I bought this cheap prusa i3 variation from eBay. I setup everything and now I'm trying to print some gcode file from the SD card. Using PLA.

Here is a video of the mess! How can so fix this situation?:


I have no clue about how to generate gcode files, so I just took the ones from the manufacturer CD.

Are there any gcode files I can download for correctly tuning and calibrating my printer. I would like to know that my hardware setup is right, before getting into the software stuff



Looks like you need to adjust the print bed level. When z=0, the nozzle should be 0.1mm above the printing surface - and that needs to be at every point of the printing area. Instructions on how to adjust this should come with your printer.

Essentially, the procedure is as follows (you should be able to issue these commands directly on your printer, so no gcode is needed):

  • auto home, i.e. all axes go to 0.
  • disable steppers, so you are able to move the print bed and the x-axis
  • put a sheet of paper on the print table. The thickness of ordinary paper is around 0.1mm, so that's good for calibrating.
  • now move the nozzle around the print bed. There should be a slight (!) friction between the paper and the nozzle and this friction should be the same everywhere. If not, use the screws on the four corners to adjust the level of the print bed. Do not attempt to fully correct any deviation at once, because this might bend the print bed. Make several rounds and adjust the screws by 1/2 turn only on each round. This is a tedious procedure but it is really required.

Finally, when the nozzle is at 0.1mm above the print bed in z=0, you should be able to print and the filament should adhere to the bed.

A heated bed also helps.

P.S.: For generating gcode files, you need a slicer. For the very first steps, I found Cura quite easy to use: you feed it with .stl files and it will slice it internally. Currently, I am using slic3r (and pronterface for controlling the printer itself).

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks.. I will try to adjust print bed. Why instead of STL files, generally there are no gcode files available?? Will a gcode file work in any prusa i3 printer? $\endgroup$
    – Jack Casas
    Jan 6 '18 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ STL files only contain the geometry, while gcode also contains technology information, such as resolution, temperatures, printing aids like support, brim etc... gcode is therefore specific for your setup and is therefore usually not supplied on platforms like thingiverse & co. $\endgroup$
    – Adrian W
    Jan 6 '18 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ I concur the problem is with bed levelling, but the procedure should be performed slightly different than described. Notably: 1) heat your nozzle to the printing temp (this is because the hot end expands when hot, so the nozzle is lower on the bed when printing. 2) do not disable the steppers, rather use the menu to move the printhead (you don't want to accidentally move the Z axis) 3) rather than "move around" the nozzle, move it repeatedly on top of the 4 adjustment screws. If your bed is flat, this will level the whole bed. A severely crooked bed should be replaced. $\endgroup$
    – mac
    Jan 6 '18 at 22:44

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