The levelness of your 3D printer’s bed is one of the primary factors that will determine the success of the printing process and the quality of the final product you obtain from it, as it’s only possible for the 3D printer to calculate the correct positions for the movement of the axes if the bed is correctly leveled.
Unfortunately, starting a print with a correctly leveled bed does not always come easy, especially considering how measurement-sensitive the process of 3D printing is and how even a millimetric disturbance can throw all the calculations of the 3D printer off.
In today’s article, we will be talking about the procedure of testing the bed levelness status of an Ender 3, which is a crucial preparation step that will ensure you don’t face issues related to the bed leveling during or after the printing process when the damage is already done.
So, how can you test whether your Ender 3’s bed is level or not as quickly and precisely as possible before moving forward with a print?
The most reliable way of testing whether your Ender 3’s bed is level or not is to print a bed level tester, which essentially is a G-code file designed explicitly with the purpose of showing you the levelness of the bed and allowing you to adjust it during the process.
In the upcoming sections, we will dive deeper into the process of testing the bed of an Ender 3 for levelness, discuss how often the Ender 3 bed requires leveling for optimal results, and finally, go through the process of finding out whether the bed of your Ender 3 is warped or not, which is a factor that can throw the levelness off.
How to Test If Your Ender 3’s (Pro/V2) Bed Is Level?
Testing whether your Ender 3’s bed is correctly leveled or not is a pretty simple process with no technical complexity involved, and at the same time, it will produce much better results than trying to find out whether the bed is level or not with the naked eye.
To test whether your Ender 3’s bed is level or not, we highly recommend using a bed level testing G-code, as it makes the processes of both testing the levelness of the bed and fixing it a lot more user-friendly than manually performing them for beginners and experts alike.
In a nutshell, a bed level testing G-code consists of a list of tasks such as moving the printhead to the four corners of your Ender 3’s bed to allow you to fix the leveling, printing skirts around the print bed, and printing small circles or squares on the corners and the center of the bed.
Such tasks allow you to both actively fix the levelness of your bed without having to perform the movements manually and also observe whether the leveling is correct, as the positioning of the various shapes that the 3D printer prints especially accentuates inconsistencies caused by an incorrectly leveled bed.
Below, you can find a step-by-step guide that you can follow to utilize the particular Ender 3 bed level testing G-code we recommend using:
- Download and start printing the G-code file as you usually would with any other printing process.
- Wait until the printhead stops at one of the corners.
- Fix the levelness of the current corner by adjusting the leveling knob located underneath until the spacing between the nozzle and the bed equals the thickness of a piece of paper.
- Press the button on the LCD screen of your Ender 3.
- Repeat steps 2 to 4 seven more times (the G-code will do two passes on each corner) and ensure that all corners are leveled.
- Wait until the 3D printer finishes printing the test model.
Once you are done correcting the bed leveling and printing the test file, we highly recommend observing the border and each disc within thoroughly for any signs of inconsistency that may indicate the bed still isn’t completely level, and in the case there are inconsistencies, going through the bed level tester again.
How Often Should You Level Your Ender 3’s (Pro/V2) Bed?
Since the bed of your Ender 3 may not always stay level due to the wear and tear that occurs due to prolonged usage, it’s a good idea to check for levelness frequently and re-level if necessary to preserve the health of the printing process.
In a nutshell, you should level the bed of your Ender 3 whenever a scenario capable of impacting the levelness of the bed occurs, as even an event that may seem insignificant can throw the bed leveling off and cause your prints to fail.
Below, you can find some examples of scenarios that we recommend leveling the bed after to avoid any problems down the line:
- Removing and re-assembling or replacing the extruder
- Moving the 3D printer to a different area
- Removing and reinstalling the print bed
- Bumping into the 3D printer
- Pulling or scraping a stuck 3D printed model from the bed
- Occurrence of bed leveling-related problems on the prints
Aside from such circumstances, while leveling the bed after every five prints would be our recommendation, as wear and tear that occurs during the print can throw the levelness of the bed off, there is nothing wrong with leveling the bed after each print either, other than it potentially being a waste of time.
Finally, leveling the bed before each large print is often a good idea, as you wouldn’t want to find out that your bed is not level only after spending hours of time and a considerable amount of filament on a print that will not succeed.
How To Tell If the Bed of Your Ender 3 (Pro/V2) is Warped?
As a warp will singlehandedly cause the bed of your Ender 3 not to be leveled anymore, finding out whether your Ender 3’s bed is suffering from such an issue is vital to be able to restore the levelness of the bed by compensating for the warp.
To find out if the bed of your Ender 3’s bed is warped, we recommend starting with loosening all the leveling knobs located under the bed to ensure that they don’t have any impact on the positioning of the bed, placing a spirit level on various areas of the bed, and taking readings.
With all the leveling knobs loosened, your Ender 3’s bed should be perfectly straight, and if the spirit level indicates that any point of the bed is not entirely straight, this would mean that the bed must have got warped at some point.
For best results, we highly recommend taking readings from all the points of the bed since it’s entirely possible for only a minimal area of the bed to be warped, which can still throw the bed leveling off and cause adverse effects on the printing process.
As it may not always be possible to find out whether the bed of your Ender 3 is correctly leveled or not with the naked eye, testing the bed for levelness now and then with methods that will detect even the slightest amount of skewing is the best course of action to obtain high-quality prints.
To quickly recap, we can consider utilizing a bed level testing G-code to be the most straightforward and reliable way of testing your Ender 3’s print bed levelness, as such G-code files are specifically designed to prompt the 3D printer to print in areas that would highlight the inconsistencies.
Since the bed level testing G-code largely streamlines the process of fixing the bed’s levelness as well, all there is left to do after initiating the print is to perform the necessary adjustments, observe the results, and repeat the same procedure until the results indicate that the bed is correctly leveled.