Install BL-Touch on Ender 3 With SKR Board

Introduction: Install BL-Touch on Ender 3 With SKR Board

About: A Self-confessed geek from the days computer memory was measured in Kilobytes. I love reading, travelling and anything to do with tech.

I’ve had the Skr Mini E3 and the BL-Touch lying in my room since January, as I had installed the Skr Mini board into my 3D printer earlier, the time has come to install the BL-Touch to the printer. So let's get started.

Step 1:

The steps in this video are more for the SKR mini E3 and to a limit to the Creality 3D controller board. But the final wiring is a bit different on the Creality board, so would recommend looking for a custom tutorial video.

Step 2:

Now that, that’s out of the way let's get started with the installation of the BL-Touch. I’ve watched umpteen tutorials on the steps to install the BL-Touch, and they do get confusing at times, making the task look more daunting than it really is.

This video is a straightforward install with the firmware available on the git repository directly for download without the need for compiling. I agree, it won't be the latest version but at least the steps are easier to follow and you can upgrade the firmware to the newer one, once it's available.

The BL-Touch is a high precision auto levelling solenoid and hall sensor which can precisely measure the tilt of the bed surface. It works on any kind of printing bed, such as glass, wood, metal and so on.

Step 3:

Opening up the box we have included screws, Burner which i will not be using, Bl-Touch sensor with an additional probe, this is the BL-touch 3.1, Connectors, Zip ties Pin Board, ISP pin board, Frame

Step 4:

We need to install the sensor in line with the extruder, which is possible with the provided frame.

I’m going to be installing the sensor here. The screw holes and bolt hole match up, and being part of the kit you don't need to print one anymore. The frame is also metal, which will be sturdier than PLA anyway.

Step 5:

We are provided M3x6 and M3X8 which are 6mm and 8mm M3 screws. These will be used to fasten the sensor to the frame.

Step 6:

Before we install the frame to the printer, we mount the sensor on it. Use the screws provided to mount the sensor, this is how it looks, the connectors on the sensor point towards the length of the frame.

Step 7:

Now we need to get the cover off the extruder and fan. Once the screws are removed the cover pops off like this. Place the frame on the mount, aligning the screw holes, and tighten the screws to fix in place.

Step 8:

Before attaching the sensor to the frame I insert the connector into the BL-touch. Make sure of the direction before inserting.

I found that the threads on the BL-Touch were not being held up by the screws and it kept falling.

Step 9:

I then rummaged through my son's electronics kit and mounted the bltouch using a screw and nut instead, which held the sensor in place so much better.

Step 10:

Next we cut the zip ties holding down the wire sheath, and snake the sensor wires all the way down to the main controller board. It’s quite a big job, so instead I ran the wire externally instead, but if you have the patience you can do it the right clean way.

Step 11:

Now to install the sensor wires onto the main controller board. We need to take the top cover off as we had done earlier. Two screws in the front and one in the rear.

Step 12:

Pull in the sensor wire from the hole in the bottom to the front over the motherboard. Here they are, the power and z stop connectors.

Step 13:

Being the SKR board we don’t use the ISP and Burner included, but you will need them if you’re using the original Creality board.T

he best part is that we don't even need to use the included pin 27 power adapter board as the SKR mini E3 has a dedicated Sensor port.

Step 14:

But there is one, not a problem but still an important step to take before connecting to the SKR board.

The connectors on the cable are at present Red, Blue and Yellow which are VCC,GND and SIG.

Step 15:

Looking at the diagram on the SKR board, the blue and red needs to be flipped to GND,VCC and SIG.

Step 16:

These being du-pont connectors, pry up the lugs and pull the connectors out. Once out, rearrange the wires into the correct slots and you should feel it clicking in, which indicates that the wires have locked in place.

Step 17:

Now insert the connector into the sensor plug, make sure to match the direction. Also unplug the Z-stop connector and connect the one from the sensor. The sensor handles all the z-stops now.

Step 18:

Now insert the connector into the sensor plug, make sure to match the direction. Also unplug the Z-stop connector and connect the one from the sensor. The sensor handles all the z-stops now.

Step 19:

As I didn't snake the wire through the harness, I used duct tape to attach it externally all the way to the bottom.

Step 20:

Now we need to flash the new firmware with the configuration for BL-touch present. So open up the SKR mini E3 git, download firmware-bltouch-for-z-homing.bin file, rename to firmware.bin and copy to the printers micro-SD card.

Make sure to download "firmware-bltouch-for-z-homing.bin" and not "firmware-bltouch.bin" as we don't have a z-stop switch anymore, the extruder would start grinding at the corner. With the z-homing firmware, it will level itself at the center of the bed instead of the corner.

Step 21:

Insert the card into the printer's microsd card slot. Turn the machine on and as it starts up, the firmware is flashed.

Step 22:

Now we are ready, you should notice a new BL-Touch option in the configuration menu.

Step 23:

Lets try auto homing the extruder. Well the moment of truth. The sensor is active, and the probe is deployed.

It touches the bed and stops the extruder from hitting the bed. Phew, that was close, as we don't have a Z-Stop switch connected anymore.

Step 24:

Now that we know it works we can remove the Z-Stop Switch completely.

Step 25:

On printing I find that the extruder is quite high, so I will need to calibrate the bed and the sensor z-offset to get it at the right height.

As with most installs, we need to do an initial bed calibration, which is done by making sure the extruder is the right height away from the bed to get the best smushing of the PLA for best adhesion and print.

Step 26:

We also need to set the z-offset to get the height just right. I found the offset for my printer to be -2.96 and it’s working really well once I set it.

Step 27:

Well that’s how you install a BL-Touch on the SKR Mini E3, hope this helped you understand the steps and enabled you to install one yourself.

I can be messaged at tech@talkingstuff.net or whatsapp’d at 9652578833.

Happy 3D printing.

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    21 Comments

    0
    zwolverine9191
    zwolverine9191

    5 months ago

    Hi I tried flashing firmware but the bl touch option does not show up HELP!!!!

    0
    lennie1972
    lennie1972

    6 months ago

    My firmware won’t flash. I used two different sd cards with the same results. I renamed exactly and made sure it was the only thing on the card. Not sure if I missed a step or something

    0
    tmhernandez77
    tmhernandez77

    Question 6 months ago

    I wish I had found this before I struggled through this process!!! I ended up figuring out to ditch the pinout board and swap the two wires on the connector, as your guide suggests, but it was a pain to troubleshoot. I am having a strange problem though, my printer will probe the middle of the bed when setting its offsets, and after it does a mesh bed level, it will then move to the far corner and begin printing essentially at the end of its x and y travel. I think when it sets the home offsets, its setting the middle of the bed as (0,0,0), then moves to what it thinks the middle is to start the print. Did you have to modify your start gcode after doing this install? If so, what are you using now? Thanks

    0
    kylebend2001
    kylebend2001

    Question 9 months ago on Step 19

    I'm having trouble getting the bltouch firmware on my MacBook, it says it's an unsupported platform. idk what to do to fix this. but i have a strong feeling its because it's macOS and not windows

    Screen Shot 2020-12-05 at 7.30.51 PM.png
    0
    VinayakNair
    VinayakNair

    Reply 6 months ago

    You don't need to extract the file, just rename the bin file to firmware.bin and copy to the micro-sd card.

    0
    caseyjbrett
    caseyjbrett

    Answer 9 months ago

    You don’t need to unpack/unzip the firmware.bin file. That’s what you load onto the SD card and insert into your printer’s board. Then you turn on the printer and you should be able to see the added BLTouch feature in the menu options.

    0
    calima
    calima

    Tip 1 year ago on Step 6

    Insert the screws from the bottom to follow the thread.

    0
    rtjust
    rtjust

    Reply 8 months ago

    This, exactly. The threads are on the mount. So to hold the bl-touch, you need to sandwhich the bl-touch between the screws and mount.

    0
    zanecyrusyaz
    zanecyrusyaz

    11 months ago

    Man! This really helped me out, you explained a lot of things that they don't go over in the YouTube videos! Thanks so much!

    If you don't mind helping me with something...While I was trying to hand level the bed prior to setting the offset.. Something happened where the Z axis rose way off the bed and some error with the BL Touch lit up the screen... However, I couldn't get the error to repeat itself and I didn't want to screw anything up by trying to repeat it... Have any insights??

    0
    notmymail
    notmymail

    Question 1 year ago

    How do you set the x & y position of the sensor without compiling the firmware? (I mean, if you install the sensor on the right or on the left or front etc etc, It can be different if the fan duct is not the original)

    0
    theicedragon99
    theicedragon99

    1 year ago

    Hey thanks for the great guide but if i use a different hot end and fan mount and bl touch mount would i need to change anything in the firmware?

    0
    AXington
    AXington

    Question 1 year ago on Step 26

    how did you determine what the z offset should be?

    0
    VinayakNair
    VinayakNair

    Answer 1 year ago

    Trial and error, I set a z-offset and tested the printer, kept changing until I got the right smushing of the filament on the bed.

    0
    calima
    calima

    1 year ago

    Thanks for the guide. Just a hint, the probe kept falling because those screws are meant to be inserted from the other side to follow the thread. This is by Creality's intended design and instructions. Once you do that, you will not need the hexagonal nuts.

    0
    VinayakNair
    VinayakNair

    Reply 1 year ago

    I never thought of it that way, but the screws were sliding off and didn't look like they were the right size at all. Thanks, at least that's something nice to know if I run into similar problems in future.

    0
    calima
    calima

    Reply 1 year ago

    I didn't have the hex nuts, was almost ready to use double-sided exterior tape as a temporary solution, then stumbled upon someone else's hint, which fit my own need. Appreciate your guide and its pictures. I will go on with the flipping of the wires for the SKR mini e3. If I get stuck or find something else to share, I will come back. Again, thanks.

    0
    VinayakNair
    VinayakNair

    Reply 1 year ago

    Someone else had commented that I was using the screw's the wrong way, it goes top down and would hold is what they said. As i already have it set properly using the Hex nuts i didn't try this, but it could help you.

    0
    VinayakNair
    VinayakNair

    Reply 1 year ago

    Actually they advised to Insert the screws from the bottom to follow the thread.
    0
    VinayakNair
    VinayakNair

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you for checking out the Instructable. 😊

    0
    OliverKennett
    OliverKennett

    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    Hi, Firstly, thanks so much for this guide. It was exactly what I was looking for. Well written and very informative.
    I'm blind so can't see what images you might have here, but may also be being a little dumb so... Which kit are you using for the BL-Touch, is it the Creality own kit or something else? I did consider the Creality one but understand that there will be some superfluous items in there as I'm using an SKR E3.
    Thanks so much, and keep up the good guides.