Ultimaker adjustable axis (bearing) cap

by jwags55, published

Ultimaker adjustable axis (bearing) cap by jwags55 Jun 5, 2013


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Another tweak to a MoonCactus design. This design prints the screw, locknut and base. I use this in conjunction with MoonCactus' Fully parametric bearing-friendly axis caps (non-adjustable). So I used one of MoonCactus' non-adjustable caps on one end and then my adjustable end cap on the other, but I suppose you could use an adjustable end cap on each end of the rod.

MoonCactus suggested a shorter threaded component so it doesn't stick out so far, so I've included a shorter version that uses a 6mm hex key to adjust.

6/6/13 Update: I added two more low-profile components. AdjThreadSlot.stl and LockNutShort.stl. The AdjThreadSlot.stl is the shortest of all the screws and the short locknut is 2mm shorter than the original. You should be able to adjust the slotted screw with either a straight-blade or Phillips screwdriver.

I should also note that if you like adding grease to the end of the shafts, it is very easy to remove the screw and place some grease on the end of the screw/shaft.

Although not necessary for this design, I also included my variation of the inner bearing cap (Thing: 99113) with a hexagonal protrusion that hold the nuts in place.


Base (EndCapThreaded.stl):
0.1mm slice, 0.8mm wall, 30% fill

Screw (AdjThread.stl):
0.1mm slice, 0.4mm wall, 100% fill (less fill okay)

Locknut (Locknut.stl):
0.1mm slice, 0.4mm wall, 100% fill (less fill okay)

Inner Cap (InsideCap.stl):
0.2mm slice, 0.8mm wall, 30% fill
press-fit the nuts into the hexagon protrusion before installing.

Remove any "Z scars" on the screw with a knife or fingernail and thread the screw/nut/base in and out enough such that they adjust easily by hand. If they do not thread easily, it will be difficult to accurately set the clearance between the screw and the shaft with the potential to put the axis in a bind.

Adjust the screw until it contacts the shaft, and then back it off some (about a 1/4 turn). You don't want to add any additional friction to the system, but merely reduce the axial movement of the shafts. You can also check the clearance by moving the rod back-and-forth until you are satisfied.

Use the locknut to keep the screw in the adjusted position, but make certain the screw does not turn while tightening the locknut.

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In addition to the advertised purpose, it makes maintenance much more easy.
This is because it allows (dis)assembly of the X/Y rods without touching the bearing cap scew nuts at all (which is a real pain).
I'd recommend to install this on every Ultimaker. Thanks for this great mod!

What does this mod allow you to do exactly?

This modification is to reduce the axial movement of the 8 mm diameter X and Y rods. If you grab the X or Y rod and can move it back and forth "too" much then you may want to install these. How much is too much is entirely up to you, but I think that anything more than 1 mm is too much. Excessive movement can cause the belts to track poorly. This mod allows you to keep the play to a minimum.

At a minimum, you will need: (1) END CAP, (1) LOCK NUT, (1) ADJUSTABLE THREAD per rod. You can use the stock end caps or the MoonCactus design (the non-adjustable one) for the opposite side. Alternately, you could add my adjustable system at each end. MoonCactus suggested a shorter version, so I created some options there. Lastly, I developed an inside cap with an "open" design that allows you to remove the inside cap without removing the rod. This is purely for future maintenance or modifications and requires extra effort when installing them the first time because you have to remove the stock ones.

It rocks :) A bit long, but at least it will not make that annoying noise that mine do (huh metallic screw against metallic rod... was not my best idea may be).

With something less protruding I think I would switch to yours.

I had a similar thought, but since I've already have the direct-drive steppers sticking out, it really didn't matter. But since that is not the normal application, I've created a shorter screw that can be adjusted 6mm hex key. Enjoy.

Thanks! I just printed the short one, it just screwed perfectly.
Will probably use it to showcase how fine objects you can 3D print :)

Excellent. I am glad it printed well for you. I always wonder if others get the same results. I continue to be impressed with the capabilities of the Ultimaker. I have only had my printer for a few months and I am still learning.