Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Ike:Core - 3D printer based on CoreXY

by jayftee, published

Ike:Core - 3D printer based on CoreXY by jayftee Apr 27, 2014



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Let me introduce you to Ike:Core, a core{X,Y} based 3D printer.
Ike:Core is the result of over of year or design and R&D. A year you say? Yes, in February 2013, I decided I was going to learn how 3D printers worked, and the best way to learn it, would be to create my own 3D printer. I am no fabricator or maker. I am a programmer who has built computers in the past. But still, this was a monumental undertaking.

I read many blog posts and the few books about 3D printing. Then, I fell in love with this video http://vimeo.com/40914530 and that was it, I knew what I was going to build. Last time I had soldered something, I was in high school, so, I had to relearn everything, and fill in a few more toolboxes of things I didn'?t have in the process, like cable crimpers and what not.

My goal designing this printer was to use as many off the shelf parts as I could, while retaining the original design of core{X,Y}. So, I used parts such as SK12 linear supports, SC12LUU linear blocks and 12mm chromed hardened steel rods.

I used reliable and trusted components from hotends.com (hotends), panucatt.com (printer board), qu-bd.com (heatbed heater) and openbuilds.com (motor, pulleys, and fasteners)

I found the remaining parts on eBay or aliexpress, namely, crimps, metric screws, cabling, cable sleeves, LEDs, switches and power sockets. Living in a metric country (Canada), I found it very frustrating not having a store nearby that carried metric fasteners. I had to import every single fastener!

The build started at the end of July 2013 and finished yesterday, April 26th 2014. Why so long, well, having a kid is no small task and with my job, it simply meant about 2-3 hours per week of free time. I learned a boat load or things, tried many of them, made mistakes and fixed them. The printer you see here is the result of all my efforts.

Last night I made my first real print. You can see it in the pictures attached. I saved it as black & white, it is easier to see the details. I am quite happy with the results, and there is no doubt I will continue to refine the printer, but initial results are more than promising.
I'd like to thank the folks that worked on core{X,Y}, both for the physical implementation and its support in the Marlin firmware. And also John D. who has helped me along the way.

When I have the time, I'?ll try to post a video of the printer printing a torture test. Until then, here is my latest work.


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Great work! Only thing that those brillian-designed z-axis motor carriage and flat coreXY aluminum frame are expensive to produce.

Thanxs for stopping by. There are few things I would do differently. The top metal rectangular plate could be replaced by smaller pieces, the print plate support could be swapped to use 2020 framing, but one thing I would not change is the Z axis actuators and the motor transfer case to the lead screws, as they minimize Z wobble big time.

Really awesome machine! I built a similarly large machine last year and it didnt work out as well as I was hoping. I used all super cheap Chinese knockoff components(controller, bearings, hotend) and threw myself into the design process without much research. I learned tons and tons of things which was my original goal but ended up with a terrible machine.

Your printer, on the other hand, seems to do everything that I had wanted to do after I had built mine(corexy, proper ballscrews, nice bearings and aluminum bracing, good cable management, extremely reliable linear motion) Its a perfect machine for printing large soluble parts to do carbon fiber layups on, or making actually functional decently sized air flow parts.(who cares if it takes 2 days to print the part when your machine is that reliable, it could probably do it no problem) I noticed in the photos that you even have extra T-nuts in the extrusion in case you want to add anything after the fact. :) What an awesome and thought out design and build!

Just one question though, do you have any motion problems with the hot end carriage because the belts are attached to the top and the bearings are located on the bottom creating a moment on the bearings? Theyre probably good enough quality to handle that offset and still move fast but Im just curious.

Hey there. Sorry to hear your build did not go as expected. I had a rocky road myself, and I did too learned a lot. The one drawback to my printer is the print speed. I top at 70mm/s. I mean, CoreXY can go much further, and it did before I stack up everything you see on the X carriage. Its rock solid, I level the plate about once a year at most.

To answer your other question, no there is no binding on the X carriage even if the belt anchors are higher up. I guess the weight of the carriage itself helps here. If it were very light, there could be binding.

If I were to redo the printer, I would choose linear rails instead of hardened steel rods, and have the rails sitting on top of the aluminum frame instead of below. Not that I have a problem with the current design, its just in the hope to remove some weight, those rods weight a ton at 12mm diameter and without accounting with the pillow blocks :)


Where do I get the motor mounts you used for you z-axis? (shown in picture 3)

I designed them to use 608 bearings as support for the ballscrew, sent the specs to my freinds at http://www.dixiebillet.com/ and what you see is the result.

Wow very nice work. From what I reckon you are using mostly 20x20 extrusions. With that frame size how did you manage to keep the frame from deflecting aka wobbling?

With all the bracing and the strength added with the aluminum plating, no, there are no deflections. However, it is top heavy with the plating, and the weight of the carriages coupled with the weight of the geared motor, I have to slow down the print speed, but other than that, its been stellar and as reliable today as the first day I printed with it.

By aluminium plating you mean the corner Plates? I was thinking of getting them but didnt know if they would add rigidity...
Do the plates keep it stable? If so, I will add them to my buying list!

I am also in Canada and have the same issue sourcing metric fasteners (or anything for that matter). Element 14 has a supply of metric supplies. Only caveats are that you often have to order by the 100 count and the order can take 1.5-2.0 months to come in if the parts are not in stock in the Mississauga warehouse.

Hi, any chance of a zip file or similar with STEP files or IGES files please? - I cant get the STL to feature recognise in solid works and another format would save me a lot of time making a few tweaks!

This was made with Sketchup, and as such, if you are not aware, Sketchup doesn't real with real arc or circle like Autocad, so a circle might have 24 segments or 64, or whatever I did set it at. You can still use MeshLab to take the STL and convert it to some other format.

Yes, Marlin on an Azteeg X3 (soon with a Viki LCD). There is no real need for maximum end stops. You obviously have a need for the minimum end stops, and if like me, the homing happens to be outside the print area, you need to set an offset (mine is -18 X, and -18 Y). Then you setup how big the print area is, mike is 325 in both direction, and having that, the firmware will not allow your carriage to go beyond that, assuming you always start with a homing of both X and Y axis.
As for the Z, at this time I am using a long feel gauge, and use that to both level the print bed (which I have not re-leved in months) and setup the Z height (I got to print below 0.1mm in layer height many times, but I am not patient enough to print big parts with such layer thickness).
For the time being, I will not plat with a probe as I don't have a real need for it. However, there is an Ike:Delta in the works that will use such device, and will probably feature some sort of proximity sensor, but not a probe with an end-stop like the original mini-kossel.

are you using Marlin as your control firmware? I had a question regarding the Max_end_stops being disabled in coreXY, and was curious if you know why. Does your printer have a z-probing/autolevel mechanism? If max-end-stops are disabled, then to what input is the z-probe connected to?

Content de voir que mon travail est apprécié !
Nope, I haven't got a BOM or a part list, but, as I said, it mostly built with off the shelf parts. As for the assembly, it pretty much builds by itself. The only thing one needs to worry about is to align the rods correctly, and that too, is super easy. I'll see what I can do about the part list. There is about a year of thinking that went into this design, so, I pretty much thought of everything.
The one thing I decided to ignore, is the one thing that came back to bite me in the a**. The weight if the Y carriage and incidentally the X carriage is limiting the speed of the printer. But, at 100mm/s, it is producing quality without artifacts that I am real proud of.
Now that I have set the bar quite high, I'll have to beat that with my next design, the Ike:Delta.

Much more then a simple rework of core xy !! Great job
Your printer looks reliable, robust and seems to offer interesting printing volume.
According to the mechanicals parts you used, you bring quality to 3d printing addicts (even if we try to find the good compromise between quality and budget)
Did you published a part list ?
A quick assembly guide ?
Thank you very much for sharing your project.
All the best from France

You are welcome. And share back. Be careful about the weight you put on your X carriage. the "O" plate that holds the Y carriage "true" is overkill if the anchor of the X rods are solid. Weight is a limiting factor in your carriage movement. I can out a 100mm/s or something alike. As for the idlers and pulley, I went to http://openbuilds.comopenbuilds.com. I use GT2 pulleys.

you design has been a true inspiration for me. It ironed out a lot of doubts I had. I have a few more though. Can you point me to from where I can purchase the idlers/pulleys you have used?

what is the way in your design to tighten the belt? the corexy has a lot of belt movement and its difficult to add a tightening spring on the belt.

Indeed it was. I designed it so it could be done that way, but so far, I have not used them.

I move the carriage to the bottom left corner of the front picture you see, and I wrapped the belt around the post (on the carriage). I was pulling on the belt with a regular pair of square head pliers, having pre-looped a zip-tie around the belt. When I could pull no more, I moved the belt so that, the teeth of the belt touched themselves after being looped around the post. The teeth being engaged together, the belt could not slip, and I could simply zipped up the tie. Calibration on Z and Y gave me 80 e-steps, so both have the same tightness.

I also see that you nema mount holes are eccentic/oval for the XY. was this also a way to achieve belt tightening?

I arrived at your design by a link you shared on the coreXY google group. My question is what is holding the 608zz bearing from falling down, and what holds the bearing and the shaft together? I am seeing a KFL08 bearing block, and this has the capacity to tighten grub screws, which could also help in distributing some z direction load on the top plate+motor bearing.

There is a small lip on the motor block in the 608zz hole. Look carefully. The bearing sits on that lip, and it is what supports the entire Z carriage.

Thanks. I saw it in thingiview mode.

When I was looking at those during the design phase, I could see a fight between the two shafts. You see, I was adamant about wanting to use two Z shafts on each side, to ensure nothing would move. Z-isolator make sense when you have only one shaft, as basically, you part makes the Z stage float on the isolator. But, when you think about 2 shafts, it different. I thought the isolator could experience forces from the two shafts at once, and worst, could be is different directions. So, I went the simple route of floating the who Z stage on bigger surfaces, and let my two shafts drive the stage. the nut is just to elevate or lower the stage.
I even bought sheets of teflon with 3M stickers on them, as I was affraid the plastic on metal would cause wear and induce friction. I have not experience that yet.

Why don't you use Z-isolators?

I have experienced binding, the hard way. I decided at one point in time to use PBC linear teflon lined bearing. All movement on parallel shafts should use non-compensated and compensated bearings. So, that way, one shaft would lead, and the other would follow. That did not happen for me. Movement was bad and getting stuck all the time. Using standard LM12UU bearings inside the SC12LUU blocks have just enough give to not require compensation.
That being said, if I had the money and free time, I'd try to replace the SC12LUU by 2 regular SC12UUs on the Y axis, to spread further the anchor on my Y shafts. Is it needed, you be the judge from my first print (in the black and white photo). It just seems weird to have the bearing centered under the Y carriage plate, instead of having 2 block at either ends. But hey, so far so good, it works.
The Z is absolutely perfect and mind you, I am using ballscrews, not lead screws. I had MendelMax leadscrews during the build, and when I got to the Z axis, I experience wobble like there was no tomorrow. My Z axis plate was screwed to the plate on top of the screw nuts. I did not know then about floating the Z axis then. I do now, and when I removed the screws holding the Z axis plate to the nut plate, the wobbling was still there, but because the Z axis plate was floating on top of the nut blocks, the floating began to make sense and it kept my Z axis plate from moving. I since moved to longer and bigger screws. My advise, don't use 8mm leadscrews, go 10 or 12mm. Right of the bat, you will have less wobble to begin with as the screws will be straighter.
And don't overlook the fact my screws have 2 turndowns at the motor end. One 6.35mm (1/4in) to fit in my bellows coupler, and 7.85mm to fit inside a 608zz bearing. That means, the entire weight of the Z carriage rests on the bearing on the motor block, not the motor shaft, which removes any pressure on it, ensuring it stays straight. There are also top screw anchors...

Great job on the printer, it looks well constructed. Taking your time payed off. Your printer is the first one I have seen with 4 rods and 2 t-rods for moving the hotbead. Is the motion smooth, any binding? Do you find that it makes the hotbed more stable than the other 3d printers like the makerbot replicator 2? I ask because I am in the process of designing and building my own 3d printer.

It's only 3d format I can't open on linux, have to run my windows VM :D

Look for the zip file then. It contains the Sketchup source file. Its the last file when you go in the "Thing Files" tab on this page.

In the gallery there are renders of whole printer, 3d file from which they are taken is just what I need :)

Can you add sketches describing details of the construction? I'm designing similar machine and some of your solutions are very interesting :)

Well, you would have to be specific about what part, might it be the frame, core{x,y}, belts, pulleys, Z regarding the floating principle or whatever.
I'd be glad to share.

Oh, forgot to add, the Sketchup file contained in the zip file, is not only a drawing representation, everything in there has true measurements, and things can be printed or cut directly from exporting a par as an STL or a DXF straight from Sketchup. Just remember to set your view in 2D mode if you export in DXF. (And don't ask how I know this).

Thank you for the comments. There is about 700$ worth of alu 6061 (waterjet plates) or 7075 (milled motor mount and X carriage). Some if not most of it, can be replaced with printed parts or slight changes to the design (I think). Since I went all out, and spared no expense (like a famed theme park owner) why skimp on alu.... :P And I wanted to keep it true to the original CoreXY design.
And yes, I wanted to make things easy to maintain, and as cable sleeving is dirt cheap, why not use it and make the printer look good in the process.

Really great looking machine! I'm jealous of all the custom aluminum.