Build plate leveling

While using your Ultimaker it is necessary to periodically calibrate the build plate for good adhesion of the print to the build plate. If the distance between the nozzles and build plate is too big, your print won’t stick properly to the glass plate. On the other hand, if the nozzles are too close to the build plate, it can prevent the material extruding from the nozzles.

The Ultimaker 3 offers two ways of calibrating the build plate: active leveling and manual leveling. Active leveling is the preferred choice, as there’s no chance for human inaccuracies.

Note: Make sure there is no plastic on the nozzles and the glass plate is clean when you want to calibrate the build plate, as this can lead to inaccurate leveling.

Active leveling

During active leveling, the Ultimaker 3 will measure the distance between the tip of the nozzle and the build plate in several locations. These positions are stored in the printer, so it can compensate for inaccuracies of the build plate level during the first layers of the print. It will do this by slightly moving the build plate up or down while printing.

To start active leveling:

  1. Go to System > Build plate > Active leveling.
  2. Wait for the printer to finish the leveling procedure. This will take a couple of minutes.
  3. Select the frequency for active leveling.

Caution: Do not touch the Ultimaker 3 during the active leveling procedure. This could affect the measurements.

Manual leveling

If the level of the build plate is off too much (and active leveling cannot compensate for this), manual leveling can be done.

  1. Go to System > Build plate > Manual leveling.
  2. Wait for the Ultimaker 3 to do its homing procedure and continue when the print head is in the center at the back of the build plate.
  3. Rotate the button at the front until there is approximately 1 mm distance between the first nozzle and the build plate. Make sure that the nozzle is close to the build plate without touching it.

    Manual leveling
  4. Adjust the front right and front left build plate screw to roughly level the build plate at the front side. Again there should be a distance of approximately 1 mm between the nozzle and build plate.
  5. Place the calibration card in between the nozzle and build plate when the print head is in the center back of the build plate.
  6. Adjust the build plate screw in the middle back until you feel slight friction when moving the card.
  7. Press “Continue”. The print head moves to the second point.
  8. Repeat step 5 “place the calibration card” and step 6 “adjust the build plate”.
  9. Press “Continue” again. The print head moves to the third point.
  10. Repeat step 5 “place the calibration card” and step 6 “adjust the build plate”.

Caution: Do not push on the build plate while fine-tuning with the calibration card. This will lead to inaccuracies.

Manual leveling
Manual leveling

After calibrating the build plate with the first nozzle, the second nozzle needs to be aligned as well, to ensure the heights of both nozzles are set correctly. For this it is only necessary to set the correct height by using the calibration card.

  1. Place the calibration card between the second nozzle and build plate.
  2. Rotate the button at the front of the Ultimaker 3 until it touches the calibration card and fine-tune it until you feel slight friction/resistance when moving the card.

Note: There should always be a distance of 14 mm between the bottom of the heated bed and base plate to prevent errors during active leveling.

Leveling frequency

The Ultimaker 3 will ask how often you want to level your build plate, once you have leveled it. These are the options:

  • Every day
  • Every week
  • After startup
  • Never
  • Automatic (the leveling frequency is determined by the printer, based on the amount of printing hours since the last time the build plate was leveled)

You can always change the leveling frequency by going to System > Build plate > Frequency in the menu.

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