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How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:13 am
by sthone
Keep in mind everyone has their own way of doing thing this is just the easiest way that I've found to set the Z-Stop & level the Bed on the M2.

In addition to this "How To" you can watch the Z-Stop Video and the Bed Leveling Video to get an idea of what needs to be done.

BedLevel-001.jpg (84.98 KiB) Viewed 26053 times
For those of you who bought an assembled M2 you may not know exactly how the spider mounting plate works. Above is a quick diagram that shows how it pivots along the center point of the bed using three spring loaded screws. It uses two screws (Blue arrows) to adjust the forward and back orientation of the bed and a single (red arrow) to adjust the left to right orientation.

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If your printer has been setup before you can probably skip this step... but I like to start by tightening the three adjustment screws until they are snug and then backing them all off equally at least a full turn. This makes sure I have enough adjustment room in both directions.

BedLevel-003.jpg (101.71 KiB) Viewed 26053 times
When setting your Z-stop height you need to make sure your nozzle is exactly in the center of the bed, if your bed isn't level and you try to adjust your Z-height with your nozzle anywhere but the center of the bed that adjustment might change when you go to level your bed because any part of the bed height can change during leveling except the center point. (well not enough to matter too much anyway) I measure and mark the center point with a sharpie marker, the bed being 10" x 8" your mark should be 5 inches from the top and 4 inches from the side.

Before continuing you also are going to need turn on your printer and heat up the nozzle and bed because things expand when hot and you will want everything at temp before making any settings. Use temps for what ever material you will be running. Also retract any filament that may already be in the printer and clean off any ooze that may be dripping from the nozzle. (Any ooze will throw off your settings)


BedLevel-004.jpg (93.41 KiB) Viewed 26053 times
After everything is at temp it is a good idea to make sure your nozzle won't crash into the bed (if it hasn't been setup before) so raise the platform with the Z-knob or buy hand. If by hand make sure you lift from the actual platform frame (shown above) and not the bed.

BedLevel-005.jpg (67.53 KiB) Viewed 26053 times
Raise the platform until the Z end stop bolt just activates the switch (the light will come on) and then check to make sure your nozzle is not hitting the bed. If it is loosen the Z stop bolt to drop the bed a bit.

Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:47 am
by sthone
BedLevel-006.jpg (73.18 KiB) Viewed 26049 times
Make sure your nozzle is centered on the mark you made in the center of the bed. (This "How to" is shown with a V4 nozzle but it is the same procedure for the V3B. (unless noted)

BedLevel-007.jpg (80.21 KiB) Viewed 26049 times
When making adjustments to the Z stop bolt you will loosen the bolt (counter clockwise) to move the bed away from the nozzle and tighten it (clockwise) to raise the bed toward the nozzle. While loosening or tightening the lock nut always hold the bolt head with your fingers (or another wrench) this will keep the adjustment in place while you fiddle with the locking nut. It's easier to get at the lock nut with the spool off the press too.

BedLevel-008.jpg (145.29 KiB) Viewed 26049 times
Next you are going to be using a feller gauge to set the correct height. I use a .006" gauge, in a pinch you can use a folder piece of printer paper (2 layers thick) but you really should invest in a set of feeler gauges.

BedLevel-009.jpg (92.28 KiB) Viewed 26049 times
There are several ways to do the next steps..... I find it hard to adjust the bolt with the platform raised (as shown in the video at the start) so I use the Home Button in my control software (Simplify3D in my case) to raise the platform while I hold my feeler gauge under the nozzle. After it stops I check the drag on the feeler gauge by moving it back and forth under the nozzle. You want just a slight resistance. (If the bed is to close and there it is too much resistance and you remove the gauge and stick it back under the nozzle you will actually see the bed move down as the springs compress.) If there is too much or not enough I use the disable the motors button and let the bed drop. I then adjust the z stop bolt a tiny bit (which ever way it needs to go) and them home the Z again. I continue this process until it is just right. This way can be a bit tedious but I think using the Home button allows for a more accurate measurement than raising it by hand. (Keep in mind if you take too long the motors will disable and drop the bed on you (at least in S3D) if this happens just hit the Home Z again and continue. Just remember the nozzle and bed are HOT!!!!! so don't get too jumpy and touch them if/when that happens.

Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:17 am
by sthone
BedLevel-010.jpg (115.45 KiB) Viewed 26046 times
If you have a V4 setup here's a quick little trick you can use that Insta taught me to set the Z height without messing with the Z Stop bolt. Once you have the Z Stop bolt set so the nozzle just clears the bed, raise the platform (home Z button) and with your feeler gauge under the nozzle just loosen the nozzle pinch bolt and slightly press down on the nozzle with your driver (as shown above) until it just contacts the feeler gauge and then just re-tighten the pinch bolt. Again KEEP IN MIND the nozzle is HOT so DON"T TOUCH IT. If it rotates use a pair of pliers to gently hold it in place while tightening the bolt.

BedLevel-011.jpg (110.86 KiB) Viewed 26046 times
Now it's on to actually leveling the bed. When it comes to leveling because of the way the bed pivots with the three adjustments around the center point I find instead of trying to measure at the corners like in the Simplfy3d Bed Leveling Wizard (or the diagram floating around here) it so much easier to check your heights between the bed and the nozzle at center pivot points along the bed. (e.g. Center Front, Center Rear, Center Left, and Center Right) Raise your bed (If it's not already) with the home Z button and then by hand slide your carriage over so the nozzle tip in the center of the far right side of the bed. Place you feeler gauge under the tip and check the resistance like you did when setting the Z stop height.

BedLevel-012.jpg (76.05 KiB) Viewed 26046 times
You will be using the right side screw (shown above) to make any adjustments. You will Loosen the screw to raise the right side of the bed (tighter gap between the bed and nozzle - More resistance) and Tighten the screw it to lower the bed (looser gap - less resistance) Adjust the screw to achieve the proper height and resistance on the feeler gauge.

Once you have the right side set, then slide the nozzle to the center of the far left side of the bed. The left side shouldn't need too much adjustment but if it needs a little you will be using the same screw to set this side but this time because of the pivot point being in the middle the adjustments will be backwards. (You will tighten the screw to raise the left side of the bed and loosening it to lower it.) You will have to alternate between adjusting the left and right sides a few times to keep things equal so just split the difference between the resistance on the gauge for both sides until it is even.

BedLevel-013.jpg (102.14 KiB) Viewed 26046 times
Next center the nozzle in the middle of the bed and then move the bed so the nozzle is at the far rear of the center of the bed.

BedLevel-014.jpg (92.11 KiB) Viewed 26046 times
You will be using the rear screw to adjust the rear height of the bed. Using this screw you will loosen the screw to raise the bed (tighter gap between the bed and nozzle - More resistance) and tighten the screw it to lower the bed (looser gap - less resistance) Set the height/resistance the same as you did for the sides.

Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:34 am
by sthone
BedLevel-015.jpg (109.2 KiB) Viewed 26043 times
Once you have the back set slide the bed so the nozzle is to the front of the bed and using the front adjustment screw this time (not shown) set the height/resistance for the front of the bed. Once again you will have to go back and forth between the front and back a few time to get things even. Use very small adjustments on the front and back screws keeping in mind both screws can affect each others movements. (e.g - while adjusting the the front screw to raise the front of the bed the rear of the bed can lower a bit at the same time. After you have the front and back set go back and recheck all of the adjustment starting with the right side again just to be safe. If any adjustments are need use very fine/small adjustments of the screws at this point.
BedLevel-016.jpg (128.23 KiB) Viewed 26043 times
After you are done rechecking everything you can load your filament back in the printer and if you want print the attached test Bedlevel.STL file (zipped below) to visually check that everything is nice and level.

If using my test file print at
.20 layer height
0 Top and Bottom Layers
1 Shell
No Infill.
I used 1 skirt layer at 4mm offset also.


BedLevel-017.jpg (71.69 KiB) Viewed 26043 times
All of the printed lines should be nice and even as look similar to the picture shown above. (I didn't use an bed adhesion so I did have some lifting on the corners.)

After Setting your Z-Stop Height you may need to re-calibrate your Z-Offsets for any profiles you have setup previously. If your new to the M2 I highly recommend reading the How To: Guide to Getting Started thread if you haven't all ready.

Hopefully this was helpful and if you see any problems with this "How To" just let me know and I'll fix them.


Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:46 am
by Jules
Superior write-up! The photos really help to visualize the process, and the diagram....woof!

(If it would do any good, I'd be hollering "Sticky" at the top of my lungs!)

Great job Steve, thanks! :D

Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:40 pm
by sthone
Bed Level Cheat Sheet.jpg
Bed Level Cheat Sheet.jpg (146.38 KiB) Viewed 26009 times
Bed Level Screw Adjustment Cheat Sheet

Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:49 pm
by Jules
And i now have this one printed out on high gloss photo! :lol:

Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:35 pm
by sthone
Jules wrote:And i now have this one printed out on high gloss photo! :lol:
Yeah I made that just for you.. :D

Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:43 pm
by Jules
Stinker! :lol: ;)

Re: How To: Z-Stop & Bed Leveling

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:03 am
by 3dPrintingMD
Seriously, how level is level within reason ?

I can tell my bed is slightly unlevel.

My next move is to mount a dial and get some measurements for sure. How crazy should I go ???