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BLTouch Review

BLTouch Review

I am a relative newcomer to the 3D printing arena. Although I have been observing the development of the technology for a number of years, the idea of taking the leap from electronics in computers to mechanics in a printer daunted me. But I finally decided to take the leap when I saw a low cost, decent quality printer appear on Kickstarter in August of 2014. Unfortunately, that project was a major flop. But fortunately I was able to learn a great deal from it. Although the design of the printer was questionable, the concept upon which it was designed on was salvageable. After a number of months of tinkering, I was happily printing with decent quality.

One of the things that this printer was not originally designed for was probing and auto-levelling. Being a stubborn and diehard cheapskate, I tried everything I could minimally do to work without the probe. Alas, I finally had to admit defeat and started looking at the options. The most popular probe in the 3D printing arena appears to be the inductive sensor. I wasn’t crazy about this as it required having a metal bed or in the bed in order to operate. Another option was to use a servo with a switch attached to it. I still wasn’t crazy about this either as it seemed more complicated to set up. Around this time a brilliant new type of sensor was introduced on Indiegogo called the BLTouch, a device that combines a servo with a switch in a less than 11 grams or 0.39oz package. As soon as I saw how this device worked I knew it was exactly what I was looking for and so I happily supported the project.

The project was a success and soon after the campaign ended I was working on setting up my first version of the BLTouch, the yellow one. Not long after receiving it however, ANTCLABS, the company behind the BLTouch, advised the backers to discard it as a new improved version was going to be sent to replace, free of charge. The new version addressed power requirements and added a feature to reset the BLTouch when in error condition by a GCODE rather than having to power cycle it and was now white to differentiate it from the original yellow one. Since this second version was released a "C" version is now coming which adds additional features that I will cover at a later date.

The one thing that made adoption a little more difficult at first was limited documentation on how to make it work. Although some connection details were available, programming direction wasn't certain at first for some firmwares. So, a number of backers were left scratching their heads, unsure how to configure their printers. Fortunately, some resourceful backers were able to discover the related settings on their own and shared their findings with the community. Since then, ANTCLABS has been actively adding support material to their forums and documentation and actively helping the community to get their devices working.

The makers of the BLTouch, Charles Lee and his team, have been very professional and supportive of their backers. I’d have to say that this was the most successful and professionally handled crowdfunding project I have personally supported to date.

I was recently asked about my standard deviation results from a M48 repeatability test. The claims made by ANTCLABS is 0.001 deviation. I didn’t get that small, but pretty close at an average of 0.005. I presume results may vary depending on the configuration of your printer. But I still consider that to be pretty good.

I am very happy with the BLTouch and the company that supports it. I would highly recommend it for anyone considering a reliable and accurate probe for their printer.

Posted by Greg Nutt

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BLTouch : Auto Bed Leveling Sensor Probe (April 2017 "Smart" Edition)

BLTouch : Auto Bed Leveling Sensor Probe (April 2017 "Smart" Edition)

BLTouch is an auto leveling Z sensor probe for 3D Printers based on open-source such as Delta or Car..

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1 Comments To "BLTouch Review"

colin On 27.02.2017
Thanks Greg, Nice to order from Canada. Pricing is great and the service is Fabulous. The support provided by Greg, is by far the best I have received in a long time. Reply to this comment
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