Today we are going to be talking about auto bed leveling for your 3d printer and my experience with it so far. Auto bed leveling is still relatively new to me since my Anet A8 is my first experience with it and I did just build my Anet A8 a little over a month ago now. I made a video over a year ago called the things I hate about 3d printing with bed leveling being my primary gripe. At the time, I found it extremely annoying having to constantly level my bed and losing many prints from the bed either being to close, to far, or lopsided when trying to print.
You would think that auto bed leveling would be a dream come true after seeing that video I made but my knowledge and experience with 3d printers has come a long way since I made this video and I have not had nearly as much issues with leveling and keeping the bed level. One upgrade I started doing to nearly all of my printers is to add a nylon lock nut to all of the bed leveling screws, that way once I had gotten the bed leveled I almost never had to adjust them again. It is a bit of a pain to install and level with the lock nuts the first time but like I said its a one and done.
There are many different types of bed leveling devices but for my setup I have only used the more generic no name proximity sensor which is quite common. It has worked pretty well with on a rare occasion the sensor not reading on a point but 9/10 times it does its job. After using it this past month I do not think that auto bed leveling sensors are a game changer, at least for my printers. The biggest build area I have is roughly 220mm which is really not that large. For smaller printers like a Monoprice Mini it is almost silly to have a bed level device due to how simple it is to level.
I can see them being much more practical on a larger printer maybe something like the CR-10 or FT5 where the bed is large and may not be as easy to get completely level every time. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure I will use auto bed leveling on some future builds, but I no longer feel that it should be a make or break for a 3d printer purchase. Also, if I have a printer that is already setup and working I do not think it is necessary to upgrade to an auto bed level once you have the machine going.
What has your experience been with bed leveling devices? Love them? Could care less? To me it is more seen as a leisure like heated seats in a car sure it is nice but you could just put on extra layers. Maybe a silly example but hopefully it gets my point across. My Folgertech 2020 has been running over a year now with easily over a thousand hours and hundreds of prints and I maybe adjust something every 100 prints and that is usually due to me moving something causing the z stop to shift ever so slightly.