Bed Leveling The Stinger Story by David L Ashenbrener

What is a STINGER? Bed Leveling

The worlds first integrated print head for mounting bed leveling , sensors, hot ends, fangs and cooling fans for the Creality CR10 and various clone 3D printers.

Available directly from the website: 3Dprint2form


Who Am I ?

I’m an artist, a mechanic and a metal smith. I’ve enjoyed a very long career designing, crafting and reverse engineering architectural adornments for the building industry and had a very successful run. When my industry was in its infancy 30 years ago, there were few if any machines or CNC equipment to shape form and reverse engineer 3-d objects and parts…so I invented my own when PC CNC controls were in their infancy. However, stepping back to how I got there is the story here…

Deep Mechanical Understanding

At about age 8 my dad brought home a BSA motorcycle much to the chagrin of my mom. It was back in the days right after the British music invasion and during the time of the Japanese motorcycle and gadget revolution. I had a very curious mind and my father would explain how a reciprocal engine worked.

I was a sponge and would take stuff apart to see how it worked, however my dad would have kicked my but if I didn’t have it back together and working before he arrived home from work….I became infatuated with mechanical devices and how different designs worked differently to basically do the same end result. I had to take apart the box to see the “magic” happening inside…

I quickly graduated, learning about circuits and D.C. Motors immersing myself with the typical toys at the time in the form of slot racing racetracks and erector set projects, bicycle repair, to building go-carts with old lawn mower engines.

Moreover gravitating toward a motorcycle shop that opened its doors a few blocks down the street from home I began doing chores, assembling BSA and Yamaha motorcycles from the shipping crates and just hanging out to learn from the shop owner. Taking a special interest in me he would take me into his machining room to introduce me into the world of how stuff was made at age 10-11…

Better yet he supported a racing team that would congregate in the evenings to discuss inventive ways to make their bikes faster and better handling.  I eventually ended up being sent to Honda Factory Training at age 16 and had a relatively extended career as service manager there until girls started coming into my peripheral….one of who recognized an aptitude I had for art.

Pursuing it, I enrolled in the ART PROGRAM at the University of Wisconsin…..but that’s another story for another time.


Growing a Business and Family

Fast forward to settling into a vocation and career, I worked with some furniture and interior designers which took me down a career path of exterior design and architectural embellishments. The time was right for this as my now home town of Naples FL was in a growing spurt. The timing couldn’t have been better…I built the business up using processing machines of my design, sporting the latest PC motion controller technology.


Evolution of machining technology to FDM

I heard the buzz about 3-d printers some years back and how the open source scene made them very popular, but I didn’t fully understand the capabilities of addition manufacturing given that 3-d printers can make objects that cannot be machined conventionally. I still dismissed them until my company was called on to replicate cast parts for antique motorcycles that were unobtainable by any other means….

Then stuff got “real” in the sense that I had fallen behind in my visions to include 3-d printers in my “toolbox”.

After my first CR10 printer purchase, I knew I had to climb the learning curve very quickly. In making 3D printed objects, there seemed to be so much involved in bed leveling that it took much needed time away from my other duties. There had to be a better way, but there wasn’t.


The Device

Some of the CNC machines I invented over the years sported inductive and capacitive proximity sensing technology. I discovered that there was one bed leveling system on the market for 3D printers that used the capacitive type. Knowing the instability of that type, I sought out a solution. When it finally hit me that I had already invented one year’s back for a plasma cutter I built and use regularly.  It operates an automatic height control device using a simple and effective end switch as the solution.



As I developed an in house prototype for an integrated print head that would be a Hot-end holder, Sensor Mount and Trigger, plus Mount for the Fans and Fangs, I found out it worked so good that thoughts of bringing it to market suddenly occurred to me. I knew I would have to test and retest it. All the parts would have to fit perfectly together and be easy to install. This was done with the help of my CAD Engineer in our off time, nights and weekends for 2 1/2 months, tirelessly reprinting parts over until we got each one right.


What Is It ?

I then started my first YouTube promo campaign. The questions of what it was exactly rang over and over.  It’s not a sensor but supports any type. It has a built in hot-end holder for three of the most popular hot-ends on the market. It integrates the hot-end of choice with the sensor of choice….integration where all options are contained in one package with the freedom to pick your components. Isn’t that the spirit of what open source is all about?


World’s First Integrated 3D Printer Head

The Stinger is an integration of the hot end holder, cooling fans and fangs, support platform for a bed leveling system of your choice. It’s all included in the mechanism and price. A study of how accurately the stock end switch on all tried machines,

we concluded it is more than accurate enough for the task at hand bed leveling, splitting the distance 4 times further than a stepper motor can interpret it. You have the ability to mount your stock end switch and use the Stinger right out of the box or add the sensor of your choice.

It’s all here. Bolt it on plug it in, download updated firmware, set your offset, save to Eprom, load your program walk away….as the old saying goes….SET IT AND FORGET IT!

If you would like to purchase the Stinger auto bed leveling system head over to 3DPrint2Form

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Like what you see why not take a look at this! Beginners to auto leveling in Simplify3D


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