When Markforged launched the Mark X, they set out to improve print consistency by reducing the risk of first-layer failure with a pre-print bed scan. This feature checks the level of the print bed, before any filament gets extruded, to ensure that the first layer has a flat bed to be printed on. However, as Markforged recently pointed out in a blog post, this feature isn’t fool-proof.
For instance, it doesn’t account for any disturbances that the print bed might experience during the print process. Those disturbances – no matter how small they might be – can knock the print bed off-kilter, which can lead to warping, dislocation and poor bed adhesion. Of course, failed prints are part and parcel of the 3D printing learning process, however Markforged (rightly) believes that’s no excuse for the print bed to be the cause of first-layer print failure.
Adaptive Bed Leveling
And so, a new solution was needed. Adaptive Bed Leveling is that solution. In simple terms, this feature makes Z-axis adjustements in real-time during the print process to correct unwanted bed movement and improve early layer consistency. But, there’s a little more to it than that which we’ll go into below.
What is it?
Adaptive Bed Leveling is a new software feature that can be setup through Markforged’s software, Eiger, for the Mark X.
What does it do?
Adaptive Bed Leveling improves first-layer consistency and quality by yielding a consistenstly adhered first layer. It makes minute Z-axis adjustments whilst the first layer is being printed (traditionally, this was done manually to bring the extruder closer or farther away from the print bed) to improve adhesion.
How does it work?
The Mark X performs a bed scan and prompts the user to adjust the print bed manually if it detects that the print bed isn’t level. When properly aligned, the Mark X then prints a calibration line on the left side of the print bed before every print. This is used as a reference. Once the bed has been setup, the Mark X then makes minute Z-axis adjustments during the print process by itself. This yields a consistently adhered layer, and reduces the risk of a failed first layer. It also reduces the risk of nozzle clogging, warping, and several other types of failure associated with FFF 3D printing.
How do I use it?
Adaptive Bed Leveling is suitable for use with the Mark X only, and there’s a software update available for the Mark X which adds Adaptive Bed Leveling to Eiger. Once you have updated your software through USB (you will need to use a new USB stick – you can’t use the one that came with the 3D printer) or Wi-Fi, enable “Scan Before Printing”, re-build your models, and the feature will work automatically. Here’s a Markforged guide to help you update your printer’s firmware.
You can also find out more about Adaptive Bed Leveling here.