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I have my nozzle close to the substrate that I am printing on, so that a piece of paper can just about slide underneath it freely, without catching.

Is this the right way to do it?

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Traditionally, using a piece of paper (about 0.004" thick) gets you close to your appropriate standoff. However, if you adjust your layer thickness, your standoff should reflect this. Ideally, you will set your standoff roughly with a piece of paper or other type of shim stock, then "fine-tune" the standoff during a benchmark print.

If I'm remembering correctly, the ideal standoff is 1/2 to 2/3 your desired layer height.

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  • $\begingroup$ For reference, 0.004" [0.10mm] is great way to communicate dimensions in both English AND Metric systems. Info shared here for anybody using the metric system to call out layer heights. $\endgroup$ – zipzit Apr 17 at 4:02
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This photo isn't exact, but may help

Edit: Whoops! Forgot to include source. This is from the Wanhao User Manual/Build Guide. I can't quite find the webpage at the moment.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Could you maybe add a bit more textual content to your post so it can be indexed by search machines and is accessible to those with screen readers? Also, do you have permission to reproduce this image here? Unless you made it yourself, it is probably copyrighted, and its use would require attribution at best and be illegal at worst. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Nov 2 '16 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ TomvanderZanden is right, you should at the very least provide a link to where you found the image and I think a bit more context would go the extra mile. However, this is a great illustration of standoff for beginners! +1 $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 Nov 2 '16 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ Tom van der Zanden & tbm0115, Updated. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Chase Cromwell Nov 4 '16 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Did you manage to locate the link to the reference? $\endgroup$ – Greenonline Feb 12 '17 at 12:48
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Using a piece of paper won't guarantee you get exactly the "correct" height (because different papers have different thicknesses, and it's hard to determine exactly when it no longer catches on the nozzle) but it gets the bed level and the distance will be close to correct.

You can then further adjust the height by observing the first layer and making adjustments based on whether you see the first layer being squished down enough or too much. The babystepping feature (if enabled) is very useful for this.

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If I may, I'll recommend heartily joining (or peeking at) the Reprap group on Facebook. They have a bunch of 'help' files there, including one on how to level the bed. In particular, it suggests doing the final height setting and levelling at the intended operating temperature so as to avoid any thermal expansion "surprises."

One inherent problem is that the stock limit switches are terrible for position repeatability. Well, not 'terrible,' but enough slop that the first layer or two may be a bit too close to the bed in some circumstances. I'd recommend at the least making sure the Z-stop is locked down good and tight once set, and then if you want to get more precise, look into other proximity or opto-sensors. I haven't done that yet so don't have any specific recommendations.

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    $\begingroup$ Though this is useful leveling advice, this doesn't really address the question. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Oct 18 '16 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ @TomvanderZanden if you read the "z-axis adjustment" and "bed levelling" help files at that link,you'll see the OP's question is dealt with pretty exhaustively. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Oct 18 '16 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Carl_Witthoft in that case it would be good if you included the main point of the answer here. While it's good to back up an answer with references and further reading material, an answer that depends entirely on external resources can become obsolete if the linked material changes or becomes unavailable. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Oct 18 '16 at 19:57

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