Introduction: Z-Calibrating 3D Printer With Conductive Tape

About: a hacker and a maker of potentially anything I can get my hands on. dad. aspiring Inventor. educator. hacking life, one bit at a time.

Hi everyone,

This is a short and (I think) sweet trick for winning over problematic Z axis calibration done on delta 3d printers.

I myself am a (relatively) happy owner of a Chinese delta printer which was quite popular back in its day, the Micromake.

One thing that it has always been a bit pesky about was the quality of the Z axis calibrations. Bad calibrations were responsible for dozens of failed prints, and, due to the math involved, to not being able to use the entire printing bed.

Since the calibration of the printer is based on the rather-flimsy method of gradually forcing the printing head onto the printing bed and as a result, a microswitch triggering, this becomes a real downer at times

The solution I found to this problem was connecting the wires normally going to the micro switch to 2 alligator wires and from there, one goes down to the printing bed and the other to the hotend. In both of these locations, I have used conductive tape to make both surfaces conductive, so that when the hotend touches the printing bed, the wires going to the switch create an electrical connection.

I have used this type of fabric-like conductive tape for the printing bed, and this type of copper tape, which is better at keeping its shape, for the hotend.

While performing a preliminary "old school" calibration, I first marked the places where the hotend touched the printing bed (during calibration) with capacitive tape. Then, I connected all these pads to one another with some more conductive tape.

I then taped some copper tape to the tip of the hotend and secured it into place using its glue.

Next, all it takes for the magic to happen is to connect the wires coming from the switch to the top and bottom conductive planes and activate calibration again.