TronXY X5S upgrades

by pbannister Apr 14, 2018
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Just made the corner brackets for pullyes , how the frik did you get them on without destrying them , made em in abs and they have no bend in them so they will not just snap in .

Are you saying that the aluminum rails will not slide into the corners?

The fit should be tight. There should be no reason to bend the corners.

I did print with PLA, which I believe is stiffer than ABS. To attach the top/front corners, I detach all four front extrusions, then assembled the front square, then attached the square to the front-to-back extrusions.

Are you using Aluminum channel to re enforce the bed?What length do they need to be?Would it be possible to print some out of PETG or ABS?Is it possible you could a printable STL for them?I would like to try and print them in ABS or PETG,I have insulation under my bed so the heat would not be so bad.

I got aluminum extrusion (meant for window frames) from the local hardware. Aluminum extrusion is cheap, straight, and very strong. Plastic is not a good substitute. All you need is a drill and a hacksaw - easy to fabricate. (Oh, and a file.) Cut long enough to span the stock rails.

I,m going to attempt this since I made an attachment for a dial indicator and could see how far out of round the stock rollers are! https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3059880

I printed some linear bearings a couple of years ago for the i3 clone out of PETG, I spray some silicone on them when the rods feel feel dry, they haven't worn at all, the only difference being the i3 uses steel rods instead of aluminum, I just wonder how long the anodizing will hold up.

X5S Dial Indicator Mount

I would consider using PETG for the blocks. Igus is really difficult to work with. It took me several tries to get two usable blocks, but they were a tiny bit curled. I managed to file them so they are working. However, I'm seeing a little bit of the Igus material wearing on the aluminum. I'm lubricating them with 80 weight silicone oil. If they continue to wear I'll buy a real linear rail for the X gantry rather than experimenting with more printed bearing blocks. Just my 2¢.

This is a super interesting idea which I'm fully interested in ripping off ;) Do you mind sharing the STEP files? I'd like to build in the belt alignment mod for the older printers that don't come with the back metal plates.

I have not printed with this material but we used IGUS bearings in a high volume product with great success after they gave us a demo of their products. We liked the clean nature since it didn't require lubrication. Their plastic is actually slippery like Delrin. Has 1/3 friction of ABS, not sure how it compares to PLA. I really like the simplicity of your design. I have a Tronxy x5st-400 on order. Once I get it and fix heatbed (since it prints like ABS), I will try this filament and your design.

Have you tried printing your plastic bearings with IGUS bearing plastics, designed for low friction to aluminum surfaces and high wear resistance? 50 times less wear than ABS. No lubrication needed.


I printed with PLA. At least so far, The PLA printed bearings move easily, and after several hundred hours of printing, show no signs of wear.

BTW, Igus compares to ABS, but not PLA, and not lubricated PLA.

Updated the summary to include a bit more about the bearing. I had covered this in the Google+ 3D printing community, but not here.

"BTW, Igus compares to ABS, but not PLA, and not lubricated PLA."

Could you expand on that a bit, please? Are you saying that ABS bearing blocks would be preferable to PLA as ABS is more like Igus? I have to take the belts off my printer to replace the Y carriage blocks one of these days. I might replace my PLA bearing blocks with ABS.

On their website, Igus compares their filament to ABS, but not PLA. They find ABS wears much more rapidly than Igus filament. (So we have no hint from Igus how well PLA works in similar use.)

From the folk who sand and paint their 3D prints, I hear that ABS is "softer" and easier to sand than PLA. The engineers among us concur, noting that PLA is a "harder" material than ABS. So seems likely that PLA as a bearing would be slower to wear than ABS.

In truth, I have not tried anything else as lubricated PLA just seems to work. :)

I bought a roll of Igus i180. I sent you a message. Please have a look. I want to print the bearing blocks, but would appreciate your input. Thanks.

On cable chain subject - I just removed it alltogether and used wire wrap that came with the printer to bundle wire and bowden tube together. One less thing to worry about. Plus it took about 100g from the extruder weight.

This looks very promising.
One question about your belt alignment: Does it work stable with the crossing belts in the front of the machine? They are perfectly in the right height, but noticed you any wear and tear where they touch?

To be clear, this is very much an experiment.

Anodized aluminum is essentially a gemstone, and the loads on this assembly are very light. Solid sliding bearing are good for some usage, but not all. Does this usage make sense? Well ... let us find out. :)

So far, this is working very well. Only a few dozen hours of printing as this point, but so far the results are excellent.

Using printed plastic sliding on anodized aluminum extrusion reduces the part count, and cost. If this also turns out to be a high-performance solution (as looks possible), this becomes a win-win-win.

Adding ball bearings taken from, e.g., 608 bearings would be a nice addition to the blocks. What do you think? I've been looking at metal linear rails which use ball bearings. I've pretty much given up on the idea of buying linear rails as your method is working great.

This is very interesting. Do you use grease between the plastic and aluminum?

I sprayed the rail with mold release compound (mainly teflon) and soaked the plastic bearings with some generic silicone/teflon spray from the hardware store. (This is where the slightly porous nature of FDM prints is of advantage.) Ran the block back and forth a few times, then wiped off the excess. Might have been overkill, but works.

any video? Good idea!

Interesting sliders, I've seen people use printed blocks on linear rails, so why not the frame directly. Should allow for a pretty much single piece print head which could be interesting for rigidity and weight. Interested to see how it goes over time, if ever you post some update in the future.

After hundreds of hours of printing, and several spools of filament, the report is entirely boring. Still works well, and seems no different than after the first print. If it is wearing, I cannot tell. (Which makes sense as the loads are very light.) No detectable "play" between the slider and the rail.

Thanks for the update, sounds nice for the occasional rail without a block or particular use. Will give some feedback when I get to use one, have a Y rail that could use it. cheers!

Are your sliders made of PLA? I made mine of PLA and they are working, however I notice they are a little loose. I have only printed maybe 20 hours. I don't think they have worn, but I think they could have been a bit more snug to hold the rail. I can't really print them a couple of percent bigger as the holes would not line up. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of printing them in PETG.

Plain ordinary PLA, printed bearing-side up (more precise rendering of that surface), soaked with a generic silicone / teflon spray oil. Also applied some (dry teflon) mold release spray to the rails (which might not be needed). Used hand clamps to force the upper and lower bearing blocks firmly against the rail. (Photos somewhere back in my stream.) The lower bolt goes through a slot in the lower bearing, so you do not have to change the print to adjust.


Took some force to get the bearing to move the first time, then moved by the stepper without trouble. I did want to start with a tight fit.

Just re-checked. Still snug ... though the entire gantry flexes. To improve further, would have to beef up the gantry.

Slot! Yes, I forgot about that. I'll bet that it just needs an adjustment. I will get a brand new self-locking nut before I do that. It's too bad they hid the screw for that nut behind the extruder!

I was wondering what you were doing with the clamps in that picture. I printed the blocks on their sides. The grooves look very good, but I may print them again facing up.

I love this mod. It has improved my printing 100%. I am looking at linear rails and I may get some next time I have some loose cash. Thanks again!

Your blocks are probably fine, printed as they are. Also, first print lacked the slot. Face-palm moment when I put it together for the first time. :)

In truth, I am pretty amused by these dubious-sounding experiments that end up working quite well. There is at least one other guy in the Google+ groups that has also used solid printed plastic bearings sliding on anodized aluminum, to good effect. Solid bearings (in metal) are commonly used in machine tools where precision is needed. The loads in 3D printers are pretty light ... but plastic bearings still sound dubious.

But they work.

I squeezed the blocks with a clamp and tightened the nut. It got rid of the wobble! :) Thanks.

Excellent! "Works for me" is inferior to "works for me, and other folk who tried". :)

I believe they do work. Which Google group is that? Tronxy X5S?