TOM build platform cable management system

by Ellindsey, published

TOM build platform cable management system by Ellindsey Jan 16, 2012
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This thing is the end result of an ongoing project to manage the wires coming off the ThingOMatic Heated Build Platform. I needed to print objects which were near the maximum size of the TOM build envelope, and found that when printing at the corners of the platform the cable would frequently become pinched between the build platform or Y stage and the TOM enclosure, stalling the servos and ruining the print. I also didn't like how the cables would rub against the Y stage smooth rods and pully sometimes, and wanted to do something about a strain relief for the HBP connector.

This Thing is the result, a system of parts which completely encloses the cable and forces it to move in a predictable path that stays out of the way of the build platform and Y stage, and also acts as some degree of a strain relief for the build platform and Y axis endstop connectors. With this Thing my TOM can print objects filling the entire print volume reliably.

The chain link is anchored in three spots. The X stage end anchors to the wooden rib on the right side of the build platform. This will require a small hole to be drilled for a bolt to hold this piece in place. A zip-tie is used here to secure the HBP cable.

The centerpoint piece attaches to the right side of the Y stage. This requires removing one of the rod endcap plates and attaching the printed part in its place. This is the most annoying part of the installation as you have to partially dissassemble the end of the Y stage to get this piece in place.

The baseplate anchor is the easiest to install, it just snap-fits into the square hole in the corner of the clear plastic plate.

The cable links snap together, and can be installed after you have the anchor pieces in place. I use 9 links between the build platform and the midpoint anchor, and 10 between the midpoint and the baseplate anchor, but you may find different numbers work better for you depending on how long your cables are. Each chain link has slots where you can zip-tie the wires in place if you desire, although I haven't found that to be necessary. These chain links may also be useful by themselves in other applications where you need to control the movement of a moving cable bundle.

This Thing can be attached to an existing TOM without having to disconnect any cables in the process.


Print out one baseplate anchor, one midpoint anchor, one X stage anchor, and five of the four chain link piece (for 20 links in total).

Clean up the parts. File out the holes in the chains and the sliding surfaces until the chains flex smoothly when snapped together.

Press a single M3 hex nut into the slot in the base of the X stage anchor. Make sure it lines up with the hole through this piece.

Put the X stage anchor in place on the rib and mark the hole location. Remove the anchor and drill a small hole in that spot. Put the X stage anchor back in place and use a singe M3x16 machine screw to hold it in place. Use a zip-tie to anchor the HBP cable to this piece.

Take apart the right side of the Y platform, and remove the endcap from the front rod. Tuck the HBP cable into the groove in the centerpoint anchor, then attach the centerpoint anchor in place of the smooth rod endcap you removed. Reassemble the right side of the Y platform. Optionally, zip-tie the HBP cable and the Y axis endstop cable to the centerpoint anchor, using the two slots provided.

Snap together 9 links of chain between the X stage anchor and the centerpoint anchor. Note that the chain link closest to the centerpoint anchor has to be installed in the opposite direction from the others in order for the cable to be able to make the 90 degree turn.

Place the baseplate anchor around the cable coming off the Y stage. Place a chain link on the other side of the cable, and then snap them together so that the cable is going through the anchor and the chain. Press the anchor down into the hole in the base plate as far as it will go, then tilt it towards the front of the machine and then move it as far forward as it will go. See photo for what it should look like.

Snap chain links onto the cable as needed, using 9 or so in total, with the last one also snapped onto the centerpoint anchor.

Now with the steppers unpowered, move the X and Y axis back and forth between their travel limits, and make sure the cable chains do not snag or rub on anything at any point during their travel. You may need to adjust things a bit until it all moves smoothly.

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I'd say this is a bit overkill, using http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:11978www.thingiverse.com/thing:1197... I was able to restrain the HBP wires and the endstop wires dont get in the way.

while I like your implementation it adds to many "tight" spots in the system that can affect other mods.

while I cut into the things i printed to allow the motions I needed its not above anyones exacto knife skills and could be moded into the model if desired (the end links for -45 to +45 and i
nto its frame end links base to alow the wires to get into the chain without pinching)

Cable Chain
Magnetic Linear Encoder v1.0

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:11978 was actually part of the inspiration for this design, although I started from scratch on the actual parts. Asmittedly my design may be more complicated than required. I was trying to keep all the cables and moving parts within the TOM enclosure. I wasn't completely successfull as the chain between the build platform and Y carriage can protrude out the front of the TOM in some positions.

Cable Chain

This seems like it would work, too.. the only problem is where the HBP wires come off and interact with this chain. That is the weakest point, and pinning them to the body of the Y stage is actually IMO the safest bet. Yours looks like they still have flexibility, which is where I've had failure. My wires are also cable sleeved and a bit more tight/less flexible. That may be where my issues are at, but the cable chain seems to be a solution in some form or another. Thanks for the idea.

Who cares what you should use them for? Was that really necessary? I hope this works with the platform leveling thumbscrews at the corners of the build platform. I'll probably start printing this tonight. I've already ruined two of these terribly designed HBPs due to cable strain and my failed attempts to manage it. Thanks!

The main problem I've found with the platform leveling thumbscrews is that the two on the front corners of the platform can hit the TOM frame when the build platform is all the way forward. This happened when I was trying to print some parts that took up nearly the entire are of the build platform. I'm actually using leveling thumbscrews in three places on our TOM, two on the back left and right corners and one in the front middle spot, and that seems to work without interfereing with anything.

I just cut out two notches in the front face plate so my leveling thumbscrews can travel unimpeded. I mean hey, this machine is certainly a marvel, but with all the wires running all over the inside, the transparent base, the laser scorching, and hack after hack for tuning... it's just never going to look like an Up! or similar powder coated sheet metal construction style printer. So I figured two more additional cuts to enhance functionality were fair game. Took me about 5 minutes, and now I have my full range of motion again.

I did the same to the front panel. I was just wondering if they will hit the chain links. I guess I should just print it and see. This may finally save me from spending more money on the HBP replacements lol.

You know, that's not how you usually use cable chains, but if it works for you :-P

Quick google search: http://tinkeringken.blogspot.com/2010/03/when-is-virgin-cut.htmlhttp://tinkeringken.blogspot.c...

Nice use of printed parts anyways!