Saturday, January 21, 2012

Clamp style X End

(Update: I have had enough trouble with this X end that as of summer 2012 I have moved away from it. See the 3d printer assembly notes for current recommendations for parts)
I’m very pleased to have found a completely new X end design contributed to Thingiverse by Aleph Objects (AKA
It goes on to the smooth rod in two parts and clamps on.  It’s a very easy end to assemble, and is also incredibly sturdy.  It only uses a single nut because the nut gets clamped between the layers.  It uses bolt-on PLA bushings or it could be fitted with other types of bushings.  It uses far less plastic to print, is a lot less fussy and prints in about 1/3 the time that the standard X end does.
The X ends have been, for me at least, the biggest pain in the butt of building a printer.  This makes it a lot easier.
Downside: it puts the motor back into the traditional position rather than the Iteration 2 position.  I actually prefer the motor in this position, but it does require more timing belt to work.  My 950mm belt wasn’t long enough to do this AND get around the belt tightener that I like to use, so I had to tension the belt with a pair of long nose pliers.  Also the spacing is a bit different which caused my belt to rub on the idler’s fender washer hard enough to stall the X carriage, so I had to insert a bit of paper under the idler to shim it out, and now it runs perfectly.
On the upside, this design allows for the use of any pulley you want – the current Prusa motor end only fits a 36 tooth GT2 pulley if you carve some of the plastic away first.

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