The ultimate 3D Printer bed leveling guide

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This guide is intended for people having issues with 3D printer bed leveling, that can cause bed adhesion, elephant foot or not even allow to print at all.

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Why a proper leveling is essential?

When your 3D printer bed is not properly leveled prints wont stick well on the bed, and this leaves us the Nº1 most asked question: “how to make my print stick”,  if you think the answer is “glue, hairspray, superglue”, you are approaching it on a wrong way. They are there to help, not to make magic.

Do i need to make the leveling?

First you should print this simple calibration cube, you can also use another flat print to compare, but this test will give you better results and can also work XYZ step/mm calibration (future tutorial).

After printing it compare with the examples below, if you got something like one of the bad examples you should calibrate your printer:

good layer adehesion low line exemplo

high line exemplo

Bed leveling calibration guide

Needed tools:

– A Precision screw tool kit;

The leveling_calibration.STL

– About 10g of plastic;

First you should preheat the bed and the nozzle and leave it heated for a few minutes, this time will be useful to properly distribute the temperature over the bed.  100ºC for abs is good enough.

Use the provided leveling_calibration.STL with your favorite slicer, you should use the layer height and width that you usually use,

The leveling procedure is straight-forward, follow all steps and repeat it until you get the perfect alignment.

Step one:

Print the leveling_calibration file and compare it with the images below:

perfectlinecalibration

Low_bed_line

bed_high_line

Step two:

Check which corners have high or low lines and turn 1/4 of a full turn on the screw .

If the line is like the LOW example, you should turn the screw to the right (tighten it), so the bed will be lower than the nozzle, allowing the plastic flow.

If the line is like the HIGH example, you should turn the screw to the LEFT (loosening it), so the bed will be closer to the nozzle when printing, pressing the plastic in the bed and making a proper adhesion.

Bed tightening example

Step three:

Print the leveling_calibration.STL again and compare the results, if they are good you can finish the calibration process, if not, you should repeat until you get as close as possible to the ideal height.

F.A.Q

  • My printer has an auto-leveling system, should i make this calibration?

Yes! but NOT using this tutorial. this will be covered in detail a future article.  The reason you should calibrate it is that you will be using unnecessary power and time if the bed is not close enough to the ideal.  if you look closely to the Z axis while its printing you will notice that it is moving up and down, and this movement can reduced if you level the bed.   this movement can also cause ghost-effect or unwanted lines / finishing on the part.

  • My heated bed is not leveled, doesn’t matter what i do, how to fix this?

Sometimes the spring gets weak, you might want to screw a few turns (4 turns usually do the job – clockwise), turn all the four screws. You might also want to take a look into the printing surface. always use glass or thick aluminium at the top (at least 3mm), and never print into the printed circuit board. its material is not meant to be used this way, it is greatly affected by the heat and is also dangerous to damage the printed circuit.

  • My end-stop keeps moving around, what should i do?

There are some good supports that you can print to hold the endstop. and you shold, the endstop should be carefully fixed, and if its possible you should also use max endstops.  if you suffer from a software failure it will keep your printer safe.

Check if one of these links, they can be helpful:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:30085

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:312536

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:919432

Need further help? please feel free to post your question on our forum or Facebook group !, I’ll be happy to help

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