How to Get the Perfect Jerk & Acceleration Setting

3D printing is a difficult art to master, when it comes to getting those perfect settings there are so many things that can go wrong.

You might already have attempted many different resolutions for your poor quality 3D printouts, but now you might have found the acceleration and jerk settings and are wondering what they are.

Getting these settings perfect is very difficult, but luckily for you, we have the magic numbers that will get you started on high-quality print-outs.

By our numbers, the ideal jerk settings are somewhere around 7 on the x and y-axis, with an acceleration level of around 700.

This will see you solving many 3D printing issues for your models, hopefully resulting in high-quality 3D models that you can use to decorate your bedroom or show off at the boardroom for that all-important product demonstration.

However, rather than simply jabbing these settings into your printer and hoping for the best, it is worthwhile reading this article and figuring out what they exactly are and how they can help you.

How can changing your acceleration and jerk settings really help you? What problems will having decent jerk and acceleration settings actually solve? How can you tweak your 3D printer in a way that won’t break it? What are the best settings for the kind of 3D printing that you want to do?

Well, 3D printer nuts won’t have to worry, as we’ve developed a comprehensive article that discusses in-depth what jerk and acceleration actually is and how it can improve your printing speed and accuracy without losing quality.

We’ll also cover how to change your acceleration and jerk settings, what the different methods of changing them actually are, as well as what you can expect from your printer on certain settings.

Acceleration Settings - How To Change Them

The acceleration of your 3D printer should sound pretty self-explanatory: it simply determines how fast your print head goes. These speeds have a cap on them that is determined by the slicer settings of your 3D printer.

You won’t be hitting the very top speeds of your 3D printer when you’re printing. This is especially true when you’re making smaller objects, as a rushed printing job will cause your object to come out very sloppy and not very well produced.

The best analogy we can think of here is with a motor vehicle. An average car can reach a top speed of around 100 mph, but it will make very little sense to ramp it up to this speed if you are having to negotiate many tricky twists and turns.

So if you apply that metaphor to your 3D printed object, the more intricate details that it has then the less speed that you’ll need to have. If you run a smaller object at a higher acceleration speed, then the chances are that it will have incomplete portions and won’t look exactly like it did at the design stage.

If your 3D printer comes with a Cura slicer, then a lot of printers would recommend that you enable the acceleration control to cut the printing time in half.

However, as we mentioned above, this will certainly jeopardize the final quality of your 3D model. Hopefully, you can tweak your settings to find a middle ground.

Your slicer doesn’t have that much to do with acceleration, although it does have something called a G-code that will indicate what points the print head should travel at and at what speed. It is the firmware inside that will determine the speed of the print head and how much detail it should put in.

There are different speeds, accelerations and jerk settings for each axis, with both X and Y being generally considered the same level. This way you can give your final prints different features depending on how you orient them.

If you are printing at an oblique angle, say 45 degrees, then you can always set limits on the level of acceleration that you go on.

Jerk Settings - How To Change Them

The jerk settings are a bit more complex than the acceleration speeds and have different descriptions depending on which firmware that you happen to be using. This is basically an approximation of the speed that you’ll need for your specific jerk settings.

The jerk speed will basically measure the rate of the position that your print head moves at from its initial position. The higher your jerk settings, then the quicker that it will move from its stable position, whereas on a lower setting it will have a slower rate of movement from the starting point.

The minimum speed of your print head will decrease when it is initiating a new direction. To use our car analogy once again - this is when the vehicle slows down before making a harder turning. Having a decreased speed at this point in the printing process will really help you to achieve those finer details.

So, it seems obvious that if your print head does not slow down as it makes a change of direction, then the chances are that it will mess up the quality of your 3D model. Finer details take a bit more time to render, so you’ll need to make sure that your jerk settings are at the appropriate speed.

If you calculate your G-code to change its speed and direction before hitting these changes, then your entire printer speed should happen instantaneously. This will be really handy when trying to make smaller printed objects with finer details.

If you have an increased jerk value, then your printing times will be severely reduced, with less blobbing and anomalies in the prints themselves. It will also increase the vibrations in your printhead directions, with a smoother operation when it comes to getting around corners and circles.

However, if you have your jerk value set lower, then it will have far less mechanical wear and tear on your printer, giving it smoother movements and better adhesion for your filament during the directional changes. There will also be a lot less noise and a lot less ‘dropped stitches’ in your printer.

If you set your printer at a jerk value of 10, then you can expect to have roughly the same printing time as a printer with a 60mm/s and a jerk value of around 40. If you increase the printing speed past 60mm/s to around 90mm/s, only then can you expect to see a significant difference in printing times.

Having a higher jerk value basically means that your change of direction speeds will be far too fast, resulting in extra vibrations and a poor quality print job at the end. You will also have to factor in the weight of your printer - put simply, having a heavy printer with a fast jerk speed will not go down well.

Ghosting or echoing is one frequent result of having too many vibrations in your printing quality, which can be solved simply by reducing the overall jerk speed of your printhead.

Why Should You Change Your Jerk And Acceleration Settings?

There are a number of issues that your acceleration and jerk settings can solve.

Here are just a few that you can see rectified from various combinations of jerk and acceleration settings:

  • Having a rougher printing surface
  • Removing ringing from your prints (curves)
  • You can make your printer a lot quieter, which will help if you are operating it in a domestic family setting
  • You can eliminate the Z-wobble that can afflict more delicate prints
  • This will also stop your printer from running too violently and shaking in a way that will compromise the overall appearance of your final 3D model
  • It will also result in the reduction of many print quality issues overall

Some users have reported that once they’ve changed their acceleration and jerk settings, then they have experienced some of the best quality of printing that they’ve ever had.

Only by experimenting with your printhead settings will you be able to realize just how much better that your 3D modeling will become.

If you haven’t tried your jerk and acceleration settings yet, then we would definitely recommend that you try doing that. Make a note of your original settings and then if your newer settings don’t improve the situation, you can always change them back.

By doing a little bit of trial and error, you should be able to amend your printer to the point where it will decrease your issues somewhat and improve the overall quality of your final printouts.

The Ideal J & A Settings

But we know the question that you might be grasping for right now: what are the perfect settings for my 3D printer?

Luckily for you, there have been people who have already done the trials for you and discovered the settings that are more or less ideal.

Once these settings have been established, you can use them as a foundation against which you can increase or decrease your various speeds and accuracies until your print quality is absolutely perfect.

For your basic jerk settings, we would recommend that you put it at around 7mm/s for that medium-level speed. Then once you have done this, take the jerk X and Y axis and place them at around 7. The acceleration for your X, Y and Z should be 700.

To change these settings, all you have to do is go into your control panel and select the ‘motion’ button so that you can see your acceleration and jerk settings. This should be what you are seeing and what values they should be set to:

  • Vx - set to 7
  • Vy - set to 7
  • Vz - this can remain at the same level
  • Amax X - set to 700
  • Amax Y - set to 700
  • Amax Z - this can remain the same

If you prefer to isolate these settings in your Ender 3 control box, then go into your Cura and change these values by rerouting your firmware.

Do this by going into your Cura settings and selecting either the ‘advanced’ option or the custom settings to view the jerk and acceleration values. Start with amending the jerk settings and then going from there.

If you lower your jerk settings and find that your overall printing speed is far too slow, then we would suggest that you put up the overall printing speed in order to compensate.

If you lower the jerk speed and this doesn’t fix the problem, then try clocking down the acceleration a few notches and seeing if that makes a difference.

There are some users that have reported keeping their jerk settings at absolute 0 and clocking their acceleration to 500, which can also result in decent quality prints. However, this will all depend on the overall quality of your printer.

The Binary Search Method

This method is great for searching through programs and is perfect for application on your 3D printer.

It can give you a very reliable calibration based on a set of calculations that uses range and averages.

This is a simple how-to guide for getting a decent binary method:

  • Establish which values that are too low with an L and which values are too high with a H
  • Work out the average value (M) by adding the H and L and dividing by 2
  • Then trying printing your model using the M value
  • If the M is still either too high or too low, then use the M value as either your new H or L value
  • Keep repeating this process until you get the desired result

This might take some time, but if you rely on the professional quality of your 3D printouts, then you’ll definitely want to dedicate the time to calibrate your machine just right. This will remove wavy lines and other anomalies that might affect the final printout.

We would recommend that you save your binary settings in your default profile in your slicing software.

This way, the next time you slice your next print, you can simply dip into the automatic jerk and acceleration inputs and away you go.

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