Thursday, December 3, 2020

Ender 3/Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer/3D Printing "Dialing It In" Tips!

I created this guide to help Ender 3, Ender 3 Pro, and other Creality Printer owners get their printers and their prints "all dialed in" as I like to say. Let me know if you have any questions or issues and thanks for checking this out!

Dial-In Your Creality 3D Printer:

Overall printer test from Thingiverse. Start here!
Then print this again after tuning your printer!

Chep Cura Profiles for Creality Printers:

Chuck Hellebuyck's Electronic Products Cura profiles for Creality printers, gives you a great starting point for using Cura with a Creality Ender 3, Ender 5, CR-10, and CR-10 Mini 3D Printers.
This way you can get started printing higher-quality prints, right out of the gate on your Creality 3D Printer! 

Bed Leveling:

If you do not have ABL (auto bed leveling) please check out this Chep guide below for easily getting your printer bed leveled and printing level:

Propper Belt Tension:

A lot of people think, that more belt tension = better quality. That isn’t the truth at all. The perfect belt tension is when the belt isn’t really tight but teeth on won’t slip at all. Be sure, that you can normally push the belts together with your fingers, but when you move the carriage by hand, everything should be smooth, with no bumps, no weird sounds. To find this perfect spot I’d suggest you add a belt tensioner that will fit your 3D printer!

Calibrate the Extruder:

Increasing or decreasing the millimeter (mm) steps for your extruder so your printer is pulling/extruding the correct amount of filament. 
  1. The easiest way to do this is to make a mark on your filament about 100mm away from where the filament goes into your extruder. 
  2. Then heat up the printer's hot end and feed 100mm of filament through your extruder. 
  3. If all is dialed in correctly, the filament should stop RIGHT on the mark you created. 
  4. If you went past the mark a decrease in your steps per mm is needed. 
  5. If you didn't hit the mark at all; an increase in your steps per mm is needed.
  6. You can calculate deviation and your new/needed Esteps by using a simple formula:
    • Deserved length / Observed length * E steps per mm. 
    • Using a 105mm example: 100mm / 105mm * E200.00 = E190.47 new number of steps per mm for your extruder.

Print Temperature:

Run a temperature stress test to see what temperature is best for your printer: Stick to the temperature value you consider as the best one:

PID Auto-Tuning:

Poor temperature stability can be caused by both non-calibrated or disabled PIDs as well. There are a few ways to fix Z artifact issues caused by bad PIDs. I highly recommend this printer tuning/PID Tuning guide for both your extruder AND your heated bed: 

How To Run Extruder PID Autotune from Terminal: 

  1. First home your printer on all axes (X, Y, Z)
  2. Next, move your Z axis 10mm up and X and Y to mid of your print bed. 
  3. After this turn on your blower fan to 100% by sending M106 S255
  4. Next, send the M303 E0 C8 S210 command to your printer, 
    • M303 declares PID autotune command for your extruder
    • E0 is the number of the extruder (E-1 is the bed, E1 is the second extruder)
    • C8 is the number of PID calibration cycles you will run
    • S is the desired temperature
  5. If print ABS or PETG most of the time, you can use S240 or the temperature value you'd like.
  6. Now, wait a few minutes until you see "PID autotune done" in your terminal window. Below that, you’ll see your new Kp, Ki, and Kd values. 
    • For example Kp 21.00, Ki 1.25, Kd 86.00. 
  7. You have to write these values to EEPROM now using the M301 command. 
    • Something like this: M301 P21.00 I1.25 D86.00 (Kp = P, Ki = I, Kd = D)
  8. Then save these new values to the printer's EEPROM by using the M500 command. 
  9. You can check, that you’ve done everything right by reading EEPROM values with the M503 command. 
    • If you see your PID values there under the M301 section, everything should be correct!

How To Run Heat Bed PID Autotune from Terminal: 

  1. Move your Z-axis 10-20mm up, and X and Y axis to the mid point of your print bed. 
  2. Send the M304 E-1 S60 C6 command to your printer, 
    • M304 declares PID autotune command for your heat bed
    • E-1 is the bed (E0 is the extruder, etc.)
    • S is the desired temperature
    • C6 is the number of PID calibration cycles you will run
  3. If print ABS or PETG most of the time, you can use S85 or the temperature value you'd like.
  4. Now, wait a few minutes until you see "PID autotune done" in your terminal window. 
  5. Below that, you’ll see your new Kp, Ki, and Kd values. 
    • For example Kp 10.00, Ki 2.00, Kd 5.00
  6. You have to write these values to EEPROM now using the M301 command. 
    • Something like this: M304 P10 I2 D5 (Kp = P, Ki = I, Kd = D)
  7. Then save these new values to the printer's EEPROM by using the M500 command. 
  8. You can check, that you’ve done everything right by reading EEPROM values with the M503 command. 
    • If you see your PID values there under the M301 section, everything should be correct!

Print Speed:

Run a speed stress test to see what speed(s) may be best for your printer: this will help you with stringing, bridging, and overall print quality.

Slicer Retraction Settings:

You want to be sure that you have retractions turned on in your slicer software. You want to start with some lower values like 2mm retraction and 30mm/s retraction speed. Then you should print some retraction tests like this one:
This way you can find and save the retraction settings in your slicing software that produce the best results!


Stringing happens when there is too much pressure in the extruder and melted plastic leaks out during movement in free space. There are 3 major values, which you are going to adjust to remove stringing: retraction, temperature, and travel speed. Tweaking those settings will help you get rid of stringing on your prints. FYI however, PETG is notorious for stringing! 
Some brands will string no matter what you do! So don't stress out too hard/badly.

Pre-Sliced tests for Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro! 
Pre-sliced G-code for the Ender 3 printers (speed, temperature, and retraction) to help find your ideal slicing settings. Everything is covered in detail here:

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

AMD Motherboard BIOS/UEFI Upgrades & Setup Service

AMD BIOS Upgrade & Setup ~ $80!

With an AMD Athlon 3000G, I can upgrade the BIOS on your AMD motherboard(s) to accept newer generation AMD CPUs! 
I can also set-up your motherboard with proper overclocks to maximize the performance of your installed RAM and CPU!

"AMD began the introduction of the new 3rd Gen Ryzen™ Desktop Processors in July of 2019. To enable support for these new processors on your AMD motherboard, an updated BIOS may be required. Without such a BIOS, the system may fail to boot with a 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processor installed." ~

Pacific Northwest Computers
Toll-Free ~ 1-888-533-6199
Local ~ 360-624-7379
SMS ~ 503-583-2380

*The advertised rate is for in-shop service. Onsite service would be charged at our normal hourly rate:

Monday, November 2, 2020

CenturyLink vs Xfinity! What Internet Provider is the Best!?

CenturyLink vs Xfinity

Out in the Pacific North West we only have two options when it comes to internet service providers: 

CenturyLink or Comcast

Only two?!

That's right!

Even if you are farther out in the rural areas and have service from TDS or SpiritOne, you are simply using rebranded internet from one of those two providers. So that leads us to one of the most asked questions that I get;

"What should I use!? Comcast/Xfinity or CenturyLink?!"

Well for starters, I have used both services for well over 10 years. But I am currently with Comcast/Xfinity Internet. I used CenturyLink for about 10 years when I lived in Battle Ground, WA, and briefly again when I moved to Vancouver, WA. But have been with Xfinity/Comcast for the last 10 years now. Not to mention the thousands of on sites I do a year (for the past 11 years), I see and deal with a LOT of networking and internet issues. So I think can safely say that I have a good understanding of how each of these companies works and operates.

When it comes to you how much Internet you get per dollar, CenturyLink right now is the king of the castle. With their new fiber Internet Service, they are able to get one-gigabit speeds to their customers at a cheaper price than you can get similar speeds from Comcast/Xfinity.

However, in my experience, I've found that CenturyLink had the most downtime and most extended downtimes of the two companies. For example, when I was in college I had a finals test to do through an online school. I was not able to complete that test due to a 72-hour outage from CenturyLink. I have had some outages with Comcast/Xfinity that sometimes have lasted most of the day or the night. But I have never run into such an extensive outage issue via Comcast/Xfinity.

Now the one issue I would definitely give a crown to Comcast/Xfinity four is the lack of the ability in their support team to properly identify and rectify issues with their customer’s internet connection and speed issues. For example, I recently upgraded to 1GB internet service at my home office. With a compatible modem and all, my internet went down for several days after the upgrade had occurred. They did get me up and running, but was not getting the speed I was paying for. In total it took over two weeks of phone tech support, and three visits from an onsite technician to get my Internet to working correctly. I have had similarly bad of issues getting tech support from CenturyLink as well, but I think Comcast/Xfinity beats them by a margin.

As a side note to all that I have explained bout Comcast/Xfinity so far, I would also bring attention to their Comcast/Xfinity business service. If you are a business, you don’t necessarily have to use their Business internet service. They purport that the business internet has a guaranteed uptime that the home internet doesn’t have, but have never found that to be true. If they have an outage, typically home and business services go down first. I will note, however, that business customers are prioritized for onsite service. That I can verify. However, you will pay more for your Internet dramatically less speed. So if you are a home-based business you most likely can just use Comcast/Xfinity home Internet!

The one caveat to all of that however is that if you use their business security nor their business telephone service you will have to use their business Internet. One recommendation I'd make to customers facing this type of dilemma is for them to get their security and telephone service through a different provider. Then simply get/use the fastest home internet they have available for your location!

So, when it comes down to it, what you REALLY are doing is choosing the lesser of two evils for providing you internet service.

  • If you don't have a home-based business/rely on the internet, don't mind extended outages because of a wind storm, you can get some cheaper FAST internet via CenturyLink.
  • If your day-to-day life relies on the need for internet (home business, student, etc.) then Comcast/Xfinity would be the way to go.

Again, this is all my opinion. But with my experience and expertise in the IT/IT support field, I hope this can help some folks make the decision between the two "King Pins" of Pacific Northwest internet; CenturyLink vs Comcast.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Protect Yourself From Cyber Attacks & Digital Fraud!


Make sure you know who you're communicating with.

  • Fraudsters pose as credible organizations, such as banks and the IRS, "phishing" for your information.
  • Be aware of COVID-related scams.
  • Criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic. Learn more about the top scams criminals are using during these difficult times.

Report suspicious texts and emails.

  • Fraudsters impersonate companies to get consumers to click links and provide personal information. These deceptive emails, phone calls, and text messages appear to come from a legitimate source.
  • Don't let online shopping scams trick you.
  • Before providing your billing information online, make sure you are working with a credible site. 
  • Don't download any software or click unknown links.


Layer your protection.

  • A strong password is the first line of defense against cybercriminals. We recommend using multifactor authentication for an added layer of protection for all your accounts.

Be alert.

  • Monitor your accounts regularly, respond to fraud alerts, and report unauthorized transactions promptly.
  • Watch out for phishing attempts.
  • There are some easy ways to ensure an email is from "who you think" sent it. There are some simple methods to spot Email Spoofing, which you can find here.

Set your preference for digital documents.

  • Mailbox fraud has been an ongoing strategy for criminals. 
  • Safeguard your correspondence by signing up to receive digital information for your products and services instead of by Mail/USPS.
  •  Use a shredder to destroy paper documents when you are done with them.

Stay alert about industry trends on cybersecurity threats!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Business IT Services! Save your Business $$$!!

At Pacific NorthWest Computers, we don't have any monthly-fee type services or anything like that, as we don't provide "help desk style support".

But, we are preferred/dedicated IT provider for a lot of businesses in the area on a "call us as needed" basis!

How it typically works is we will schedule quarterly clean-up visits to check hardware, backups, check for bugs and perform software/OS updates; as well as address specific issues that you may be happening.

With this business model, we have helped nearly all of our business clients cut out HUGE monthly IT support bills, as well as provide a higher quality, and personable, level of care and support. We recently got a client out of a nearly $500 a month IT service contract, down to maybe spending $160-$300 every three months. That is a nearly 80% decrease in total IT costs just by switching over to us!

If your business is interested in cutting down on, and/or completely eliminating, bloated and overpriced IT support services, give Pacific Northwest Computers a call today!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Can People Easily Find Your Business?

Can People Easily Find Your Business?

Is your Business listed on the major sales/services directory sites?

Do you have a social media presence; not just for followers but just to be found by their users?

Can users of different social, community and information sites easily find you?

Clickfunnels, landing pages, blogs; do you need to implement all of those? Some of them? None of them?

Pacific NorthWest Computers​ can not only help more people find your company, product or service, but ALSO help search engines find pertinent info and data, all while building an Organic SEO system that runs on autopilot; helping increase your rankings, exposure, conversations, sales, profits, etc. With all of that in place, advertising is a piece of cake!

We then can help you INTELLIGENTLY use Google AdSense, Facebook Advertising, and Instagram Advertising using tools like Google Business, Google Search Console and Google Analytics to intelligently approach and ATTACK your advertising camp gains. Get impressions, get those clicks, get those conversions and get those profits that have just been slipping by!

Interested? Setup a consult today!

Pacific Northwest Computers

Only $80 per hour, and we can cover a LOT of ground in just an hour or two!!

Monday, January 21, 2019

RansomWare or a Fake Tech Scammer Locked You Out of Your Computer using a "SysKey" Password

Image result for syskey attack

Some RansomWare Viruses and "Microsoft Tech" Scammers will Enable Windows' "SysKey" Function,
 and lock you out of your computer!

Well we have a few ways you can remove that pesky "SysKey,
and get you back into your computer!


If this happens to you, the first thing you can try is use a Windows OS Media disk to remove the "SysKey" function using the Command Line.
  1. Boot to the appropriate OS Media (matches the installed OS version of the computer you are fixing). 
  2. When the OS installation screen comes up, Select USA English and then "Repair the Windows Installation"; DO NOT INSTALL!! 
  3. Go to "Advanced Troubleshooting" 
  4. Click on "Advanced Repairs" 
  5. Click on and open the the "Command Line" tool 
  6. Find the OS Disk by changing drive letters and checkin contents with the "dir" command. ie: cd C: cd D: cd E:, etc. 
  7. Run the following command on the OS drive:
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\regback c:\windows\system32\config 
  8. Say no to the "Software" replace prompt, but say yes to the others and replace a total of 4 files; Default, SAM, Security and System. 
  9. Reboot system 
You should be able to login to the computer again!
A warning however, you may have some security, OS and/or user account damage after the fact.

However there is an alternate method (or two) that can also do the trick, if the above process does not work, or is too difficult!

I have also removed the "Syskey" password using the following procedure:
  1. Boot from a Windows 7 Install DVD/Thumbdrive, or boot from a user created Windows Restore/Repair Thumb Drive.
    *You can also attempt the same procedure from Windows Start-Up Repair; if you are able to get there. 
  2. When the "Install Windows" screen appears, click on "Repair your computer" to access the system recovery options. 
  3. From the nex screen, run System Restore to last point before the syskey password on your computer.
    *This will fail, but must be done! 
  4. Click "run system restore again" and this will take you back to the main system recovery options list. 
  5. Open Command Prompt from the main system recovery options list. 
  6. Open Regedit; type "regedit" without the quotes, into the command prompt and the Regedit application will open. 
  7. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa and change the 'SecureBoot' value entry from 1 to 0. 
  8. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SAM\SAM\Domains\Account and delete everything for "F value" so that it's data/value is 0000 
  9. Reboot and you should now be able to Login! 

If you are not able to boot into the Windows 8 or 10 Startup Recovery Environment there is still yet another repair method you can try!

To get the computer to run a system restore if you can't get into the recovery environment, you try to make/trip the computer into doing a Startup Repair. 
  • The way we do this, is by turning the system off mid boot and then Startup Repair should catch that "issue" and run the next time you power on. 
  • During this process Windows typically recommends running a system restore to fix any possible boot issues; allow this process to proceed and complete. 
  • After this process has completed, open the computer's DVD drive and insert a copy of Hiren's All-in-one Boot CD/thumb drive. 
  • Turn the system off/restart the system. 
  • Booting from DVD or USB, boot into the Hiren's All-in-one Media and select "Mini XP Recovery Environment" 
  • Allow your system to boot into the "Mini XP Recovery Environment" RAM Drive environment. 
  • Once booted into "Mini XP" you can now run the built in Registry Editor (regedit) to complete the registry edits needed and listed in the previous repair steps. 
This procedure lets you complete the same repair tasks but using a different access methods and tools, but the same general repair principles and process.

These all have worked for me on client machines and has allowed me to get passed a "syskey" password each time. Once I am able to login to the client's system, I will physically disconnect the internet and start my cleaning procedures on the affected system. After a full clean-up, software removal and tune-up the once locked PC will now run fine without the user getting locked out anymore!

I hope this helps general users or other IT professionals!

Pacific Northwest Computers
Jon Pienkowski - Owner/Operator