Ender 3 Set Home Offsets – What Is It and How to Use It?

After you set up your Ender 3 for the first time, you will quickly find out that there are a lot of different commands you can run by using the panel. That being said, finding out exactly what each command does can be a challenge, as there aren’t any descriptions in place.

In this guide, we will explain the purpose of one of the essential commands you will find in the menus labeled Set Home Offsets, when you will need to use it, and how you can use it correctly to get your 3D printer operational.

What Is the Ender 3 Set Home Offsets Command?

The Set Home Offsets command in the Ender 3 menu runs the M428 (Home Offsets Here) G-code in Marlin firmware behind the scenes, and to understand how this G-code really works, we will first need to quickly go through what the process of homing does for your 3D printer.

ender 3 set home offsets menu


When you home the axes of your Ender 3 by using the Auto Home menu option, you will notice that the printhead (and the bed) starts moving toward the limit switches on one side of each axis.

As soon as the printhead comes into contact with the limit switch of an axis, it stops and recognizes the spot it’s currently located at as either the minimum or the maximum of the axis based on where the limit switch is placed and makes a note of this location.

It’s only with this data that it becomes possible for your Ender 3 to calculate the real-time location of the printhead (by adding data from the stepper motor movement to this figure), meaning that any errors regarding this data would cause the printhead to be improperly positioned relative to the print bed at all times.

So, if the positions of the limit switches don’t exactly reflect the correct minimum or maximum positions for the axes, the printhead would naturally be improperly positioned relative to the bed at X=0 Y=0 Z=0, and the print area would shift away from the actual position of the bed as a result.

home offsets explanation before setting offsets


The purpose of the Set Home Offsets command is to correct this positioning problem by adding offset values to each of the axes for usage during homing, essentially allowing us to tell the printer that there is some distance between where the limit switches activate and where the actual start (and end) of the print area is.

home offsets explanation after setting offsets


With the offsets added to the original position of the printhead where the limit switches are activated, a new home position (X=0 Y=0 Z=0) that your Ender 3 will be using from now on is calculated, where the printhead is correctly placed on the top-left corner of the print bed, with the nozzle close enough to the bed for a successful print.

When to Use the Ender 3 Set Home Offsets Command?

Practically speaking, there are two scenarios you can come across where you will need to use the Set Home Offsets command to configure your Ender 3, which are when auto home brings the nozzle off the bed, and when auto home places the nozzle way too high above the bed.

Auto-Home Brings the Nozzle Off the Bed (X & Y Axis)

The first scenario where you will need to utilize the Set Home Offsets command is when you auto-home your Ender 3, and the nozzle ends up outside the bounds of the print bed when the X and the Y axes are at the 0,0 position.

XY axes home offset explanation


As such a situation can cause your Ender 3 to miss the print area entirely when printing close to the edges of the bed, correcting the zero position of the X and Y axes with the Set Home Offsets command becomes necessary for a successful print.

Auto Home Brings the Nozzle Too High Up (Z Axis)

The second scenario where the Set Home Offsets command will come in handy in calibrating your Ender 3 is when the printhead ends up being too far above the print bed after homing, with the Z-axis at the 0 position.

Z axis home offset explanation


In this case, even though the printhead will be within the bounds of the print area, the large gap between the nozzle and the print bed will cause your Ender 3 to print in the air, making it impossible for the plastic to adhere to the bed correctly.

How to Use the Ender 3 Set Home Offsets Command?

Using the Set Home Offsets command is all about positioning the printhead correctly on both the XY axes and the Z axis, as your Ender 3 will calculate and set the home offsets based on the current position of the printhead when you press the button.

Setting the X and Y Home Offsets

When setting the X and Y home offsets of your Ender 3, the main goal is to ensure that the nozzle is right on top of the bottom-left corner of the print bed when the positions of the X and Y axes are set to 0.

For this process, the first step you will need to take is homing your Ender 3 by pressing on the Auto Home option (in the Prepare menu) and moving the X and Y axes to 0,0 afterward (Move X & Move Y) if they don’t automatically move after homing (which can be the case for some firmware).

Then, you will need to slightly lift the printhead to a location (Move Z) where it’s easy to see its position relative to the bed but not too close so that it can scratch the bed during the upcoming X and Y movements.

Next, move the X and Y axes until the nozzle is exactly on the bottom-left corner of the print bed. Make sure to look at the positioning of the nozzle from all four sides to have better precision.

Disable software endstops with M211 S0 if you need to move the axes to positions below 0, but cannot.

Additionally, feel free to bring the Z-axis down until the nozzle touches the bed to verify the positioning, but remember to lift it back up before moving X and Y again.

set home offsets for XY axes step 1


Once you have confirmed that the nozzle is correctly positioned at the bottom-left corner, go ahead and press the Set Home Offsets option to make the current XY position of the nozzle the new home (0,0).

set home offsets for XY axes step 2


Finally, press on the Auto Home option once again (and move the printhead to X=0 Y=0 if necessary, as we have mentioned earlier), confirm that the nozzle is indeed positioned correctly with the home offsets in effect, and save your settings to the EEPROM (Store Settings menu option or M500 G-code) if everything seems to be in order.

Don’t forget to re-enable software endstops before saving your settings to the EEPROM!

Setting the Z Home Offset

When setting the Z home offset, the idea is to bring the nozzle close enough to the bed for the plastic to adhere strongly and not leave any gaps during the printing of the first layer but not too close to the point where there is no room for the plastic to escape.

Once again, the first step you will need to take is to click on the Auto Home option to home your Ender 3, as the printer can only have information about the positioning of the axes as a result of this process.

Next, lift the printhead a bit (Move Z) to make sufficient space between the nozzle and the print bed, and place a regular piece of paper on the bed.

Make sure not to move the Y and X axes in the process (or bring them back to 0 if you have to), as this will cause the X and Y offsets to become incorrect once you finalize the home offsets.

When you have the paper in place, start moving the Z-axis down until the nozzle touches the paper, and then do micro-adjustments until the nozzle is positioned in a way where it applies some pressure on the paper but doesn’t make it impossible to pull the paper out without ripping it.

Disable software endstops with M211 S0 if you need to move the Z-axis to positions below 0, but cannot.

set home offsets for Z axis step 1


Finally, when the nozzle is positioned correctly, press the Set Home Offsets option to finalize the current Z position of the nozzle as the new Z-axis home offset and get the paper out.

set home offsets for Z axis step 2


To verify that all the offsets are functioning as intended, click on the Auto Home option once more (and move the printhead to X=0 Y=0 Z=0 manually if it doesn’t go after homing), confirm the position of the nozzle relative to the print bed, and save your settings to the EEPROM (Store Settings menu option or M500 G-code) if everything seems to be in order.

Don’t forget to re-enable software endstops before saving your settings to the EEPROM!

Conclusion

Now that you know how to use the Set Home Offsets command to fix the home position of your Ender 3 whenever it becomes necessary, you shouldn’t have any issues with your printer printing out of the bounds of the print area or printing too far up and causing layer adhesion issues.

While it can require a few tries of moving the printhead around until you find the perfect X, Y, and Z values, the home offsets are something you won’t have to configure more than once under normal circumstances, meaning that getting them right once is all that it takes.