Replicator Front Panel

by garyacrowellsr, published

Replicator Front Panel by garyacrowellsr Apr 9, 2013
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  • I don't know anything about how you may have your Replicator situated, but mine is not at eye level. Whether I am sitting or standing, I'm always looking down at a bad angle to the LCD display, which is parked only a few inches above the tabletop. If I'm standing, I have to bend over and crane my neck sideways to read it. This just screams for a solution to angle it upwards for easier reading. Angling the display board without extensive modifications to the case means that the entire board must be moved forward, out of the case, into an add-on enclosure. This Thing presents my take on that enclosure.


  • Slanted LCD display and navigation button
  • Optional, 3-slot SD card holder
  • Optional, under-display tool storage bins
  • Included drill guide
  • Included cover for the old case SD card slot
  • Included cover for the inside of LCD panel
  • Included inside corner cover

The SD card holder slots are pretty handy, but there is a switch in the OpenSCAD file to delete them if you don't think so.

The storage bins are also pretty handy. Lots of things can fit in there loosely, but your Cricut Spatula is too long. For that, I added an optional slot in the lower bin that allows the blade of the spatula to stick out to the left. It looks clunky, but it works fine. You can delete this slot with a switch in OpenSCAD, and for that matter, the bins are optional as well.

  • Mounting the enclosure does require two additional holes to be drilled in your Replicator case, and the drill guide is an easy print that makes it a snap to place the new holes perfectly.

  • When the display/button board is moved, the SD card slot moves with it, so that now it is on the right side of the new enclosure. That leaves an ugly hole in your Replicator case that can be covered with the included printed cover.

  • A cover is also included for the holes for the LCD and button that are left inside the Replicator case. They have to be covered, or else you are going to collect all sorts of bits of plastic and whatever in the new enclosure. A corner plug is also included to cover the corner hole.



  1. Print the enclosure, the drill guide, the back cover, and the SD slot cover. Also recommended is a modified Corner Plug, Thing:37418, which has been modified here to trim one of its corners. (You should have the original Plug installed in the other three corners already.)
  2. (5) M3-15mm screws and nuts to mount the enclosure to the Replicator (up to 20mm can be used).
  3. (6) M3-10mm screws and nuts to mount the LCD board to the enclosure.
  4. (6) plastic washers, or small 'o' rings (I happened to find some extra o-rings in some leftover extruder parts). Alternately you could use plastic nuts in place of the metal ones above, but you still need 2 washers/rings as spacers.


  1. Tools to clean up the support on the print. I’ve found that a ½” wood chisel is good for removing the raft from flat areas. An acetone vapor finish is also recommended.
  2. Allen wrench or screwdriver to fit your flavor of screws.
  3. Needle nose pliers.
  4. Drill and bit appropriate for a 3mm screw.
  5. It wouldn't be a bad idea to wear an anti-static wrist band when working around your Replicator. (http://tinyurl.com/2cn4s3) (Note that so-called “wireless” or “cordless” anti-static wrist bands are a hoax, and are less than worthless for preventing ESD damage.) To be effective, the wrist band must be grounded.


  1. You must have the ability and confidence to remove your Replicator’s LCD board, unplug and plug connectors (while not zapping it into oblivion), and drill a couple of holes.


Everything was printed in ABS, at 0.2 height, 100%, zero shells. The enclosure required raft and support. The enclosure is quite a printing test; it fills the build plate and is a good candidate for corner lifting. Mouse ears are provided. I printed it pretty slowly to get a good result.

Installation Procedure:

  1. Remove all of the support material from the printed enclosure. This includes digging it all out of the nut holder slots, and the SD holder slots. Deburr any extra material around the LCD and button openings.
  2. If you have a rear LCD cover (Thing:29858) you may remove it now; it won't be reused. Also get any enclosure front panels or doors out of the way. You might want to remove your right side panel as well.
  3. Observe ESD precautions when handling the LCD board. Remove the LCD board from the replicator by removing six screws and nuts on front panel, and unplugging the ribbon cable. Unplug the LCD end only. Be careful unplugging the cable: If it wasn't assembled properly (mine wasn't) it can come apart (mine did). If it does separate, you should be able to carefully clamp it back together. Makerbot support said this would be OK. Or, you could get a better cable, maybe an inch longer. If it didn’t fall apart, the existing cable should be long enough, but an extra inch might make things easier.
  4. Also remove the rubber ‘M’ button.
  5. Stick two screws temporarily through the upper two holes on the drill guide, then hang the guide on the front of the Replicator by placing those screws through the matching upper two existing holes that previously mounted the LCD board. (See picture.) You can lightly add some nuts to keep it in place.
  6. Use the guide to mark the position of the lower two holes on the front of the Replicator. Remove the guide and drill holes at those locations for two M3 screws. Or you could just drill through the drill guide with it in place; it’s not like you’ll be needing it again. Unless you have multiple Replicators, that is, in which case I envy you. Remove the drill guide.
  7. (Reserved for reference to a future thing TBA.)
  8. Place the rubber button into the printed enclosure, with the 'M' upside-down, to stand for "Weplicator", or sideways to stand for "Eekerbot" or #3; your choice.
  9. Facing the enclosure, insert (2) M3-10 screws into the two leftmost holes. Place an o-ring/spacer/washer on the inside over those screws. Now place the LCD board into position inside the printed enclosure, and over those screws, such that the two washers are between the board and the enclosure. The fit is very close, and you might need to deburr the inside of the panel openings. It will fit without forcing anything, just be patient and figure out the necessary orientation, and note that the board’s SD socket will extend slightly into the enclosure SD slot. Mount the board to the enclosure with the other (4) M3-10mm screws and (6) nuts. Use the remaining (4) plastic washers under the nuts around the button. If metal nuts are used in contact with the board they may contact traces on the back of the board, so do not ignore this warning (and do not expect the soldermask to be ‘good enough’ insulation).
  10. Insert (3) M3 nuts into the nut holder slots in the screw blocks inside the back of the printed enclosure. Small needle-nose pliers are really handy here. (See picture.) If they don’t stay in place, it may be helpful to add a drop of glue or some tape (but don’t block the threads). Insert (2) more nuts from the front into the nut holders inside the enclosure storage bin.
    ![]( http://thingiverse-production.s3.amazonaws.com/renders/8f/42/f0/87/66/NutInsert_preview_featured.jpg "")

  11. Flatten the ribbon cable so that it is in-line with the connector and feed the connector through the button opening in the Replicator case.
  12. Place the enclosure in position near the front of the Replicator. Then, with needle-nose pliers, you should be able to grab the connector and maneuver it into the socket on the LCD board. Again, be patient. You may have better luck grabbing the connector from the outside, working between the case and enclosure, or, from the inside, working thru the button opening. After about the fourth time, I was able to work it in with just my fat fingers. Let the enclosure hang from the cable for the moment.
  13. Place the printed inside cover in place so that the three holes along the top align with the matching holes in the Replicator case.
    ![]( http://thingiverse-production.s3.amazonaws.com/renders/f6/a3/80/9a/23/RearCoverInstall_preview_featured.jpg "")
  14. Using (3) M3-15mm screws, feed them from inside the Replicator case, through the holes of the inside cover, the Replicator front panel, and into the matching holes and nuts in the printed enclosure. (Remember the nuts? Hopefully they’re still there.) Eyeball the lower two holes to insure that they are aligned before lightly tightening the screws.
  15. Underneath you will have to temporarily remove the electronics enclosure plate. Then, from inside the Replicator, feed (2) M3-15mm screws through the two new lower holes and into the matching holes and nuts in the printed enclosure. Tighten down all the screws. Replace the electronics enclosure plate.
  16. Insert the printed SD slot cover into the now unused slot in the Replicator case.
  17. Insert the printed modified corner plug into the corner triangular opening of the case. Use the original plug on the other three corners too, if you haven’t already.
  18. If you have a front panel or door on your Replicator, the bottom edge may need to be trimmed to clear the enclosure.
  19. Add a bit of tape in the SD holder slots if you think they are too loose.


I'm open to suggestions if you can think of anything else to add/change.

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It would be great to have an optional power switch on the front, im looking at this for a flashforge creator pro. The power switch would be cool, but it would require extra wiring.

I have a CTC
I believe the flash forge has the same screen and control panel (up down left right and "M") did this work for yours

I absolutely <3 this idea! I have a different type of 3D printer, but it is inspiring me to design something similar for mine!! Thank you for sharing!

3DPrintClean is developing an Odor and Ultrafine Particle filtration attachment for DIY enclosures. Would make a great addition. See http://3dprintclean.com/3dprintclean-scrubber.htm - Disclosure, I am the founder of 3DPrintClean.

You sir, are a genius. This is awesome - I love the SD card holder and tool holder.

I like this a lot and will add your ideas to my own machine. I especially like your SD card holder concept. As soon as my MB is back up and running, I'd like to replace the all-black silicone navigation button with something easier to see. I've discovered that white silicone, painted on the arrows, makes it easier and is about the only thing that sticks to black silicone. But it soon looks pretty ratty around the edges. Your raised panel would leave room for true buttons pushing on the MB silicone switch located behind the panel without having to scrap the illuminated center.

Works well, I printed and installed this last night. The SD Slot Cover tabs were a little delicate and I ended up just gluing the cover in place. The faceplate worked well though; I downloaded the .scad file and ordered up the bare bones cover with no bins. The model printed just fine on standard medium settings from makerware. It installed in place perfectly, and my neck is happy now!

When I view it, the instructions appear to be truncated sometimes, so I added a .pdf of the instructions to the files.