Bed leveling is one of the activities you should learn to do if you own a 3D printer. While it is not an easy task, it does not mean it is impossible to accomplish. You need to understand the different parts of the printer and how they correlate.
What Is Bed Leveling?
Bed leveling is the adjustment of the different parts of your 3D printer machine to make sure it prevents objects as it was intended.
Why Do You Need to Level the Bed?
In order for the printer to work effectively, you need to align the extruder nozzle to ensure it is the perfect distance to the printing surface. You should make sure that the nozzle moves perfectly along the x-and y-axis of the printing bed.
If the extruder nozzle is too close to the printing bed, you might end up with scratches or even destroy your printer bed.
On the other hand, there will be no printing if it is too far away because the plastic filament will not reach the bed.
· Spatula or plastic blade
· Brass brush
· Heat-resistant gloves
· Dish soap and microfiber washcloth
· A clean, dry cloth
· Isopropyl alcohol
Step by step Guide of Leveling Ender 3 Bed
Since all Ender 3 beds don’t come with an automatic leveling feature, you have to carry out the process manually. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to; the following instructions will guide you through.
1. Prep the Plate and Nozzle
The first step involves a lot of preparation in terms of cleaning as described below:
· Ensure the build plate is clean. If it is dirty, remove it and clean it
· If any sticky stuff is on the surface, use a spatula to remove and clean it off.
· Using warm soapy water, wash the glass or magnetic build plate and dry it off thoroughly with a clean cloth. Alternatively, you can use a window cleaner or acetone to clean built-up ABS glue or hairspray.
· Dry the build plate, ultimately ensuring there are no lint remains.
· Reattach the build plate, ensuring it does not display any ripples. Make sure to use clips to attach to the heated bed.
· Clean the nozzle by heating it to the last temperature used and wiping it off.
2. Prep the Machine
The second step is to prepare the machine before leveling the bed.
· Turn on the 3D printer machine.
· Push the control button and scroll to the PREPARE menu.
· Select and press the AUTO HOME button. The hot end will move and stop at the left front of the bed.
· Push the PREPARE button again.
· Select DISABLE STEPPERS and press the control enabling the bed to move back and forth quickly.
· Rotate each of the four wheels counter-clockwise once or twice to lower the bed. The reason for rotating the leveling wheels is to make sure the nozzle tip is higher than the bed.
3. Leveling the Ender 3 Bed
Now that everything is clean and ready to go, you can start the leveling process.
· Move the nozzle so that it hovers above the bottom left adjustment screw of the bed.
· Slide a piece of paper between the bed and the nozzle
· Slowly raise the corner with the adjuster when you feel any resistance from a corner. That means that corner is ready to print.
· Work on the other corners as well. Remember that clockwise movements move the bed up, so be careful to avoid scratches or scraping. Move the hot end slowly to avoid damaging the build plate.
· Once through with the process, go over the four corners again, adjusting accordingly until all four align correctly.
The above steps will help you ensure that your bed leveling process is a success. If you have never done this before, take your time and exercise patience. With a learning guide, you will maintain your machine in tip-top shape.
One rule of thumb is always to keep an eye on your printer to spot any changes. The slightest change might mean something is up, and you should consider checking it out. If your printer produces a slightly larger or smaller print than you had in mind, it is vital to inspect for a lurking problem.
We did our share of research to pack this article with valuable tips. While navigating the web, we came across a couple of links that helped us along the way. Here are some that will be worth checking out:
When Should You Level The Bed?
· The gap between filament lines differs across the build surface
· The height and width of filament varies across the build surface
· The nozzle does not extract filament in certain areas
· The filament isn’t sticking to the build surface.
Maintenance tips for a 3D printer machine
Remember that the machine needs proper attention and care to run smoothly, whatever printer you are using. As much as you don’t want warped images, you should note that your machine will give you fantastic object images with proper maintenance.
No one wants abnormal noises coming from their printer. Hideous-looking prints are bad enough, add on top of that overheating, and the disappointment is almost overwhelming. But, if you take care of your machine, all will be well.
The following are helpful tips that will help in maintaining your Ender 3 printer:
· Clean your printer regularly
· Wipe off any unnecessary spillage
· Routinely lubricate the appropriate parts
· Inspect your machine regularly
· Carry out performance checks on the axis
Printing a high-quality 3D image is achievable if your machine is working correctly. If that is not the case, the resulting image will be unpleasant. To avoid such occurrences, you have to make sure your printer is good, especially the leveling.
Follow the above tips, and you will create high-quality images in no time. Once you learn and practice the bed leveling process, it will take you a few minutes to do it independently. Keep in mind to maintain a cleaning routine.