Levelling – Enter the VL53L0X -World’s smallest Time of Flight sensor ?

I need some way to quickly, ‘cheaply’, reliably and repeatedly to measure distance……

There’s quite a few ways of measuring distance, including the following, often used with arduinos / by hobbyists

  • Sound!
  • Ultrasound
  • IR bounceback
  • Visual / camera analytics
  • Laser

There’s some newish widgets out there nowadays called ‘time of flight’ sensors….similar to part of how Lidar works

Googling these, seems there’s a fairly cheap one called a VL53L0X…..

There’s quite a bit of code out there for the VL53L0X

There’s a few variations and sizes of this thing….The one I settled on is less than an inch long and half inch wide!……

The big attraction for me for this device – the two mounting lugs….

Over the years, i’ve discovered that making stuff is fairly easy. making stuff look good is harder!…Those mounting holes will make for very easy mounting (Duuuh!) of the circuit board onto , well, whatever I chose to mount it to!

PIN     Description
  • VCC This is the main 2.6 V to 5.5 V power supply connection.
    • The SCL and SDA level shifters pull the I2C lines high to this level.
  • GND  The ground (0 V) connection for your power supply.
    • The I2C control source must also share a common ground with this board.
  • SDA    Level-shifted I2C data line: HIGH is VIN, LOW is 0 V
  • SCL      Level-shifted I2C clock line: HIGH is VIN, LOW is 0 V
  • XSHUT    This pin is an active-low shutdown input; the board pulls it up to VDD to enable the sensor by default. Driving this pin low puts the sensor into hardware standby. This input is not level-shifted.
  • GPIO1   This one’s not exactly clear in any datasheet, it’ll be fun finding out


Wonder if this’ll integrate somehow to Octoprint!?…..

My Plan….Err, Not sure really….

  • Use ONE of them on the Extruder to provide a real time readout whilst moving the axis from Pronterface / Gcode maybe
  • As above, but use TWO!!
  • Mount two (or 4) onto the Top gantry of the printer, pointing at the corners of the bed at its limits to allow easy readout of the corner heights
  • Something else?



Author: Bleugh

Early Fourties, Wife, two kids in primary school. Both of us work full time...5 years now we’ve been Back in Blighty after a decade away...It's a new country for everyone! Still finding time to tinker!

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