First Layer Squish Tool

I always prefer things to be more definitive than subjective. To that end, setting the Z-offset and getting the first layer squish just right has always seemed a little frustrating. That is until I designed this First Layer Squish Tool. Print it and you can see what is the smallest slot you can achieve with your current print settings. This tells you your squish in real terms. Then you can easily make adjustments.

It only takes a few minutes to print and gives you a quick definitive measure of squish. Using this tool, I have been able to quickly and easily return my printer to the same squish after changing the nozzle and making print adjustments. Equally as gratifying I have been able to quickly and easily set all my printers to the same squish.

It has a series of 10 slots ranging from 0.1mm to 1.0mm (in 0.1mm increments). The idea is that the slots will close up based on how much squish there is. The size of the largest slot that is closed tells you how much first-layer flare you have. In theory, the squish is half the slot width (because it is flaring for both sides). And, depending on the material you are printing you can adjust the squish as appropriate.

In my example pictured below, the first print shows 0.6mm slot is open. So the largest closed slot is 0.5mm. This tells me that I have about 0.5/2=0.25mm of elephant’s foot or first layer flare out. That is with my Z-Offset at -0.300mm. So I want to reduce the squish by increasing my Z-Offset. I have found that each increment in Z-Offset of 0.01mm equates to about one slot change on this tool. So to move from 0.6mm slot to 0.2mm slot (my goal in this case) I adjust my Z-Offset by 4×0.010=0.040mm. Therefore, my Z-Offset in this case changes -0.300-0.040=-0.340 and I reduce the squish to 0.2mm slot being open and the 0.1mm slot being closed. As you can see that got me to the 0.3mm slot, so I need to make one more adjustment. After making an adjustment re-print the tool and check it again. Of course, like always it is very important to heat soak your machine first to ensure it is stable.

I also included a series of 10 tabs ranging from 0.1mm to 1.0mm in thickness. These can provide additional information when measured with digital callipers. By measuring the tab thicknesses at various heights you can determine how your Z offset relates to the first layer flare out. For example, if the 0.40mm tab measures 0.44mm you also get further confirmation of the need to adjust your Z-Offset. The thickness of each tab can provide some clues into your Z-Offset accuracy.

Lastly, there is a large blank area (on the underside) to write down your results for future reference. Once you have adjusted your printer to the Z-Offset that you like the best. Print and save the First Layer Squish Tool. Then, if you need to re-adjust your printer in the future you can easily return to the same squish.

In my case, I really like (at the moment) a squish that lets me see the 0.2 to 0.3mm slot as the smallest printable gap on the first layer. If I later change my setup and then get a 0.6 slot, I need to reduce my Z-Offset by 0.3mm. And… bam! I am back to the exact same squish. And getting all my printers to have the exact same squish is now a breeze!

The rounded end of the tool has a chamfer on the bottom side to help in removing the print from the print surface.

2024-01-15 Update: I am now using the first slot (0.1mm slot) as my goal for PETG and it is working brilliantly. It has improved my overall print quality (even at higher levels) quite noticeably.

Printing

Material: Print this with any material that you are printing with and save it so you can return to those settings whenever switching materials.

My Setup:
Nozzle = 0.4mm

My Settings:
Layer height = 0.2mm
Line width = 0.45mm

Print Orientation – As shown in the screenshots.

Where to Get My STL Files

You can find my posted STL files on the following sites:

Cults3D

Thangs

Thingiverse

Printables

Licensing, Comments and Feedback

I am happy to share my designs (STL files) with our community and welcome you to print them for yourself and even gift them to others. However, I do not permit the use of my designs for commercial purposes (i.e. you can not sell my design(s) or products printed from my design(s)). Thank you for respecting this. If you wish to sell them please contact me and we can work something out.

If you print any of my designs I would appreciate any feedback. I am especially interested in how different designs print with different printers and materials. And, it is always nice to hear back from people who use my designs.

I am working towards commercializing some of my products and experimenting with a few different avenues. I am currently exploring the use of an ETSY shop, my branded site Buku Design and also on Amazon (Canada and USA, ). If you have time please visit my products there to help increase traffic and search success. Thank you.

Where to Get My STL Files

You can find my posted STL files on the following sites:

Thangs

Use, Licensing, Comments and Feedback

My primary distribution site for my design files is Thangs.com. Thangs is leading the way in promoting designers and competition amongst designers which in turn fuels the growth of high-quality 3d printable designs for the benefit of our entire community. The competition on Thangs, unfortunately, necessitates designers limiting the availability of free designs for a limited time. As a result, some of my designs are only available for free for 1 week from when first posted, so please download them when you see a new file available that you are interested in.

I do not permit the use of my designs for commercial purposes (i.e. you can not sell my design(s) or products printed from my design(s)) without first acquiring a commercial license from me. On Thangs.com I offer membership accounts for access to all my design files as well as a second membership for commercial licensing which allows subscribers to sell my printed products using my designs commercially.

I am commercializing some of my designs and printed products through various avenues including an ETSY shop, my branded site Buku Design and also on Amazon (Canada and USA).

I welcome comments and feedback as we as requests for customization of designs. I will do my best to accommodate those requests.


Comments

12 responses to “First Layer Squish Tool”

  1. Dirk@B Avatar
    Dirk@B

    Hi,

    tool look very good, but your settings mention layer hieght : 0,2mm. How can you then get to the 0,1mm increments? Typo ?

    Grtz
    Dirk

    1. Paul Brock Avatar
      Paul Brock

      Hi Dirk, no, it is not a typo. The layer height is not relevant to the squish in the slots and you can use any layer height you want. I just like 0.2mm. However, the 0.1mm increments are used in two places which I will explain below. I guess you are referring to the second one.

      1. The first use is in the slots that are in the squish tool. Regardless of what layer height you are using, you want to see that the squish in the first layer does not close up more than one or two of the narrowest slots. I have settled on 1 slot only in my use of the tool. So the very first (the 0.1mm) slot, I let it get closed by the squish but the 0.2mm slot I want to see it open. To do that I adjust my Z-offset.

      2. The other use of the 0.1mm increments is the small tabs on the side. And, yes, you are right it is impractical to print a 0.1mm layer with a 0.2mm layer height. But it can be quite interesting to see how your printer handles different print thicknesses which are not multiples of your layer height. If you consider other techniques people use to adjust their first layer squish such as looking at how merged the first layer lines are, the thin tabs can be quite helpful as well. Lastly, of course, I did not know what layer heights people would be printing at when using the tool so the 0.1mm increment tabs can be used for 0.1mm, 0.2mm and 0.4mm measurements (when people are using those layer heights).

      Does that make sense?

      1. Dirk@B Avatar
        Dirk@B

        Hi Paul,
        all makes perfect sense ! My main ‘eeuh’ moment was manly the tabs. I now understand the main purpose. Currently setting up the printer with a new hotend. Once I fired out the cooling part, I will certainly use your model
        Rgds
        Dirk

        1. Paul Brock Avatar
          Paul Brock

          Thanks for the feedback Dirk. I just added a video with some thoughts about the tabs that might be helpful.

  2. Hank Avatar
    Hank

    Hi,
    I just finished my new Voron trident building.
    It’s my first time to use this model to calibrate the first layer squish.
    I didn’t record further z offset and now the printing result show the 0.7 gap is closing.
    Need your advise to adjust the z offset to better status.
    Any advise will be very appreciated.

    1. Paul Brock Avatar
      Paul Brock

      Hi, no problem, I would start by raising the nozzle by o.o5mm. This means reducing your z-offset by 0.05mm. So if your z-offset is currently o.400 then change it to 0.350 (for example). If it is currently -0.250, then change it to -0.300.

      Then print the tool again. And adjust by 0.01 on the z-offset to fine tune it.

  3. Dez Avatar
    Dez

    Hello! I’m trying to math my way through this, and my math ain’t mathing. You’re talking in this example about raising your z-offset by 0.05mm. If you were to raise it, that would actually end up with LESS of a negative and so it would need to be -0.200. Going from -0.250 to -3.00 is actually lowering it even more.

    If I am understanding what you are trying to do, the equation should read

    [initial z-offset] – [required change]

    This should work because if you get a negative value for the required change, that would end up adding it to the initial negative value and lifting the nozzle away from the bed.

    1. Paul Brock Avatar
      Paul Brock

      Haha, now even I am confused.

      I think our confusion starts with the basic idea that (on a Voron at least) a smaller z-offset (i.e. more negative number) moves the toolhead away from the bed. A larger z-offset (more positive number) moves the toolhead closer to the bed. So if whatever printer you are using is not like that then it needs to be reversed (as I think you have described).

      From my perspective the beginning statement that “raising your z-offset by 0.05mm” meant increasing the z height (raising the tool head). Raising the tool head (at least on a Voron) means a smaller number (more negative). For example a -0.200 would change to -0.250. Doing this means less first layer squish.

      Does that help?

      1. Dez Avatar
        Dez

        I understand what you’re saying. It depends on the direction your specific machine is set up. +/- is simply a direction relative to your machine. AND – since +/- is simply direction, -0.250 is not a smaller number, it is a bigger number in the negative direction. That’s why it moves the printhead away from the bed.

        1. Paul Brock Avatar
          Paul Brock

          Yes. I think we are in agreement. 🙂

  4. Jason Hatcher Avatar
    Jason Hatcher

    Hello, when I preview in Cura (5.5.0) it shows the 0.1, 0.2 & 0.3 slots as being closed before I print it. My Layer Height is 0.1, Initial Layer Height is 0.12 and Line Width is 0.42. Printer is an Elegoo Neptune 3 Plus.

    I have tried changing the Initial Layer Height and Line Width in Cura but the preview stays the same so I don’t think I will be getting accurate results to gauge my adjustments.

    Any ideas as to why my preview is like this?

    -Thank you.

    1. Paul Brock Avatar
      Paul Brock

      Hi, very interesting… I just tried looking at the preview in Cura with it set at 0.1 and 0.12 layer heights and I still see a gap. You definitely should still see a gap. I had to zoom in to see it but it is there. It sounds like there is an issue with your Cura profile. I don’t think it is a model issue.

      The only reasons I can think of at the moment that would cause this is over extruding or the line width. Your 0.42mm line width would be one factor. But I set mine to 0.45mm just now (I usually use 0.40mm) and it closed up the first gap. So this type of thing would do it. Also, flow rate will have the same effect. For example if I set my flow from 100% to 110% it closes up the gaps.

      In the end you have found a new way to use the tool… thank you. I never thought to use it in preview but it is great to see that it works this way. For sure if your preview shows no gaps and too much squish you are going to get too much squish. So nice work!! But back to your specific issue… perhaps go back to a default profile and start clean to see if the preview looks good. If you give me your email address I can send you my profile – even though it is for a Voron you can still see the settings I use, check the preview and compare them to yours.

      I hope that was useful for you!

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