Incremental Build Instructions:Y-Axis

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Materials Needed


Parts to Purchase

  • 4 * T Slot Hammer Nuts for 3030 aluminum profile with M5 threads (Should already be purchased in earlier steps if following this guide)
  • 4 * M5 x 10mm Screws (Should already be purchased in earlier steps if following this guide)
  • 2 * 10mm Linear Rod - 420mm Length. This build is using 10mm rods for the Y Axis and uses parts appropriate for that choice. Adjust as needed. Adjust length and diameter according to your specifications in the spreadsheet.
  • 4 * LM10UU Linear Bearings This build is using 10mm rods for the Y Axis and uses parts appropriate for that choice. Adjust as needed. 10mm rods and bearings are also used for the X Axis on this build and all were purchased at the same time accordingly.
  • M3 Socket Head Screws
    • 2 * 30mm long
    • 4 * 20mm long
    • 4 * 12mm long
    • 2 * 10mm long
  • 4 * GT2 Idler Pulley (20 teeth) 3mm bore
  • 6 * M6 * 10mm Button Head Screws
  • ? * M3 5X5 Brass Knurled Insert
  • M3 Washers - quantity depends on fit

3D Printed Parts

These models are available on the Thingiverse page.

  • XY Idler Mount Right and Left (Use spreadsheet to pick proper parts based on your build choices. Pick latest version available.)
  • XY Stepper Mount Left (Use spreadsheet to pick proper parts based on your build choices. Pick latest version available.)


Step By Step Instructions With Pictures

Insert one of the knurled inserts into the "pointy end" of an XY Idler mount by pushing it in with a heated soldering iron.

There are various ways that have been suggested on the facebook group to get the insert into the 3d printed piece.

  1. Drill out a little bit of space and just insert the insert. When tightening the screw, the pressure between the parts holds it in place. This may be difficult to get right.
  2. Use a lighter to heat the knurled insert and push it into the part. The anti-wind type lighters are easier to control. The challenge with this method is that you don't have enough hands to hold everything in the right spot and push them together while very hot. Getting some help from somebody with an extra pair of hands could help you be successful.
  3. Use a heated soldering iron. Either use the soldering iron pushed into the insert's hole at an angle to push the insert into the 3d printed piece, or put a screw into the insert hole and then heat both and use the screw to guide the piece in. The screw helps keep molten plastic from getting inside the knurled insert hold when pushing it in.

There are two arms on the XY Idler Mount that will end up holding the screw and idler pulleys. One of them has an indent for a knurled insert. Insert the knurled insert into this hole.

Make sure the way is clear for an M3 20mm screw to go through the idler mount and tighten onto the Y Axis rod.

Insert one of the Y Axis rods into the raised end of the the XY idler mount, pressing it in until the end is even with the back of the piece.

Tighten the M3 20mm screw until the rod is securely held in place.

Repeat the same process with the other XY Idler and rod. All steps in the rest of this page should be repeated on both sides.

Prepare to insert the idler pulleys on the XY Idler Mount. You'll need an M3 30mm screw, 2 pulleys, and some m3 washers. Figure out how many washers you need by trial and error. The proper fit is when the pulleys are able to turn smoothly but have no play side to side on their axis when the screw is fastened to the knurled insert. The washers keep the spacing between the pulleys correct and allow them to spin without affecting each other.
Begin assembly by putting the screw approximately halfway through the open space. Place one pulley on it and the number of washers that you need. Next, align the other pulley in place and push the screw the rest of the way through.
Tighten it until it holds everything firmly (while pulleys can still spin), but not too tight.

Put a knurled insert into the XY Motor mount in the appropriate spot.
Use this picture as a reference for proper alignment of XY Idler Mount and XY Motor Mount relative to each other.

Put two Y Axis (10mm for this build) linear bearings onto the linear rod before putting the rod into the XY Motor Mount.

Insert the Y Axis rod through the hole in the XY Motor Mount, as far as it goes until it is even with the back edge of the hole. Tighten using a 20mm m3 screw until there is no movement in the rod if possible.

Flip the frame over to attach the Y Axis rod assembly to the frame. Any following instructions that refer to "top" are referring to the top of the printer, which is now facing downward. Same for "bottom" referring to the bottom of the printer, which is now facing up.
Rather than following the instructions for the hammer nut down below, it is easier to put the hammer nuts and M5 10mm screws in the appropriate places now. When attaching the parts to the frame, just align the hammer nut so it is parallel to the groove in the extrusion and push it in. Tighten when it is in the right position.
Place your Y axis assembly into the printer frame as shown to confirm that it fits. Make adjustments as needed.

The Y axis assembly is attached using some screws with hammer nuts, and also some M6 nuts that replace the grub screws currently holding the L Brackets onto the frame.

Remove the one topmost grub screw running parallel to the direction of the linear rod from the side of the frame that the XY Idler Mount will go.

Store the grub screw somewhere safe. You shouldn't need it again, but it never hurts to hang onto it.

Remove both grub screws from the corner of the frame that will hold the XY Motor Mount. The grub screws to remove are the the ones attached to the topmost L Brackets from the legs that are oriented vertically.

Fasten the XY Motor Mount to the frame by inserting an M6 10mm screw through the mount and into the hold left vacant by the grub screw that was just removed. Make sure the XY Motor Mount is pressed as firmly as possible to the top crossbar extrusion.

Repeat for the other side of the XY Motor Mount.

Use an M6 10mm screw to attach the XY Idler Mount. Make sure it is pushed against the top crossbar.

Use one M5 10mm screw and one hammer nut to fasten the other hole on the XY Idler Mount to the frame. Do this by rotating the frame as needed so that the hammer nut would be resting in the groove without sliding, drop the hammer nut in, push gently until it aligns with the hole in the the XY Idler Mount, and then screw the screw in.

Do the same for the XY Motor Mount.

In this step you will attach the stepper motor to the XY motor mount using two 12mm M3 screws and one 10mm M3 screw. Note that one of the holes is recessed. This hole takes the 10mm screw.

First, flip the frame right side up. The motor should be mounted underneath the XY Motor Mount with the shaft pointing upward. Rotate the motor so that the wire connections are facing toward the outside of the printer. this will make it easy to keep the wires out of the way later when attaching them.

It might be difficult to get all 3 screws in if you screw one fully tight first. Instead, place one screw through a hole in the XY Motor Mount. Place it in line with the corresponding hole on the Stepper Motor and turn it just enough so that it engages the threads. This will allow you to move the parts relative to each other to line up the other screws. Repeat for the other two screws. All three screws should now be engaged and you can tighten them all.

Because you removed the grub screws, there was some time where some of the corners were not tightly connected with the top crossbeams. Check that the vertical frame extrusions are still lined up squarely with the top edges of the crossbeam extrusions. If they are not, slightly loosen the M6 and M5 screws holding that corner in place, align the corner properly, and then retighten the screws.

That's it! You now have a fully assembled Y Axis. Now onto the X Axis!

Alternative Options

Sources For Supplies

Part(s) Sources Used Successfully

T Slot Hammer Nuts for 3030 aluminum profile with M5 threads (Should already be purchased in earlier steps if following this guide)

M5 x 10mm Screws (Should already be purchased in earlier steps if following this guide)

100pcs M3 5X5 Brass knurled insert
  • - $3.59 for 100pcs with free shipping in 09/2017.

M3 Socket Head Screws Set

M6 10mm Button Head Screws
  • Local Hardware Store

M3 Washers
  • Local Hardware Store

10pcs LM10UU Linear Bearing

2 Nema 17 42mm Stepper Motors

10mm Diameter Linear Shaft - 420mm (cut to your length)