Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fine Tuning RapMan 3.2 - Precise Bed Leveling

Making sure that the RapMan 3.2 bed is level is probably among the most important things we can do to ensure better results.

The build manual and the display panel gives up some tools to level the bed using three bolts.

But, my eyes were having a hard time seeing the hot end height.  So, I decided to make some tools to help me do this more precisely.  First, I bought a set of mechanic's valve tappet gauges.  Using a gauge under the tool that I am going to describe is the most precise way to ensure that all points are even.

First the tools...

Bed Level Tools

 Basically, these two tools are hung over the X-Carrier rails and hang down.  The four points are an even length.  Here is how they are used.

Tools hung over at each end of the X-Carrier rails.

Notice that that a tappet gauge is being slipped under one of the pointed rods.  Adjust the height of the bed using the console until the gauge can be just slipped under the point.  It should NOT lift the tool.  Now, by simply using the bed leveling bolts, ensure that the gauge just slips under each of the other points.

Do this front and back.

Gauge being used at the back of the bed
These tools are a LOT easier to see than the tip of the hot end because you can place them so close to the edges of the adjustable bed assembly.  You can get up close and personal.

Finally, I had created an earlier set of alignment tools designed to do the same thing.  However, these sat on the bed, itself and had clips similar to those of the X/Y Carrier alignment tools.  I now use these just to verify that the bed is level.

Verifying that the bed is level

The latter step  is not really required.  I simply have the posts already and it's a good tactile way to verify that the bed is level.  Raise or lower the bed until one of the tools clips easily on the carrier rod and the other tool should also clip easily.

Once bed leveling is complete, we need to adjust the hot end height.  And, for that I also use the mechanic's tappet gauge.


Nicole Black said...

Have you posted the stl's for these tools? I'd love to try them. I'm having a helluva time leveling my RapMan.

Tom Meeks said...

Hi Nicole,

Email me at and I will send them to you.