How-To

How to Level the Bed on a Creality Ender-3 Pro

How to Level the Bed on a Creality Ender-3 Pro

Making sure the bed of your Creality Ender-3 Pro is important, so let’s explore how to do that.

One of the most critical steps you must take to ensure your 3D printer does its job right is to level the bed. If you fail to do this or do it incorrectly, there’s a big chance your print output won’t look anything like you want it to. Fortunately, bed leveling isn’t a huge undertaking. Let’s look at how to level the Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro bed.

The Bed Auto Level Feature: New for the Ender-3 S1 Pro

The prior model of Creality’s Ender-3 Pro could not auto-level the bed. While you could install an upgrade to bring the feature, many owners lamented the fact that out of the box, the 3D printer required manual bed leveling.

Keeping the bed level doesn’t just help ensure your prints come out correctly. A well-leveled bed could also mean needing less supports for your print, saving time and material.

When the company released the Ender-3 S1 Pro, that changed; it included the CR Touch sensor to automatically level the 3D printer’s bed. You can even add that sensor to other Ender 3D printers or an aftermarket variant.

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Please note that you’ll probably need to do a manual leveling process the first time you use the printer.

Closeup of print head Creality Ender-3 S1 Pro

The print head of the Ender-3 S1 Pro, noting the location of the CR Touch sensor and the extruder nozzle

 

NOTE: I use the terms print head, extruder module, and hot end interchangeably in this article. They are the same thing, and the nozzle is a part of that module, usually near the center of the extruder module.

How to Manually Level the Bed on Your Ender-3 Pro

Whether setting up an Ender-3 Pro or the newer S1 Pro, the procedure to manually level the bed is mostly the same.

Leveling the Bed on an Ender-3 Pro

  1. For the original Ender-3 Pro, you need to send the printer’s hot end to its home position and disable its steppers.
    1. You auto-home the printer, so the extruder module is at the corner of the bed. Use the printer’s LCD menu to select Prepare > Auto Home.
    2. To disable the stepper motors, allowing free movement of the print head, choose Prepare > Disable Steppers.
  2. Next, lower the bed. Turn all four of the large hand-turn screws beneath the bed about two full turns. This should create a visible gap between the bed and the nozzle.
    Hand-Turn Screws

    There are four hand-turn screws beneath the bed of the Ender-3 Pro, one under each corner.

  3. Gently move the print head so its nozzle is positioned above one of the hand-turn screws.
  4. Slide a piece of standard printer paper between the nozzle and the bed.
  5. Slowly adjust the hand-turn screw counterclockwise. This will move that corner of the bed upward.
  6. When there is just a bit of resistance when you try to slide the paper, that corner is positioned properly.
  7. Slowly move the hot end to one of the adjacent corners, but not diagonally across the print bed.
    1. If the nozzle will make contact with the bed before it reaches the corner, lower the bed slightly by turning the hand-turn screw clockwise.
  8. Repeat the paper slide test for this corner, then follow the steps for the other two corners.
  9. Once you’ve adjusted all four hand-turn screws, repeat the process. Your adjustments before might have misaligned the other corners.
  10. Finally, check the center of the bed. If you find that it’s off quite a bit compared to the corners, there’s a warping problem. You may be able to compensate for this in your slicing software. You also may need to get a replacement bed.

Got an Ender-3 S1 Pro? Manual Leveling Made Simple

Creality simplified the manual leveling process for the S1 Pro. Just follow these steps.

  1. On the touch display, tap Settings > Leveling.
  2. Wait for the extruder module to go through some preliminary checks. It will move to the center of the bed and lower the print head. You’ll see the CR Touch sensor depressed to record the distance between the print bed and the extruder module.
  3. To manually level the bed, tap Aux. Lvl. on the display.
  4. Next, tap one of the corner buttons (labeled 2 through 4) to move the print head to that corner.
  5. Follow the same paper test steps as for the previous model of the Ender-3 Pro. In addition to the hand-turn screws, however, the CR Touch display provides Z-axis adjustment for the print head.
    1. Use these Z-axis options to raise or lower the print head in small increments.
  6. Again, the print head should offer the slightest bit of resistance when you move the paper.
  7. Repeat the steps for the other corners.
  8. Finally, go through all the steps once more to ensure the corners are all perfectly set.

Using the Ender-3 S1 Pro Bed Auto Level Mode

Once you’ve manually leveled your S1 Pro bed for the first time, you should go through the auto-leveling process. You’ll also do this any time you think you need to level your print bed again.

  1. On the CR Touch display, tap Settings > Leveling.
  2. After the print head stops moving, tap the Start button on the display.
  3. Your 3D printer will automatically level the print head, going through each corner. When the display reads 100%, it should be good to go.

What To Do When You Have Problems Leveling the Bed On Your Ender-3 Pro

Unfortunately, manual and automatic bed leveling doesn’t always go as planned. If you have problems during or after leveling the bed, there are a few things to try.

Can’t Find Prepare Menu on Original Ender-3 Pro

Probably one of the most common issues folks run into leveling the bed on the original Ender-3 Pro is a missing menu. You go to the LCD screen and look for the Prepare menu, and it … isn’t there.

This makes it impossible to continue leveling the bed, but the fix is simple. It is a firmware issue, so you’ll need to download the latest firmware for your 3D printer from Creality’s website.

The Corners Are Level, but the Center Dips

This is another fairly regular complaint, but it’s not so easy to fix. If the bed dips or rises in the center, but the corners are all perfectly level, you’ve got yourself a warped bed. The original Ender-3 Pro’s bed can become warped over time. Sometimes, it’ll be that way straight out of the box. This means replacing the bed.

I recommend replacing it with a glass plate build, like what comes with the V2 Pro. Glass has very little flexibility and isn’t as likely to warp over time.

Poor Adhesion Even After Leveling

Okay, you’ve gone through all the steps to level the bed on your Creality Ender-3 Pro, but your builds still aren’t sticking properly to the bed. There are a couple of things you can do to fix this.

  1. First, clean your build plate. Use isopropyl alcohol or a similar solution with a microfiber cloth.
  2. Make sure your bed temperature is set properly. If your bed temperature is too low, the filament won’t stick. Most folks recommend a bed temperature range of 60-70º C for PLA. I set mine to 80º C, though, because of drafty conditions where my 3D printer is placed.
  3. If your bed is level, but the nozzle isn’t pressing the filament enough, your Z-axis is too high. Chances are, the paper you used was too thick. If all you had was a piece of cardstock, it was likely thicker than the 0.1mm recommendation.

Keeping Your 3D Printer Bed Level

You shouldn’t have to adjust the leveling on your 3D printer often, but it’s still a good idea to check it frequently. Some even go so far as to level the bed before each print, but even checking the leveling every three or four builds will help.

You should also level the bed again any time you move your 3D printer. By handling the bed carefully, you can avoid this becoming too time-consuming. When you’re removing prints, applying even pressure across the bed rather than pulling at a corner helps, too.

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Upgraded 4PCS Creality 3D Printer Aluminum Hand Twist...
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Finally, you might consider upgrading to stiffer bed springs. The stock springs on the Ender 3 Pro are relatively soft and compress over time. If you upgrade to stiffer springs, they’ll provide better resistance and maintain your level bed for longer.

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