3D Printer part 7: Z-axis

At the end of my last post in this series, we had finished the x-axis assembly and successfully tested the motor.  This post looks at adding the z-axis shafts and bearing, covering issues 24 to 27 of 3D Create and Print by Eaglemoss Technology.  If you’ve skipped a part of this series you can start from the beginning, including details of the Vector 3 printer I’m building on my 3D printer page.

As with previous steps, it’s slightly easier to put all these together in one go to save unscrewing components.  These steps should be familiar to you now as this is the third axis to be built.  There is one difference – the z-axis has 3 shafts rather than two.

  1. First z-axis shaft and bearing block
    First z-axis shaft and bearing block

    First shaft and linear bearing.  Issue 24 comes with the first z-axis shaft, and 25 the bearing that goes onto it.   If you can, it makes sense to do these two steps together.  Place the frame so you can see the x-axis shafts and attach one of the shaft bases on the right hand side of the frame. Slide the bearing block from issue 25 over the shaft and slot into the base, ensuring that the screw holes on the block are facing towards the centre of the frame.  Add the second shaft base from issue 24 .  As usual, the second base is fiddly and the shape of the frame can make it difficult to keep the hexagonal nuts in position while you fit the bolts.  Having delicate girly hands like I have helps here 😉

  2. Bases for 2nd and 3rd z-axis shafts, next to the x-axis motor
    Bases for 2nd and 3rd z-axis shafts, next to the x-axis motor

    Second and third shafts:  Issues 26 and 27 come with the next two shafts and their bases.  Issue 27 helpfully tells us that the next issue (28) provides the bearing block for these shafts so we’ll have to undo the bases at that point.  As they are quite fiddly, I chose not to attach them in the first place.  Using the two bases supplied with issue 26, I fixed these to the frame.  Since the shafts will fall out without the bottom bases, I leave the shaft from issue 26 and the entire pack for issue 27 until the next drop arrives.  This is how I protect my sanity 😉

So, four more issues and it doesn’t feel like we’re much further ahead but we’re not far away from completing our third dimension, and it feels like we’re close to seeing some major changes.

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Dr Janet is a Molecular Biochemistry graduate from Oxford University with a doctorate in Computational Neuroscience from Sussex. I’m currently studying for a third degree in Mathematics with Open University. During the day, and sometimes out of hours, I work as a Chief Science Officer. You can read all about that on my LinkedIn page.