Perhaps the greatest pet peeve I have when it comes to FDM/FFF based 3D printers are those machines which don’t come with automatic bed leveling technology. The printers which require that you manually level your bed, ensuring that the bed is not only perfectly level for straight prints but also that the print nozzle is at the right distance from the print bed in order to successfully print an object, can be quite tricky. The first 3D printer that I purchased did not have any automatic bed leveling system and it literally took me two weeks before I learned how to successfully level my print bed. My next 3D printer had automatic bed leveling technology and this made the printing process so much more simple.
Fact is, many 3D printers, including some very high quality machines, still do not have automatic bed leveling systems built into them. However, thanks to one man named Charles Lee, this may all be about to change for the better. Tomorrow, September 1, 2015, the BLTouch will be unveiled as part of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. The BLTouch is an auto leveling sensor for 3D printers, and the best part is that it can be added onto almost any FDM/FFF 3D printer available today.
“BLTouch is an auto leveling sensor for 3D Printers based on open-source,” Charles Lee tells 3DPrint.com. “It could work with any kind of bed materials, such as glasses, woods, metals, and so on. BLTouch consists of Atmel ATtiny13A, solenoid, and a push pin. We have several patents and some are patent pending, and we have already completed the patent application for this project. “
The BLTouch is noiseless as well, when in standby mode. Instead of making loud annoying “servo motor” sounds like other leveling systems, the BLTouch makes just a small clicking sound. It is very easy to install with nuts and bolts or double sided tape. The device also features an “Ultra Power Saving” system. While in idle mode, the power flow of the solenoid is just below 15mA, and around 800mA while the pin is moving.
“You can connect BLTouch with an existing servo motor connector(3 pin) and Zmin connector(2 pin),” Lee explains. “If your 3D printer does not have the auto leveling function, then you should have it updated, and add the two connectors which are enclosed [with our product]. In this process, soldering might be needed.”
Like mentioned above, the Indiegogo campaign is slated to launch tomorrow. The BLTouch will be available for $29, with a special early bird price of $25. If all goes as planned, production will begin in mid September, with shipping of the product to backers starting in mid October. International shipping will cost an additional $5.00 and the product will be shipped worldwide.
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