This kit will add rigidity to your printer, giving you better prints more often.
Does it work and is it worth doing?
Just see maker zsonybrasco's before & after shots:
Here is a good, and short, article on 3D printer rigidity:
To compliment this mod, have a look at my Z Extensions:
(For an additional 37mm of Z clearance)
This design was powered by beer... just like lots of hobbies... so if you like this design and you'd like to buy me one... or two...
A huge THANKS and CHEERS to those who've already shouted.
This design uses two 8mm or 5/16" threaded rods. The rods lock at the bottom and have adjustment at the top. These rods brace the Z axis towers, to the front of the Y axis, keeping them vertical and square to the build plate.
There are also two braces for the Y-axis, front and rear. These enable the Y belt to be tensioned correctly by stopping the Y motor torque from pulling the frame ends together.
No need to drill any new holes in the printer, but you do need to replace some short 3mm screws for longer ones (10mm). The short screws are reused for the Y braces.
See "Instructions" below for further detail.
Our friends over at "3D Printer Wiki" have also put together a build guide for this mod:
If you get a redirect: try going to http://3dprinterwiki.info/ and clicking through to the required page... and do check out all the other great tips they have for the i3.
Let us know what you think.
Any feedback is welcome, within reason ;-)
EDIT: the instructions got mashed in a recent website change, sorry for this, I'm working at getting things ordered for the new format. It might take some time though. Please take the time to investigate the new layout and check the images (there's 81 of them!). Cruise the comments section for anything still lost to you... as a last resort, feel free to ask. Thank goodness for Internet Archive.org is all I can say!
0.2mm or 0.15mm (much slower)
50% (hexagonal, if able, better but slower)
1mm to 1.2mm walls or 3 shells.
All files have been inspected in Simplify3D. All files should now be manifold and compliant to your slicer. Tested in Cura & S3D.
PLA or ABS, or your choice of plastic.
They're rock solid in PLA!
Sufficiently over-engineered, shall we say.
I do not recommend ABS (not for any hobby grade 3D printer) but it will work if it doesn't warp too much.
PLA gives a very strong print and works best on the Di3.
Avoid transparent/glassy colours; they tend to be brittle.
Solid coloured PLA filaments usually make better mechanical/structural parts.
No supports required.
No rafts required.
Parts required to buy:
(NOTE: if you have a Plus model printer with a touch screen, you will need longer rods, please measure before cutting.)
2 x 400-410mm lengths of 8mm or 5/16" threaded rod.
4 x 8mm or 5/16" nuts;
2 x 8mm or 5/16" Nylocs (lock nuts or locked nuts, or glue may be used).
20 x M3 x 10mm (or longer **** if you cannot find 10mm).
4x Rubber feet (whatever you've got that fit, self adhesive or glue-on).
1x 4.8mm wide cable tie or zip-tie (or similar size).
1x M5 x 20mm machine head screw (only if your front Y belt idler has a domed head).
If you wish to make the Y belt idler even more rigid, use a M5 x 30mm and an extra Nyloc nut and a washer or two. (See pictures and search comments for "M5" for more detail.)
**** If you use M3 bolts longer than 10mm, check your clearances; some machines might have issues on the top mounts when the X beam goes near to full height. Be warned!
Obvious for some but there can be a few hurdles.
Please look at all of the pictures if you don't want to read the whole page; there's 80+ to look at, and they all say it better than I can type it. ;-)
Your printer may be bent or off-square and you do not realise it.
Before putting any strain on the rods, release the tension on the four screws that secure the Z-towers to the Y-axis. Failure to do this may result in distortion of your printer!
If there is not enough range of movement, to make the Z-Y axis square, remove each of the rear Z-tower to Y-axis screws. (One screw per tower is enough with this mod.)
Raise the nozzle about 25mm or 1" off the print bed; to avoid the nozzle bottoming out. (Some people have reported this occurring due the Z tower pivoting when being squared.) You may need to adjust/move your Z limit switch to compensate in more extreme cases.
If you are having trouble inserting the rod:
Move the printer so that the front feet are over the edge of your table/bench. That way the rod can be dropped lower than the level of the table, and easily lifted up through the hole in the top bracket.
If you find your rod does not align to both holes, in the foot to the top bracket, your printer is bent! (Mine was too, "hello sailor", welcome to the club.)
If your printer is bent:
There are two large hex-headed machine screws holding each Z-tower in place. Release the tension on both screws until you have enough movement in the Z-axis to insert the rods. If there is not enough movement with both loose screws, then you need to remove one screw from each tower (I removed the rear most screw, but it doesn't matter which just do the same on both towers). YOUR Z TOWER CAN NOW FALL OVER... DO NOT DROP IT!
The front Y brace uses a 4.8mm wide cable tie to tension the belt idler bolt. (You may recycle the 3mm by 5mm screws, left over from the Z brace mod, as these will fit the front & rear Y braces).
(The latest printers from the factory have domed nuts on the front Y idler, so there's nowhere for the zip-tie to grip. You can either replace the screw with a M5 x 20, of just not use a zip-tie. The brace should hold on OK without the zip-tie if you re-use the short M3 screws.)
With the printer now supported at all four corners there is none of the rocking that most early owners were reporting.
There is no need for more than 4 feet; the printer will be very stable and easier to level with only four. If you feel the need for more feet, please feel free to morph into a centipede or just visit the Remix section of this page.
Gluing rubber pads under the feet assists greatly in isolating noise from the printer being amplified by your desktop/table. Self adhesive rubber feet are available at hardware stores and supermarkets. These will make your printer much quieter!
Further reading, should you wish...
Use brims if you're printing the "BottomxxxxxForOneNut.stl" parts; as the small "nut plug" does not have a lot of surface area on the print bed. (5 brims worked OK for me.)
Bases/feet print as they would stand/mount when finished, and might require a little support but only touching the build plate... they probably don't really need that.
Back legs print flat, no support needed.
Choose "balls" or "balls mk2", your choice, smooth or grippy.
Just print the balls as they appear in the preview, with support disabled, and near enough to full infill.
The round plug, in the middle of the ball, is for support and it will pull out cleanly with needle nose pliers; so you do not need to enable support in your slicer for the balls.
2x Balls.stl or 2x ballsMk2.stl (your choice)
There's two choices of front feet:
-if using two nuts on each front foot (this requires two more 8mm or 5/16" nuts)
(also found on "Plate2.stl")
1x Balls.stl or 1x ballsMk2.stl (your choice)
for one Nyloc nut and a glued plug on each foot-
(also found on "Plate1.stl")
There's two choices of back feet:
( 1.) (also found on "Platex.stl" files)
BackFootxxxx.2.2.stl very sturdy and have big bases for bugger rubber pads, and
Foot_Rear_xxxxx.stl which are quicker to print but don't have much bottom are to stick rubber pads onto.
There are two files for the Back Y Braces:
"Back_Y_Brace.4.stl" is for most people and "Back_Y_Brace.5.stl" is for people contemplating the use of a cable chain on the Y-axis (it has the fairly obvious extra bit/horn with all the holes). Cable chain should be 7mm x 7mm ID, which is the same generic chain used elsewhere on the Di3. You can buy it on eBay etc. (Like the Front Y-axis brace, this new brace also uses the short M3 screws left over from the other parts.)
I've printed the one for the chain, which is directly based on the other, and it works well.
Far more rigidity on the back frame plate now; I have a resilient motor mount fitted and it flexes before anything else does. Without bracing there was flexing at the point where the cables go through the back frame.
All the above choices work equally well, it's a matter of aesthetics and personal choice.
My first Di3 was one of the first batch shipped and it suffered a mild flogging as a result of the first generation of packaging not being of the best design. I now also have a V2.1 at home and another V2.1 at work, they all have this mod done (amongst other mods).
Try as I might, I was not able to adjust the Z axis to be square; there simply was not enough adjustment available from the OEM fasteners . An otherwise great printer was less than perfect. Design time...
The design files may be edited with the free 3D design software from RS, DesignSpark Mechanical. You can get it from Radio Spares website "rs-components dot com", just look for the "DesignSpark" link on your local distributors front page. http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/eng/page/mechanical
You may assemble this mod using any combination of the parts, as you see fit, this is the version used on my 3 Di3's and is what's shown in the pictures above.
(You may use other variations, this is just my recommendation.)
Got a Malyan M150 i3 3D printer? Use these http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1509637
Got a WanHao Di3 Plus? Use these http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1653631
Spare NutPlug files have been uploaded, just in case someone needs them; being small parts these can sometimes come loose from the printbed. If yours print OK, then ignore these files.
Nuts: how many and what for?
M8 or 5/16" nuts...
As few as 6 nuts, or as many as 8, depending on which front foot design you choose.
The recommended version uses 2 Nylocs and 4 normal nuts.
The variant uses 2 Nylocs and 6 normal nuts.
Ideally at least 1 nut on each rod should be a Nyloc.
I suggest one Nyloc nut inside each front foot.
If you don't have at least one Nyloc, then Loctite or glue the bottom most nut into the front foot; because you need something to stop the threaded rod from turning, or ever vibrating loose.
Don't use Nyloc nuts in the nut balls.
Unless you have very clean, high quality, threaded rods: I suggest using 4 normal nuts on the top brackets. It will be much easier to adjust when squaring the printer. The friction of plastic-on-plastic will hold the nuts & balls in place nice an securely... and we all like our nuts & balls held just thus.
Note: it is recommended to do this before fitting the rubber feet under the printer.
To get a good square print you must make the frame square.
Placing the printer on the flat surface and squaring the tower (Z axis) to the surface is a good start and better than OEM.
Get yourself a large engineers/carpenters square.
Any tools store or hardware store should have them or you can steal your fathers (he wont miss it immediately).
Place the printer on a smooth flat surface (Mums dining table is usually the best; she had dad pay a fortune for it.)
Ensure the bottom of the rods are fixed tightly into the front feet, ideally using Nyloc nuts. If you've made the variant option now is the time to tighten the nut ball on the bottom feet.
Adjust the nut balls on the top brackets to square the printer to the tabletop/bench-top.
It might be difficult to find a straight edge on the printer Z-tower to use your square against; I used the front edge closest to the outermost corner, or bend. (If you're using mums furniture, be careful not to scratch it unless you have younger/weaker siblings.)
Once everything is square, tighten the balls. Then recheck for square. Rinse and repeat.
Repeat until satisfied. Your printer should now be able to travel back to its normal place of rest without coming out of square. (Scatter some of your smaller siblings toys to cover any "tracks" you might have left.)
Now home the axis and level the print-bed.
Print something with long square edges in the Y and Z planes, and check the finished print against your square (your new one or dads old one, if he hasn't missed it yet).
For the OCD:
To get the best, absolute, square print you must square the actual axis to each other.