3D Printer: Extruder Calibration and Estep adjustment

To calibrate your 3d printer’s extruder

We need to know the printers current e-step value, and a physical steps/mm value (what the printer is actually spitting out). This calibration is especially important if you’re changing the extruder from one that uses gears like the Titan Extruder found on Anycubic printers to a spindle drive.

Determining your current steps/mm value for your 3D printer

Connect PC to USB port on printer.
Download and run “Pronterface”.
Set Baud Rate to 250,000 and select your COM port.  Make sure you have closed any other slicers such as Cura as they make try and take control of the COM port thus making it impossible to connect in pronterface.

Once connected, In the Command Window enter M503 (report settings)
Look for a line starting with M92 and at the end you’ll see your current e-step (steps/mm) value

example. echo: M92 X80.00 Y100.00 Z400.00 E405.00

Determining the physical steps/mm value for your 3D printer

Heat the extruder on your printer.
Using calipers (or ruler) and a sharpie, place a mark on your filament at 120mm from the entry hole to your extruder.

In pronterface,  Send: G1 E100 F100
This tells the printer to slowly extrude 100mm of filament

Determining the correct steps/mm value for calibrating your 3D printer’s extruder

Measuring the distance from the extruder to the mark on the filament, then subtracting that value from 120:

  • 120 – [length you just measured from extruder to your mark] = actual length extruded

Next, we need to know how many steps the extruder took to extrude that much filament. We can determine this value by multiplying the current steps/mm value (found earlier by issuing an M503) by the length we should have extruded, in this case 100 mm:

  • [steps/mm value] x 100 = steps taken

Using this, we can obtain the physical, correct steps/mm value by dividing by the length extruded:

  • [steps taken] / [actual length extruded] = [accurate steps/mm value]

Now, all we have to do is set this as the printer’s steps/mm value, and we should be good to go!

Full all3dp article here

Saving the correct e-steps/mm value for your 3D printer

M92 E <new step value> (sets the new step value)
M500 (to save)
M501 (use new values)

Pro Tip: If your printer stops responding in pronterface.. try a disconnect / reconnect then issue the command again.

Laminar Flow Hood Review Mushyluv Clone Cube

The Laminar flow hood or FFU has peaked my interest for years but only recently have they become more compact and affordable. From time to time I’ll take liquid cultures and isolate them on agar to see which phenotypes, or physical characteristics emerge.

mushyluv ez-sab-mini still air box.For years my go to, when handling sterile mushroom cultures was Mushyluv’s ez-SAB-mini still air box.  I’ve even used the SAB-mini in the field to take tissue samples from wild mushrooms on site and at friend’s houses.

Mushyuluv clone cube laminar flow hood front view.The Clone Cube laminar flow hood Has been great to have around the lab. Working with sterile cultures is so much easier when you don’t have all the restrictions normally associated with still air boxes.


Ease of Use: ☆☆☆☆☆
Take it out of the box, plug it in and it’s ready to go.

Price: ☆☆☆☆☆
The price tag is a fraction of the cost of larger wooden FFU units.

Sound: ☆☆☆☆☆
About as loud as the vent-a-hood fan over the stove.

Filter Replacement: ☆☆☆☆☆
common HEPA filter available at mushyluv and online retailers.

The Clone Cube FFU is a solid performer that makes life much easier in the lab.

You may also enjoy my article on brewing mead,

Anycubic Mega S & Chiron randomly stops printing. Troubleshooting tips.

I’ve created a list of list of possible issues that can cause the Anycubic MEGA S and Chiron to randomly stop during printing.

  • Loose connectors
  • Bad thermistors
  • Corrupted SD card file system
  • Failing SD card reader board
  • Broken wiring

Anycubic print stoppage error message

Symptoms often include:
  • A random (heartbreaking) print fail.
  • Your printer will sound it’s power up chime. (Then you sing a four letter aria that would make Pavarotti proud.)
  • When attempting to manually move the print head or build plate you get an error message, “The Machine is running, please try again later.”
  • An inevitable power cycle to regain gantry control to unbury the print head from the 90% completed garden gnome sized baby yoda you were printing for your grandma.
  • General disgust.

Loose Connectors:

You’ll notice most of the connectors on your Anycubic printer have blobs of hot glue on them.. this struck me as odd until I watched this YouTube video about similar random print fails. The hot glue acts as a lock minimizing the chance of connector back out.  I was really surprised to see the temp sensor for the heated bed glued to the mother board. If you’ve purchased your Chiron recently, you’ll also see the hot end data/power cable is cinched to the cage using a zip tie locking it in place.

Loose connector resolution:

Pretty straight forward.  You simply go connector to connector checking to see if they’re seated and tight. If you’re feeling frisky you can add reinforcing hot glue.

Bad thermistors:

Thermistors are used in the hot bed and heater block as part of the feedback loop that keeps the printer on task.  If the thermistor fails, gives bad data, or gets disconnected the print head will halt immediately and the hot end cooling fan will kick on full speed. I think it does that so it can’t hear me cussing. “T0 sensor abnormal”

Hot bed thermistor Resolution:

To test if your hot bed thermistor is causing problems, you can turn off the heated bed in your slicer and run a few test prints.  If the intermittent fail goes away, you’ve got your culprit (and hopefully a bunch of double sided tape). In the case of my Mega S, my print would fail at 3 hrs out (randomly), then 1 hour, then during the skirt print,  then it just wouldn’t start. Anycubic customer support recommended turning off the hot bed and sure enough it printed to completion. Anycubic will work with you to get the bed replaced or you can learn more about replacing the hotbed thermistor here: https://youtu.be/UEfxie6aVtw

Heater block thermistor resolution:

The easiest solution is to install the spare hot end that came with your Anycubic.

Heater thermistor combos are not that expensive if you’re comfortable splicing wiring. 24V 100KΩ NTC3950 Thermistor & Ceramic Cartridge Heater 12V 40W.  Consider using thermal paste when installing your thermistor and ceramic heater cartridge.

anycubic V5 hotend

Corrupted SD card file system:

The file system on your SD card has become corrupt or you have a memory failure going on.

Corrupted SD card file system resolution:

Reformat your SD card using fat32 for the file system or try a new SD Card.

Failing SD card reader board:

So it’s possible (rare) the SD card reader daughter board is acting up and causing intermittent failures.

Failing SD card reader board resolution:

Remove the SD card from your printer and plug a USB cable from your Anycubic to your PC to run the print directly from your slicer. (At the time of this writing I was  literally 15min from completion on a 7hr Cura/PC to Chiron test print (1 of 3) to determine if my SD card reader is flaking out. Just one of the reasons I decided to make this list.)

Broken wiring:

Chiron heated bed cable breakIn my experience broken wiring normally affects the hot bed where the power and thermistor wiring come off the bed and begin running down the Chiron frame. They really need a cable plug assembly mounted to the bed that reduces stress on this cable and allows you to simply unplug the connector from the bed to replace or service it.  You could build it into the bed clamp assembly for added strength.

Broken wiring resolution:

Shoot a pic to Anycubic customer support and they’ll work with you on getting it replaced. OR if your handy with a soldering iron and heat shrink tubing, the fix is straight forward.

Using a Raspberry Pi and VLC as a streaming music server for home or office

Configuring a Raspberry Pi and VLC to act as a streaming audio server for your home or office is inexpensive and relatively easy to do.

The tutorial below configures your Raspberry Pi to autorun VLC on boot and play a pre-configured playlist of streaming audio sites (or any audio content you wish). You control the VLC web instance using a browser on your cell phone or home computer.


  1. Begin by installing VLC on your Raspberry Pi.  Link to install VLC
  2. Download and extract this example playlist to your Pi desktop: Streaming-playlist or create one of your own.
  3. Open the terminal window interface in your Raspberry Pi and type in the following:
  4. This will tell you the local ip address of your Pi. Save it for later.

    hostname -I

  5. mkdir /home/pi/.config/autostart

  6. nano /home/pi/.config/autostart/autovlc.desktop

  7. Note: the entry below should be 3 lines only.  It may wrap depending on what you’re viewing this page on.

    [Desktop Entry]
    Exec=vlc -I http –http-password . –one-instance file: /home/pi/Desktop/streaming.xspf

  8. Hit ctrl-O then <enter> to save the autovlc.desktop file
  9. Hit ctrl-X to exit nano
  10. reboot your Raspberry Pi by typing:

    sudo reboot

  11. Your Pi should reboot and begin playing music automatically.  One thing to note however this  launches VLC in the back ground with its only interface being the web interface so you wont see it come up on the desktop. 
  12. To switch between streaming stations, you will need to connect to the VLC web instance on the Pi by entering http://<raspberry-pi’s-ip-address>:8080  in a browser on your home computer or cell phone.

    A login prompt will come up. Leave the username blank and enter a “.” as the password (you can change to whatever you like).  You’ll see the VLC Lua web control interface come up.






Bowden tube rubbing worm gear Anycubic MEGA S FDM 3D Printer

After assembling my ANYCUBIC MEGA S and running the owl couple test print, it became apparent the Bowden tube/wire harness combo was rubbing up against the right side  Z-axis worm gear. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the bowden tube would fail. layershifter to the rescue with his Anycubic i3 Mega (Ultrabase) Cable Guide V2 : .

One other out of the box suggestion, wipe down the print bed with a little alcohol and a lint free cloth. This fixed first layer peel up issues.

I’ve been really pleased so far with the reliability and ease of print with this 8³” work horse.


ANYCUBIC MEGA S FDM 3D Printer bowden tube fix

403 forbidden VLC 2.0.3 raspbian

2020-10-04 – Update as of version 2.1 VLC no longer uses hosts files to control access.

I’m enabling the VLC web interface on a Raspberry Pi 2 to interface with my Smartthings home automation system.  The project is called VLC Thing and it turns a Raspberry Pi 2 running VLC into an event sound renderer.  Once you get VLC installed on your Raspberry Pi 2 using:

Sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc

You enable the web interface by following instructions here.  At this point however VLC only allows localhost to connect (for security reasons).  To enable access to the VLC web interface from other computers, smart phones etc on your local lan, you have to edit the .hosts file that was installed with VLC.  Open a terminal instance in Raspbian and enter:

gksu leafpad /etc/vlc/lua/http/.hosts

You should see something similar to:

# Access-list for VLC HTTP interface
# $Id$

# localhost

# link-local addresses

# private addresses

# The world (uncommenting these 2 lines is not quite safe)

In most cases removing the “#” before the entry will enable access on your local LAN.