Introduction: 3D Printer Bed Levelling Made Easy
One of the key determinants of print quality is how well your printing bed is levelled. We generally have flexible plates which can deform or warp easily when heated, causing different sections of the bed to have different heights.
I’ve been using a glass bed as the stiff glass won't have an uneven print surface as it wont bend.
In this Instructable I show you how to level your printer's bed. So let’s get started.
I’m using the Ender 3 by Creality with Marlin 2.0 firmware. It's a good budget printer if you're trying to get your feet wet in the 3D printing space.
We have these knobs present below the bed, there are four of them, one on each corner. These can tighten and loosen by twisting the knobs or wheels? Tighten and the bed corner moves down, loosen the knob and the bed corner moves up. We will be using these knobs to level the bed.
We use a standard A4 sheet for the process. You can cut it down to a smaller size for ease of use. Make sure you don't apply any pressure on the plate while bed-levelling, especially when placing your hand for support.
We need to make sure each corner is level, effectively making the entire bed level.
I have a file available for download by CHEP via his website, These files would help us get the nozzle at the correct position to level the bed. The commands in the file would move the nozzle to every corner of the bed. So download using link below
Chep's Bed Levelling Stl: Click Here to download
extract, copy to a micro-sd and card run the file CHEP_M0_bed_level.gcode.gcode on your 3d printer
The nozzle would stop at the first corner and wait, slide the piece of paper between the nozzle and the bed. If you can’t push the paper between the nozzle and the bed, just tighten the knob until you can and then loosen it slowly until you feel the resistance.
Don't loosen too much or the knob would come off and the spring would fall to be lost for eternity. I was lucky to find mine when I first put my printer together.
There should be some friction as the nozzle holds on to the paper, if you don't feel that friction loosen the knob at that corner to allow the bed to move closer the nozzle. Once we feel resistance when dragging the paper back and forth we know that it’s at the right distance from the nozzle.
Ok, now that this corner is set, tap on the control knob to move to the next corner. Repeat the same process for each corner and finally it would move to the centre. Adjust the centre by turning the corner knobs equally, until the resistance is just right.
Repeat the process once again as the code will make the nozzle move to the four corners again, this time should be easier as we’ve already set it up and there you go, your printer bed is level.
Print the file
CHEP_bed_level_print.gcode from the archive downloaded earlier. The printer would start printing concentric squares, and if the printer nozzle is at the right height the printed filament would not be easy to push off the bed as it has adhered properly. If the print is too light (colour/thickness) then the nozzle needs to be lower, and if nothing is being printed the nozzle is too low and is being blocked.
You can adjust the corner knobs as the printer is printing, adjusting the nozzle height. The print would be a visual indication if the level is correct or not.
Print the bed levelling file provided below, and check if the look is consistent on all the squares. Redo the calibration if any of the squares look off or printed badly. Adjust the corner where the square is not printed properly until it looks perfect.
If nothing is printed, the nozzle is too close, if there are gaps, the nozzle is too high.
This needs to be done until all the squares look perfect.
Click Here to download
So that is how you would level the 3d printer bed, hope it helped. Some users use a plastic card to test the level, I used a piece of paper as it’s accessible to most of us.
Also I use a glass bed, as glass stays flat as opposed to metal which can bend when heated.
I also have a BL-Touch installed which can auto-bed level by probing multiple points on the bed, but I went through the process manually to show how it can be done. I do have an Instructable on how to install a BL-Touch, so make sure to check that out too.
I hope this Instructable was useful and helps clear some misconceptions on how complex the process is.