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Bed Leveling Assist Tool - Ender 3

3D model description

Currently only designed for the Ender 3 / CR-10 printers, this accessory will help you level your print bed in a more visual-friendly way.


Like most useful inventions, this was born out of trying to do something else. I found that I had accidentally created a tool to help with bed leveling.

I was never a fan of the "paper method" because of how you needed to constantly move the printhead around and level the bed by feel. Using this tool, you can get a visual representation of your bed leveling adjustments in addition to a bit of a tactile response.

Note: this tool will not help determine the correct height for the bed, only if it is level. There are other steps to take if you're going to use this method of bed leveling.

Note: Unless you fully adhere the paper down to your print bed, you need to acknowledge that the paper may bend and warp a little the further away you get from the way you secured it to the print bed. I find that slight variation in the line quality is okay; you're being very precise with this method of tuning; extruded plastic will be much more forgiving when it comes to variations in the print surface/levelness of the bed than a pen or marker will.

You may also need an m3x6 screw, depending on the writing tool you're using.


The picture of the bed leveling test was taken immediately after working with the Bed Leveling Assist Tool to level the bed. As the skirts were printing, I live-tuned some corners by running my finger over the skirt when the print head was out of the way and adjusting the bed corner up or down depending on whether I thought the skirt was too tall or too flat. (I didn't go over an eighth of a turn on any of the knobs.)

Once the skirts finished printing, I stopped live-tuning and let the printer print the squares.

I only printed the leveling test once in order to show the effectiveness of the leveling technique and it showed that my bed is slightly warped, but not by enough to drastically affect prints.

(The top left corner of the bottom left square was a little thinner than it should have been. The bottom right square was perfect, along with the center square. The top left square seems like the bottom right corner is a little low and had some scarring. The top right corner was fine, except for the bottom right corner of that square; it seemed to get too thin and had some heavy scarring.)


USING THE TOOL:
Step 1: Begin by installing a pen or other writing instrument in the large hole with the tip pointing downwards. I find that a marker-pen works best with this method of bed leveling.

Step 2: Next, install the tool with the pen on the x-carriage by sliding the tool on to the open area of the x-carriage to the left of the hotened housing.

Step 3: Adjust the pen in the tool so that the tip of the pen is below the tip of your printer's nozzle.

Step 4: Secure the pen in place with an M3 screw if needed. Careful when you tighten the screw; you can easily damage the pen if you tighten the screw too much.

Step 5: Affix a piece of paper to your print bed using either clips or tape to hold it flat.

Step 6: Position your printhead above the paper in any corner of your choosing. Once this is done, use the printer (or your slicing/control software) to begin lowering the height of the printhead until the tip of the pen is touching the paper. Make adjustments by 0.1mm when you start getting close to the paper. Carefully move the x-carriage back and forth in that corner to see if you can draw a line. Raise or lower the printhead by 0.1mm if the line is too heavy or too thin.

Step 7: Once you're happy with the lines you started drawing in the corner you chose, slowly move your printhead by hand (while the Z-axis is still engaged) to different corners, making adjustments to the bed leveling knobs until you can draw uniform lines anywhere you want on the print bed.

You're done! Now you should have a very well leveled print bed, and hopefully, you didn't find out your bed is warped. You can remove the tool from the x-carriage and recover your writing tool if you'd like.


Now... Good news and bad news with finalizing your adjustments. The bad news is that you may need to raise or lower the print bed depending on how far away your nozzle is. The good news is that your bed should be perfectly level already. This means that you can make uniform adjustments to all of your leveling knobs to raise or lower the bed by the correct amount. You can also live-tune the printer with the attached bed leveling test file. If your bed was already almost leveled, you may not even need to raise or lower the whole bed.

Hopefully, you found this method appealing and got some use out of it. Feel free to remix this part or make derivatives for other printers if you think it is worth it.

3D printing settings

Resolution: 0.22mm w/ 0.3mm nozzle
Infill: 20% Rectilinear

  • 3D model format: STL

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CC BY NC SA

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