Learning how to level your Ender 3 bed properly is important to the success of your models. There are some simple techniques and products you can use to help with bed leveling and keeping your bed level for longer.
Keep on reading through this article to learn how to level your Ender 3 bed.
How to Level Ender 3 Bed Manually
Leveling your print bed is a process of making sure that there is a similar distance between the nozzle and the print bed all around the bed. This allows your filament to be extruded into the bed surface at a good level for better adhesion, so it stays in place during the whole print.
Here’s how to level an Ender 3 bed:
- Preheat the Bed Surface
- Auto Home the Printer
- Disable Steppers Motors
- Move Print Head to the Corners and Slide Paper Underneath
- Adjust Bed Leveling Knobs on All Four Corners
- Perform Paper Sliding Method in the Center of the Print Bed
- Run Print Bed Level Test
1. Preheat the Bed Surface
The first step to properly level your Ender 3 is to preheat the bed surface to a temperature that you normally use for your filament. If you usually 3D print with PLA, you should go with 50°C for the bed and around 200°C for the nozzle.
To do this, simply go into your Ender 3 display screen and select “Prepare”, then select “Preheat PLA”. You can also manually set temperatures by using the “Control” option.
The reason for preheating the bed is that the heat can expand the bed surface, causing a slight warp. If you level the bed cool, then the bed might come out of level when heated.
2. Auto Home the Printer
The next step is to bring your axis to a neutral position, also known as home. You can do this by going into the Ender 3 menu and selecting “Prepare” then “Auto Home”.
3. Disable Steppers Motors
In the same “Prepare” menu, click on “Disable Steppers”.
Disabling the stepper motors is necessary, as doing so will allow you to freely move the nozzle head and position it to any part of the print bed.
4. Move Print Head to the Corners and Slide Paper Underneath
Move the nozzle head to a corner and position it right above the leveling knob of the print bed. I usually like to move it to the bottom-left corner first.
Take a small piece of paper and place it in between the nozzle head and the print bed. We then want to adjust the height of the bed by rotating the bed leveling knob under the bed clockwise.
Adjust it to the point that the nozzle touches the paper, but still can be wiggled around with some friction.
You can download a G-Code file by CHEP called the CHEP Manual Bed Level for Ender 3 Printers. It has two files, one to automatically move the print head to each leveling position, then a second file for the test print.
To make it even easier, you can download G-Code files by CHEP.
Load the first G-Code (CHEP_M0_bed_level.gcode) file on the SD Card and insert it into the 3D printer. Run the g-code on Ender 3 as it will automatically move and position the nozzle head on each corner and then the center of the print bed to make adjustments.
5. Adjust Bed Leveling Knobs on All Four Corners
Perform the same procedure as step 4 on all four corners of the print bed. Know that when you move on to the next knobs, the calibration of the previous knobs will be slightly affected.
Therefore, once you have adjusted all four corners of the print bed, go through the same procedure once again. Repeat this step a few times until the bed is leveled properly, and all knobs have equal tension.
6. Perform Paper Sliding Technique in the Center of the Print Bed
Move the print head to the center of the print bed and do the same paper sliding thing.
This will give you an assurance that the bed is properly leveled, and the nozzle head is at the same height on the entire build area.
7. Run Print Bed Level Test
Once you are done with the technical leveling, run a Bed Leveling Calibration Test to ensure that the bed is perfectly balanced. The model is great as it is a single-layer model and covers the whole print bed area.
It will assist you in making sure your printer bed is level. As three nested squares are printed, try adjusting your printer. Up until the lines are uniformly spaced, keep adjusting the bed level.
You can also try the second G-Code by CHEP (CHEP_bed_level_print.gcode). It is the Square Bed Level Test that will print multiple layer patterns on the bed, and then you can “Live Level” or “Adjust on the Fly”.
You can download the files from Thingiverse as well. It is recommended by many users as it helped them to make sure their bed was level.
Rub the model layer while it is printing. If the filament is coming off the bed, the printhead is too far and if the layer is thin, dull, or grinding, the print head is too close to the bed.
Check out below the detailed video by CHEP on How to Level Ender 3 Print Bed Manually using Paper Method and then Bed Level Test.
One user said that he places a flashlight behind the nozzle head and then slowly moves the print bed until there is only a little crack of light passing through. Performing this procedure on all corners and centers about 3 times gets him a finely leveled print bed.
Other 3D printing hobbyists suggest ensuring that your hand is not resting on the print bed or the bar/arm holding the extruder while you level the bed. This can push the bed down while pressing the springs, and you can end up with a wrongly leveled print bed.
Another user said that only two of the knobs are holding his print bed tension, while one of the other two has no tension and one is a little wobbly.
To help out, people advised checking the screws, as they might be spinning freely while you turn the bed leveling knobs. Holding the screws using a pair of pliers as you turn the knob allows you to see if it is fine now.
A user suggested using 8mm Yellow Springs from Amazon instead of the Ender 3 stock springs, since they can resolve such issues. They are of high quality and can stay firm for a long time.
Many users who purchased these said it worked great for keeping their beds leveled for longer.
Some users asked about ways to level the print bed permanently, but unfortunately, it cannot be done on any 3D printer.
However, some users recommended using Silicone Spacers in place of Ender 3 stock springs, as they almost lock the knobs and keep the bed level for a long time.
Check out below another video by CHEP on fixing bed leveling issues on the Ender 3.
There is an option to install auto leveling to your Ender 3 like the BLTouch Auto Bed Leveling Sensor or an EZABL.
Although both are great, one user said that he prefers EZABL as it only consists of an induction probe without any moving parts.
How to Level Ender 3 Glass Bed
To level an Ender 3 glass print bed, decrease the Z-endstop value to zero or even below until the nozzle comes too close to the glass print bed. Take a piece of paper and follow the same procedure as you do to level a standard print bed on an Ender 3 printer.
Leveling or calibrating a glass bed is the same as a standard bed because the main purpose is to ensure that the nozzle remains at the same distance from the bed across the entire surface area.
However, the Z-endstop value will be a bit higher than the standard bed as the thickness of the glass bed will be an “extra height” as it is placed on the Ender 3 stock print plate.
Check out the video below by 3D Printscape that goes through the complete installation process of the glass bed, along with talking about other necessary factors.
As the video creator uses a plate as the placeholder for the glass bed, a user suggested an alternative way of adjusting the Z-endstop:
- Lower the print bed completely down.
- Lift the Z-endstop and install the glass bed.
- Loosen the bed leveling knobs until the springs are half-compressed, and then move the Z-rod until the nozzle head slightly touches the bed.
- Now simply, adjust the Z-endstop, lower the print bed a bit, and level the print bed as you normally do.
Another user said that his glass bed is not sitting perfectly on the aluminum plate of the Ender 3. The video creator suggested checking the plate for any warping as it can lead to uneven surfaces.
Also, make sure you remove the adhesive residues from the plate if you have just peeled off the magnetic sheet from the Ender 3 aluminum plate.