Quick fit carriage system

by lukie80, published

Quick fit carriage system by lukie80 Jul 20, 2016
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Description This is a quick-fit carriage-system which can be equipped with different heads including a FDM head, a mill-head, a custom laser head and other. Changing the head takes only a few seconds. All(!) electrical contacting is realized by a SUB-D connector. Stability is provided by an easy but effective clamping design. Design your own head based on the provided custom-plate. Turn your Prusa into a ZMorph.

Other fitting parts:
I made other fitting plates for various other tools. I keep them in separate pages to not to clutter this page. You can find a list of all fitting parts here:

The extruder-plate-thing is compatible with this fan duct: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1392612 and the "fan-duct-1" from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1275203.

Contacting The electrical contacting is realized by a SUB-D HD 26 connector which offers enough pins for different heads. A typical single-extruder head requires 14 pins which leaves the rest for a leveling probe, a servo, a USB or I²C connection and additional power lines. It even offers enough pins for a dual-head setup.

Mechanical compatibility It is designed for a "Geeetech i3X" (and its MK8 extruder) but should be usable for any Prusa i3 variant. It is made for a X-rod separation of 45mm and a 2mm GT2 belt and fits bushings/bearings with a diameter of 15mm (default) or 16mm (select proper model file). The width of the base-carriage is 86mm, the height is 78mm and the depth is 31mm. The extruder-plate is designed for a proximity sensor with a diameter of 18mm. (Let me know if you need another diameter.)

Effort Be warned, soldering of all the wires takes some time. The wires have also to be placed carefully within the provided limited space. But you will be rewarded with quick head change and faster nozzle change.

Some design decisions I made

  • Clamping without screws -> faster change, but there was no room for screws anyway
  • Bushings/Bearings are held in place by friction
  • Carriage width of 86mm -> enough room for the cables/connector/belt
  • Z-min actuator (the upper horns of the plate) is located at the changeable plate -> you can tune Z-min by adding or removing material from the actuator
  • All connections are open if nothing is attached -> you have to simulate the hotend temperature sensor by a 100k resistor (You have to simulate your distance sensor too if you use one)
  • Mill head fits a rotary tool and not the flex shaft -> the weight of the rotary tool helps milling

Parts required

  • Base part: Female SUB-D HD 26 connector, M3 screws 3x 20mm , M3 nuts 5x, M3 washers 4x.
  • Extruder part: Male SUB-D HD 26 connector, M3 screws 2x approx. 6mm, M3 nuts 2x. (Optionally: If you want to use a Z-probe in series(!) with the Z-min-switch you'll need some electronics parts given in the drawn schematic.)
  • Mill part: Male SUB-D HD 26 connector, M3 screws 2x 10mm, M3 nuts 2x. A 100k resistor as thermal sensor simulation. (Optionally: If you want to use a Z-probe in series(!) with the Z-min-switch you'll need a short wire.)
  • Custom plate: Same as mill part plus your custom things.

Let me know if you encounter problems or need changes.


  • Added v2 for "Plate-Extruder-MK8" which should hopefully not sag. It has an additional supporting structure and two holes for 2x M3 50mm screws which should prevent bending.
  • Added 12mm sensor option for "Plate-Extruder-MK8" (Plate-Extruder-MK8_with_support_v2.STL)
  • Added v3 for "Plate-Extruder-MK8" which has an additional bracing which will cost you ~4mm of X-movement but prevents sagging of the part.

Print Settings

Printer Brand:



Geeetech i3 X




Some parts have to be reoriented for printing.

Base part (Base~.stl, Cover~.stl) Select default (15mm) or 16mm-bushings/bearings version. Manually designed supports are provided. A version without supports is uploaded too. I'd suggest an infill of 30% to have a high stability for milling.
Extruder part (plate-extruder-mk8~v3.stl different options and versions (12mm sensor, 18mm sensor, with and without supports, v1-v3 for MK8 extruder) Manually designed supports are provided. A version without supports is uploaded too. Infill above 33% is suggested to prevent sagging.
Mill part (plate-mill-pt1~.stl, plate-mill-pt2~.stl) Manually designed supports are provided for the first part. You have to generate support for the second part.
Custom part (custom-plate.stl) Manually designed supports are provided for the SUB-D mounting.


Soldering and assembly

Soldering in general Use one pin for everything except the hotend-heater. For it i used 2 pins for each cable to handle the current of over 3A. I've attached a suggested pin-layout. Solder the middle pins first, then the lower and upper in order to have good access with the soldering iron. Use heat shrink tubing to prevent short circuits. The wires have to go down or up immediately after the connector because there are only a few mm of space behind the connector. Be careful with the wire layout: The wires on the opposite connector are mirrored. Keep a clear head. Triple check the layout of the wires! Also check for undesired short circuits between the wires! You could kill your board, motor or sensor.

SUB-D connector in general Ensure that both opposite connectors are fixated at the same height (M3 holes have some play). If you wish, you can even keep the connector on the tool-head-side slightly loose by using soft rubber washers on the proper side.

Base part Connect all required cables to the not-powered(!) board, arrange them, tie them together temporarily and cut them at the position of the print head.

  • If your connectors are small and fit though the back-cover-tube: Remove the cables from the board. Solder the cables to the female connector and use thermal shrink tubing. Put the cables from the flat-side through the base part and the back-cover.
  • If your connectors are big and don't fit though the back-cover-tube: Pull the cables though the cover and the base part. Solder the cables to the female connector and use thermal shrink tubing.
    Attach the connector with 2 20mm M3 screws and 2 nuts, place the cover and fixate it with 2 washers and 2 nuts. Connect cables to the board. Use a M3 screw, 2 washers and a nut to fixate the lever to the base part.

Extruder-part I'd suggest to use 5 additional Molex connectors to be able to disconnect the extruder from the plate to change the nozze or for other reasons. I used 3 2pin connectors for the 2 fans and the thermal sensor, a 3pin connector for the leveling probe and a 4pin connector for the 2 wires of the hotend heater. I placed the circuit (see photo) of the leveling probe at the extruder-plate.
Solder the wires to the various connectors and then to the SUB-D connector. Push the cables and connector from the flat side into the SUB-D connector hole. Fixate the SUB-DD connector with approximately 6mm short M3 screws. You'll probably have to cut the screws. Fixate the extruder, the fan duct and the sensor.

Mill-part Solder a 100k Ohm resistor between the pins to simulate a thermal sensor. (If you use my circuit and a Z-probe solder a short circuit between a connected GND pin and the Z-sensor pin. Be careful, connecting anything else (12V, fan or motor pin) to the Z-sensor pin will kill your Microcontroller on the board.). Fixate the SUB-D connector from the flat-side into the hole with 2 M3 screws. Put both mill parts together and fixate them with 2 M3 screws and nuts. Use 2 M3 screws, nuts and washers to clamp the rotary tool.

Custom-part Solder a 100k Ohm resistor between the pins to simulate a thermal sensor. (If you use my circuit and a Z-probe solder a short circuit between a connected GND pin and the Z-sensor pin. Be careful, connecting anything else (12V, fan or motor pin) to the Z-sensor pin will kill your Microcontroller on the board.). Fixate the SUB-D connector from the flat-side into the hole with 2 M3 screws.

It might be necessary to use a pliers to bend the skirt of the male connector a little outwards. In such a way the connectors will easier mate.

My gcode for homing

This code requires the mechanical Z-endstop and sensor-endstop being wired in series. The homing is performed after(!) heating the bed and hotend.

; ### mechanical home ###
G28 ;home Z with meachnical endswitch
; ### set temperatures ###
M106 S255; fan on, starts cooling of nozzle
M140 S[first_layer_bed_temperature] ;set bed temperature
M190 S[first_layer_bed_temperature] ;wait for bed temperature
M104 S[first_layer_temperature] ;set extruder temperature
M109 S[first_layer_temperature] ;wait for extruder temperature
; ### sensor home ###
G1 Z6 F180 ;lift to inactive sensor height
G1 X127.5 Y168 F6000 ;move sensor to exact center
G28 Z ;home Z with sensor
G92 Z3.95 ;adjust this height difference of sensor and nozzle
G1 X70 Y0 Z0 F6000 ;move away from print bed
; ### prepare filament ###
G92 E0  ;zero the extruded length
G1 E8 F100; extrude filament
G92 E0 ;zero the extruded length again
G4 S3; wait 3 sec
M300 S200 P100 ;beep

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Great work! I want to ask, which wire diameter/gauge are you using to connect the base with the electronics? Specially the extruder ones.

Thanks in advance.

can you provide an diamond hotend mount , like this (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1818244) but for your "Quick fit carriage system" ?

i did it myself -> see https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2450855

Diamond Hotend - Prusa i3 c/ suporte extra
by jbaiao
Quick fit carriage system - Diamond Hotend

hi ive just made this and it doesn't hit the x endstop on my geeetech i3b.. it needs a small arm for the top right hand of the carriage, above the bearing

Hey all.

In the final hours of the mount printing for the mark 8 extruder. Already printed the lever, cover and Base.

Is there a design to mount a laser to, one of the air cooled ones that has a single row of holes.

Will any of the plates work with the Flexion E3D V6 kit? If not, would you be able to provide one? Thank you. https://flexionextruder.com/shop/extruder-for-e3d-hotend/

can this work with the lm8uu bearings??i have some bushings coming but id like to run this on both machines and only ordered enough bushings to do 1 machine with 1 set of spares!!

Love this. I have a camera tripod with a very similar mechanism - you bolt the plate to the camera, and then the plate is held in a slot with a similar cam mechanism.

Keep up the good work


Maybe a plate for a chinese E3D V6 clone (25mm cooling fins diameter) with a 3DTouch level sensor ... ? (I just have freecad as modeler and it's a pain-in-the-a** to modify clamp diameter)

Hello, please add a bracket for Geetch 3DTouch Auto Leveling Sensor (http://www.geeetech.com/wiki/index.php/3DTouch_Auto_Leveling_Sensor) to Plate-Extruder-Mk8.

Please, please, please

Sorry. I have forgotten your request. I've created "Plate-Extruder-MK8-universal" with or without manual supports. The plate offers additional mounting holes which allow attachable addons. It will fit the "Plate-Extruder-MK8-universal-BLTouch" mounting bracket. I assumed you want to use the circular cooling duct too. The mounting bracket can be adjusted in height by +/-3mm for sensor height adjustment.

Sorry but I have more questions - I am nearly done with printing all the necessary parts.

On your "I Made It" pictures I can see that there is a small gap on the top side between the two connected parts - I have the same problem and I think it that case it`s not straight connected to each other. So it should be like this?

What does your electric diagram means / for what is it used for?

Which program do you use for milling and there is no sensor connected in that case - how does the system then know where the table is?

The clamping part at the top has a spacing of 0.2mm to the carriage. The back side of the plate was designed to have a spacing of 0.05mm to the front side of the carriage but in theory it should vanish to zero. Could you post a picture with an arrow indicating your gap? Maybe there is some warping of the printed parts.

The electric diagram is for a NPN type sensor which allows to use the sensor AND the Z-min-endstop switch in series. In such a way you have double safety. Furthermore, if no sensor is attached (i.e. mill-head or laser-head) you still have the usable z-min-switch. You just have to short circuit the appropriate pins on the HD26-connector.

I use Inkscape and the J-Tech photonics Inkscape plugin to generate gcode for lasing and milling. FlatCAM is also an option.

Thank you again for your reply.
I will try to figure out how the electric diagram works - It will be very helpful when you have some pics of it. I found also the Auto Leveling Marlin code the the printer (I have a Geeetech Prusa I3 pro B but nearly all is the same specially from code point of view) - maybe you can also share your Arduino code what you used.
Another question is - why do you use a induktive Sensor and not a kapacitive one because you will not see the glass with the inductive one?
I checked my parts the have no warping but I will use my dremel that the parts fit better to each other :)
I have already modified some files to fit for the dremel flex tool - I will send you my modifications when I am done with all parts.
I also will make a holder for a 60mm LED Ring and provide this to you.
Last but not least I will also modify the laser mount to fit the 600mw Neje Laser and you can share it with others.

You're welcome. The 10k Resistor is a pullup resistor which sets the FET input to 12V if the sensor is inactive (=open output). If sensor is activated it pulls down the FET input to GND. 2.7k at the FET input is just for safety. The FET and the 1k invert the input signal (GND <-> +V). The voltage divider consisting of 2.7k and 2.4k reduces 12V to 5V. "Switch" is not necessary. Marlin and RAMPS interpret GND as min-switch is not active and "open circuit" as min switch is active.

Exactly. Capacitive sensor is for glass. Inductive for metal.

I've uploaded my outdated Marlin Firmware. I still use 1.1.0 RC4 because it allows implementation of backlash compensation wich I have done:

This is the code I put in my generated gcode for sensor leveling:

G28 ;home all axes with mechanical switch
G1 Z6 F180 ;lift to inactive sensor height
G1 X127.5 Y168 F6000 ;move sensor to exact center of bed
G28 Z ;home Z with sensor
G92 Z3.95 ;adjust this height difference of sensor and nozzle (lower nozzle by 3.95mm with respect to sensor activation height)

Thanks for your modifications. You're creator so I'd say you should publish them and I'll link them on the page of the quick fit carriage.

I will compare your code with the original one.
Can you tell me which FET did you used?
And yes we can do so when I am done I will upload my files and write down my experience and we can link our files.

I used a BC170 but any NFET should do it. It does not handly any load so you can take a small one. Even a NPN-transistor should work. There are sensors out there which are PNP. They need a slightly different circuit.

Great job - exactly what I looked for. I want build this the next days.
Can you tell me which mill do you use and how good it works?
And which rod length I have to buy because I have the older Geeetech Prusa I3 b with 45mm rod

Thanks. It is a cheap Dremel clone from the company Lund (40€ @ amazon, ASIN B009SFTS88). Most Dremel clones have very similar dimensions. Lund has a M8 0.75mm thread so the accurate Three-jaw steel drill chuck from Proxxon can be used (http://www.proxxon.com/us/micromot/28941.php).

I have the typical spring-mounted heatbed, so no big loads to the sides are possible which is important for milling. I'm using a Dremel drill with 1mm diameter and can mill well at 3000rotations/min, 3mm/s speed and 2mm depth in bamboo wood or spruce wood. I never tried higher speeds or bigger diameters so far.

I also drill holes into PCBs with a Tungsten Carbide 0.8mm drill and it is very accurate.

My rod separation is 45mm and the length of the rods are 430mm in my case. But why do you need new rods if your separation is 45mm?

Hello thanks for the fast response.
I printed the first part (the main part) but my printer got stucked in the last few layers :D
I think I wanna use a original Dremel mill which has some good aspects - there is the extension tool (drill) which reduce the weight on the holder.

A good idea for you will be to add the Led ring to your holders - I will implement it on my side somehow because I believe this will make everything easier :)

I wrote the wrong stuff - I was wondering which bearings I need to buy - but I printed already the first part so now I know that I have to buy the 24mm long bearings LM8UU.

Again great job and thanks for sharing this nice project.

You have put the STEP files, but you are a pure genius !

Would it be possible to make the carriage mount use the LM8LUU linear bearings? They are 45mm in length but otherwise the same dimension as the bearings you currently use.

Sorry for my late response. Unfortunately the space between the lower short bearings is required for the cable guiding. The long bearing would fill up the required space.

What is the best way to print the since the base has protruding parts on either side?

I'd suggest getting the version with manually designed supports and printing as given in the STL file and as also shown in the preview. A little bridging is required, but should not be a problem. A brim is also suggested.

Awesome thank you so much for your reply. Yes i'm trying that print now, just started, in ABS. I am trying it without a brim as I'm using PrintBite and have had good luck without brims thus far. Great design! I've been looking for something like this for awhile and was lazy about trying to design it myself.

Thanks. If you'll also need the plate for the MK8 extruder I'd suggest using version v3 with two additional braces because v1 and v2 sagged (PLA).

So i'm printing the base now, but the desire is to wire up my e3d v6 hotend for a bowden setup. But yes, the alternate head i want to keep is a mk8 style (maybe geared) direct for printing with softer materials like NinjaFlex.

This is a very cool and very precise and detailed design. Not much is here like this. :) So first congratulation for the good work!

The second. Question: I printed the base, and the universal plate, but I cannot attach my head to it. Can U please create a holder for the prusa i3 rework 1.5 direct drive jhead?

this is the rework:

U can download the stl and step files from here: https://www.reprap-3d-printer.com/download-center

thank you,

What about this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1780151? You can mount your existing extruder to this plate.

Prusa i3 Rework 1.5 extruder plate for my Quick Fit Carriage
by lukie80

Hi. I just finished a E3D version. Now I'll have a look at the Prusa rework. It looks like the extruder assembly is just mounted with 2 holes. OK, I'll give it a go.

And a roland holder will be good too. :)

Like for this:

Where do you bought the laser? And what is enough for? Can you cut with it? Or just used to engrave?

Fascinating. I assume, that the cutting blades automatically rotate in the direction of movement.
The laser (400mW IR) can only engrave dark surfaces. It does not harm bright surfaces or cut anything. The laser is taken from a DVD burner drive. Everything is custom made. I'd suggest getting one of these: https://sites.google.com/site/dtrlpf/home/diodes/445-m140-didoes. They could maybe cut stuff.

Yes the blade is rotating. :) And it is cheap. Thanks for the laser info.

Yes the rework 1.5 is mounted with 2 holes. (the original base has 4 holes)

I just started ordering stuff from the internet for this project, and just started wondering,...
Can you please tell me what soft or how you use it to mill or to laser engrave?

By the way, you are not just great, you are wonderfull. I could just kiss you.

I'm happy that you like it. Im using a plugin (https://jtechphotonics.com?page_id=2012) for Inkscape (https://inkscape.org). It converts 2D vector-graphics to gcode. With this plugin you can specify your own gcode to activate/deactivate the laser/mill. For the laser I use the PWM fan output to toggle the laser (M106 S0 / M106 S255) and Z-movement for the mill (G1 Z3 / G1 Z0). It is a quite good solution for 2D engraving with the mill/laser. There are also some specific software solutions for PCB milling. I suppose there is also good CAM software for 3D milling.

If you use this plugin for milling be careful because the generated gcode has a "home XY" command at the end. Not good if clamps are in the way. :D

Comments deleted.

Any chance you want to make a plate for a e3d v6 with a bowden?

I just had a look at the e3d with bowden. Looks easy to implement according to http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:547706. I can do that because the e3d is quite popular. Is there anything special about this hot end I should take into account?

E3D v6 Bowden X-carriage mount Prusa i3
by Tech2C

Yes just like that but if you can add the sensor mount and the fans that would be amazing!

Oh i just had an idea. Since it won't have the motor and extruder maybe you can do it for dual ends. If someone uses 2 they can and if they use 1 they can just have a hole. Would something like that work as i have been looking at how i can add dual extruder to mine?

I've uploaded a error-free version I hope. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1780029

E3D plate for my Quick Fit Carriage
by lukie80

Qual NFet usou para o Sensor.
Seu projeto é muito interessante, talvez precisarei usar para filamentos 3 mm. 1.75 mm. e flexivel. Trocas de extrusoras serão muito rápidas.

Eu adicionei um resistor 10k pull-up para o circuito por causa do sensor de NPN .

O NFET I utilizado é o BC170 ( http://www.datasheetlib.com/datasheet/171729/bs170_fairchild-semiconductor.html#datasheet ) . Mas eu acho que qualquer NFET deve funcionar. É uma boa idéia ter cabeças diferentes para diferentes diâmetros de filamentos . (Eu usei o Google Translate para esta resposta . )

Thanks. Now we can do much more with our printers I hope.

Excellent design and execution. Nice work

Thanks. Why not turning your printer into a multi-tool. :)