It is really important to make sure your 3D Printer Build platform or “bed” is at a level distance on all points of the bed with the extruder nozzle. There are two ways of doing this, manual and automatic bed leveling.
Manual Bed Leveling
Manual is moving the extruder head to all four corners of the bed plate. You will need to turn the bed screw so the bed is at a equal distance away from the extruder nozzle.
By doing this you can use the paper technique. All you need to do is place a piece of paper on the bed and adjust the bed screws until the nozzle is rubbing against the paper, it only needs a little amount of friction. You can also purchase a feeler gauge that comes with different thickness gauge and it is a more faster technique.
This will help you with getting a more precise bed level, because you don’t want an uneven bed surface. It can result in clogging your nozzle and scratching your print surface. On some print surfaces you can apply to much pressure that your print won’t stick. If you don’t apply enough pressure the print still won’t stick, so its better to be in between this.
The first layer is the most important layer of all, this will help determine the quality of your top layers. If there is to much pressure this could result in scraping all the top layers. This is not a good look, you don’t want to spend many hours fixing this. With the manual bed levelling process you will have to repeat this procedure at least twice a week depending on how much you print. On the other hand this method can get very tedious but the end result you will be glad.
How Auto Bed Leveling Works
So your 3D printer supports automatic bed leveling this is a lot better than manual bed leveling. Once you have it setup and calibrated you should be able to leave it as it is.
Automatic bed leveling is a sensor that probes any amount of points you add in your firmware. It takes those points that it has probed and calculates the whole bed, and prints on that plane.
So this means if your bed is not completely flat then the auto leveling procedure will fix this. There are many different options in marlin firmware for choosing how much probe points and how your sensor works.
Different types of automatic bed sensors
There are a few different types of bed sensors these are.
Probe sensors are sensors that can pick up any surfaces like metal, wood, plastic there are many other different types of material. The auto bed sensor we have found good as a probe sensor is the BLTouch. Probe sensors are very accurate and would be the number one sensor for your 3D printer in our eyes.
Inductive sensors can only pick up metal surfaces if choosing this sensor please make sure your print surface is metal, there is away around this, by placing down a thin metal sheet on your 3D printer bed, you will need to take into account the thickness of this sheet and compensate it in your z offset.
Proximity sensors in our eyes would be a better candidate than the inductive sensor, this sensor picks up the distance between the sensor and your print surface.
The slicer we use Simplify3D
We choose this slicer because it is more compatible with more 3D printers than any other software available. Chances are your 3D printer will be supported. Simplify3D will translates your 3D models into instructions that your 3D printer will understand. In fact more than 90% of experts agree that having better software, will have the greatest impact on print quality, even more so than the 3D printer itself.
Using Auto Bed Leveling in Simplify3D
If you are using the 3D printer for the 1st time then it is a simply process in Simplify3D to get your profile imported, you can find them on the internet or by going to Help > Configuration Assistant within the software. Not all 3D printer profiles are loaded into Simplify3D. This you can correct by downloading them or making a fresh one.
Once the profile is loaded click on “Edit Process Settings“, go to the scripts tab, select the starting script. This script lets you control what happens at the start of each print. The “G29” command tells the printer to perform the auto levelling process. The printer will perform its normal homing operation first before it begins, the auto levelling process. It is important to make sure the G29 command is after the G28 (homing command) in the starting script.
Don’t forget to BACKUP!
Please make sure you save the new profile settings and make sure you have backups to test if the settings you have added works.
When you start a new test print watch over this to make sure the automatic bed sensor starts probing at the start of each print. Please keep in mind that the auto bed leveling process is controlled by your firmware, the exact locations the probe moves will indicate the type of leveling you want it to do
If you’ve gotten this far WELL DONE. So now i’m guessing the auto bed leveling has worked and that your 3D printer moves on a level plane. But keep in mind that you may still need to make adjustments to your first layer settings for optimal adhesion. You can do this by using the command “M851 Z-1.2” of course the -1.2 wont be what you need you but remember you can adjust this settings (– moves closer to the bed + moves further away)
Do you want smooth layers then why not check out this article 3D Printer calibration to smooth layers.