Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Newly Designed Accessories Have Made Improvements To My Creality CR-10 S4 3D Printer

While getting to know my new Creality CR-10 S4 3D printer I have found it necessary to create some new accessories for it's use.  This mainly because from the very start I had installed a new Keenovo heater rather than use the stock heater that it came with.  This alone has been a wise choice to make simply because now I am more easily able to 3D print parts using ABS plastic instead of PLA.

With the addition of this new heating element I also removed the piece of glass that normally sits on top of the heated aluminum build platform.  I did not want to use masking tape to try and hold my parts down to the platform and hope that they would turn out ok.  Instead I chose to use a product from the Geckotek company that sticks to the build platform and eliminates the guess work out of trying to figure out what will or will not work to be able to make good parts.  So far I am very happy with this product.  With the glass being removed from the build plate the Geckotek build plate sticks right to it without fail.  But with the glass being removed now the adjustment knobs for the aluminum build plate did not seem to have enough tension on the spring that is mounted at each corner of the adjustment assemblies.  

To remedy this issue I added a #8 X 3/16" aluminum spacer underneath each spring at each corner of the build platform adjustment mount.  This put the tension back into the spring once all corners were adjusted for proper build height for printing.  These spacers I tracked down from another company named Widgetco Inc.  The item number for the parts was 10-8-187-AS.  These parts fit perfectly with the threaded bolt that is on the CR-10 S4.  Also pictured above I had modeled and 3D printed new adapters for the original knobs for these adjusters.  The original knobs seemed to be to small and to put it bluntly were a pain to try and adjust. The new adapters for the knobs are larger and much easier to adjust while leveling the build platform. These adapters slid over top of the original knobs and only needed to be press fit into place to set them up for use. 

One thing about the CR-10 S4 printer that kind of annoyed me while printing was the filament feeder tube that loops around the back of the main horizontal aluminum bar from the stepper motor to the extruder. It was the fact that this tube would drag across the heated build platform and your part while printing that drove me crazy.  This tube also had the capability to be able to snag onto a part (depending on the part shape of course) in it's original setup. I simply did not think it was a good idea that this part of the machine should drag across the heated build platform and my parts that I was trying to create.  To eliminate this issue I designed and 3D printed a small arm that mounted to the horizontal beam and keep the feeder tube from touching the platform or part completely.  A nice addition to say the least. This part was held in place using 5mm bolts and roll-in spring mounts for the extruded t-slot aluminum bar. 

One last issue that I have corrected was the problem of the wiring for the Keenovo heater on the CR-10 S4.  Not that there is anything electrically wrong here it's just that the placement of the wiring on the heating element is at the center of the unit and extends toward the back of the machine once it has been mounted.  This causes and issue as to how to route the wiring to the outside of the heated enclosure. On the Creality CR-10 S4 all of the controls for the printer sit to the left of the machine.  There is enough orange cable (shown above) to do this but kind of gets jammed up either under the framework of the printer or around the stepper motor at the back of the machine when it is 3D printing. 

To eliminate this issue again I designed a guard that covers the stepper motor and lets the orange cable slide over the top while 3D printing.  This allows more than enough slack in the cable to move freely when the build platform is moving all the way forward or rearward as shown in the top two images.  The bottom image is the computer model of the new guard assembly.  The black 3D printed mount is attached to the bottom rear rail of the 3D printer again using roll-in spring mounts that easily connect to the extruded t-slot aluminum frame. 

I also added a small aluminum bumper on the to back of the cable platform so that the cable would not slide off of the end while printing.  This was created using a 2" long piece of 3/4" "L" shaped aluminum  to make the bumper. I bolted this to the 1/8" thick plastic using 10-24 1/2" bolts and nuts. This keeps the orange cable from sliding off the end of the guard when the build platform moves rearward while printing.   The two extrusions on the front of this plastic platform were required simply to allow clearance underneath the build platform for the mounting hardware that holds the drive belt for the stepper motor assembly.  Luckily the orange cable is very light in weight so there is really no issue with the plastic platform being overloaded which could damage it while being used. 

All of the additions I have mentioned here will go a long way toward an easier time 3D printing parts.  Less likely to have an issue in several areas now with the new parts for the printer.  Always a good thing to be sure. 

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