15 Aug 2014

Auto-bed Leveling

written by hunter | Tags:

So I built a 3D printer. Which worked great and all, but came with a little deficiency. Leveling the bed before every print was a huge pain, took way too long, and really got in the way of an easy printing experience. The solution? Auto-bed leveling. A quick printer upgrade using 3D printed parts.

I’ll admit, I didn’t reinvent the wheel for this one. I’m posting this mainly because it’s been such a useful thing to have, that I just need to give credit where credit is due. If you’ve got a Prusa i3 printer and you’re tired of manual bed leveling, check out this guide. It’s truly invaluable.
The main challenges here were getting the printed parts to work with my setup. You can see I also installed a modified version of the standard fan shroud, as the shroud that’s generally recommended wasn’t quite fitting right. Likewise, the printed servo arm wasn’t fitting my servo perfectly, so that part had to be modified slightly. The rest mostly went together without any trouble, though calibrating the auto-bed leveling feature of the Marlin firmware took many redeploys of the code. A tenth of a millimeter off could cause prints to either not stick at all or stick so toughly that no amount of working away with pliers would get the printed pieces off the bed in one piece. In the end, I managed to get it all calibrated, and now printing is a breeze. Getting that first layer height right was always the toughest part of a print, and now that happens automatically, near perfectly, every single time. Best use of $15 I’ve spent on the printer thus far.
Here’s a short video of the working auto-leveling.