There is no denying that the process of 3D printing can be pretty susceptible to print failures due to physical damage with the many mechanical components 3D printers consist of, especially considering that even a minor problem with one of the components can cause the printing process to fail.
As damage can occur due to various causes such as misuse, incidents, misconfiguration, and even regular wear and tear, going through the components of your 3D printer now and then and ensuring that everything is working as intended, especially if you use your 3D printer frequently, is a good idea to prolong your 3D printer’s lifespan.
Today, our topic is an issue that troubles many 3D printing enthusiasts who own an Ender 3, known as a warped bed, where the bed of the Ender 3 becomes deformed due to various reasons, creating a scenario where the space between the bed and the printhead becomes inconsistent in different regions of the build area.
So, how can you fix your Ender 3’s warped bed?
While there is not a fix that you can apply for your Ender 3’s warped bed other than replacing it, you can negate the adverse effects of the warping through methods such as clipping a flat surface on top of the bed or balancing out the warped areas by applying tape or tinfoil.
In the upcoming sections, we will dive deeper into the process of fixing your Ender 3’s warped bed, discuss ways of leveling a warped bed as an alternative, examine the factors that can cause the bed to warp, and finally, take a quick look at how to identify a warped bed.
How to Fix Your Ender 3’s (Pro/V2) Warped Bed?
A warped bed is an immediate problem that requires fixing before you can continue printing with your Ender 3 again, as the inconsistencies caused by it will severely affect your prints in a negative way and can even damage your 3D printer.
Even though it’s not really possible to do anything to bring it back to its original unwarped state other than replacing it once the bed of your Ender 3 is warped, neutralizing the harmful effects of a warped print bed is perfectly achievable.
The most straightforward way to entirely ignore the warping of the bed is to attach a flat and non-flexible 3D printing surface, such as glass, on top of the warped bed with clips, which will give your Ender 3 a flat surface to print on without any inconsistencies.
While more prone to error, a more budget-friendly way of compensating for the warping of your Ender 3’s bed is to place materials such as blue painter’s tape or tinfoil between the bed and the build surface in a way that will allow the build surface to sit entirely straight on the bed.
Finally, while there is the very last option of replacing the warped bed altogether, this is not something we generally recommend, as it’s just as likely for your new print bed to become or even arrive in a warped state.
How to Level a Warped Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Bed?
In cases where it may not be possible to straighten the warped bed out, leveling it and getting your 3D printer to compensate for the differences can also be a viable solution, allowing you to obtain successful prints with a warped bed.
There are two distinct strategies you can apply to level the warped bed of your Ender 3, which are utilizing the physical bed leveling knobs located on each corner and using the mesh bed leveling process.
The four bed leveling knobs, which you can find under the bed of your Ender 3, control the tension of the springs that lift the bed, meaning that in a case where the four regions of the bed aren’t on the same height due to the warping, you can equalize the heights by adjusting the knobs.
While the leveling knob method may not always bring success as it’s not very precise, it’s definitely worth trying due to the small amount of effort and time it takes to adjust the knobs and quickly determine whether it’s possible to level the bed this way.
On the other hand, unlike the bed leveling knobs that physically impact the positioning of the bed, the mesh bed leveling process takes place on the software level, where the firmware of your Ender 3 creates a mesh of the bed that allows it to be aware of all the inconsistencies in height caused by the warping.
Even though the mesh bed leveling process requires a lot more effort and time (assuming that you’re doing it manually as a warped bed wouldn’t be an issue with an automatic bed leveling probe anyway), the results it yields are a lot more precise compared to utilizing the bed leveling knobs, and unless the bed undergoes even more warping, it will permanently solve the problems caused by the warping.
What Can Cause Your Ender 3’s (Pro/V2) Bed to Warp?
While a better understanding of the potential culprits that can cause your Ender 3’s bed to warp is the best way to take preventative measures and ensure that the likelihood of having to deal with fixing a warped bed stays low, there are also cases where it’s not really possible to do anything about the matter.
In a nutshell, as the bed of the Ender 3 is not exactly the most durable component, it can get warped due to various reasons, ranging from issues during the manufacturing process, meaning that there is a good chance it was warped when you got it, to physical damage, or even simple wear and tear.
As a result, we would recommend not concerning yourself about whether the bed of your Ender 3 is warped or not, as it’s practically accepted in the 3D printing community that it’s pretty standard for a 3D printer’s bed to warp, and as long as you take the appropriate steps to counteract the warping, the printing process won’t be affected negatively.
How to Identify a Warped Ender 3 (Pro/V2) Bed?
In some cases, especially if the bed of your Ender 3 is only slightly warped, you may not be able to identify the problem by directly looking at the bed itself. Fortunately, there is a straightforward procedure that you can use to quickly find out if the bed of your Ender 3 is warped, which eliminates all the doubt.
To find out whether the bed of your Ender 3 is warped or not, all you need to do is to loosen all the leveling knobs under the bed to ensure that the springs aren’t applying any force, and then place a spirit level on top of the bed, which will immediately allow you to see the if the bed is warped.
For the best results, we highly recommend taking readings from different areas of the print bed with distinct angles, especially if your spirit level isn’t large enough to cover a large portion of the bed, as such a scenario can easily hinder the spirit level’s ability to detect warping unless you have enough data points.
As the bed of your Ender 3 becoming warped is, without a doubt, a severe issue that can cause many problems for your prints with the inconsistencies it introduces, unwarping the bed or finding a way to level it in its warped state is vital for a successful printing process.
Even though you won’t be able to restore your Ender 3’s warped bed, there are plenty of methods you can use to counteract the inconsistencies introduced by the warping, such as using a flat build surface, compensating for the warped areas with materials such as tape and tinfoil, or leveling the bed.
While these methods should allow you to use your Ender 3 without any issues related to warping, if using a warped bed does not sit right with you for any reason, you can always go with the not too recommended option of purchasing a new bed for your Ender 3 and replacing the warped one.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.