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Taming the @#$@ Z-Axis Stop...

by LeftAngle, published

Taming the @#$@ Z-Axis Stop... by LeftAngle Sep 15, 2012
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A few crashes into the top of the Replicator's Z axis stop started throwing off the build plate's home position. I discovered the Z axis stop switch was held in place by it's mounting lugs in a sheer position. Whenever the carriage missed the switch, the motor continued to drive the stage upward, bending the switch up with it. I needed to repair the stop switch.

Pulling the stop was easy...

Putting it back wasn't. The right-most bolt is located directly behind the Z axis drive screw. My fingers are fat and my eyesight is failing.

2 hours into trying to thread nuts, spacers and circuit boards into place, I gave up short of removing the Z axis motor and took another route to solving my problem.

The trouble is, I didn't make it with my printer (no Z axis stop, remember?).

I'll show you what I did with pictures and throw in a bonus project for the required download:)


For this project I used .080 sheet styrene. The great thing about styrene is it's friendly workability (remember model kits?). It carves like wood, doesn't shatter when drilled and glues beautifully to PLA with slurry.

My new Z axis stop features entrapped nuts and slide-in mounting ease. I hope the photos show the process OK. Maybe someone can produce an stl file for this.

When it's installed, the only thing that's attached to the back of the Replicator's case is the box that holds the switch. The switch is held by the box and simply slides in and out of it when needed. The mounting screws, when tightened down, entrap the switch, preventing it from moving. No more fighting with bolts, nuts or spacers. Simply unscrew the bolts far enough to release the switch, slide it out and unplug it. Putting it back is just as easy.

Hope you enjoy this.

Oh... I almost forgot. An stl file needs to be uploaded before things can be published. Rather than upload a nonsense file, I've given you something for your oriental cuisine... Also nonsense.

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I had this same issue with my Replicator 2x right out of the box. All of the axis limit switches are only held in place by their terminals soldered to the boards. If any of them flex out of position, it can cause serious issues. Only using solder to affix the switch to the board when the switch body comes with mounting holes molded into it is a really bad move on Makerbot's part. Something as important as a travel limit switch needs to be very secure. if you take a look at all the axis switches they all share the same problem. They can flex out of position over time (or right off the bat on my machine). I corrected it by removing each limit switch. Then drilling a hole right through the existing switch body's mounting hole and PC board behind it. Then get a small screw and nut to securely fasten the switch body to the PC board and your done. FYI...you only need one screw even though there are two holes on the switch. One screw works just fine. If you look on the back of the board where two holes would have gone through if drilled, you'll see one that farther away from a soldering path. Use that one and you'll be fine. Make sure that your nut or screw head does not bridge any connections on the back of the board. You'll see what I'm talking about when you look at it. This is really a very easy fix once you have the limit switch boards out.

Couldn't we print that part that goes around the switch?

Yes, of course... I wasn't able to because I couldn't get the stupid switch back in place, so the printer wasn't operational.  The easiest way for me to make it was the old school way... By hand.