – Compare original and new PID settings.
Comparing the original and new PID settings is very valuable for your own knowledge to know how off your PID settings are out of the box and also to better understand how the PID settings affect the 3D printer heat settings.
How To Do a PID Autotune with G-Code.
Some printers do not have precompiled PID autotune settings directly in the firmware but you can typically still do a PID autotune with g-code. The g-code needed to do a PID autotune is fairly simple.
If your printer does have an onboard PID autotune function in the firmware, I would always recommend using the one that is provided but if you do not have a function within the firmware your can use this precompiled g-code file to do a PID autotune.
What You Will Need To Do A PID Autotune With G-Code.
- SD Card
- Autotune g-code file
Step 1 – Create An Autotune G-Code File.
In order to do a PID autotune with g-code, you will need to create and run a g-code file that will execute an M303 (PID autotune) command.
You will use the same command (M303) to do a PID autotune on the hot end as well as the bed, the only difference will be which E suffix you use in the line of code. An E0 is the default setting and will do a hot end PID autotune and an E-1 is for the heated bed.
There are 3 variables tied to the M303 command: E, C, and S.
[E] Controls which element of the printer you are doing the PID autotune one (hot end or bed)
[C] Controls the number of cycles the autotune runs. (3 is minimum, 5 is default, 8 is optimal)
[S] Controls the target temperature.
M106 S0 ;Turn-off fan
M104 S0 ;Turn-off hotend
M140 S0 ;Turn-off bed
M503 ;Current PID Values
M303 E0 C8 S210 ;PID Auto-tune hotend
M303 E-1 C8 S60 ;PID Auto-tune bed
M106 S0 ;Turn-off fan
M104 S0 ;Turn-off hotend
M140 S0 ;Turn-off bed
Copy the above code into notepad and save the file as a .gcode file.
Step 2 – Execute The G-Code File On Your 3D Printer.
Save the g-code file to an SD card and install the SD card to your 3D printer (you can use the SD card that you typically use for transferring files). This file will run exactly like a normal print file.
Step 3 – Wait For Autotune To Complete.
The autotune should only take 5-10 minutes and should automatically save the updated values to the EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory)
What is PID on a 3D printer?
PID (Proportional, Integral, and Derivative) is the setting that interprets your 3D printer’s hot end and bed temperature and determines what adjustments need to be made to the temperature settings.
PID is very similar to cruise control on a car. With cruise control if your car’s speed gets too low or too high the car will raise or lower the speed to match the desired preset.
Similarly, with the PID control if your 3D printer’s heat gets too low or too high, the 3D printer will raise or lower the heat to match the desired temperature.
The PID setting helps prevent max and min temperature errors as well as thermal runaway error. A well calibrated PID can increase print quality as well as prevent unwanted temperature-related failures when 3D printing.
What Does PID Tuning Do To A 3D Printer?
PID tuning calibrates the rate that a 3D printer heats the hot end and the build plate as well as controlling the ability to accurately maintain the desired temperatures. PID tuning your printer can increase printing quality and reduce stringing and blobs on your print.
If you are getting globs in your 3D prints or your prints are coming out really stringy, a PID tune might help reduce these issues.
It is really important to do a PID tune after changing your hot end out, especially if you are upgrading from the base Ender 3 Hot End to an all metal hot end. If you plan to install a Micro-Swiss All-Metal hot end check out this guide.
Where Do I Find My PID Settings On An Ender 3?
Most Ender 3 Pros and Ender 3V2’s have the capability to do a PID autotune directly through the settings of the 3D printer. For an Ender 3 Pro that is on the latest available Creality firmware, you can do a PID autotune through the settings menu.
Ender 3 Pro extruder PID autotune.
Configuration > Advanced Settings > Temperature > PID Autotune E1 > 200
Ender 3 Pro bed PID autotune.
Configuration > Advanced Settings > Temperature > PID Autotune Bed > 60
How Long Does It Take To Do A PID Autotune?
Typically, a PID autotune will take between 5 and 10 minutes for each of the elements of your 3D printer. A PID autotune will heat and cool the hot end and the bed to calibrate and fine tune the 3D printer’s heat settings.
The PID setting is a great way to reduce error and remove any potential issues caused by imperfect temperatures such as stringing, blobs, and under extrusion as well as printer issues such as max/min temp error and thermal runaway.