How to Level Your Sidewinder X1 / Genius Bed
Bed leveling, one of the fundamentals of 3D printing, can be very daunting for newcomers. In this guide, I will help you conquer your greatest fear and show you how to get your bed level. This guide will cover the standard paper trick for leveling, and how to fine-tune it after.
Heads up- When I say turn the knob right, I mean turn it anti-clockwise. When I say left, I mean turn it clockwise :)
Step 1- Tighten all 4-bed leveling screws by spinning them to the right. They are located under your bed, two in the front, and two in the back. What this does is shorten the distance between your bed and the mounting bracket, tightening the tension on the springs, and lowering the bed height. You don't need to go crazy with this, just keep tightening until you feel mild tension on the knob.
Step 2- Go into the menu and heat your bed to 60c. As the bed heats and cools it will expand and contract, it is important to level your bed at the relative temperature you will be printing at. You can do this by going into Tools > Heat > Extruder 1 (So it changes it to the bed) > Add
Step 3- Next go to the leveling tool on your printer. On your printer screen navigate to Tools > Bed Leveling > 1st point
Step 4- If you cant slide the piece of paper under the nozzle then your bed is still too close. Tighten all 4-bed springs until no longer possible (spin to the right). If the paper is now able to slide under then proceed to step 5. If it is still too close to the bed skip to step 6.
Step 5- Now loosen the bed springs by turning the leveling knob to the left. What this does is give the bed springs more room to uncompress and lift your bed upwards. As you are turning the knob, move the paper around until you feel it grab the nozzle. The goal here is to be able to move the paper under the nozzle with slight pressure, enough to slightly indent the paper, but not enough to tear it. Once you reach this point proceed to step 7. If you have loosened the knob all the way and it still hasn’t reached the nozzle then proceed to step 6.
Step 6-Okay, so your extruder is either too close or too far from your bed, no problem. The best way to fix this is to either lower or raise your Z-sensor. If your nozzle is too close then you need to raise it. If your nozzle is too far then lower the sensor. It’s best to move the sensor 1 or 2mm per adjustment. You don't want to move it too much and end up with the opposite problem.
If you have a V.1-V.3 Sidewinder then adjusting is as simple as loosening the screw and sliding it up or down. If you have a V.4 or newer Sidewinder / Genius then your sensor is bolted to the extrusion. To be able to adjust it, you want to replace the original M3 screw with a shorter one and add a t-nut to the end. My printer actually came with both the bolt and t-nut in the spare parts bag, but your mileage may vary. Once you have adjusted your sensor, go back to step 1, and attempt bed leveling again. You may have to move your sensor a couple of times before you get it just right.
Step 7- Now that you have one corner done, go through the menu on the screen, and repeat step 5 for the rest of the 3 corners. Now that you have finished running through the 4 points once, repeat them 2 more times. The reasoning for this is your first two runs are just to get a relatively close distance. When moving your bed springs in large increments, it will also translate to the opposite corners you have already adjusted.
Step 8- The last leveling point is the center of the bed, it has no adjustment but will be key to figuring it out if you leveled correctly. If your paper slips under with some tension, then congratulations! You have leveled your bed, proceed to step 9. If your paper does not slip under and your nozzle presses into the bed then you applied too much pressure on the corners, repeat step 5 but this time give your nozzle less grab. If your paper is sliding under with no tension, try repeating step 5 again but apply more pressure this time. If it still doesn't work after that then you have a warped bed, unfortunately, no leveling will fix this. Look for other solutions such as mesh bed leveling, BLtouch, or contacting Artillery support.
Step 9- Now time to fine-tune your leveling. The paper method above is a good baseline but its tough to perfect due to the many variables. The thickness of paper or even the tension applied will vary from person to person, so this print will help us perfect the leveling. I have designed this print for multiple bed sizes. The files are available on Thingiverse:
It will print in different corners of the bed and will help you visualize if your bed is too far or too close. I would recommend printing these with a 0.3mm first layer height if using a 0.4mm nozzle.
Step 10- There are two ways to tackle this. I personally adjust the bed leveling knobs while it’s printing. This allows me to see if my adjustments were too little or too much on the fly without needing a reprint. If you arent comfortable with adjusting the knobs while the printer is moving, you can wait until it’s finished and then make the changes. Repeat the print until you have all 5 corners just right. If the 4 corners are perfect but the middle is not, then you, unfortunately, have a warped bed and might want to look into mesh bed leveling or the BLtouch. I have included some pictures as to what your prints should look like, and what they shouldn’t.
Example 1: Perfect! You are ready to print
Example 2: You are too far away from the bed, turn your knob to the left in order to raise the bed
Example 3: You are too close to the bed, turn your knob to the right to lower the bed
Example 4: You are way too close to the bed, your nozzle is unable to extrude as it jammed into the bed, lower your bed immediately so you do not continue to damage the bed.