Best Auto-Leveling Sensor for 3D Printing – Ender 3 & More
Getting the best auto-leveling sensor for your 3D printer is a valuable upgrade for better first layers, leading to more successful 3D prints. This article will go through some of the best auto-leveling sensors that you can get.
The best auto leveling sensor for 3D printing is between the BLTouch and the CR Touch. They can both be used on a variety of surfaces and have great accuracy for leveling. Some people have gotten better performance out of the BLTouch, while others think the CR Touch is superior due to its optical sensor.
You’ll want to know more about the best auto-leveling sensors, so keep reading on.
Best Bed Auto-Leveling Sensor for 3D Printers – Ender 3 & More
The BLTouch (Amazon) is an automatic bed leveling sensor for 3D printers that help users achieve accurate 3D prints. It has become one of the most popular auto-leveling sensors for 3D printers and works excellently well with the Ender 3 and many similar 3D printers.
When attempting to produce a good print, a user encountered difficulties with his 3D printer. He expressed dissatisfaction with the manual leveling of the bed, which he claimed was time-consuming and inaccurate.
He chose the BLTouch sensor after a series of difficulties, and praised the product’s quality and recommended it as the first modification for anyone interested in 3D printing.
One user who has the Creality CR-10 said it was compatible and worked well to improve their printing quality and success rate of 3D prints. Putting together the auto-leveling sensor wasn’t too difficult for them, as long as you follow a good guide and have the right firmware compatibility.
It worked flawlessly after a simple installation and configuration.
Someone who used the BLTouch for the first time found that the BLTouch worked very well and was well worth the money to not need to constantly level the bed.
Many people experience issues with getting sensors to work such as a capacitive sensor. One user opted in to use the BLTouch sensor instead and said he got flawless first layers afterwards. Even when a bed is uneven or warped, it still works very well.
You want to avoid purchasing BLTouch clones because some users have noticed that they were incompatible with glass. They then went on to order the BLTouch and stated that nothing beats the real deal.
Some of the negative reviews of the BLTouch are from getting these untrustworthy cloned versions.
Pros of the BLTouch
- There is no need for an extension cable to connect the sensor to the main board.
- Installation is simple and it’s easy to use
- Light and relatively cheap
- BLTouch kit includes a mounting bracket and a 32-bit cable
- Works with a variety of materials
- Strong community support
Cons of the BLTouch
- Accuracy can be negatively affected if you have other devices that have an electromagnetic field
- Setup can be difficult if you don’t have the right firmware or a 32-bit board
- Has a plastic pin which can break if you have an issue
You can get yourself the Antclabs BLTouch from Amazon for a competitive price.
Creality CR Touch
The CR Touch, like the BLTouch, is a 3D printer automatic bed leveling sensor manufactured by one of the most well-known 3D printer manufacturers.
After having difficulty adjusting the first layer after a few prints, a user decided to purchase the CR Touch (Amazon) after reading positive reviews. He stated that the accuracy was excellent and that the update provided genuine satisfaction.
Most users find the instructions fairly simple to follow but it can get complex when it comes to changing firmware and things of that nature. As long as your 3D printer is compatible and has the capability to have an automatic leveling sensor, it shouldn’t be too difficult.
One user said he needed two attempts to install the correct firmware, but overall took them less than 30 minutes to complete on their Ender 5 Pro.
After reading positive reviews, a user decided to purchase a CR Touch. He had previously encountered a warped bed and tried flattening it with tissue paper and a magnet, which worked but required adjusting the first layer after a few prints.
The entire installation for the CR Touch took them about 45 minutes, including the firmware upgrade. The Sensor’s accuracy appears to be very high, and the results of multiple bed level tests were consistently positive.
After revealing that the BLTouch is similar to the CR Touch, a user claimed that the CR Touch is super easy to install and has an easy firmware update via SD Card.
The difficult part for this user was opening the printer control box on the Ender Max, which was not designed to be easily accessible. Following a quick installation, the start G-Code should be updated to use the sensor.
Another user who is a beginner and 3D prints with an Ender 3 Pro said many good things about this sensor. They initially struggled at first with a few test prints, and stumbled across the automatic leveling sensors.
They chose the CR Touch over the BLTouch and found that it was very durable and has a fantastic metal probe feature. Installation and setup was simple.
The BLTouch has a plastic tip which can break off, so many people choose to go with the CR Touch instead.
Pros of the CR Touch
- Has a metal pin rather than a plastic pin, making it more durable
- Uses an optical sensor which has great accuracy
- When not in use, it retracts electromagnetically
Cons of the CR Touch
- Firmware is known to not be the best
- Heavier and larger than the BLTouch
- Can’t get a replacement probe, but the metal is harder to break
- Some users have complained about the sensor rattling
You can get yourself the CR Touch from Amazon for your auto-leveling needs.
How to Fix Ender 3 Auto Bed Leveling Not Working
When attempting to level your bed with the BLTouch Sensor or CR Touch sensor, you may encounter issues that result in a poor user experience. Understanding your printer, sensor, and other elements that contribute to practical usage is necessary.
The BLTouch and CR Touch auto-leveling sensors are excellent. However, users frequently encounter specific issues. This guide will provide some troubleshooting tips for the most common problems.
- Follow the instructions carefully
- Enable the appropriate firmware
- Avoid clones
- Observe your wiring system
- Test probe first
- Ensure compatibility with your 3D printer
Follow the Instructions Carefully
One of the biggest reasons why people have issues with automatic bed leveling on their Ender 3 or other 3D printer is because they didn’t follow the instructions carefully. Some users have mentioned that manufacturers don’t have the best instructions to follow.
I’d highly recommend finding a good YouTube video to follow because they are more thorough and simpler to follow along with. This video below by Teaching Tech on the BLTouch is a great one that many users have had success with.
Some 3D printers might not have the motherboard capable of using an auto leveling sensor such as an 8-bit board on an Ender 3 for example. You’ll need to upgrade your motherboard to a 32-bit one to be able to use the BLTouch or CR Touch.
Enable the Appropriate Firmware
You may have difficulty leveling your bed if the firmware is not updated. To avoid this problem, download the latest firmware and obtain relevant information to make the process less stressful. Additionally, firmware upgrades aid in getting the best performance from the probe.
Creality confirmed that if you do already have a BLTouch enabled firmware on a 32-bit board, that’s all you need to make the CR-Touch work, so you won’t need to do much on the firmware side of things.
Users typically have negative experiences with clones due to their inaccuracy. Purchasing the original sensor rather than the inferior quality is the best option to avoid spending more than required for repair and additional costs.
You can look on the side of the BLTouch for a code to verify if your sensor is a genuine one.
Some users have mentioned that a lot of these sensors are identical and just re-branded or licensed out by manufacturers. Cloned BLTouch’s aren’t going to have the same level of quality control that the genuine ones have though, so you do have an increased risk with the quality of it.
Websites like AliExpress sell clones which people have had much success with, so it’s really up to your personal preference and risk tolerance.
Observe Your Wiring System
One of the many issues that prevent auto bed leveling from working is a faulty wiring system. Examine your wiring system thoroughly to ensure that all cables are connected to the correct socket.
Test the Probe First
Before mounting the probe on the printer. Running a series of tests helps you confirm its performance rather than having a disappointing operation experience.
Check out this video comparing both the BLTouch and CR Touch sensors for accuracy using the M48 G-Code command.
BLTouch Vs CR Touch
Functionally speaking, the BLTouch CR Touch are identical but there are some differences in the design and durability. The CR Touch does have better durability because it has a metal pin instead of a plastic pin.
This can be a benefit and a negative because if you have an issue with the pin crashing into something, the steel pin could break something, while the plastic one would warp or break off.
They both operate using a different type of sensor, the CR Touch said to be more accurate, more durable, and less affected by heat and vibrations. They can both work on any 3D printer since the operation is similar to a BL Touch.
Many people have done tests comparing the two but results do seem to be mixed.
This video below has the BLTouch performing better, but others have the CR Touch outperforming the BLTouch. It could be due to cloned or defective units.
SuperPinda Vs BLTouch
The SuperPinda is an auto-leveling sensor that makes 3D printing bed leveling simple and consistent. The SuperPinda has a high-quality sensor designed for Prusa 3D printers. It has a unique calibration area on the bed to help with leveling.
The BLTouch is a touch-based 3D printer bed leveling probe that enables automatic bed leveling regardless of your 3D printer’s print surface.
The BLTouch is a contact-activated automatic bed leveling sensor that uses a flexible probe to measure the gap between the build plate and the nozzle. The BLTouch sensor works with various surfaces, including glass and blue tape.
The SuperPinda is ideal for detecting changes in the magnetic characteristics of materials, whilst the BLTouch is suitable for many surfaces and operates effectively without recalibration. The SuperPinda responds to change based on the properties of the materials placed in front of it.
It’s hard to compare the SuperPinda with BLTouch. They are incredibly efficient in their operations and have received more good feedback. However, there are some little differences between the two sensors to consider.
- The BLTouch is powered by a physical (Hill Effect) technological system, whereas the inductive system power the SuperPinda.
- SuperPinda has excellent metal compatibility, whereas the BLTouch is compatible with all materials, including glass, metal, and plastic.
- SuperPinda is less expensive than the BLTouch
- SuperPinda is ideal for Prusa printers, while the BLTouch works efficiently for most other 3D printers