6mm Improved X ends for Prusa with clamped rods

by beekeeper, published

6mm Improved X ends for Prusa with clamped rods by beekeeper Jan 6, 2013
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Jonas Kuehling Improved X-Ends for RepRap Printers for a 6mm Threaded rod to eliminate Z-wobble. Combine this with switching to flexible Vinyl (or Vulcanized rubber) Z-Axis Motor Couplers and your part quality immediately jumps higher.


Print directly the the STL FIles, that are cleaned and ready to go, or Edit the Scad File, Like I did to make even more changes. I took Jonas Kuehling's original Scad File and changed the variables to make it for 6mm threaded rods for the Z-Axis Lead Screws. You could use 1/4" - 28 rods as a close replacement, or 6mm x 1mm Rods like we do, or 1/4" x 20 Threaded rods for a more course Z step (but cheapest threaded rod in the US).

At the same time, throw out your old motor couplers, and switch over to a flexible vinyl tubing for your Z motor Couplers (from the 5mm Nema 17 motor shaft to the new 6mm Z axis threaded rod), and your print quality will be considerably higher. Do make sure that the new 6mm rods are totally straight. Test them by rolling them on a flat table prior to installation, they should roll freely without assistance other than maybe an initial push. If they hesitate, you have a bent threaded rod, get another one, don't try to unbend it - unbending rarely goes well.

Everyone talks about upgrading to 6mm threaded rods, but no one uploaded the X-Ends to do this... Until now.


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cool. I've been noticing some z-wobble on my prusa i2. might give this a shot. Do you have a good source for 6mm threaded rod? I was thinking stainless steel would be best since I noticed the steel on my original 8mm rods has been wearing down. After many prints I get a residue left on the rods...

In the US, Mcmaster-Carr has a good zinc coated 6mm rod (and nuts) The rod is 99067A245 for about US$6.00 and 100 - 6mm nuts is 90591A151 is about US$2.50 - both would be a total of about $15 shipped to you. Stainless steel is definitely harder, but it is also rougher and will grind against itself and will give you more problems down the road. Use a a high grade 3 in 1 oil (I like Liquid Wrench Super Oil) or Permatex Super Lube Teflon grease. Before you install the X axis and before you put any grease on the rods, put the 6mm rod in a drill and cycle several times with the nuts installed. Afterward, blow off the slight amount of filings that come from the rod / nuts. Then grease / oil the rods and nuts, your rods will last MUCH longer. These threaded rods aren't precision machined, and cycling them dry serveral times will clean and deburr them nicely.

You will have to drill out the bearing hole (that mounts the skate idler pulley bearing) if you use 8mm ID skate bearings. For 6mm, ID bearings, the ends are good to go.

Thanks for the advice! I'll get around to this eventually and let you know how I make out.

Awesome upgrade for my mendel i2, thanks!

Also, fun fact, this is almost the first asymmetrical thing i've printed, and it came out mirrored. Cursed when i saw it, but then i thought that it would actually look better, and because of the stepper now mounting the other way around, the axis got inverted and prints are not mirrored anymore.

I just did my first test print using my new parts, and it's a big improvement, despite the fact that i obviously have gotten one of the couplers crooked, the motor wobbles quite alot when running z up and down. I imagine it will be even better once i fix that, great work beekeeper! I definitely think 6mm rods are the way to go.

I did end up using a 7.5 drill, starting from 6.5, being very careful since it looks so thin.. but it feels strong and rigid.

I usally don't see any curling on larger prints just like you say, and I am using the cool function, but i think the heat radiating from the nozzle takes away much of the benefit of going slower. Also there will always be big objects with a small top, and it's like a challenge to be able to do small fast prints without issues.. I'm gonna try insulating my hotend some more and then try some more fan ideas.

As i understand netfabb is windows only?

Good going. The 6mm hole is very easy to drill out and the crosbar structurally extremely stong, so it works well. Funny thing, probably more than half of reprap machines are mirror initially because they followed the old documentation and videos that led you down the funny path. I didn't discover my first machine was mirrored for at least 2 weeks after I was getting good prints. For a couple weeks, I used Blender to mirror the STL files when it became an issue. Use Netfabb's website cloud service, it isn't Windows only, and it cleans up stl files very well. Try lowering your nozzle temp when printing small cross sectional areas, 5 to 10° makes a BIG difference on some parts.

I mostly followed the wiki, and I'm pretty sure where i got it wrong. When I was placing the x-motor-end the instructions said something like, place the motor to the right when facing the front of the machine. Which is actually front and back? So at that point I got fed up with the differences between my hardware and the guide, so I did it my way instead. And that later led to me placing the x-endstop on the wrong side, despite that i was almost certain it was meant to be on the other side, but I wanted to have it next to the x-motor and ramps. Luckily, after setting marlin to home at x-max and moving the x-endstop connector to x-max it now works beautifully. Gotta love marlin and ramps!
I'm only printing at 220 deg C, but my thermistor is probably a bit off?

The motormount stl seems broken, would it be possible for you to fix it? I tried, using meshlab and blender but to no use. Using slic3r, and idler printed just fine.

Yes, I just added 2 STL files that end with "fixed", where I ran them each through Netfabb Cloud and fixed the files and made them both Manifold. The normal output from OpenScad produced a non-manifold Stl on the motor mount file. Funny thing, the version of Skeinforge I use, sliced it correctly, but Slic3r balked until I sent the "fixed" files through. All is well, just used the "fixed" stl files.

Great! Thank you, I feared that I was going to be stuck with only the idler end for some time. Im accually quite impressed and proud over my printer and myself that the idler printed so well, looks like it should be quite a difficult print? The only issue i had was some overhang curling on the brace for the x-belt bearing, which is opposite to my fan. (A fan with abs? Apparently!) I think I only need a small airflow, very small, so Im thinking about printing a small duct that connects to two tubes, place the duct and fan on top of the printer and lead the two tubes down to the hotend, one on each side. sounds like a good idea?

Could you point to the discussion or reference about benefits of using 6mm rods ?

Here's one on http://RepRap.orgRepRap.org : http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?1,130622,130648http://forums.reprap.org/read....

another discussion where the author takes more extreme steps (but doesn't show the end peices produced, just the problem pieces starting him on the long journey to fix the problem) is at: http://3dprinterusers.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-is-reprap-rapman-z-axis-wobble.htmlhttp://3dprinterusers.blogspot...
Check Google if you need more info.

great work :) don't forget to mention it's for prusa i2 ;)