Bed Leveling

Why Re-Level The Bed

Mechanical Reasons

  • You just did some major maintenance involving the frame or the bed.

Symptomatic Reasons

  • I can't get one corner of the bed low enough.
  • I can't get one corner of the bed high enough.
  • My bed seems to be disobeying the laws of physics.

How To Level The Bed

We are talking an absolute full re-leveling of the bed. Sometimes things are so wonky it is best to just start over. Many times in the beginning I had leveling issues that drove me crazy until I learned to do this.

Make Sure Your X-Axis Bar Is Level

This is technically not part of the bed leveling but you are wasting your time if you try to level the bed and your X-Axis bar is at an angle. It is a bit confusing calling it the X-Axis bar when it is also part of the Z-Axis so prepare yourself for the next bit.

Some people recommend running the bar all the way to the top but I'd rather watch paint dry than watch the stepper motors slowly lower it all the way down. What I do instead is I use these Z-Axis Alignment Posts. Shameful plug as I designed them. Still, they work wonderfully and the bar does not have to be lifted much at all saving you time. You can accomplish the same thing with something akin to a block of wood. The key is to have one on both sides at the same time so that when you adjust one side it doesn't affect the other side.

Lower Your Bed All Of The Way

Screw all of the four corners of your bed all the way until the springs are compressed. You don't have to make these super tight, just make sure all four corners are equally tight. At this point your nozzle, at home position, should almost certainly not touch the bed.

Methodically Raise The Bed

This is the final bit of the secret sauce that will make your bed so much easier to deal with. Start lifting the bed but only do so in small increments and raise each corner equally. I typically raise each corner one or two full spins and then repeat this process until I am close to having the nozzle touch the bed.

Once you are close, make smaller adjustments to each corner. For example do quarter turns of the screws.

Finally once the nozzle touches the bed, check all four corners. Chances are there will need to still be some fine adjustments because none of us are perfect and it is easy to not be robotically accurate when spinning the nuts. Hopefully though, at this point it should be very very close to level and you can continue to level it as you normally do.

My Method of Leveling

Heat The Bed (Not The Nozzle)

I've found it helps to have the bed at least slightly warm. 50 degrees C does nicely. You do not want the nozzle to be hot though. See the next step...

Make Sure The Nozzle Is Clean

You don't want your nozzle to have any filament poking out and definitely not be hot and drippy while you are trying to level. Clean it off and do this while cool.

Spot Check and Adjust

I use a thin sheet of paper and slide it between the nozzle and the bed. I find it is best when you can still slide the paper back with one hand but feel a slight resistence.

Do opposite corners, so if you level front left corner you would then level the back right corner. If you have to make a major adjustment something is wrong. This should mostly be a tiny adjustment one way or the other. Continue doing this until you can test all four corners without having to adjust any of them.

Final Fine Tuning

Once done you should be pretty good and hopefully your bed will remain stable for a long time to come. However, I set my prints to have a skirt and usually make the skirt at least 5 lines (depending on the size of the print. I use this time to see how the filament is laying down and make micro adjustments to get the filament laying down equally smooth on all sides.

This last step takes practices but this is typically the only leveling I ever have to do unless I do some kind of major maintenance.