Why Leveling Is Important
If the build plate is too far from the MK8 Stepstruder nozzles, or if one part of the plate is farther away from the nozzles than another part, your 3D prints might not stick to the build plate. If the build plate is too close to the extruder nozzles, the build plate can block the MakerBot Filament from extruding from the nozzles. This can also tear the Kapton tape applied to the build plate and scratch the aluminum surface underneath. Leveling your build plate will help ensure that objects adhere well to the plate.
How to Level the Build Plate
To level the build plate, you must adjust the four knobs under the build platform. These four knobs lower and raise the build plate.
- Tightening the knobs [turning them to the right] moves the build plate away from the extruder nozzles.
- Loosening the knobs [turning them to the left] moves the build plate closer to the extruder nozzles.
- The distance between the extruder nozzles and the build plate should be about the thickness of the MakerBot Support card included with your MakerBot Replicator.
- It’s very important that you always move two knobs during each step -- if you try to move only one knob at a time, the script can have unexpected results. Also, make sure that you’re moving the specific knobs the script is telling you to use.
Run the Leveling Script
On the LCD interface navigate to Utilities > Level Build Plate and press the M button. Have the support card that came with your MakerBot Replicator handy, or something about as thick, such as a post-it folded once.
Make Some Room Between the Build Plate and the Nozzle
When directed by the LCD screen, tighten each of the four knobs under the build platform about four turns.
Adjust the Knobs as Directed
The script will prompt you to adjust the knobs individually. As you adjust each knob, make sure the MakerBot Support card just slides between the nozzles and build plate. You should feel some friction on the support card but still be able to easily pass the card between the plate and the extruder nozzles without tearing or damaging the card.
Adjust Each Knob Again
The script will prompt you to adjust each knob again. This allows for fine tuning. This time, the MakerBot Support card should slide between the build plate and nozzles with more friction.
Confirm Your Adjustment
After the second set of adjustments, the nozzles will move to the center of the build plate. Confirm that the MakerBot Support card slides between the nozzles and plate with a moderate amount of friction.