I’ve been working with our 3D printer for a 12 months and a half now, and I’m getting fairly used to its little quirks and eccentricities. The Ender 3’s modular design makes it very best for upgraders and anybody who likes to tinker, however I’ve to say it may be irritating typically. For instance, 3D printers work higher in the event that they’re commonly overhauled and adjusted to ensure the whole lot is correctly aligned, and that isn’t all the time simple.
One notably irritating process is ensuring the X and Y axis drive belts are accurately tensioned. One finish curler for every belt is mounted on a bracket that may be slid alongside the printer’s body to regulate the strain. This technique works, nevertheless it’s fiddly. The primary drawback is that to regulate the strain you first should loosen off the T-nuts that lock the brackets to the body, alter it, then tighten the screws once more whereas holding the bracket in its new place. That is a kind of duties that’s quite a bit simpler in case you have three palms, and I don’t. So final week I made a decision to do one thing about it.
BZ Belt Tensioners
The answer I got here up with was a pair of belt tensioning items from BZ. The belt rollers in the usual brackets are simply bolted via the bracket itself; within the BZ ones the curler is mounted in a sliding shuttle, which could be moved in or out by turning a knob on the entrance. If you wish to tighten the belt you simply screw the shuttle out; to loosen off, screw it in. In principle it ought to flip the fiddly process of tensioning belts right into a easy matter of twiddling a knob, and I used to be eager to see the way it labored in observe.
BZ make two completely different sizes of tensioner. One is designed to suit on a 20x40mm aluminium beam, just like the one the print mattress rides on within the Y axis. The opposite, a 20x20mm dimension, will match on the print gantry itself and management the X axis belt. I picked up one in all every.
These are fairly easy kits; each is available in a small Jiffy bag, and inside that could be a plastic bag containing the upgraded bracket and a small pack of screws and T-nuts. There aren’t any directions, however as they’re drop-in substitute for the unique brackets that didn’t appear to be it will be a lot of an issue. So I dug out my trusty Allen keys and started working.
Putting in The Tensioners
I began off with the Y axis, which appeared like it will be the trickier one to put in. Step one was to unhook the belt from its slot underneath the print mattress. This is able to have been a lot simpler if I’d taken the mattress off first, however it’s attainable to do it with the mattress nonetheless in place. When you have got it unhooked simply loosen off the 4 screws that maintain the bracket in place, and slide it off the top of the rail. Watch out to not let the mattress slide round an excessive amount of, in case it pulls the free finish of the mattress contained in the body.
I recycled the present screws and T-nuts as an alternative of utilizing the brand new ones, and fitted the tensioning unit to the body. Earlier than becoming it I moved the shuttle to the center of its journey, so I’d have some freedom to regulate it in each instructions. I slid it into the slots on the body, however left the T-nuts free for now. Lastly I fed the top of the belt up around the curler, managed to get it hooked again underneath the mattress, and tightened the screws.
The X axis tensioner follows principally the identical process, nevertheless it’s quite a bit much less fiddly. Unhook the belt from the print head carriage and take away the bracket, which solely has two screws this time. Slide the brand new one onto the top of the print gantry and feed the belt via it. That is the place I bumped into some issues. The brass crimp on the top of the belt was too massive to suit via the hole between the curler and the top of the shuttle. I’m not counting this as a fault of the tensioner; that exact crimp was a superb bit greater than the one on the Y axis belt. I did handle to get it via by eradicating the curler, passing the belt via then refitting the curler. Then, once more, all I needed to do was hook the belt again onto the carriage and tighten down the screws.
At lower than £20 for each tensioners that is an reasonably priced improve, and it’s a worthwhile one. The brand new brackets are properly constituted of aluminium with a really deep black end. The adjustment knobs are simple to make use of with out being so massive they get in the best way. It’s now easy to tweak the belt tensions. I admit to not having adjusted the belts as usually as I ought to have, as a result of fidgeting with the unique brackets was such a ache. Now it’s utterly hassle-free, and that ought to repay in print high quality. I’d undoubtedly advocate these tensioners.