Would you consider these acceptable results
Printed on an Ender 3 Pro. PLA + at 200/65 with glass bed.
The first picture is the 1st layer on the front left of the printer. The second is the front right. The 3rd is the top of the completed print and the 4th is the back. I wasn't expecting this file to have 2 layers. It is the file from the initial Cura set up video.
My concert is really with the first layer being so transparent. In the front right picture, you can see the mounting screw under the layer. Now I am happy (I think) with the overall result.
I did have to increase the bed temp 5 degrees to get it to stick, but it was indicated that with glass, the bed temp might have to be increased.
I am taking this approach very slow and methodical, and I truly desire feedback on every aspect.
81 Views and no input of any kind?
Sorry for the delay. The squares look good, qualitatively speaking. Here's how to visually gauge whether your levelling squares look correct -
A bit of transparency like you're seeing is normal since it's only a 0.2mm thick layer of plastic - few 3D printing filaments will be opaque at such a small thickness. Most users will not be able to see that because their build plates are opaque. When the nozzle is too close, it actually interrupts the flow of plastic so not only is it transparent, but there's no plastic there - you would go to peel it off the bed and the thin part of the square behaves like a plastic bag or a sweet wrapper rather than a solid piece of plastic. Based on the appearance of the top surface texture of the squares (and the fact that you were able to peel them off the bed intact), this isn't the case - your nozzle height is very close to perfect.
That's the qualitative part. Now, to take quantitative measurements, you'll need either a digital micrometer, or a vernier caliper that can read down to to 0.01mm (the cheap ones only go down to 0.1mm). If your first layer height is set to 0.2mm, then you should measure the thickness of your squares and ensure they are within the range of 0.15-0.25mm. The closer they are to 0.2mm the better. If you notice a trend (eg the ones closer to a particular corner are much thicker or thinner than average), then it means you should adjust that corner up or down.
When measuring, only measure the perimeter lines (the outlines). They will give a good indication of nozzle height and permit you to calibrate accurately. If you were to measure across the whole square, your measurement will be affected by the over/under extrusion typical of the first layer - most of the time, it tends to cause plastic to pile up a little in the skin portion (the part of the squares that the printer prints diagonally), and gives a falsely inflated reading (eg. if your nozzle is spot on and exactly 0.2mm above the plate when printing, you might measure 0.2mm for perimeter thickness, but 0.25mm thickness if you include the zigzag portion as well). Here's a diagram to make it a bit clearer:
Hope this helps! For your next print, I would suggest a calibration cube. Feel free to print one and post photos here for feedback, along with your print settings 🙂
Thank you very much for your reply! While I have been 3D printing for about 1 year and a half, I know I rushed through the basics. As such I have 3 or 4 successful prints followed by a host of failures. Adhesion is a very big one but I think it is a result of leveling. I also will see the nozzle catch on a piece of filament left from when the z axis hopped after a layer completed. (bad retraction settings I think). That is why I am very excited about this community. I have stepped back to my Ender 3, the smallest printer I have. I want to work through every aspect until it is not only near perfect, but more importantly that it is repeatable (time after time).
So I apologize that my second post may have been a bit snarky.
No problem 🙂. It's good that you've decided to take a methodical approach. Understanding how and why things fail will take longer than just jumping in and doing things by trial-and-error, but after a short while it will drastically increase your chances of success. I can tell you from experience that a bare glass plate like you're using makes it very difficult to get perfect prints every time. I struggled with one for a few years and managed to bring the success rate up to around 90%, but ultimately I decided enough was enough and purchased an anycubic ultrabase (and then the Creality equivalent for my CR-10 mini). It was the single greatest upgrade I'd ever made on the printer (and only cost about €25 at the time - around $30). It's a glass sheet with a textured ceramic coating. It works just like normal glass, in the sense that the prints pop off by themselves as soon as the bed cools down, but when at operating temeprature it has incredible grip - many times more than normal glass, so even thin features that would fail on glass stick solidly to the ultrabase and the print succeeds. The only thing you don't get is the reflective shiny base that a glass bed gives you - instead you end up with a slightly rougher texture where you can see the small dimples of the ultrabase surface.
Let us know how your prints are doing after you've put some of your newfound knowledge into practice! 🙂
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