Prusa i3 y-axis motor replacement

by misan, published

Prusa i3 y-axis motor replacement by misan Jan 3, 2015
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This part allows me to replace the stepper by a DC motor with encoder without removing the old part, just loose a couple of nuts and slide it in.

Two M3 screws will keep old part (blue) and new one (orange) together so belt tension will not pull the part out.

The orange part was printed using a DC motor on x-axis but a stepper on y-axis.

This is the type of motor used:

Once installed, this is the system running:

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Where may I find your extruder design?

Do you mean one for a DC motor? (If that is the case I have not yet done one).

In my site you can find a small CNC laser for guitar picks made from the floppy drive, it is made with Arduino 2009, that work can be downloaded and replicable

Comments deleted.

In mid-2014 I developed a card that pin to pin compatible with Pololu A4988 driving a servoDC, as I used the encoder linear encoder present on ink-jet printers http://www.dmxpassion.altervista.org/pg016.html


That is so cool. I think your setup is a great idea. I have on of these encoder lines savaged from an hp printer too, but I thought it might be simpler if the motor came with the encoder. Yours seem a very well thought out form factor solution. Is the software you developed publicly available?

It 'was written in assembler, is not public but the idea instead is public :) you have seen the video of the printer working? I think so, it works well even if the resolution is not the best, given the 600dpi optical scale, I found rows to 720dpi but the ideal would be to find 1200dpi even if you have to replace the sensor because it maxes out at 800- 1000dpi, however also with 600dpi (resolution 4 cents / mm) pieces products come out well


Yes, I saw the video of your 3D printer. I am not sure whether 600 dpi is the sensor resolution (as incremental encoder resolution can be increased 4x if all the edges are considered) or the final achievable resolution with the sensor you use. In my case, using a rotary encoder of 448 CPR I can obtain 1792 ticks per revolution (which depending on the pulley used will translate to more or less distance per tick). I am using 14 tooth MXL which translates into 14*2.032/1792 = 0.0158 mm / tick (or 0.625 thousands of inch/tick or 625 dpi) which is better resolution than what you get out of 16x 1.8degrees stepper once you factor in the non-linearities and the torque reduction due to microstepping.

Is it still running with DC motors, or did you drop the concept ?

I did not drop the concept but I reckon DC brushed motor are a cheap but poor choice in the long term, so what I am exploring now is the use of brushless motors instead.

Nothing wrong with DC motor but I do not like the idea of replacing them every few months of use. 3D printing is much more demanding than 2D, so I would expect a much lower duration of a brushed motor in a 3D printer than those achieved with 2D printers.

Interesting, I only got to bying the motors and writing some code.. never tested it :-/
Will do it some day :)

Doing the exact same change to DC motor.. with the same motor ! ;D
just another printer.. and code ;)

I am interested on your experience too. This motors seem a bit underpowered: I need big control output to overcome friction due to the low torque of the motors, this adds lag to the control system so I want to try more powerful motors to see if I can improve over steppers.

Due to overload at work, I havnt put the parts together yet..
But I'm a bit worried when you tell the motor is a little to weak.. duing my hand-torque test, at 10-12V it seemed really strong.. I have the 200 rpm and 400 rpm model for now...
I will return after test are done

Really Great work you did here. Definitely going to read in to this.

What kind of controller electronics and firmware are you using to allow closed loop motion control like this? This is wonderful!

An additional Arduino simulates a pololu controller with this firmware https://www.youmagine.com/designs/dc-motor-closed-loop-control-software