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Archive for July 16th, 2013

Makergear M2: Platform Support Balls

After adding the insulation below the M2’s build platform heater, I punched a hole in each of the support pads and inserted a 1/8 inch bearing ball:

M2 HBP support balls

M2 HBP support balls

The pads measure just slightly less than 1/8 inch thick, so the balls support the aluminum heat spreader plate. Unlike the pads, the balls hold the plate at a constant distance from the spider which shouldn’t vary with mechanical load.

As nearly as I can tell, generic rubber expands by maybe 100 parts per million per degree C, so a 3 mm slab might expand by all of 0.02 mm over a 70 °C range: temperature obviously doesn’t make much difference. However, I’m about to add some hold-down clamps to keep the glass plate firmly in place and that pressure might squish the pads.

Obviously, putting a steel ball between two aluminum plates isn’t something you’d do in a high-stress machine, but the balls must support only the platform and won’t get any shock loading: any shock strong enough to indent the aluminum will probably shatter the glass. I’m pretty sure there won’t be enough motion in the XY plane to produce any wear, either.

Four points do not define a plane, but the spider and the spreader seem close enough to being planar that all four balls make firm contact. The M2 really does have a good mechanical foundation!

 

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