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Leveling the Bed

Leveling the bed of a  3D printer is critical to a successful print. More precisely, leveling the bed ensures that movements of the print-head filament extruder in the X-Y plane are parallel to bed, which ensures that the first layer and each later layer of the 3-D print are parallel, and laid down precisely on top of the layers that were printed before.   

Leveling the bed should not be done by trial and error … that wastes time and filament and patience.  If your printer is not self-leveling, then a test program in G-Code should be used to align the bed with the X-Y axes of the extruder movements. We have provided a G-code Five-Point-3D-Bed-Leveling program program developed by ingenioso3D  for the Ender 3; it works well and we recommend (or a variant for your printer) for use before each print job. 

Cleaning the Extruder

A clogged extruder tip won’t print. Simple as that. Partial clogs, or clogs that free up under pressure from the filament feeder, will print unevenly or with layers that don’t adhere well.

The extruder tip can sometimes be cleaned in place with a steel wire (piano wire is ideal .. though your printer likely came with a tip-cleaning tool) if it has been preheated to the required temperature for the filament in use.  

Don’t Panic While Watching a Print In Progress –

It May Not Be As Bad As You Think

Know your model. What you may see as a mess of incomplete structure might be support, designed and sliced specifically to allow easy removal when the print is completed.

Even in cases where support structure may break free during printing … Keep Calm and Carry On … it may repair itself if there was enough material left in place to provide the minimal support needed to complete the print (see figures).

Our example shows left and right views of a hollow cylinder print with hole cutouts. The slicing program (Ultimaker Cura in this case) partially filled each hole with a vertical support column for the top of the hole as the print completed. The column on the left side printed correctly, the right did not (for whatever reason). But the chaotic mess of filament on the right side provided sufficient support to allow the print to complete the bridge. The print was recovered with care and filler to correct the minor errors.