Guide: 3-Point Bed Level Conversion (Maker Select v2)

When I first purchased my Maker Select, I found bed leveling to be the most tedious and frustrating part of 3D Printing. The problem actually became progressively worse over time, at which point I realized the original Y-Carriage Plate was warped. As I was very close to throwing it out the window, I purchased an aftermarket Y-Carriage Plate, which provided a flat surface and made bed leveling much less of a hassle.

Although it was a massive improvement, most 3D printers still use 4 point bed leveling, which isn’t always the best choice. Since I am very much opposed to drilling additional holes, I left everything as it was. After revisiting the process once again, an alternative method came to my attention, one which did not require any permanent changes to the machine. As both the heated bed and RepRap Champion’s Y-Carriage Plate have a 5th hole, we can setup 3-Point Bed Leveling simply by rotating the bed 90 degrees.

Finding this to be an appealing alternative and quite easy to do, I opted to go ahead and try it out. It ended up taking a grand total of 15 minutes, where the bed leveling process is not only considerably faster but also requires leveling less frequently as well.

Purchased Parts List

Aluminum Y Carriage Plate - $23.99 Zip Ties - $7.47

Instructions

In order to access the Y-Carriage Plate, we first need to remove the heated bed from the 3D Printer. If you use a glass plate or similar build platform, you will want to begin by setting that aside. From there, proceed to loosen all 4 corners of the bed and place the thumb wheels, springs and any other loose hardware somewhere safe.

 

In my case, I had already replaced the Y-Carriage Plate once before, where it will look different from the original plate that is included with the Maker Select. Since the original plate does not support a 3-Point Bed Leveling setup, it will be replaced with the Aluminum Y Carriage Plate instead. They have included an extra pre-drilled mounting hole in the design which we will use for 3-Point Bed Leveling.

There are 18 total screws in the Y-Carriage Plate which must be removed, 16 in the bearing blocks (4 per corner) and 2 in the center which mounts the belt bracket. Once these have been taken out, you can just swap the original carriage plate and substitute the new one in using the same hardware.

Note: make sure that the extra hole is on the left side. Otherwise, the center screw holes will not lineup with the belt mounting bracket.

RepRap Champion Y Carriage Plate

 

Now that the upgraded Y-Carriage Plate installed, we can bring the heated bed forward for easy access. On the back side where the red and black wires are soldered, remove the leveling screws from both corners by loosening the nuts that hold them in place. Once these have been extracted, Find the empty hole in the rear center, situated directly between the bed wires. Insert one of the leveling screw and tighten it into place with a nut on the bottom side.

Once you are finished, it should look like the image below. We have removed the two leveling screws from the back corners and relocated one of them to the center, creating a triangle shape between the remaining three.

 

To finish the 3-Point leveling conversion, we will rotate the heated bed counter clockwise by 90 degrees. In doing so, the center screw will align with the center mounting hole on the Y-Carriage Plate. Be careful when rotating the bed that you do not stress any of the wires.

We will carefully bend these backwards towards the rear of the 3D Printer, then use zip ties to secure them to the empty mounting hole. This will help to prevent stress on the wires during bed movement and ensure they do not get caught on the side. The red and black power wires are a thick gauge and quite durable, where the thin (white) thermistor wire just needs a bit of caution to avoid causing any damage.

Posts created 51

14 thoughts on “Guide: 3-Point Bed Level Conversion (Maker Select v2)

  1. Strangely, getting the bed level is now tougher after swapping the carrier and rotating the hot bed for 3 point use. Probably something to re-learn

    1. I was talking to someone about this last week as I had the same problem at first. With 4 point leveling, I would level the corners in a diagonal pattern (front left/back right, then front right/black left).

      With 3-Point Bed Leveling, the proper way seems to be level the side with 2 points first, which in this case is front right and back right. Once those are level with each other, you use the third point on the left to bring it into alignment with them. I’m still practicing myself but it is definitely much faster versus 4 points once you get the hang of it.

  2. Hey there Brett! Thanks for this walk-through. I am planning on doing this on my MS Plus. I have the issue, now, where my FL and BR are loosened all the way and the FR and BL are compressed 75%… I THINK this should help fix that problem. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Wes!

      In my experience, the 3-point bed leveling speeds up the process more than anything. It takes me a fraction of the time to do versus the 4-point bed leveling which often required some finesse. I just ensure that the FR and BR are level with one another, then tighten/loosen the left side to bring it into alignment with the right.

      For the issue you described, have you already replaced the Y-Carriage plate with an aftermarket option? If not, it could very well be the original stock plate has warped (was almost impossible for me to level the bed correctly after that happened). If so, I would also recommend using a carpenter’s square and ensure the top/bottom frame are aligned, where this could potentially cause an issue like that as well.

    2. I have this same problem Wes. I think in my case the lower Y-axis rods are out of alignment. If the rods are not both level, it would cause that odd tightening pattern for the bed. Working on fixing it.

  3. I think you are right about the square-ness… I need to check that. I wasn’t able to convert to a 3 point because the glass bed I have would end up sitting on the screw creating a slight lift from the bed itself… I either need to get a new piece of glass, or figure our another way to mount it… My y-Carriage (upgaded) does have a hole in the front for a center piece too… I believe there are some printable solutions for putting the single screw up front, which would be nice and accessible.

    1. That is something I messed with quite a bit when installing the Z-Brace Kit, needed to make absolutely sure the frame was square. If you over tighten those, it can end up pulling the top frame forward and throwing things out of alignment. Thankfully a carpenter’s square made it quick and simple.

      As for the glass, that is a good point. I have the full 220x220mm glass w/ notched corners on my AM8 and had the same issue using it on the Maker Select. I am instead using the smaller 200x213mm glass, which provides enough room for the screw head. As a cheap alternative, you could just replace that screw with one that has a flat head.

  4. I really want to do this upgrade but for the life of me I cannot figure out away to get enough slack in my cables. Have to make any changes to the stock way cables are managed in order to get the slack needed to rotate the plate 90 degrees?

      1. I had to undo some of the wrap bundling the wires together and redo the wire management. Actually turned out quite simple!

        Just had to unravel the black wire wrap/cut a few zip ties to create the slack needed. Then used some twist ties for cable management.

        Unfortunately still having problems with getting a level bed which is driving me crazy. Thought for sure this would be my final solution (so PLEASE let me know if you come across any new bed leveling advice/upgrades).

        1. Problem was that a lot of the cables are bundled together. You can get the extra slack by taking the wires needed for the y axis and seperating them from the others (to x axis motors, etc)

        2. Hi Jake,

          I would strongly suggest checking your build plate to determine if it’s flat.

          Chinese manufacturers use 4-point leveling because it covers up defects. On one hand, the extra 4th point can force the bed in to a semi-usable shape, meaning they don’t have to worry about quality control. However, that 4th point can cause the bed to bend and skew even further out of shape over time.

          3-Point leveling requires that the build plate is flat, because it removes tension from two of the corners. If you’re stock build plate is slowly turning in to a taco, it’s going to be even more evident after doing so. I generally take the bed off and lay it on a flat surface (marble / granite counter tops are close enough) and see if there is any wobble. Assuming this is in fact the problem, you will more than likely want to replace the heated bed.

          -Brett

          1. Hi Brett.
            I’ve tried using two pieces of Borosilicate Glass that I’m pretty sure are flat (I checked the best I could). I used different brands just in case one was faulty. I also replaced my y carriage.

            I have to recheck my heated bed, however I think the glass +binder clips combo would have solved for that.

            Thanks for the advice. Do only other thing I could think of would be x or y axis rods being bent but I doubt that’s the case. Let me know if you have any other ideas/suggestions! Any sizable print has eluded me and I’ve spent over half a year upgrading and researching.

          2. Hi Jake,

            Glass does cover up such defects as long as the bed has a concave warp. If it’s convex (i.e. raised in the center), glass doesn’t work too well.

            If you’re leveling issues occur on one side, it’s quite possible your X axis is out of alignment. This happens almost every time I pick up one of my Maker Selects and move it, where I have made it a point to always check this afterwards. As a quick and easy test, use something like a glue stick (needs to stand on its own and have a flat top) to measure the spacing between the frame and the X axis.

            • Raise the Z enough that the glue stick will sit on top of the motor mounts
            • Slowly lower Z back down until the smooth rod is just barely touching the top of the glue stick cap
            • Move the glue stick to the other side of the frame and make sure it’s the same distance

            A lot of times one side will be sitting higher than the other, and you can level it all you want, but a slight angle on the X axis throws it completely off. Making sure both sides of the X axis are an equal height from the frame will eliminate such issues. As a side note, I generally recommend making micro adjustments to the Z height by hand, turning the motor coupler to get these lined up and perfectly even.

            -Brett

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top