How to level the Ultimaker 3 build plate

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 wide, your print won’t adhere properly to the glass plate. Conversely, 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 a reduced chance of human error.

Note: Make sure there is no plastic on the nozzles and the glass plate is clean when you want to calibrate the build plate, or you might get inaccurate results.

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 initial layers of the print. It will do this by slightly adjusting the build plate height 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 few minutes 

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

Manual leveling

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

  1. Go to System > Build plate > Manual leveling
  2. Wait for the Ultimaker 3 to perform its homing procedure and continue when the print head is in the center at the back end 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 itManual_leveling_1.jfif
  4. Adjust the front-right and front-left knurled nut to roughly level the front of the build plate. 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 at the back end of the build plate
  6. Adjust the knurled nut at the center back until you feel slight friction when moving the card
  7. Press “Continue”. The print head will move 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_2.jpg Manual_level_3.jpg

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 printing hours)

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

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