In a sort of knee jerk move, the printer frame is together!
I didn’t expect or plan to start building, but when I was trying to figure out the acrylic sheet sizes for the base to mount the electronics on, I realized that I need the actual frame together to do that effectively. So… 2 nights ago I went heads down and started building.
Now I didn’t take as many pics of the build as I should have because I was really focused on ensuring everything was built in the right order, and the parts were all exactly where they should be.
- Always plan to put more TNuts in a rail than you will need… no issues with having extras in there. Also you will forget about brackets you need and order of assembly… I took this thing back apart twice I think to put brackets where they should be.
- Buy more screws… more is better… always.
- Never underestimate the weight of 70# of metal in an awkward shape…
Other than those, this was a pretty easy build l given I had planned all along for how this was going to go, and had detailed dimensional drawings ready.
Y motor mount: The Y Motor mounts gave me some problems, and I will be re-printing them with some minor tweaks. The lower mount on them is too tight to the motor to be functional, and … I am going to use a 20T pulley instead of a 16T after finding the Gates 16T 9mm pulley I have makes a crazy amount of noise on the gates belt. The e3D 20T profile should be much quieter. It costs me minorly in terms of positional accuracy but should be better in the long run. This requires me to shift the motor over 1.75mm and I redesigned the motor mount for that now.
Aligning the X-Gantry – This was a tricky tricky thing. First getting the spacing from left to right accurate was a struggle. Then aligning them perfectly square with the frame is the second hurdle. How I approached the first part was this:
- Mount one of the Y Carriers to the MGN15 block, semi tight. Just enough to keep it from having a lot of play.
- Insert and secure the X Axis cross bar/rail to that block (using the 3mm screw to lock the back of the MGN rail in the carrier, leaving the forward 5mm bolts and TNuts loose.
- Mount the opposing side Y Carrier on the Rail/crossbar just sliding it on. I made the fitment tight for these so I had to tap it on. Keep tapping it until it lines up with the MGN15 block under it. Secure it to the MGN block like the first one, not very tight. Lightly tighten the 5mm screws that go into the Tnuts on the cross 2020 extrusion.
- Clamp one side of the X Rail so it is stationary and as close to one of the front/rear bars as it can go.
- Using an adjustable right angle or calipers, and using the front frame bar as a reference point, take measurements across the rail, nudging the free side of the carrier into alignment. Once it is there, start by tightening the 4 MGN screws on each carrier block. I would tighten 2, then check the measurements again, and go back and do 2 more on the other block. Be careful not to move the carrier when doing this.
- Once the Carriers are secured to the MGN block, tighten the 5mm cap screws that go into the 2020 cross bar extrusion. This should lock the entire X Gantry into its position.
- Remove the clamp slide the X gantry back and forth… if the rails seem tighter in one area than the other proceed to let the X Gantry align one of the MGN rails.
- Do this by loosening by just a fraction of a turn every screw on the side MGN rail (one of them only). Just enough to let the rail move a bit (there should be .2-.5mm play).
- Slide the X axis up and down a few times to let the MGN rail find its perfect spot. then starting from one side, slide the rail up and secure the screw right behind the MGN block. When this is done, the X Gantry should move freely and be rock solid.
And that’s really it. Everything else worked as planned and as designed!
After 3DXTech ghosted me (in what seems like a common complaint for them now that I am looking around) (Update: Their social media rep has reached out to me,so maybe a resolution will be found) for support on their weird consistency issues. I got the new roll of filament to print. It still looks, feels, and prints different than the original roll I was printing with, but it seems I wont get any support from them on this so it is what it is. I will be using Colorfabb or Matterhackers CF filaments in the future as they will be actually be able to tell me what filament I recieved (something 3DXtech has been unable to do, and just stopped responding to emails).
I am printing the rest of the Z Axis parts, and have printed the 2 X-Carriers. Probably 3 or 4 days of printing to go on finishing up the big parts for the Z Axis then I can build that part of the printer.
Since that was the reason I started the build when I did, I am drawing up and sizing up how i want the electronics to be mounted under the printer, I have some good ideas in place, but I need to vet them a bit more. I am starting to make the long run wires for some of the hall sensors in the machine since I have the wire and the connectors ready to go.
More updates to come!