Z probes and bed leveling are a common discussion among 3d printer users and the same holds true for us here at SeeMeCNC. Finding the right tools to guarantee a user experience that is simple, intuitive, cost effective and will deliver results with as little hassle as possible is something that we all expect from 3d printing technologies.
Delta style printers are convenient because with a fixed print bed, users should only have to experience calibrating the printer once after the completion of the build or first unboxing, and not have to face this task again. Sometimes though, it just seems like the odds are against you, and either the initial calibration or a rough ride down a bumpy road can upset your printer. Andy and I have coined one such tech support question that we see from time to time as “chasing the set screws.” Users keep going around and around making little changes to the end-stop screws on the X, Y, & Z carriages in seek of that perfectly leveled print bed.
This week I have spent some time working with the Automatic Print Leveling feature in MatterControl v1.1.3 and am pleased with the results. Not only can this feature do a fantastic job of compensating for a ridiculously tilted print surface, it does so without additional hardware, with ease and a minimal time commitment, it took me less than five minutes. (By the way if you haven’t tried MatterControl yet, you really need to give it a try, here is a link to our downloads page)
The feature can be found on the configuration tab in MatterControl, and for users getting started, the Print Leveling Wizard walks you through 9 steps with detailed instructions. One thing that isn’t noted in the wizards introduction page is that you should have the hot end and heated bed at approximate printing temperatures to make sure that everything is warmed up and as it would be if you were printing. Moving forward, the process is very simple “sampling” three different positions around the print bed with the user controlling the distance between the nozzle and the bed.
After the configuration is complete the feature is automatically enabled and can easily be re-configured or disabled for any reason. You may now be asking, how does this affect my printers settings? It doesn’t, the only thing that is affected is the GCODE generated for each part. Every move includes a Z height change making up for any adjustment needed to compensate for the bed not being level. This means no more sharing GCODE if you are using this feature. It is important to note also, that after you have configured the Automatic Print Leveling, you no longer have be connected to the printer via a USB connection for it to affect your prints, it will work the same when exporting your GCODE to the SD card and running autonomously.
Automatic Print Leveling is a really nice feature in MatterControl, and you should definitely try it out. It absolutely does not replace a good initial calibration, and at this point in time, has no effect on horizontal print radius, sorry you will still have to adjust that in the EEPROM manually. If you have any questions, comments etc. please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more here: MATTERCONTROL - GUIDE TO AUTOMATIC PRINT LEVELING