Take It Easy
The Ender 3 has quickly become a top-rated choice for budget 3D printers, praised for its affordability, simplicity in setup and print quality. Especially appealing to hobbyists, the Ender 3 offers a user-friendly introduction to 3D printing as it is open source and doesn’t involve proprietary firmware or hardware. Also, the Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 V2 keep even seasoned printer pros impressed with their cutting-edge design specs.
Although the Ender 3 models are popular and dependable, no technology is perfect. If anyone finds their printer has issues or performance could be improved, there’s no need to panic; it just means it’s time for an upgrade! There are lots of options, both simple hardware upgrades and more advanced firmware ones, many of which don’t require you to buy anything.
If you’re looking to take your Ender 3 Pro or Ender 3 V2 3D printer to the next level, then look no further! The dual Z-axis gantry upgrade offers improved stability and accuracy of your machine with minimal effort. In the following sections, we’ll discuss in detail why it’s recommended and exactly what will be required from you in order to complete this simple upgrade. Continue reading for more information on how to make this beneficial upgrade a reality!
Using Two Simultaneously
A significant enhancement that we are presenting for the Ender 3s series of printers is a fix to a long-standing issue with X-axis stability. The Ender 3, Pro, and V2 are all well-known machines for their amazing printing capabilities but they only have one Z rod that supports the X-axis gantry. This has resulted in too much instability and inferior prints.
If you own an Ender 3 stock printer, you may have come across a problem that can negatively affect your print quality: the X-axis gantry tilted or wobbling. This is caused by its sheer weight of it which puts pressure on the single Z rod. As a result, there are issues with bed levelling, as the hot end is at different heights along the X gantry when it’s tilted or wobbling. Additionally, this kind of movement can lead to other printing problems such as ringing in a print.
Although some people may try to temporarily fix the issue by tightening the X gantry screws, this will only provide a short-term solution and won’t be able to resolve any underlying issues faced with the gantry. An upgrade such as an additional Z rod could prove beneficial in the long run, as it provides more stability and helps ensure a level of hot-end carriage.
While upgrading your Ender 3 or Ender 3 Pro one of the first things to consider is where your power supply unit (PSU) should be placed. The PSU is located on the right side of the machine behind the LCD screen, and to make way for a new Z-axis rod, you’ll want to reposition it. Fortunately, there are several 3D printable PSU mounts that make this process easier and can help keep it safely out of the way without having to detach it from your printer.
However, for those with an Ender 3 V2, the PSU can remain unchanged since it has already been moved back by 6 millimetres.
If you’re looking to give your Ender 3 printer an upgrade, then you’ll need the right tools and parts. Fortunately, there are several great options available. We suggest TH3D’s Ender 3 Dual Z Upgrade Kit as it is both reliable and relatively inexpensive, costing around $70 for the whole package. Of course, if that’s a bit too pricey for your taste then there are also non-brand options which should cost significantly less. With either choice, you’ll be getting everything needed to make sure the upgrade goes smoothly and that your printer is up and running again at peak performance in no time.
Aside from the basics, like screws, nuts and bolts, it’s important to have the right materials to complete this upgrade. Fortunately, many of the components necessary for mounting your PSU come in the TH3D kit or any other kit you may choose. By installing this type of mount, you can move your PSU away from the main body of your printer and increase space efficiency.
Make sure you have the following supplies on hand for this upgrade:
- 4x M4 screws with T-nuts for bearing blocks
- 2x all-metal Z bearing blocks for Z-rods with bearings pre-installed
- 2x M3 screws with T-nuts & washers
- 3x M5 spacers
- 3x M5 screws
- 1x ACM tensioner bracket with idler preinstalled
- 2x M8 Pulleys
- 1x GT2 belt
- 1x Z rod
Also, make sure you have all of the following tools:
- A double-ended wrench
- An assortment of Allen keys (1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4 mm)
- A small grub screw key (extra small Allen key)
Once you’ve got all your equipment, it’s time to begin!
A summary of the steps is given below. Nonetheless, The Edge of Tech’s YouTube video offers a helpful tutorial if you’d like to watch someone else do it. The documentation for TH3D is also available.
- The PSU should be unscrewed and taken out.
- Remove the bracket from the threaded Z-axis rod.
- Put the new bracket together. by using your old J-shaped bracket and inserting one of the original bolts through the back of the hole that is the second highest on the old bracket, along with a washer. The eccentric nut, bearing, and spacer should then be slipped onto the bolt. Finally, screw a nut to fasten the new bracket after attaching it to the top.
- By securing the bracket piece to the X-axis gantry and the frame, you can attach it to the printer’s opposite side.
- On the printer’s opposite side, fasten the bracket piece to the X-axis gantry and frame.
- In order to replace the PSU, insert one of the bearing blocks into the top extrusion and screw it in.
- From the opposite side, unscrew the original Z rod with your hands.
- Your old Z rod should slide through the bearing block and be screwed into the bracket rod coupler.
- Where the old Z rod was, place the other bearing block on top of the stepper motor.
- Slide the bearing block, bracket rod coupler, and stepper motor rod coupler with your new Z rod in place.
- Screwing the geared belt pulleys onto the protruding portion of the Z rods will secure them to the top of each bearing block.
- The provided belt should be wrapped around each pulley after the belt tensioner is fastened to the printer’s top extrusion.
- The belt tensioner should be extended as far as possible before being screwed into place.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed this helpful upgrade.
With the installation done, there are several things to bear in mind when using the service or product. Paying close attention to user feedback or advice can help resolve any issues you may encounter down the line.
- If your printer has a filament spool holder, remove it.
- Determine the elevation of the X-axis gantry from both sides.
- Verify that your Z rods are completely straight.
- To make it easier for the Z rod to pass through, just slightly unscrew the bracket rod coupler screws.
- To prevent the stepper motors from locking into place, unplug your printer.
- To get the bearing blocks and the belt tensioner’s T-nuts to go through, wiggle them.
- To allow the T-nuts to fit, remove any extrusion end caps you may have.
- Before using your upgraded printer, level your bed and print some test prints.
If none of the tips provided above solves your issue, there are still several online resources you can use. Reddit, Thingiverse forums, and YouTube offer a wealth of solutions to many common issues. These websites provide helpful tutorials and step-by-step instructions which can assist you during the upgrade process.
Many users have noticed that after installing the upgrade, their print quality has become better than ever before. Of course, the best results will require some tinkering and testing – plus ensuring that the printer is correctly levelled – but that’s all part of the fun of 3D printing.
Experienced Project Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the field of Product Design & Development industry in Mechanical Engineering. Skilled in 3D Printing and Re engineering Technologies with CATIA V5 , Materials Science, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Mimics, ANSYS Workbench and Casting Simulation software. Strong engineering professional with a Master’s Degree focused in Industrial Metallurgy from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore.