Taking Our Printrbot Plus To The Next Level

Update: January 11th 2013
Only a few more days until we start to transform our printrbot plus v2 into a mostly aluminum beast. We will also install our pb dual extruder production kit and the details of that will be documented under, “Dual extruder production version.” That way we can keep everything organized for easier referencing. The dual extruder production kit also has upgraded aluminum parts which will go nicely with these upgrades.

We have done a few upgrades to our printrbot plus V2 in order to get it ready for a quad extruder setup. GoldAugust helped us at RepRap Squad to come up with a solution that will take our printrbot plus to the next level. When you are talking about the added weight of more extruders, stability can become an issue because it can be a lot of weight to speed up as well as to slow down. The printrbot plus was obviously not designed with quad extruders in mind even though I believe the stock platform could handle it. I just don’t think it would be able to over a long period of time with constant use, without serious wear. The platform itself is a great base however and can easily be upgraded to handle the weight of 4 extruders, with at least 2 of them being direct drive. So we decided to address any weaknesses within the plus v2.
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While we have everything apart we might as well extend the y axis (bed). The new 8mm rods measure in at a little over 17 1/2″, this will translate into about 3 – 3 1/2+” of added usable print space in the y axis direction and the width staying almost stock at a little over 9″. My z axis had already been upgraded prior to give me about 16″+ of usable height. This will change the overall plus’s print space to about 16+x16x9 inches or 404x404x230 if you use mm.

Another upgrade that will take place is the upgrade of a few weak spots on the plus V2’s platform. Printrbot has already addressed most of these issues with the release of the plus v2.1. One of those upgrades is to change out all of the bearing block mounts to aluminum. The reason for this is simple, aluminum is light, strong and won’t warp within these operating conditions. I already upgraded the mounts that hold the z axis rods into place initially after building my plus. That leaves the y axis, z axis on the bridge (carriage) and the x axis. Taking on this challenge the designer, GoldAugust also wanted to figure out a setup for the x axis rod mounts as we as the nut traps for the z axis. The z axis nut traps have been known to allow slippage or in some cases binding.

With these upgrades this plus will be ready for its ultimate goal and that goal is eventually quadruple extruders. The aluminum parts will give it the added strength required to move as well as stop a much heavier carriage. Also we recently upgraded all of our motors to Kysans, which are definitely the best bang for your buck as they run very cool, high holding torque and are made of high quality parts.

I will also test out the running the smaller kysan motors on the extruders. They have less torque then the longer kysan motors but, they are also almost half the weight. This would allow me to use the larger kysans for the z axis, which would be better suited for any added weight. If the weight of the new aluminum parts is even a slight issue, we will redesign the parts with milled out pockets to shave of any weight that may be an issue. Really the only parts that may be effected by added weight would be the extruder mount (carriage or shuttle) as the z axis setup can more than handle the weight and it doesn’t have acceleration/deceleration kinetic energy that the extruder mount does. With the new extruder mount we will be getting rid of quite a few layers of wood as well, this will help eat up some of the weight difference.

GoldAugust is using Inventor to design all of these parts and from early design pictures I can tell he is very talented.

Here’s some of the designs created in inventor:

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Y-axis blocks

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X-axis "shuttle " this is where the extruder mounts to

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X-axis ends which includes mounts for the x rods, nut traps and set screws to adjust the rods

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Here's a better view of the X-axis rod ends where they meet the z-axis rods

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The milling has begun, this will be the y-axis bearing block

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This render shows what the upper section of the upgraded platform will look like

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After we test out the upgraded aluminum parts, GoldAugust will be selling kits as well as individual upgrades. We will be taking lots of pictures of the transformation as well as posting overall results from the upgrade. More then likely I will try to get access to a good camera to take some video of the new mods in action. We will also do a few before and after pics so you can see the difference.

I know that this will greatly affect stability and I hope to see this translated into a better overall print quality. As you may have noticed, Printrbot has changed a lot of the parts on all their printers to work with aluminum parts as they don’t warp under these operating conditions. The milled z axis nut traps will also make a huge difference as I like many have had issues with them moving or partially rotating during prints which does effect print quality.

None of this would have been possible without the help of GoldAugust and I must say he is one of the best at what he does. Check back often for updates on testing, new pics and all kinds of greet info related to this project.

Here are the first pictures of the prototype aluminum upgrade parts for the printrbot plus and LC v2. The x axis rod spacing is different on the Plus v2.1 so we will be making a second version for the Plus v2.1. The front plates have covers that can be custom ordered to make your printer truly yours. The ones pictured are just some samples of what we came up with. When GoldAugust starts to sell these we more than likely won’t be able to sell you covers with the printrbot logo as I’m pretty sure it’s under copywrite and we definitely wouldn’t want to step on any toes.

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These are the front plates that can be customized to make your style truly come out

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Here's my extended y axis which brings the overall length to 17.5"!!

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A thing of beauty!!

Eventually some of these add ons and mods will be available for sale through GoldAugust. We will not be able to sell anything that is of Printrbot’s designs due to copyright for non commercial use. We will however be coming out eventually with aluminum upgrades and extensions for the printrbot plus, LC V2’s and V2.1’s.

With all the interest and questions about these parts I’ve decided to add a few more pictures.
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I had to show that I'm a proud printrbot plus owner

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This is the right side of the x bridge with built in x rod mounts

I’ve added a few more pictures so you can get a better idea of how it goes together.
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Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

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About Envious Mods

Custom PC case mods and fabrication is a lifestyle for me. I love being able to come up with an idea and then make it a reality. If you need help with your own case mods or ideas I'm always available. Happy Modding!

Posted on November 16, 2013, in RepRap Squad's Projects and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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