I've had my Ender 3 for almost three weeks, gone through about a kilogram of PLA filament (printing a mix of upgrade parts for the Ender 3 and stuff I actually want to use) and made one PETG object, generally with good results.
I've noticed however, as seems relatively common (per YouTubers, anyway), that my bed isn't flat -- that is, the build surface isn't a good approximation of a geometric plane. If I adjust the bed to have correct clearance (good adhesion and correct single-line width) at the corners, I'll get adhesion failure in the center, and if I adjust to give a correct center, the extruded filament will be squished into the build surface texture; the nozzle may even lightly scatch the surface at the corners. That indicates the corners are high, relative to the center, by roundly 0.1 to 0.15 mm.
I'm aware of BLTouch and its clones, but in order to get full use of that system (which automatically compensates for the non-planar bed) I would need to not only install the surface sensing hardware, but flash my printer's firmware (potentially after removing the control module cover and plugging a cable and adapter into the mainboard). As a longtime builder/upgrader of my own computers, this is certainly within my capability, but I'd prefer to make my build surface flat instead of applying software corrections; I see this as upgrading from a 386 to a Core i3 because the computer is overheating -- that is, the problem will go away because of all the other stuff you have to do, but you haven't really solved the problem.
My general idea more or less mimics the self-answer on this question in terms of measuring the excursion and applying shims under the build surface (I've installed the Creality magnetic sheet surface, so shims would be applied between the magnetic base sheet and the removable build surface). I plan to use household aluminum foil, standard weight, which is generally close to 0.63 mil (= .016 mm), applied with repositionable spray adhesive and laid down in layers, using a combination of feeler gages and single-layer test prints to determine where and how much foil to apply.
I've "test flown" this option by putting a single Post-It sheet under the center of the removable build surface, and now I have a much closer match between the center and corners, and can (depending on my nozzle standoff) actually see the outline of the makeshift shim in the first layer where it prints over the edges of the Post-It.
Is there anything I'm missing that would prevent this shimming method using aluminum foil from resolving the warped bed to allow me to depend on an even thickness and correctly adhered first layer?