DIY cheap bed level

auto_bed_leveling bed bed_leveling cheap diy hotend mod simple

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So I am kind of a noob to 3d printing but had an idea that i have yet to see for bed leveling. if u got a thin say 0.01mm sheet of metal then put it on the print bed, connected it to ground, had a led connected in series with the hot end and connected to positive. that when z axis is all the way down u could raise the bed till the Led turns on? or u could have a nail level with hot end or something stick down to touch the bed? would cost only a few bucks and u could use the 24V from power to run led.

Where are you going to find a sheet of metal that is less than one thousandth of an inch thick, that is flat? That is just a bit thicker than kitchen foil. If you really need something other than the normal paper setting, just mount an engineering dial gauge on the nozzle carriage. I did exactly that but I found it no better in practice than manual levelling with a piece of paper.

Could be a solution. It will work as a visual signal instead of trying to feel the nozzle pressure on paper. A similar method is used on CNC routers Easy Z-Probe for Your CNC Router.

ya thats where i actually got the idea from. the paper is fine but sometimes i just want to go and not mess with the feel over and over. thanks for the video.

Hi, you would also need to have that signal converted to 5V (or possibly 3.3V on a 32 bit board), to serve as an input, probably using an opto-isolator which would not be hard but would add to your parts count and cost. It may also get dents from the probing which may cause problems with the measurements. However, I don't know about using a metal sheet as a build surface when there are so many really good non-conducting surfaces out there to to use.

The cost issue is not really a problem anymore, you can get a Geeetech 3D Touch probe (BL-Touch clone) for around $13-15 on Ebay (I have used several of them and they work as good as the real thing), or you can get an inductive or capacitive probe cheaper (but they also need to have their sensor line dropped to 5v or 3.3v before being connected to the board).

the metal sheet would not be a build surface, u would just put it on top when leveling and take it off once u start printing. i wouldnt connect it to mainboard, this would be a simple manual method instead of feeling with paper just watch the led.

Thanks for the clarification, I saw the video from Atsnailpace and that made sense for tool setting. I've seen that type of touch system with CNC routers and it seems like a good system for setting tool height.

For such a system for manual leveling a printer, it may be better to use a thicker piece of aluminum which is a known height since a thin piece can spring or dent and may not provide the accuracy needed (or aluminum tape like they used in the video, but that will also dent and may be hard to remove). On a CNC, if it can't be peeled off it may get removed during milling anyway.

If you don't like using paper as a feeler gauge, you can also get a 0.2mm feeler gauge which may provide a more consistent result with the normal method of leveling.