Hi Everyone, I’m collecting information / personal experience regarding how frequently you need to perform bed leveling. I personally have to do it daily, and after every long print of more than 5 hours. My print results after bed leveling are awesome, however if I don’t refresh the bed leveling, I will have issues with skirt and first layer adhesion. I communicated this to Mr. Tang at FlashForge and he states that bed leveling should be a onetime event, kind of set and forget.
I’m reaching out to FlashForge community, and asking what’s your bed leveling experience? A onetime event or a daily event, or other?
Just to be clear, if onetime set and forget bed leveling is possible, I want it, and want to know what needs to be done to get there?
Thanks for sharing your experiences!
One time bed level is fantasy!!
I do mine frequently and generally based on a few things. I use glass so most prints release easily thus little strain on the bed setup.
I generally level after a few prints, change in material, changing the glass etc. Probably more often than needed but it takes a just a few seconds to check it and tweak.
Like you said, after a level the prints are great and a great print starts with a good first layer.
Hi WirlyBird, thanks for providing your experiences. As I newbie to this (3 weeks in) you tend to have many questions as to what is normal. I print on a Zebra PrintinZ removable bed, so I don’t pry anything off the heated bed. Regardless I have to re-level after 5-8 hours of print use.
This seems normal to me as the print head / extruders do lots of travelling and cause lots of vibrations on the print bed, as a result the bed leveling screws move out of set position. I’ve taught of using a temporary threadlock liquid on them like LocTite blue, but I’m very hesitant.
We recently bought a Flashforge Creator Pro a month ago and have only leveled it 3 times since then. It came perfectly leveled and after some longer prints with vibration we re-leveled it. We don’t do it after every print but we do it after longer prints or prints with lots of vibration.
I bought one of those Zebra things for one of my printers and hated it! Absolute junk. Nothing would stick, I would have had better luck getting filament to stick to Teflon.
If you are removing and reinstalling that bed addition then frequent leveling makes more sense as even small changes could make a difference.
Weird, for I’m very satisfied with my Zebra plate, I heat it to 50C for PLA and 100C for ABS. No tape, no hairspray. Works well for me.
Hi JMO, very interesting! Can you shed any light on your leveling process? Do you bed level with a heated bed? heated extruders? Do you switchout filaments frequently, or always print with with the same?
I myself have PLA loaded LEFT, and ABS loaded RIGHT. For me switching filament will always require a refreshed bed leveling. Thanks for sharing.
We level our bed with a heated bed and extruders. We use a piece of paper and put in under the extruder at different locations on the bed. When the paper and extruders have little friction that spot is leveled. You want to have little friction everywhere on the bed with the extruders. You should still be able to move the paper easily but with little friction. We switch filaments frequently on both extruders. We put any filament in any extruder at any time. We don’t limit one plastic to one extruder. Hope this helps.
I use nylock nuts instead of thumbs crews, re level about once a month using a glass bed.
I only level my bed about once every two months, and j do a lot of prints. I use a 10x8 picture frame glass with kapton on it. I never touch the bed in normal use except for a very light wipe with rubbing alcohol. I only print in ABS.
I switched to a glass bed early on and level when preheated. Once the leveling is set I generally don’t do it again for a few months or unless I change my set-up. While leveling though, keep in mind that adjusting one screw affects the level at other points on the bed. So just because you get the gap set at one spot, doesn’t mean it will stay when turning one of the others. This is especially true for large set-up changes or differences. So I normally run my leveling routine three times in a row to ensure it’s perfect, then I forget about it.
Hi Everyone, thanks for all the feedback and suggestions. I’m certain this thread will be useful for many beginners. To summarize the top 2 recommendations:
1. Bed leveling should be performed under printing conditions, this is to say a heated bed and heated nozzle. This is important because under heat the gap between bed and nozzle is reduced, (as everything has expanded under heat), so if you level a cold bed, the gap will be different when printing. Use a standard sheet of printing paper (20lbs) as not to melt the provided plastic bed leveling sheet under nozzle heat.
2. To hold the bed level adjustments in place under printing vibrations, its best to replace the bed leveling nuts with Nylock Wing nuts, the nylon locking nut will ensure your settings don’t change.
There have been many other suggestions, but I felt these 2 were the most popular and a great starting point to resolve frequent bed leveling.
My flashforge gets leveled daily as well. I have gone several prints at a time without leveling, but just like you I need to do it again after a long print. No, leveling your bed is not a one time deal, its a necessary part of making sure your print goes well. Usually when I level it though, its not far off, and half the time its still perfect. Leveling the bed takes me about 40 seconds, and it makes me feel better knowing the bed is perfectly level, even if I didnt have to adjust anything.
I use a raft on every print and haven’t had to level mine in 3 months, if u are having to level that often u probably should change the nuts that are on it.
Printing paper is .003 inch and leveling sheet it .007 inch
I level every dozen prints or so, or anytime I see issues. I run 4 flash forge creator pro’s full time. I always level after clearing/swapping a nozzle or switching filament. Typically, I find that level stays for quite a long time.
You should have probably included asking about bed material type and adhesion methods in your survey, as that will likely play a huge factor in releveling. For me personally, I got rid of the silly blue sticker long ago and replaced it with a nice, thick (1/4" or 6.35mm) sheet of tempered glass and use PVA for adhesion. The first layer flatness and adhesion is so good, I can literally hit the button to start a print and walk away without having to watch and make sure things will stick and work right. And when it cools after the print, most prints literally pop right off the glass with minimal prying or chiselling on them.
I don’t have an exact number on time between releveling, but generally the only time I have to is after either working on it, such as disassembling the extruders or removing the bed, or if I get a little over zealous on a print and decide to remove it before the glass has cooled and have to pry it off and knock the glass loose. And even those cases is only minimal touch-up for the leveling.
Back when I was still running the blue sticker on there, I did have to level more often and I’ve had some mechanical issues to deal with such as the two extruders to being even.
If I had to throw a ballpark number out for how many print hours between leveling if there are no incidences causing it to be done sooner, I’d guess 40-50 hours, with many of my prints being in the 1-5 hour range each.
Oh and for leveling, I use a metal feeler gauge that a got from a car parts place… I generally use the 0.127mm gauge, which is 0.005". I think the paper leveling sheet, as someone mentioned, is about 0.007", so I’m slightly lower than the leveling sheet which gives a smooth pressed glass finish on the first layer with few noticeable print lines, especially if you do a bit of over-extruding on the first layer. And if you are leveling with the extruders cold, make sure you knock off any old filament stuck to the bottom of the extruders as that will affect your results…
I tend to level the bed with different materials and heat, like others have stated. The best thing I did was switch to a borosilicate glass plate, this made the expanding and contracting factor very low with a very hot bed. My polycarbonate requires max bed temp of 125 and max extruder of 270 to just barely work, and it throws all other materials way out of adjustment when it comes to leveling.
I found that getting leveling down takes some practice with the Creator Pro model, once you have a system, stick to it. I simply fold a 20lbs sheet of paper in half and light friction fit around the center of the build area. I don’t bother with the outside area since it tends to drive me mad. The longest I ever went without needing to level was with ABS and around 350 hours of print time.
I think Mr. Tang was being really specific with using only PLA and ABS, as those are typically the only two “supported” materials.
I do mine every print, since I print with glass plate. It only takes me 3 minutes to bed level so for me its worth it.