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Y-Axis too short

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So I've been having headaches trying to get my machine calibrated correctly. I can't print circles, they always end up funky. Not egg shaped, just weird with flat spots and stuff. And square parts sometimes give me lips or burrs on the edges.

When I moved the head out of the way so I could remove a print I heard a thunk followed by a second one. I looked around, moved some stuff, and found that the Y-Axis rods are short and slide back and forth in their bearings. I must not have been able to hear the "thunk" while it's printing with all the digital beeps and stuff.

They don't travel enough to fall out of the bearings, so I am thinking I can get away with like a plug on the end to take up the play. I got out my dial caliper, using the end of it to measure .030" and .020" play in the two axis. A depth mic. would be nice but I don't have one.

Online custom machining services quoted me at $60 for EACH one, not including shipping with an 8 week lead time...

Shapeways and Ponoko have minimums for volume which I don't meet. Well, Shapeways says mine should work but the STLs I uploaded changed dimensions after the "approval" procedure.

Was wondering if anyone had similar issues, and how they got around it.

Also if anyone would be interested in making me these parts ;) For money of course.

Any help appreciated.


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I don't think the play in the axes is what gives your bad result. Because I've seen a machine with more play giving very good results. Most likely (or almost always) it's belt tension. Check both the tension of the long and short belts, both should be tight, like guitar strings.

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I can hear the rods slamming back and forth now that I know what to listen for. So I'm confident that's at least part of my problem. The belts seem tight, I will try to make some kind of tensioner out of wood or something anyways though.

I really hope someone on here as a hobby lathe and a big heart haha.

Or maybe I could try and cut my set of feeler gauges into circles... Hmmm

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Oh wow, you were right. I had a tenioner that I printed when I first got the machine, but it was difficult to put on so I figured the belts were tight enough.

Forced it on and so far so good, no clunk! I'm gonna print out another for the opposite belt now!

You are the man, Daid

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