3-point levelling for Ultimaker with magnetic ball bearings V2

by murat, published

3-point levelling for Ultimaker with magnetic ball bearings V2 by murat May 6, 2013
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Version 2 of 3-point levelling for Ultimaker with magnetic ball bearings.


Required parts:

3x 7mm magnetic balls
3x M4 35mm socket heat bolts
6x M4 washers
3x M4 Nylon nuts
3x M4 regular nuts
2x M3 10mm bolts
4x M3 35mm bolts

Tempered glass print bed replacement or use existing acrylic bed.

Print all three parts. Size all holes with needle file so that respective bolts pass unhindered, especially the M4 holes.
Remove print bed, then remove all 4 levelling bolts. Don't loose the levelling springs!
Bolt the extension arms in place directly to the sides of the z-platform arms.
Drill a 4.5mm on the laser cut spacer panel mid way between the screw blocks at the back. To properly drill the 3mm fixing holes, bolt the printed nut bed on the top side of the spacer panel, slightly tighten it and line up the fixing holes, then drill the 3mm holes.
Bolt the nut bed at the bottom side of the spacer panel.

Levelling bolts (M4) are fixed by first screwing in a regular nut all the way to the socket head, then passing them upwards through their respective holes (extension arms and nut bed). The nuts should easily sink in the hex receptacles to prevent them from rotating.
Place a spring on each, then a washer, then a Nylon bolt. Use a socket wrench to tighten the Nylon nuts just one turn.
Place the magnetic balls on the Nylon nuts.
Place a washer on each of the magnetic balls.
Place the print bed on the three levelling points, see that the bed sits on all three washers.
Remove the print bed, place few drops of cyanoacrylate (super) glue on the washers, then place the print bed carefully on these washers.

Make sure that your Z-stop is readjusted properly so that your print nozzle doesn't crash on the print bed.

Level the print bed using whatever means you prefer. I used a dial gauge.
First tighten the slack on the spring at the back. Move the nozzle (dial gauge) on top of it. Move the print platform up using the worm gear coupler and stop when the dial gauge touches the print bed and moves 0.05mm or so. Reset the dial gauge to zero. Move the nozzle to the other level points and adjust the levelling bolts to read zero on the dial gauge. Move to the back and check that it still reads zero, then the middle.

Next, make fine adjustments to the Z-stop switch to stop the nozzle at the prescribed hight above the print bed.

Happy level printing. Enjoy!

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Can you please adapt the design for some 8-32 nuts? Or make the source file available?
8-32 nut is 8.6mm wide face to face.

Sorry for the delay. I uploaded the step files, you can modify them as needed.

Whats that fan duct you are using?

I think the one on the picture is my earlier design (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:15316)http://www.thingiverse.com/thi..., but I am using the V2.

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What size is your glass print bed?

I'm not much for mathematics and thermal calculations. I'm using an aluminum heated bed, do you have any experience with that? In particular I'm wondering if it would end up transferring enough heat to the ball joint to cause it to lose magnetism.

The Curie Point for Neodymium magnets is around 300C, so they are safe at even the highest bed temperatures of 120C for ABS. I would actually start worrying about the adjustment bolts softening the support arms. However, in my case the magnetic balls touch the nylon ring inside the lock nuts, so the heat transfer is quite low...

At all german shops I looked it says that the max temp is of the neodym magnets its 80° Celsius...
Well... I've got a infrared thermometer and will have a look if the magnetic balls will get that hot...

I've been using the same magnets for 9 months now without any noticeable degradation. However, the main worry is the stability of the arms when printing ABS where the bed temperature is 110C. It was a very hot day, the garage was easily 45C and whilst printing ABS, the arms that I had originally printed in PLA started creeping. So I quickly re-levelled the table and printed the arms in ABS. For good measure, I taped some cork insulation on top of the arms. So, if you are going print ABS, first print new arms in ABS before the PLA ones become useless.

Look at http://Kjmagnetics.comKjmagnetics.com. They explain it well. A lot of resources on their website, and sweet magnets.

Neodym do lose some strength at 80Celsius, but very little, and while it is permanent it is not cumulative.

I like the redesign. I assume you changed it from your earlier version in order to make the platform even more stable by affixing the front arms directly to the z-platform arms instead of to the flat center piece. The photos don't make it clear, and the instructions still say "Bolt the extension arms in place of the delrin screw blocks."

That's correct. And thanks for noticing the oversight in cutting and pasting the instructions, I will correct it.

I'm printing a set now. What fill density did you use?

Sorry, I didn't notice your question. I print such structural parts at 100% fill, although 50% should be OK I am guessing...

No worries. I went with 100%. I'm now ordering heated bed components, though I won't install it until after I try to make a clay extruder from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:25195http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

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