You will be upgraded!

You will become like us.  Yes, I like Doctor Who (as if that was unlikely).  This isn’t about Cybermen, though, it’s about a significant upgrade to my 3D printer.  As initially designed and constructed, many of the pivots in the printer are simply screws passing through holes in the PLA printed parts.  Over usage, these holes have become enlarged, so that the screws are loose.  This means that apart from the danger of them falling out, there is unwanted movement in the printing mechanism.  This leads to inaccuracy in printing.  So, as part of my plan to gradually improve the accuracy of the printer one step at a time, the next step is to replace the pivots with proper bearings.  Naturally, my initial designs, printed by Rob, do not allow for the insertion of bearings.  That would be far too easy.  No, the pivots are part of the carriages which move up and down the columns, and are each printed in one piece.  I have to design new parts which will fit on to the old carriages.  Why can’t I just print new carriages?  Because the printer’s not accurate enough yet.

I discover that I can now print small items (and in particular, things which are not very tall) with quite good results.  This means that I can finally use the printer to print some parts for itself to upgrade it:


Those are bearing mounts.  I’ve sourced a load of tiny ball bearing races off eBay (7mm od, 2mm id) for the ridiculous price of 20p each, and I’m going to replace each of the pivot screws on my carriages with them.  They are really tiny.  Really, really tiny.  I’ve already lost one.


The bearings will be located in the parts in the first picture, which in turn are mounted on the carriages using the original pivot holes.  I’m also replacing the pivot bars with newly printed ones.  If all goes well, my prints will be better.  It all fits together like this:


I’ll have to go through the whole calibration routine again once I’ve fitted the new parts (which is a bit annoying, as it’s actually working quite well at the moment), but I’m confident it will be worth the effort.

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