Do you remember those days, when you sat down with a piece of paper in your hands and spun your wheels on your Ender 3 Pro, Ender 3 V2, Ender 3 Pro? It seems like yesterday. It doesn’t need to be tomorrow if you have a BLTouch installed.Never again will you need to adjust a Z-offset or level your Ender3 bed.
We use Ender 3 V2 to create this BLTouch Guide. However, we also note the differences between the original Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 Pro.
The Ender 3 V2 has the ability to flash firmware to it via an SD card. This makes installation much easier. We’ll also demonstrate how to set the BLTouch up on the Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 Pro.
Still, we found the process to be not-so-straightforward and a bit frustrating at times. What serious upgrade is there for the Ender 3 that isn’t? The V2 is still new so there isn’t much information on how to set up the BLTouch on Ender 3 V2. Sometimes, the information is so insignificant that it wasn’t even helpful.
We can help! This guide will walk you through installing and setting-up your BLTouch auto bed levelling sensor on your Ender 3 series printer. We also anticipate any problems that might arise.
Are you ready to get started? Jump ahead to get your BLTouch setup.
Note on the product
Everything you need to set up and install the BLTouch on your Ender 3 Pro, Ender 3 V2, Ender 3 Pro or Ender 3 V2 is included in the BLTouch Kit we used. Each printer has its own bracket, so be sure to check Creality’s website for the correct printer. Although you can save a bit of money by purchasing everything separately, 3D printing the BLtouch mount is much more cost-effective.
This guide will work with other hardware.
Sure! The instructions below will work if you have the hardware. If you use something else, we’ll only note the slightest changes. Howchoo is reader-supported. We may receive a small commission as an Amazon Associate if you make a purchase through our links.
Table of Contents
BLTouch Setup and Installation
- What does BLTouch do?
- Select your BLTouch accessories
- Unplug your printer
- Eliminate the Z-axis limitation
- Mount the BLTouch and wire it
- Secure wires
- The control box is now open
- All 16
These interests printing * 83 guides
Ender 3 series
What does BLTouch do?
To understand how the BLTouch automatic-bed levelling sensor works in conjunction with 3D printers such as the Ender 3 V2, it is important to learn about the details.
What is BLTouch?
The BLTouch by Antclabs was first introduced in 2015. It is an electrical component that can be added to a 3D printer. The sensor stem detects any tilt in the bed surface and uses it as a signal. It is designed to consume very little power at idle, and can be easily installed in the Ender 3’s motherboard without heat issues.
Here’s a video by the creators of the BLTouch. This video is not exclusive to Ender 3 and Ender 3 V2.
Video: ANTCLABS BLTouch -: Auto bed levelling sensor 3D printers
What surfaces can it be used for?
Any! The newest version of the BLTouch doesn’t use proximity or optical sensors. It uses a plastic sensor stem which makes contact with the surface of the build to allow for any surface to be used.
BLTouch is superior to other auto-bed levelling techniques
The type of sensor used is the main difference between BLTouch, and other auto-levelling techniques.
Other sensor methods
Another method for auto-levelling uses an optical or proximity sensor that detects any irregularities in the slope of a build surface. These methods allow you to adjust the print as it is taking place. However, they are not compatible with certain bed materials and can be costly to repair.
The BLTouch can be used with any bed type and you only need to replace the plastic nozzle if it is damaged. If you have any problems with your BLTouch, there are tons of articles and support that you can access.
Select your BLTouch accessories
We highly recommend that you use the BLTouch installation kit as we did.
Use the BLTouch Kit
It also contains everything that you need to install BLTouch on your Ender 3 V2, original Ender 3 or Ender 3 Pro. It contains:
- The BLTouch
- Extension cable
- Mounting bracket for Ender 3 V2, Ender 3 and Ender 4 Pro
- Zip ties for wires
- Ersatz sensor stem for BLTouch
Buy pieces individually
If you are purchasing individual pieces, you will find the links to each product below.
- BLTouch extension cable with (We use V 2.0) of the latest version, which Creality supports with its firmware updates.
- At the time of writing, it is not possible to buy a separate bracket for Ender 3 V2, but one can be 3D printed! Make sure it is the right bracket for your Ender 3 V2. Different brackets will be needed for the Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro.
- 2 M2x6 + 2 M2x8 bolts (We linked a small kit that contains the required bolt sizes.
- Zip ties
Unplug your printer
To install the BLTouch, the Ender 3 V2 motherboard and Ender 3 Pro motherboard will be used. You’ll need to unplug your printer’s power supply.
It is located behind all Ender 3-series units.
Eliminate the Z-axis limitation
The limiter switch won’t be needed because you will use the BLTouch to adjust the Ender 3 V2’s bed, and manually set the Z-axis.
- Use your hex key to unscrew the bolts that attach to your Z-axis limiter.
- Either you can remove the wire from your mainboard and then open it up later, or you can zip-tie it behind the frame.
Mount the BLTouch and wire it
The small end of the extension cable should be inserted into the backside of the BLTouch. This is a good step to do first as it makes it easier to insert the extension cable once it has been mounted. In case you need to solder, you can see the order of wires below.
- Use your hex key to attach the BLTouch to your mounting bracket, so it faces towards the build surface.
- Next, use the two remaining bolts to mount the bracket just to your left of the Ender 3 V2 fan. Pre-drill the holes.
You can also add two M3 nuts to your handy small nuts and bolts set to secure the BLTouch to your mounting bracket (as shown below).
- Attach your extension cable to your fan’s wiring harness. This extends from the fan to your Ender 3 V2.
- Continue stringing the extension cable by following the main wire harness route from the back of your unit to the motherboard.
- Zip ties are used to secure the wire at critical locations.
The control box is now open
- Use your M2 hex tool to unscrew the bolts at the bottom of your control box (located in the front-left corner of your Ender3 V2). (See below.)
- Also, unscrew the bolt at the top.
- Remove the control box carefully enough to reach the motherboard. Pay particular attention to the fan.
- Take note of the fan’s wiring location and unplug it from the motherboard. This will help ensure that you don’t damage the wire when installing the BLTouch.
Connect BLTouch with the mainboard
Ender 3 V2
If you are using the BLTouch Kit, you can simply plug the connector into the slot marked “BLTouch” on your mainboard. It is located in the image.
To make space for soldering, I would suggest removing some wires from your mainboard. The order of the wires is from top to bottom.
Ender 3 and Ender Pro
The BLTouch wire connects to Ender 3’s mainboard via splicing into the Z Endstop connector. The connector is marked with a small yellow label reading “Z”.
You have two options when connecting the BLTouch with your Ender 3. If you have a soldering Iron, you can splice a cable in. This extension board can be purchased if you don’t have a soldering iron so you can connect it with no soldering.
The breakout board is a great option. I It is easy to use and can save you lots of time.. This is included in most BLTouch Ender 3 kits.
- To access the pins below the LCD connector, take it out of the housing. The LCD connector is made up of a long strip of grey wires.
- The Z-endstop plug should be removed (labelled with a “Z”)
- Switch the Z-endstop Plug wires with the black and the white wires of the BLTouch carefully (White on the left; Black on the right).
- It can be plugged back into the same slot as the BLTouch wires.
- If you are using an adapter board, insert the adapter board into the connector near the place where the LCD ribbon cables used to be. It will only fit in one direction.
- The adapter plug should hold the remaining three wires.
- Before you start, make sure that the wires are in the right order. (Shown below.) It is possible to reverse the wires inside the plug.
- Attach the LCD ribbon cable.
- Close the control box.
Note the version number of your mainboard (184.108.40.206 or 4.2.7) before you close it. It is located in the middle of your mainboard.
Box for close control
- Connect the fan to the motherboard.
- Use your hex key for tightening the bolts to Ender 3’s control boxes.
It is easiest to start with the bolts closest to the printer’s front.
Updating the firmware of your Ender
Creality supports BLTouch in its firmware. This makes it super simple to install and use the BLTouch with Ender 3 V2 or Ender 3 Pro.
Ender 3V2 Firmware — Download the firmware needed from the Creality Ender 3V2 downloads page, and then install it on your printer.
Ender 3 Pro Firmware – This is the official BLTouch firmware.
To update your firmware, check out our guide to installing firmware on Ender 3 V2. The same guide is available for Ender 3 Pro.
How to update the firmware on the Ender 3V2? Check regularly for new firmware.
Although it is a little more difficult to update firmware on the original Ender 3 printer, it is not too difficult. To allow BLTouch to function, you will need to modify the firmware of your printer. You can use my separate Ender 3 firmware/bootloader update guide to get started.
Ender 3: How To Install a Bootloader And Update Marlin FirmwareUpdate the firmware of your 3D printer and add thermal runaway protection.
Ender 3 Firmware – The official Creality Ender 3 source code is available on the Creality firmware page. Make sure that you have the correct package downloaded (e.g. BLTouch).
You may notice that your language defaults to Chinese in some cases. Follow our guide to restore English to your language on the Ender 3 V2.
How to change the language on your Ender 3 V2 because you might not be able to read the Chinese Ender 3 menu.
What firmware is correct for Ender 3 V2?
There are many options available for the Ender 3 V2 firmware. These are the details you should know.
Type of Motherboard
First, you must know which mainboard is being used for your Ender 3V2. This information should have been obvious when you opened your control box. Here’s a table to help you find out if you don’t.
|4.2.2||4.2.7||Some pre-2021 Ender-3 V2s||All 2021 + Ender 3V2s||Louder operation||Quieter operation|
You can tell if the operation is loud by listening to it. You most likely have 4.2.2 if it is operating loudly. If it’s not, then you will need to inspect the motherboard.
Make sure that the firmware you choose says BLTouch
You will need to decide whether V1.3.1-BLTouch is the right version for you. It is best to use the most recent version. If this fails, you can try the latest version. (V1.1.1 was the version that worked with our Ender 3 V2.
Does BLTouch work?
After updating your firmware, the BLTouch should light up red when you turn on the printer. It should be, it means that the printer is working! Congrats!
Modify Z-axis position
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- Go to Prepare > Auto Home to “Autohome” the nozzle.
- You can change the Z-axis using Move > Move Z. The knob can be rotated to change the Z-axis to O.
Configure the Z-offset
You will now adjust the Z offset on your Ender3 V2 to flush it with the print bed.
To avoid the nozzle from getting into the print bed, adjust the Z-offset slowly.
- Select Z-offset in the Prepare screen (misspelt in our firmware version as Z-offset).
- Adjust the Z-offset by turning the knob until the nozzle touches the print bed. You can use a piece of paper to manually level the Enders 3 V2 print bed.
- Keep increasing the Z-offset until the paper becomes difficult to move.
Ender 3 Pro Adjustment
You can do the same thing on the Ender 3 Pro except that you will need to save your settings once you have adjusted the Z-offset correctly.
You can auto-home using the Ender 3 Pro.
- Go to Motion > Move Axis> Move Z.
- You will now move the Z-axis in small increments so that the nozzle grips the paper you have placed underneath.
- Take note of the Z offset value!
- Return to the main screen of Ender 3 Pro.
- Go to Prove Z.
- Enter the value that you have previously recorded (ex. -2.4).
- Return to the main screen.
- Click Configuration to save your settings.
Now you are ready to level!
It doesn’t take perfection to do it right the first time. This will be fixed later.
The printer can be adjusted to the right level
Here’s the fun part! To run the auto-levelling program of BLTouch, select Level on the Ender 3 V2 or Ender 3 Pro screens. To determine the slope of the print bed, the BLTouch should measure 12 points.
It takes approximately 2-3 minutes. Once it is complete, you will be redirected to the centre.
Make sure to update your slicer settings
You will need to change the G-code settings in any slicing software you use such as Cura, Simplify3D, or Cura. Cura is our slicer. We’ll show how to change the settings. However, regardless of the slicer program you use, you will need to add one line below G28.
G29; Auto bed-level, (BL-Touch);
Modifying Cura settings
- Click Ultimaker Cura in Cura to open it.
- Go to Preferences > Prints > [Name your Ender 3 V2 printer]
- Click on Machine Settings
- Add G29 to “Start Gcode” below line G28.
Now, when you print something that you have sliced, your printer will automatically level it and use the settings to print it.
Optional: Octoprint and the BLTouch
Octoprint should work fine with the official Creality firmware that supports BLTouch. It should work fine as long as the slicer settings are updated with the G29 code.
You may have problems if you use a third-party firmware for your BLTouch. For example, the Smith3D firmware to the Ender 3 V2 which doesn’t support Octoprint. You will need to modify the firmware’s Marlin code to make Octoprint compatible in those cases.
Octoprint plugin by BLTouch
You can install the BLTouch plugin in Octoprint. This will give you some cool features that allow you to control the BLTouch remotely via the Octoprint server. You can find it in the Octoprint Plugin Repository. If you need assistance, please refer to our guide on how to find and install Octoprint plugins. It can also be installed manually by following the Github link.
These are the Most Popular OctoPrint plugins and how to install them. Wrap your tentacles around these awesome plugins!
Check BLTouch out and adjust as necessary
To ensure that your BLTouch auto-levels before printing and that the filament adheres perfectly to the bed, run a test print. Depending on your issue, you may have to adjust the Z offset in one direction.
After a test print, adjust
If your filament is not sticking to the bed, or the nozzle is too close, you may need to adjust the settings. Here are the steps.
If the filament isn’t sticking, move the nozzle away from the bed.
Just adjust the Z-offset a little (0.01) in the opposite direction. This will bring your extruder closer towards the print bed.
If the filament is too close (nozzle too close)
The Z-offset should be adjusted a little (0.01) in the direction of the positive. This will allow the extruder to move further away from the print bed.