Sunday, November 10, 2013

Leveling Print Table & Non-Magnetic Tools

One of the reasons why we've not addressed the issue of checking the levelness of the print table is that leveling the print table poses some interesting challenges.  Among these has to be the fact that most wrenches that we could use, including the very convenient one that comes with the Cube 3D printer can be yanked from our hands by the strong magnet holding the print table.

The other challenge, of course, is simply being able to accurately determine if we have, in fact, leveled the table.  It's extremely difficult to see a less than .25mm offset from corner to corner on the print table that is the optimal specification.

Since the very first day that I took delivery of the Cube, I have tried to come up with something that would help me in this task.  Finding the solution took being called crazy by my wife because it came in the middle of the night and I could not help but get up, go to the computer and start designing at 3:00am!

I will be posting an STL on the Cubify store at a cost of $5.  While you will not have to spend more than that to use the tool to help you to check and/or align your Cube's print table, there are some accessories that will help make the job a bit easier.  One addition will make the tool more accurate and the other will make the process of adjusting the nuts that position the table a lot easier.

Non-Magnetic Wrenches

The benefit of a wrench that is not affected by magnetism is that it won't be pulled into the mounting magnet.

A search on the internet has revealed that while non-magnetic wrenches are expensive, they do exist.  The nuts on the Cube are adjusted with a 7mm wrench.  It would be helpful if the wrench weren't very long, as normal length wrenches don't clear the frame of the Cube and that means having to reset the wrench a lot.  Here are some that I found.

Zoro Tools sells an open end 6mm/7mm bronze/aluminum alloy wrench that is 3-15/16" long.  It's $28.00.

Global Industrial sells a 7mm non-sparking wrench that is 5" long for 19.0

It may be that the world of Hobby R/C racing provides us with the best options.  I found, for instance, thatGolden Horizon Hobby distributes a set of aluminum metric wrenches that look like fit our needs perfectly.  Unfortunately, they are either brand new or backordered.  Golden Horizons GHH01536

I have entered my email so that when they are available they should send a notice.

Other hobby options might what is called a turnbuckle wrench.  Losi makes a 7mm turnbuckle wrench that can be found on eBay and several hobby sites.  Here is a sample site.

I have no idea if a "turnbuckle" wrench will hold up to the job of tightening and loosening the Cue's table adjustment screws.  But, there are several hobby stores in the area and I'll be on the lookout to find one this weekend.

Upcoming Level Gauge Upload

There are two versions of the level gauge I now use to align and level my print beds with excellent ease and accuracy.  One uses a bearing and the other does not.  The same STL file prints both.  The bearing version is designed to take inexpensive "fishing reel" reel bearings in two optional sizes to accommodate either 3mm or 4mm screws.  I have tested the 3mm bearing; but, the 4mm bearings have been shipped but have not arrived as yet.  These bearings can be purchased for as little as 10 for $19.95.  The non-bearing version works.  But, the bearing version is a dream to use.  So, until I am sure that both 3mm and 4mm screws work with their respective bearings, I prefer to wait.  This should be only a day or two at most.

I think you will love how well it works.

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