An even bed is one of the first conditions for a perfect printout of a 3D printer. If you are into 3D printing, you have probably heard of Creality. In this article, I’ll discuss Creality’s Ender 3 auto bed leveling and what options you have available to achieve auto-leveling with this particular printer. Without further ado, let’s begin.
What’s Auto Bed Leveling?
Auto bed leveling technology works with the bed and nozzle to create a level surface when printing. As I mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to have a level print platform or “Bed” to get a precise print.
Before auto bed leveling was mainstream, the leveling was a time-consuming task done by adjusting the screws. Not only is the manual leveling repetitive, but also it’s somewhat inaccurate at times.
In case of auto leveling, all the adjustment is made by the help of sensors and firmware. The sensor measures the distance between the nozzle and the bed and moves the nozzle up and down accordingly.
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Importance of auto leveling
There are several reasons why auto leveling is vital for your 3D printing projects. I have told you about manual leveling before, how boring and time-consuming it can be. Apart from that, other reasons that can mess with the quality of the print.
If you don’t know already, 3D printers primarily work in layers. Whatever you are printing, the first layer is the most important as it gives the print a solid foundation. Due to the uneven printing bed, this layer doesn’t stick to the bed as it’s supposed to. As a result, the print can get ruined easily.
Another thing that happens often is that the nozzle gets dipped into the print as the distance reduces between the nozzle and printing bed. So not only does it affect the print, but the nozzle can get clogged too.
All these problems mentioned above only have one solution, installing a Creality Ender 3 auto bed leveling device.
How does auto bed leveling work?
To better understand the auto bed leveling option, I’ll be breaking down how this auto bed leveling process actually works.
Most of the auto bed leveling kits use a proximity sensor to adjust the nozzle. The sensor is usually attached to the printer head.
When you begin the printing process, the sensor moves on the heated bed, scanning the bed at different points. This way, the sensor collects necessary data about the bed, mostly where it’s uneven. Later, the data is sent to the firmware of the leveling kit.
To work with a particular printer, first, you have to install the firmware into the printer. The firmware then calculates and determines the distance of the nozzle and the bed at different points of the printing process.
The nozzle adjustments are made along the z-axis to maintain the necessary distance. The sensor is capable of scanning out even the slightest uneven parts of the bed.
One thing to notice here is that the sensor doesn’t move the printing bed around. Instead, it works with the nozzle and moves around while the bed stays still. So maintaining the same distance covers up for the uneven bed and gives you a perfect printing result.
Related: Ender 3 retraction settings
The options for setting up the Ender 3 with auto-level functionality
For a price tag of $200, Ender 3 is one of the most affordable 3D printers on the market. With tons of great features, this can be a great purchase. However, one thing I have seen users complain about Ender 3 is the leveling issue.
So, in this part, I’ll tell you about three standard Ender 3 auto level solutions. These leveling devices work with sensors and firmware, so installing these will require some primary technical knowledge.
BLTouch Auto Bed Leveling Sensor
BLTouch automatic leveling module is the most commonly used bed leveling sensor for Ender 3. Even Creality recommends this product for Ender 3, and if you want, you can buy it through Creality’s official website.
This device work with a proximity sensor that calculates the distance with high-precision according to the printing bed and application.
The sensor is compatible with different sorts of bed materials like metal, glass, and wood. Additionally, smart features like self-test, alarm and touch switch modes give this sensor edge over other bed leveling sensors on the market.
Now, you can either buy the sensor alone or get a full kit that comes with accessories needed to install the auto leveling sensor. I would recommend going for the entire3D printer bed leveling kit. Because for a few bucks more, you’ll get screws, power cable, mounting brackets and so on coming with the sensor. If you are confused about which kit you should buy, have a look at these options below:
- Houkr BLTouch Auto Bed Leveling Sensor Kit
- F1RST LAYER BLTouch Auto Bed Leveling Sensor Kit
- Comgrow BLTouch Auto Bed Leveling Sensor Kit
EZABL Pro Auto Bed Leveling Kit
The EZABL is more of a premium alternative to the BLTouchauto bed leveling kit. Unlike the BLTouch leveling kit, EZABL uses a custom capacitive sensor to read the printing bed. The sensor is not sold separately, so you have to buy the full kit here. The price is a bit higher than BLTouch auto bed leveling kit, but the features you get are worth every penny.
Premium features include zero temperature drift, thermal runway protection, and compatibility with open-source firmware. Additionally, this is the only auto bed leveling kit on the market that features fully shielded cabling. There are two power options; you can either use the AC adapter included in the kid or through the USB port.
Custom Auto Bed Leveling Kit
The last method on my list is for enthusiastic people. Instead of buying the kits above, you can purchase the pieces separately and gather together a kit of your own. If you decide to purchase the sensor and mounting brackets from the store, it’ll be cheaper than buying a 3D printer auto bed leveling kit. However, putting all the things together, especially the firmware, will need extensive knowledge in the field. If you don’t feel confident enough, you are better off with the first two options.
I hope you have found a suitable method for Ender 3 auto bed leveling by now. An auto bed leveling device is not compulsory. However, it can make your job way more manageable. Now that you know why auto bed leveling is important and how auto bed leveling works, it’ll be easier for you to compare the options. Just pick one from the options and mentioned, and you’ll get a flawless printing experience with Ender 3.