Printrbot Z Hack

by bwevans, published

Printrbot Z Hack by bwevans Mar 8, 2013
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Most will agree that 5/16" galvanized threaded rod is not the best leadscrew for a printer's z-axis yet Printrbots still ship with them. This thing is a bit of a hack to adapt the printer to an M6 threaded rod leadscrew with a pair of captive nuts and a spring. The printed adapter is designed to fit the space occupied by the 5/16" hex nut and require no changes to the printer. This upgrade increases the steps/mm to a nice even 3200 (as opposed to 2267.7183), reduces any sort of backlash, and makes the z axis run smoothly.

Loosely based on some work I was doing with the x-axis ends for the Wallace.


Hardware needed similar to the following:
18-8 M6 threaded rod http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/119/3149/=lskk82
M6 brass hex nuts http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/119/3167/=lskic8
(Could also use standard M6 hex nuts but the brass runs infinitely smoother.)
9mm OD 28.5L compression spring http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/119/1222/=lskjih
Vinyl tubing to attach the rod to z-motor shaft (haven't tested this yet)

Tested and shown on a Printrbot Jr. but may work on other Printrbots.

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How do you change the steps / mm setting? Thanks!

Awesome, thanks for making this!

Very cool, I have been unsatisfied with my Z on my printrbot Jr. I think this is just the ticket. I'll make this in the next few days and post a pic.

McMaster Carr only offers the M6 brass nuts in quantities of 50. Anyone else know another source for those?

Yeah that min quantity sucks but in the end its not bad if you look at more expensive leadscrews out there. Just use stainless if thats what you can get.

The spring is shown in the second photo sandwiched between the two hex nuts, with the nuts tightened against the spring a little bit - enough to easily move and stop the backlash at the same time.