Quick guide on how to achieve a levelled printer bed.
3D printing is a fun and exciting educational tool, but to achieve success you need to ensure that your 3D printer is well calibrated. To achieve high-quality prints, you need to have a level print bed. An unlevel bed can result in uneven adhesion, warping, and even failed prints.
After years of 3D printing in the classroom the first thing I will do is ensure the bed is level. Level the bed and success will follow. I’m often asked how to do it so, here is a step-by-step guide on how to manually level your 3D printer’s print bed. In this video I have used the popular creality ender 3 model. The principles can be applied to almost any 3D printer that can be manually levelled.
Step 1: Get a piece of paper, not too thick, standard printer paper is fine.
Step 2: Find the Bed Leveling Screws The print bed is usually held in place by four screws located at each corner of the bed. The location of these screws can vary depending on your printer model, so refer to your manual if needed.
Step 3: Home the Printer Before you begin levelling, make sure that the print head is at the home position. You can do this by sending the “home” command from your 3D printing software or using the control panel on your printer. After homing the printer, disable the stepper motors. This is essential so you can move the printer head about the build platform.
Step 4: Test the First Corner Take a piece of paper and place it under the nozzle, near the first screw. Use your other hand to slowly turn the bed levelling screw to either raise or lower the bed. The nozzle should just barely touch the paper. You want to achieve a tiny gap with the the paper so it will slightly drag on the nozzle when pulling.
Step 5: Test the Other Corners Repeat steps 4 for each of the remaining three corners. It is important to test each corner individually and make the necessary adjustments to ensure that the bed is level.
Step 6: Test the Entire Bed After adjusting all four screws, it’s a good idea to check the level of the entire bed. If there are any, you can make small adjustments to the screws until the bed is perfectly level.
Step 7: Retest the First Corner After making any final adjustments, it’s a good idea to retest the first corner to ensure that the bed has not been disturbed during the levelling process.
And that’s it. After doing it a few times it will become second nature. A levelled print bed is an essential component of successful 3D printing, and this manual levelling process will ensure that your prints come out perfect every time.
I usually find that I will check the levelling of the bed every few prints and will always re-level for a large print lasting more than an hour. The last thing you want is a 6 hour print messing up a few hours in.
I hope you found this useful!
By Phil Cotton – Teacher and learnbylayers founder.