Automatic Bed Leveling with CR-Touch

edited October 2023 in 3D Printers

When starting 3D printing, one quickly realizes that the details matter. The precision and accuracy with which a 3D printer operates significantly influence the final product's quality. A seemingly mundane yet fundamentally vital task is at the heart of ensuring this precision: bed leveling.

A leveled bed ensures uniformity in layer deposition, minimizing discrepancies and irregularities during the printing process. Imagine trying to paint a masterpiece on a wobbly canvas – the results would likely be far from the intended design. Similarly, 3D printing on an unleveled bed can lead to printing errors, poor bed adhesion, and layer inconsistencies, turning a potentially remarkable print into a messy paperweight.

Automatic bed leveling sensors, like the Creality CR Touch, have emerged as invaluable assets, transforming the intricate task of manual bed leveling into an automated, precise, and efficient process.

Mechanics Behind Automatic Bed Leveling

Designers meticulously craft automatic bed leveling sensors to detect variations in bed height across the print surface. Once these sensors map out these variations, the 3D printer adjusts the nozzle's movement to compensate, ensuring consistent layer heights throughout the printing process.

Touch Probes: Often considered the most straightforward type, touch probes physically contact the printer bed. Through these touchpoints, the sensor can gauge the bed's topography. They achieve remarkable accuracy because they make physical contact, but users must ensure they don't damage or scratch the print surface.

Capacitive Sensors: These sensors operate on the principle of detecting changes in capacitance and measuring the distance between the sensor and the bed. The critical advantage of capacitive sensors is their ability to detect various surface types. However, they can sometimes be affected by ambient conditions like temperature and humidity.

Inductive Sensors: Similar to capacitive sensors but with a twist, inductive sensors detect metallic surfaces. They generate an electromagnetic field and measure changes as the bed moves closer or further away. While highly accurate on metal print surfaces, their performance may diminish on non-metallic beds.

Of course, other sensor types and hybrid systems are entering the market, each tailored to specific needs and printer setups. Yet, the overarching objective remains the same: ensuring that the bed is perfectly aligned with the printer's nozzle, regardless of minor imperfections or variations in the bed's surface.

Benefits of Automatic Bed Leveling Sensors

Consistent Print Quality: The most immediate and tangible benefit of automatic bed leveling sensors is the enhanced consistency of print quality. Ensuring the bed is level relative to the nozzle's movement reduces the chances of print failures, warping, or uneven layers. This consistency is a boon for both novices and professionals, consistently setting a benchmark for high-quality prints.

Reduced Manual Intervention: Manual calibration was often tedious before automatic leveling systems and rife with potential errors. Minute oversights could drastically affect the print's outcome. Automation minimizes the margin of human error, ensuring the printer setup is accurate and ready for action.

Convenience: Perhaps one of the most celebrated advantages, the time-saving of automated leveling systems cannot be overstated. What once took meticulous effort and patience can now be achieved with a simple push of a button, allowing users to focus on the creative aspect of their projects.

While understanding the many benefits of automatic bed leveling is pivotal, the practical application is equally crucial. To truly harness these benefits, you must execute the installation process precisely. If you're considering the CR-Touch sensor, the following steps offer a comprehensive guide to integrate it properly with your 3D printer.

Installing the CR-Touch Sensor on Your Creality Printer:

Safety First:

  • Unplug power from the printer.

Accessing the Control Board:

  • Flip the printer onto its side to access the bottom.
  • Remove three screws from the bottom of the control board case.
  • Remove one screw on top of the control board case.
  • Note down the version number of the control board. (e.g., 4.2.2)

Connecting the CR-Touch:

  • Route the CR-Touch cable through the wire loom to ensure organized wiring.
  • Connect the CR-Touch cable to the receptacle on the control board.
  • Double-check the wiring to ensure tidiness.
  • Reassemble the control board cover using the removed screws.

Installing the Sensor:

  • Stand the printer upright.
  • On the side of the printer, disconnect and remove the z-stop switch. Store it safely for future use.
  • Choose the appropriate bracket for your application.
  • First, attach the sensor to the bracket. This step simplifies the subsequent installation.
  • If required, remove the hot end fan shroud to access mounting holes.
  • Secure the bracket to the carriage and reattach the hot end fan shroud if removed.

Updating the Printer's Firmware:

Important Reminder:

  • Updating firmware can be risky. Always proceed with caution.

Obtaining the Firmware:

  • Visit Creality's Accessory firmware download page.
  • Select your printer model (e.g., Ender 3 V2).
  • Download and unzip the necessary files.
  • Pick the control board version and choose the non-adapter board version (assuming no adapter).

Preparing the SD Card:

  • Use an SD card ≤ 32 GB due to the FAT32 format limit.
  • Format the SD card using the specified settings.
  • Copy the .bin firmware file to the SD card. Consider renaming it (e.g., "firmware.bin") to avoid any conflicts during updating.

Firmware Installation:

  • With the printer powered off, insert the SD card.
  • Power on the printer. The firmware should begin updating automatically.
  • After successful firmware flashing, you should spot a "Level" icon on the main screen.


  • Navigate to 'Prepare' on the menu, then choose "Auto-Home."
  • Access the "Move" menu and adjust "move-z" to determine the printing distance from the bed. Adjust the z-offset if necessary (e.g., -1.51mm).
  • Disable stepper motors and perform a final manual bed leveling. Aim to have the bed's static level close to perfect to minimize automatic adjustments.

Test Print:

  • Initiate a print using your chosen file (e.g., "3D Benchy").
  • Load the .stl file into your slicer (e.g., Ultimaker Cura).
  • Update the machine's start code settings: After G28, insert a G29 followed by a comment for clarity.
  • Slice the file, save, transfer to the SD card, and insert it into the printer.
  • Start the test print.

Leveling Made Simple

3D printing has always been about precision; getting the foundational elements right can make a significant difference. One of those critical elements is bed leveling. Print quality, consistency, and reliability soar to new heights with a well-leveled bed.

Automatic bed leveling sensors simplify this crucial step. Automating the process saves valuable time and significantly reduces the chances of errors. The results? Consistently high-quality prints with less effort. Think of these sensors as a blend of innovation and practicality designed to make 3D printing more accessible and efficient.

The Invitation to Efficiency

For anyone dabbling or diving deep into 3D printing, consider this: efficiency isn't just about speed; it's about getting the best results every time. With automatic bed leveling, you're not just adding another tool but elevating your entire printing experience. But remember, ensuring compatibility between your printer and the sensor is paramount.

To all our readers: Now is the time if you have yet to consider automatic bed leveling. See for yourself how straightforward installation can be and witness the tangible benefits in every print. With the right tools, your 3D printing journey becomes smoother, and the possibilities? Endless.


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