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  • How should you level the 3D print bed?

How should you level the 3D print bed?

3D Printing Help Centre


In the 123-3D help centre, we answer all your questions about 3D software and printer settings, problems you may experience during or after 3D printing and other 3D-related topics.

How should you level the 3D print bed?

Bed levelling is one of the first things you do after buying a 3D printer. It is a very careful operation because an incorrect setting can lead to failed prints. But how can you best level your print bed? We have useful tips!

What is the purpose of printer levelling?

Bed levelling ensures that the nozzle has exactly the same distance from the print surface everywhere. This way your prints are built up evenly and with the right adjustment, printing problems can be prevented. Read all about the nozzle height and distance of the 3D printer here!

3D printer levelling in 10 steps

With a Plug & Print 3D printer, instructions are often supplied that describe step-by-step the actions of bed levelling. However, with a DIY printer you are often on your own. We are happy to help you on your way with these 10 easy steps!
  1. Before starting, ensure the print bed is tightened to its lowest point and your Z-offset is set to 0, this ensures the print nozzles will not crash in to the print bed. You can do this by slowly tightening the wheels on each corner compressing the springs.
  2. Ensure the build plate is clean, free from grease and dust.
  3. Get the machine up to normal temperature to suit your normal print material, for example 60 degrees C for PLA. Be sure to remove any filament from the extruder and clean the nozzle.
  4. Home the machine and disable the stepper motors.
  5. Starting at the front left corner, place a sheet of paper on the bed, raise the corner using the adjustment wheels under the bed until light friction is felt between the nozzle and print bed. This step should be done gradually to avoid wrapping the bed, so turn each wheel a little at a time until you reach the point you're looking for on all four corners.
  6. Slowly move the extruder to the front right side of the print bed and repeat the process.
  7. Continue around the remaining two rear corners, again repeating the same process.
  8. You should finish the levelling process in the centre of the print bed.
  9. Repeat these steps 2 or 3 times to achieve the best results, working your way around the print bed and finishing in the centre.
  10. Once you have completed these steps you can start a test print and fine tune your Z-offset to achieve the best results.

Can a print bed also be levelled automatically?

There are 3D printers that have automatic bed levelling. The levelling of the print bed is done there for you. There are also various options for DIY printer kits. If you buy an auto bed levelling sensor, you can set up your printer in such a way that the levelling is done completely automatically. Pay close attention to the different types of sensors. In many cases, hardware and software modifications are required. Sometimes you also need to get started with custom firmware. So check carefully whether the sensor is suitable for your printer.

When should I re-level my printer?

A 3D printer is first levelled before the first use. After that, it kind of depends on whether you're going to have to deal with printing problems. You can deduce from your prints whether bed levelling is necessary. You can notice this if:
  • The print does not 'stick' to the print bed
    • A first layer is crucial for a good print. It must therefore be properly attached to the printing surface. If the distance from the nozzle to the print bed is too great, the filament will not stick enough and will come loose. To prevent this, we recommend the use of 3DLAC adhesive spray. Incidentally, there can also be other causes, as a result of which the filament does not stick. Quickly learn how to fix this problem.
  • Holes appear in the first layer or the layers are too thin
    • If the print bed is not completely straight, holes may appear in the first layer. This is because the nozzle is not continuously at the same distance from the print bed. To fix this, you need to re-level your printer. Curious about how under extrusion can even arise? Check out this common problem.
  • Excess plastic remains after the first layer
    • If the distance between the nozzle and the print bed is too small, you can suffer from filament blobs. This can cause the print to come off at a later time, it also affects the alignment of the entire print and the nozzle can become clogged. On this page, you will find more tips to prevent blobs or bumps.
Now that you have insight into the characteristics of an ‘unequal’ print bed, you can intervene in time. This way you can stop the print, so that as little filament as possible is lost. When you remove a (failed) print from the print bed, it is possible that something just shifts, so that the alignment is no longer optimal. In that case you will have to level your printer again. Then simply follow the above steps again and you can get started again!

Do you have another question?

Have you not been able to find the answer to your question in the overview above? At 123-3D.co.uk we are busy with 3D printing every day and we like to follow every development. We are happy to share the knowledge and experience that we have built up over the years with you in our 3D printing help centre!
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