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Interactive Build Plate Levelling - Print Aid

by whpthomas, published

Interactive Build Plate Levelling - Print Aid by whpthomas Dec 28, 2012

Description

Having problems with your first layer surface finish? Is it clumpy, stringy and inconsistent? Use this interactive single layer print to fine tune your build plate adjustment. Works like a charm!

UPDATE Jan 19 2013

I have uploaded a new shape to try which provides an area over each level adjuster.

Recent Comments

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Did you read the instructions?
The three pad test piece is great! I thought that I had a pretty well-leveled build plate. It was a shocker but I'm tweaked in now. Thanks!
what is this circular disk? could any one explain please? from what i gather, your print this and your level your printer on this? then you leave this in place and print your object on the top of it?

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Instructions

I recommend using your regular Makerware/ReplicatorG settings with a 0.2 mm layer height.

Run your bed levelling procedure, then run this print. I wait until the perimeter has been printed and as the extruder starts doing long strokes. Starting at the back, I adjust each levelling screw, one at a time.

The procedure for each level adjuster is as follows: lower the build plate by adjusting the level adjustor (on the Replicator 2 this is done by tightening). Do this until you start getting stringy strands of filament, then gradually raise the build plate (on the Replicator 2 this is done by loosening). Do this until you get a nice even finish. As the extruder fill pattern approaches the sides, adjust each side accordingly.

You should aim to get a consistent flush surface with no gaps, and minimal bumps. The beads of filament in the infill should also be firmly bonded to each other so you can't tear them apart easily.
The three pad test piece is great! I thought that I had a pretty well-leveled build plate. It was a shocker but I'm tweaked in now. Thanks!
what is this circular disk? could any one explain please? from what i gather, your print this and your level your printer on this? then you leave this in place and print your object on the top of it?
Did you read the instructions?
Thanks for these. I've been trying to get larger object not to lift on the edges, and this solved all of my problems. Simple, but effective!
@foolishsailor: my feeler gauge is 0.1mm - seems to work pretty well
Wow, what a shock it was to go from - "ohhh, I want a 3d printer" to "For F**** Sake - will this thing ever print right!". I have owned my Replicator2 for a week, a looooooong week. I assumed we were past an alpha product but after my vain attempt to print a complicated object out of the box I had a quick smack to the face about where the technology is at. So I reverted to my software engineering background and since my first print I have yet to print anything other than the damn calibration objects like this as I want to understand the tool. Well actually once I got the test prints close I then printed your downward blower, and clip for a dial indicator - which went well and I am expecting the dial indicator in a couple of days.

My problems are many - but mainly:

1. If the files are generated by Makerware and installed on the SD card the print is acceptable - but not great.
2. If the files are generated by ReplicatorG using your Gcode files - it wont print at all and usually ends up in a tangle of plastic around the nozzle
3. I have managed to get it to print with White PLA but I have a batch of Red PLA that for love nor money wont print the calibration files but I tried the Spring Footings in this color and it printed perfectly (I have digital calipers on the way as well)

I have a new Rep2 with the new extruder.
I have tried using your 200Micron Gcode files and your Gcode specific to the Calibration files
My settings in RepG have been as follows:

Object infill: 0%
Layer Height: .2mm
Number of Shells: 1
Feedrate: 80
Travel Feedrate: 120
Print Temp: 230

I am printing on the frosted side of an acrylic plate and used a .1 mm feeler gauge with the stock plate leveling program.

I know now I am at the bottom of a near verticle learning curve - any additional help is appreciated
I just printing it by using MakerWare. It prints from side to side(8 clock to 3 clock),not print from front to back. I using rotation in MakerWare but not work.

Can someone help me on this? How to make it print from front to back..
Makerware was updated to print diagonaly. It used to be side to side and front to back before,

You can either create a custom Skeinforge profile where you go back to side-to-side, or try another slicer allogether.
Importing this directly into MakerWare and printing it with Medium settings and .2mm, 0 infill, 2 shell, it prints from side-to-side, not front-to-back like in the picture above. I guess I'll switch to ReplicatorG, but wanted to bring that to your attention.
I wonder if it's important that it gives you 2 layers one in each direction?
I never knew my nozzle was way too close; that's just how i interpreted "some friction."
this design rocks, thanks so much, it's resolved a number of my problems.
Perfectly printed at 0.27mm resolution with MakerWare and ReplicatorG. 0.1mm is another story altogether. Comes out threaded and clumpy, some parts refuse to stick to the build plate, with tape and without.
I recently had a problem with the first layer having a surface, rough like sand paper with wave patterns, I thought I would give this a go, & now their real smooth. It really does work! Thanks!
Used this and my prints so far are MUCH improved. On the circular print it sounded like the extruder was rubbing low in spots (an added plate vibration) but the print thickness seems fine in those areas. Also had a few "tears" in spots. Any idea what causes that? The areas around the open spot seemed okay so I'm not sure what it is.
The extruder is essentially smearing a layer of plastic against the build plate, and leaves a wake of plastic on either side of the nozzle. This causes the little ridges that you hear it rubbing against. As long as these aren't to excessive, I wouldn't worry about it. Seems like its better to get a nice surface finish on the underside than worry too much about the ridgers that are going to be printed on by the next layer.

The tears can be caused by a number of things. Lack of adhesion, greasy finger marks, to little plastic being extruded, too much plastic, nozzle offset gap too large, gap too small, warped build plate etc. As long as most of the print area is in that "just right" zone then I wouldn't worry too much.
So, do you prefer 2093 tape to 2090?
+1 Whpthomas! I went thru a blue tape phase. And a glass plate phase. I'm back to standard acrylic plate. Wipe with isopropyl Alcohol when i need prints to stick more. Once I got a handle on leveling (tramming) things got a lot better.
I really do not like blue tape much at all. These days I just use the acrylic build plate, with a dab of olive oil polished with a tissue into a thin film. Work pieces stick and release much better.
Exactly what kind / brand of olive oil do you use?
Extra light olive oil - apply just a smidgen - if you put on too much you can always either wash your build plate with detergent, it wipe down with alcohol or mentholated spirits.
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