Thursday, 25 August 2011

The X-Axis Factor

The next stage of the build was the assembly and installation of the X-Axis. This went more or less without a hitch.  

The only significant problem I encountered was that after assembling the X-Axis and installing the X-Axis motor, I found horizontal cracks in both the X-End Idler Mount and the X-End Motor Mount. In both cases, a crack had opened up between two horizontal layers of the RP’ed parts at about mid-height.

In the case of the Idler Mount, the crack opened up right where the Idler Shaft bolts to the Mount. I don’t know if the crack was there when the part arrived, or if it was just a line of weakness that I opened up by over-tensioning the nuts on the Idler Shaft. In the case of the Motor Mount, the crack appeared in the vertical “slot” where the Z-Axis PLA bushings are glued; again, I don’t know if this was a pre-existing crack, or one that I created by being a bit ham-fisted in my whole approach to the assembly.

Anyway, I was able to “weld” the cracks shut by opening them just enough to be able to get a thin film of “Super Glue” into the cracks, and then allowing the glue to set – hopefully, that Is the last that I will see of the cracks, and I have learnt to be a bit more careful in my handling and tightening of the RP’ed parts from now on. (I didn’t think to take any pictures of the cracks, and the Super Glue repairs are so effective that there is really nothing to see now.)

Another small issue was that the instructions indicated that the “spare” overhang length of the X-Axis Smooth Rods should be kept at the X-Axis Motor end. I found that the rearmost rod just slightly interfered with the installation of my stepper motor (a slightly smaller motor body would probably be able to fit fine), so I had to reposition the rods with all of the overhang moved to the Idler end – this was easily accomplished by loosening the securing screws, sliding the rods along, and re-tightening the screws.

Next step: Installing the Z-Axis Rods, and mounting the X-Axis onto the Z-Axis …