Prusa i3 improved XZ axis

by jkoljo, published

Prusa i3 improved XZ axis by jkoljo Jun 23, 2014
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This assembly brings a lot of improvements to the original i3 XZ axis system. It is available in two versions, with mounting points for M6 delrin nuts or holes for M5 nuts. Precision leadscrews and delrin nuts are available in eBay.
Changes to original:

  • Mount points for precision delrin nuts
  • Z bearing tightening with screws
  • Better tolerance for 8 mm linear rods
  • Mount point for Z adjuster screw
  • Adjustable belt tightener
  • Belt forces carried by X rods, not Z rods

4.6.2015: added axis ends that have looser tolerance for 8 mm smooth rod


If you want to use the Z axis adjust feature, download endstop holder from: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:149882

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lokking this stuff for lm10uu and 10mm rods. Any 1 can help?

will it work with wanhao i3?

heloo, i'm very impressed with your design, can you upgrade the nut to 8mm leadscrew please. 10mm smoothrod with 8mm leadscrew will be perfect :) thanks

Hi, sorry, I do not see the point in using such a robust leadscrew with a lightweight design like this. 8 mm leadscrew is also very stiff, so any misalignment or mechanically "incorrect" fastening of the leadscrew would cause the 10 mm smooth rod to bend a little bit, ruining the print quality. About 6 mm leadscrew and smaller cannot bend 10 mm smooth rod, so it's the ideal choice.

I have a HICTOP Acrylic (black) i3 and came stock with (measured outside diameter) with 8mm smooth and 8mm threaded rods. The pitch is very different on my threaded rods and changing (downsizing) would, no doubt, require a firmware update for steps per mm. Is there a file for this-I printed the 8mm_loose version and the hole, just for the threaded rod measures at ~6mm.

Anyone have lead screw variant of this design???

I recently made one with few modifications.


Would you mind making the .stp files available? I would love to make a lead screw variant.

Is there a version of this that for lead screws?

Excellent improvement on the classic Prusa i3 design. The built-in adjustments have saved me hours and hours of adjustments and tuning. I recommend this to everybody who builds a new Prusa i3 variant. Planning on adapting it to run with 8mm leadscrews.

Hi. Could you tell me where can i find the stl file for the anti backlash nut? Thanks!

Hi! I remixed the motor mount and idler end for built in opto mounts. It's included in part of my design here if you wanna check it out.

Thanks for the great design!


Amadon's Cyclops and Chimera Direct Drive Version 3
by Amadon

Did anybody tested it on a geeetech prusa i3 X ?

where do i find the back lash nut for z axis

Silly question: what hardware and in what numbers does this need? M4? M3? is the z endstop M3? I'm running out of M3 and need to get more, and long M3s seem hard to get for the endstop. Also my x-rods are like 2-3cm too long, they stick out on the right side of my printer, is there a way to design the idler support thing to fit that you think without making the printer wider? Like put holes in the plate for the rods and some mechanism to clamp them like a screw?

Hi. Thank you for a great design. I've spent about an hour looking for the best, an imo that's it ;)
I'd like to make one with customised z-screw holder for delrin nuts. So, the question is whether you have any "customized" z-screw holder (I'll make it fit delrin nuts by myself, but would like to take your sizing to center the hole properly)

And one more question about improving printability: how do you think, if I take, e.g., x-idler and make one of its rod holes "shorter", will it affect its performance? It's not to print the support. Or, maybe, make the transition to the upper hole more smooth?

Hi, sorry I do not have any more variants of this model. You can bolt pretty much anything to the two bolt holes in delrin nut version, though.

The transition is not smooth because the belt tightener has to fit in place, and usually printers do not like angles more than about 50 degrees. You can try to print it shorter, I do not think that it will affect performance much.

How did you mount an endstop for the x-axis on that?
I would really like to put a pcb with a micro switch on the motor side.

With a zip tie :)

Directly on the straight rods then? Isn't it too unreliable?

Yeah, directly to the linear rods. It stays in it's place, it can wiggle a bit but usually 3D printers do not care about XY coordinate origin repeatability that much. Just tighten the zip tie properly and it will be fine.

Please, you can make X-END-MOTOR for m6 studs and nuts , or where i can find a model for editing ?

Hi, there is a zip file in downloads that contains the models

Do have one for 8m nuts?


What are you using for the idler pulley?

Hi, it is the stock i3 pulley with 603zz bearing.

Where can I find the x carriage and can you provide a list of required screws and nuts.

Just check my profile and see my published things, it is in there. The bolts and nuts are all M3, you need about 12 nuts and some bolts in various sizes, unfortunately I don't remember the right sizes at the moment.

Do you happen to have any photos of this printed out.

Yeah, it was my intention to add them asap after publishing this, but I forgot. I added them now! The prints are unfortunately a bit wavy, but I made this part to improve quality, and it did. Nowadays my Z axis is very very smooth as I use the delrin nuts and precision leadscrews.

Do you happen to have a good source for the leadscrews and delrin nuts. I wouldn't mind trying them.

I bought them from eBay user qtecstore-global. They require some milling or accurate drilling, otherwise the delrin nut collides with Z axis rod.

Thanks. I'm going to try printing a set now.

With the big overhands on the X ends, what was your print strategy? Orientation, supports...?

I printed both parts upside down compared to installation orientation, and with automatically created Slic3r pillar support. Works great and it is easy to remove.

I have the same question :S

Replied to AbbyJones :)

Very nice work! Would it be possible to get source files?

Sure, I uploaded them to thing files, you can find a zipped file there. The files are made with SolidWorks 2013. Some of the features are kind of ugly, haha

Hi jkoljo, I am just starting to build my own i3 and I would like to use these excellent looking parts. However I would like to use 10mm rods for all axis. Do you think your design could be adapted for 10mm rods with LM10UU bearings?

Hi, I added X-motor and X-idler with holes for 10 mm rods. I also added LM10UU carriage STL into my improved carriage-thingie-page. The Z linear bearings are still 8 mm, because the design would need quite a lot of work to fit the much bigger bearings.