What does a successful first layer look like?

When you turn on the Ultimaker for the first time, you need to calibrate the build plate to get a good adhesion and improve the print quality. If the distance between the nozzle and build plate is too big, your print won’t stick properly to the glass plate. On the other hand, if the nozzle is too close to the build plate, it can prevent the filament extruding from the nozzle.

Successful first layer

When 3D printing, it’s very important that the first layer is nicely pressed onto the glass plate with flat lines of filament and no gaps in between. Check out the below images to see a successful first layer and two unsuccessful ones.

Successful first layer thanks to good build plate calibration
Successful first layer ✔
Unsuccessful first layer thanks to too tight calibration
Build plate too tight to nozzle ❌
Unsuccessful first layer thanks to too loose calibration
Build plate too far from nozzle ❌

How to calibrate the build plate

To get the correct distance between the build plate and the nozzle, you need to level the build plate. To find out how to do this, use the guide that relates to your 3D printer:

Print test to check first layer and calibration

To check how well the build plate of your Ultimaker is calibrated several calibration prints are available. We have also placed one on the SD card of your Ultimaker (except Ultimaker 3): the MiniCalTest. When you start this print, it first prints a skirt that covers the complete build plate before printing the model. This way you can easily check the calibration at several points on the build plate and adjust the height of the build plate if necessary.

Check the build plate calibration with the MiniCalTest
Calibration test