Modular Z carriage and X carriage Standard/Concept
April 21, 2015 04:12PM
So I've been needing to print a new set of Z and X carriages for my P3steel (an I3 variant) and the current models out there just don't seem to be what I want.

This has got me thinking we need a modular carriage system. Something where each component or at least ad-ons can be taken off or put on without replacing or reprinting the whole part.

For example: you've just bought a new printer/ built one and it has the standard M5 threaded rod on it. You have now decided on a nice set of ACME Screws (or if your one of those with money to spare - ball screws). Normally you would now have to go and find a model that fits your specific application, Slice the thing, Wait a few hours for the WHOLE part to print out and then finally fit it. Most likely this will take a lot longer and be more costly than using a modular system.

In this example. You would already have the modular Z carriage fitted with the M5 threaded rod module. In order to do the upgrade you would either download an already existing module for the ACME nuts to fit into or you would design one. Once printed the old M5 threaded rod module could be unscrewed and the new module screwed into its place. This sort of upgrade would mean only the threaded rods would need to be disassembled and the smooth rods could be left in place.

Onto the designing of modules:
My idea with this is to create an open standard when it comes to the modules and mounting options. All dimensions and mounts will be fully dimensioned and made available to those who would like to make modules. The standard/Platform is created and others are invited to create the add-ons / modules. Something like what Pebble has done with their smart-strap for the pebble time: [developer.getpebble.com]

Some things I am worried about that may be a problem with the modular design:
1. The modular-ness may lead to somewhat weaker parts.
2. The modular-ness may mean parts are less accurate than those that are printed as one whole piece.
3. ???

To address the problem of parts being less accurate the modules would have to have notches (possibly square) to keep everything aligned. As mentioned before these dimensions will be published to increase the development of this idea.

The base of the Modules would be what holds the linear bearings. This seems like the most logical approach to me as making those modular seems like it may overcomplicate things a little (I mean why have a solid piece of plastic as a base and then have the bearings modularly attach to it…).
Ideas on some modular pieces:
Lead screw Nut module for z axis
Optical end stop module
Mechanical end stop module
Camera mount module
Lighting mount module
Cable chain module
Tensioner Module.

I would like to see what you guy think of this. Do you think there is a need and what ideas can you put forward?
Re: Modular Z carriage and X carriage Standard/Concept
April 23, 2015 01:10PM
Is no one interested in this concept? :/
Re: Modular Z carriage and X carriage Standard/Concept
October 15, 2015 10:59AM
Modular is Good!
Future Proofing your parts is good.
Leaving room for part to grow is good.
Laminating parts or bolting smaller parts together could increase strength & stiffness.
it's tricky to add features you might not need yet but in the future, but it cant hurt to think about it!
In fact it's a great workout for the mind, but it can lead to so many ideas/configurations
the hard parts figuring out which direction is best
as you may want to try out all ideas.
It's been a whille since you first posted the question, what did you develop over that time?
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