Stepper motor drivers on Klipper require a
parameter in each
stepper config section. The
rotation_distance is the amount of distance that the axis moves with
one full revolution of the stepper motor. This document describes how
one can configure this value.
Obtaining rotation_distance from steps_per_mm (or step_distance)
The designers of your 3d printer originally calculated
from a rotation distance. If you know the steps_per_mm then it is
possible to use this general formula to obtain that original rotation
rotation_distance = <full_steps_per_rotation> * <microsteps> / <steps_per_mm>
Or, if you have an older Klipper configuration and know the
step_distance parameter you can use this formula:
rotation_distance = <full_steps_per_rotation> * <microsteps> * <step_distance>
<full_steps_per_rotation> setting is determined from the type of
stepper motor. Most stepper motors are “1.8 degree steppers” and
therefore have 200 full steps per rotation (360 divided by 1.8 is
200). Some stepper motors are “0.9 degree steppers” and thus have 400
full steps per rotation. Other stepper motors are rare. If unsure, do
not set full_steps_per_rotation in the config file and use 200 in the
<microsteps> setting is determined by the stepper motor driver.
Most drivers use 16 microsteps. If unsure, set
microsteps: 16 in the
config and use 16 in the formula above.
Almost all printers should have a whole number for
on x, y, and z type axes. If the above formula results in a
rotation_distance that is within .01 of a whole number then round the
final value to that whole_number.
Calibrating rotation_distance on extruders
On an extruder, the
rotation_distance is the amount of distance the
filament travels for one full rotation of the stepper motor. The best
way to get an accurate value for this setting is to use a “measure and
Then use the following procedure to “measure and trim”:
- Make sure the extruder has filament in it, the hotend is heated to an appropriate temperature, and the printer is ready to extrude.
- Use a marker to place a mark on the filament around 70mm from the
intake of the extruder body. Then use a digital calipers to measure
the actual distance of that mark as precisely as one can. Note this
- Extrude 50mm of filament with the following command sequence:
G1 E50 F60. Note 50mm as
<requested_extrude_distance>. Wait for the extruder to finish the move (it will take about 50 seconds).
- Use the digital calipers to measure the new distance between the
extruder body and the mark on the filament. Note this as
<subsequent_mark_distance>. Then calculate:
actual_extrude_distance = <initial_mark_distance> - <subsequent_mark_distance>
- Calculate rotation_distance as:
rotation_distance = <previous_rotation_distance> * <actual_extrude_distance> / <requested_extrude_distance>Round the new rotation_distance to three decimal places.
If the actual_extrude_distance differs from requested_extrude_distance by more than about 2mm then it is a good idea to perform the steps above a second time.
Note: Do not use a “measure and trim” type of method to calibrate x, y, or z type axes. The “measure and trim” method is not accurate enough for those axes and will likely lead to a worse configuration. Instead, if needed, those axes can be determined by measuring the belts, pulleys, and lead screw hardware.
Obtaining rotation_distance by inspecting the hardware
It’s possible to calculate rotation_distance with knowledge of the stepper motors and printer kinematics. This may be useful if the steps_per_mm is not known or if designing a new printer.
Belt driven axes
It is easy to calculate rotation_distance for a linear axis that uses a belt and pulley.
First determine the type of belt. Most printers use a 2mm belt pitch (that is, each tooth on the belt is 2mm apart). Then count the number of teeth on the stepper motor pulley. The rotation_distance is then calculated as:
rotation_distance = <belt_pitch> * <number_of_teeth_on_pulley>
For example, if a printer has a 2mm belt and uses a pulley with 20 teeth, then the rotation distance is 40.
Axes with a lead screw
It is easy to calculate the rotation_distance for common lead screws using the following formula:
rotation_distance = <screw_pitch> * <number_of_separate_threads>
For example, the common “T8 leadscrew” has a rotation distance of 8 (it has a pitch of 2mm and has 4 separate threads).
Older printers with “threaded rods” have only one “thread” on the lead screw and thus the rotation distance is the pitch of the screw. (The screw pitch is the distance between each groove on the screw.) So, for example, an M6 metric rod has a rotation distance of 1 and an M8 rod has a rotation distance of 1.25.
It’s possible to obtain an initial rotation distance for extruders by
measuring the diameter of the “hobbed bolt” that pushes the filament
and using the following formula:
rotation_distance = <diameter> * 3.14
If the extruder uses gears then it will also be necessary to determine and set the gear_ratio for the extruder.
The actual rotation distance on an extruder will vary from printer to printer, because the grip of the “hobbed bolt” that engages the filament can vary. It can even vary between filament spools. After obtaining an initial rotation_distance, use the measure and trim procedure to obtain a more accurate setting.
Using a gear_ratio
gear_ratio can make it easier to configure the
rotation_distance on steppers that have a gear box (or similar)
attached to it. Most steppers do not have a gear box - if unsure then
do not set
gear_ratio in the config.
gear_ratio is set, the
rotation_distance represents the
distance the axis moves with one full rotation of the final gear on
the gear box. If, for example, one is using a gearbox with a “5:1”
ratio, then one could calculate the rotation_distance with
knowledge of the hardware
and then add
gear_ratio: 5:1 to the config.
For gearing implemented with belts and pulleys, it is possible to
determine the gear_ratio by counting the teeth on the pulleys. For
example, if a stepper with a 16 toothed pulley drives the next pulley
with 80 teeth then one would use
gear_ratio: 80:16. Indeed, one
could open a common off the shelf “gear box” and count the teeth in it
to confirm its gear ratio.
Note that sometimes a gearbox will have a slightly different gear
ratio than what it is advertised as. The common BMG extruder motor
gears are an example of this - they are advertised as “3:1” but
actually use “50:17” gearing. (Using teeth numbers without a common
denominator may improve overall gear wear as the teeth don’t always
mesh the same way with each revolution.) The common “5.18:1 planetary
gearbox”, is more accurately configured with
If several gears are used on an axis then it is possible to provide a
comma separated list to gear_ratio. For example, a “5:1” gear box
driving a 16 toothed to 80 toothed pulley could use
gear_ratio: 5:1, 80:16.
In most cases, gear_ratio should be defined with whole numbers as
common gears and pulleys have a whole number of teeth on them.
However, in cases where a belt drives a pulley using friction instead
of teeth, it may make sense to use a floating point number in the gear