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Validating bed leveling


Well-known member
Printer Model
LDO Trident 300
Extruder Type
Cooling Type
Seeking some guideance on how to improve besh bed leveling. I've confirmed it works since turning it off and just relying on Z-TILT is definitely worse. I've gotten things to be where the corners seem to have a similar layer height, but the center is higher. I think the problem has to do with my bed having a sort of "wave" to it which has been a bit tough to work around. For parts where the first layer isn't seen, what I have works well enough. But a lot of the parts I make the first layer ends up being the most visible part of the model and would like to get my bed leveling up to where my MK3's are. Here's what my current mesh looks like:

Screenshot from 2024-05-01 10-43-08.png

Range is around -0.128 to .029.

I went a bit crazy with 11x11 just to try and map things out well enough. I'm using the inductive probe but have a Beacon in a box and that would make quick work of making a dense bed mesh. It was meant for my 2.4 but I think I may put it on the Trident as my 2.4 seems appropriately flat (I got the Beacon just to make the bed mesh process faster on the 2.4). I'm not using an umbilical yet though so haven't figured out how best to hook that thing up since they don't recommend running through drag chains at present. Other option is to just replace the bed. For that I was curious if anyone knows where I can buy a good replacement that already has the heater and magnets attached. Wondering if the wave is caused by my poor application of the magnet (it's waving in the wrong direction though as I applied the magnet front to back).

Here's my current mesh bed config:

pin: ^PG15
x_offset: 0
y_offset: 25.0
z_offset: 0
speed: 10.0
samples: 3
samples_result: median
sample_retract_dist: 3.0
#samples_tolerance: 0.006
samples_tolerance: 0.004
samples_tolerance_retries: 3


speed: 300
#horizontal_move_z: 10
horizontal_move_z: 5
#mesh_min: 40, 40
#mesh_max: 260,260
mesh_min: 30,30
mesh_max: 270,270
zero_reference_position: 150,150 #for use with stock z endstop
fade_start: 1
fade_end: 10.0
#probe_count: 7,7 # Values should be odd, so one point is directly at bed center
#probe_count: 9,9 # Values should be odd, so one point is directly at bed center
#probe_count: 3,3 # Values should be odd, so one point is directly at bed center
probe_count: 11,11 # Values should be odd, so one point is directly at bed center
algorithm: bicubic
mesh_pps: 3,3
split_delta_z: .020    # Default is 0.025

I normally use 7,7, but have been trying other values just to see what the mesh looks like. Curious as to if anyone has any ideas on how I might improve things?
My Beacon cable is tied to my PTFE. I scan very fast and the resolution is great. Plus they are releasing firmware this month that will allow nozzle probing. So you can change nozzles or bed sheet and still ger a perfect first layer.
Yep I was gonna just zip-tie it to the PTFE but my PTFE runs out the top then right over to my spool bin. Trident is all open frame right now. Though the cable is long enough I think I could zip tie it all the way to the bin and then down into the control board...that might work...hmm...I'll have to think on that!
I messed about and it seems like the USB cable can work with my somewhat abnormal PTFE setup. Printing the carriage now and I think I'm gonna go ahead and jump face first into Beacon perhaps tonight. The 11x11 change did help a little, but still have a notable change in layer "squish". Worth trying Beacon out I think given that. If that doesn't work well enough I think I'll have to swap the aluminum plate perhaps.
Let me know what you think? I have used just about every probe and I love the Beacon the best so far.
Physical setup is done! That generally went well. I'm always amazed how easy it is to take the extruders apart on my Vorons. It's so nice! The included USB cable was a tad short, I think partly because my Pi is all the way at the front of my printer. So I used a USB extension I had. That should work fine for testing but I think I might want to use one of the keystone holes to make a USB connector there and use a shorter extension. I'll have to sort that out, but the extension should be involved in any of the movements so shoudl be fine for now.

Software wise, the Beacon shows up (yay!) but I'm getting a build error with scipy to build the Beacon software currently. That was originally because Fortran wasn't installed but now I'm getting errors with gfortran so I'll have to figure those out. About to hop on the Annex discord to see if perhaps that's a common and easy fix.
Got it going! I had to fiddle with gfortran some. gfortran-10 causes an error with scipy. Switching to -9 fixed it but required a few hoops. Also had to add swap to get enough RAM for it to build. After that the rest was pretty much by the book. I noticed the bed mesh is super different from the above:

Screenshot from 2024-05-02 12-18-12.png

That does look a lot more how I would expect (and is much closer to, say, my Voron 2.4). Not sure how to explain the difference. I'm about to validate it with a test print here shortly.
After I do a Beacon_Calibrate I will do a flat print and make sure it is perfect for the material used by making micro adjustments, then hitting the save and then Save_Config.
I made my first actual print (beyond just a test print) last night and at this point can claim great success! Beacon is working great and the first layer is super consistent. I haven't yet switched to virtual Z homing but plan to soon.

I'm still troubleshooting the model/print that caused me to go down this road. I thought the first layer inconsistencies were contributing to poor engraving on the first layer, but I now think it may be a slicing issue. I'm glad I ended up doing Beacon either way though because even if they first layer wasn't the main issue, it was still fairly ugly. Now it's gorgeous!

I wanna get one for my V2.4 as well though that one is going to take a bit more thought on how to route the USB cable. Hoping one day we can get say an LDO NiteHawk that has a USB header so all these things can run over a single umbilical but eh minor issue there. If I was splitting hairs, since it isn't an open source product, having a bit better documentation and setup would be nice since it did take me about a half day to figure out the python errors I was getting.

But yeah, other than those minor quibbles, this thing is amazing!
There are a few toolheads that are going to allow the Beacon to plug into it. Should be pretty soon too.