Mostly Printed CNC: Endstop Mount

Being a big fan of having a CNC machine know where it is, adding endstops (pronounded “home switches” in CNC parlance) to the Mostly Printed CNC axes seemed like a good idea:

MPCNC - X min endstop - actuator view
MPCNC – X min endstop – actuator view

All the mounts I could find fit bare microswitches of various sizes or seemed overly complex & bulky for what they accomplished. Rather than fiddle with screws and nut traps / inserts, a simple cable tie works just fine and makes the whole affair much smaller. Should you think cable ties aren’t secure enough, a strip of double stick tape will assuage your doubts.

A snippet of aluminum sheet moves the switch trip point out beyond the roller’s ball bearing:

MPCNC - X min endstop
MPCNC – X min endstop

I’m not convinced homing the Z axis at the bottom of its travel is the right thing to do, but it’s a start:

MPCNC - Z min endstop
MPCNC – Z min endstop

Unlike the stationary X and Y axes, the MPCNC’s Z axis rails move vertically in the middle block assembly; the switch moves downward on the rail until the actuator hits the block.

Perforce, the tooling mounted on the Z axis must stick out below the bottom of the tool carrier, which means the tool will hit the table before the switch hits the block. There should also be a probe input to support tool height setting.

The first mount fit perfectly, so I printed four more in one pass:

MPCNC MB Endstop Mounts - Slic3r preview
MPCNC MB Endstop Mounts – Slic3r preview

All three endstops plug into the RAMPS board, leaving the maximum endstop connections vacant:

MPCNC - RAMPS min endstop positions
MPCNC – RAMPS min endstop positions

Obviously, bare PCBs attached to the rails in mid-air aren’t compatible with milling metal, which I won’t be doing for quite a while. The electronic parts long to be inside enclosures with ventilation and maybe dust filtering, but …

The switches operate in normally open mode, closing when tripped. That’s backwards, of course, and defined to be completely irrelevant in the current context.

Seen from a high level, these switches set the absolute “machine coordinate system” origin, so the firmware travel limits can take effect. Marlin knows nothing about coordinate systems, but GRBL does: it can touch off to a fixture origin and generally do the right thing.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

// Tour Easy Fairing Endstop Mount for Makerbot PCB
// Ed Nisley KE4ZNU - 2017-11-07
/* [Build Options] */
Layout = "Build"; // [Build, Show, Block]
Section = false; // show internal details
/* [Extrusion] */
ThreadThick = 0.25; // [0.20, 0.25]
ThreadWidth = 0.40; // [0.40]
function IntegerMultiple(Size,Unit) = Unit * ceil(Size / Unit);
/* [Hidden] */
Protrusion = 0.01; // [0.01, 0.1]
HoleWindage = 0.2;
ID = 0;
OD = 1;
/* [Sizes] */
RailOD = 23.5;
Screw = [3.4,6.8,8.0]; // thread dia, head OD, screw length
HoleOffset = [2.5,19.0/2]; // PCB mounting holes from PCB edge, rail center
SwitchClear = [6.0,15,3.0]; // clearance around switch pins
SwitchOffset = [6.0,0]; // center of switch from holes
Strap = [5.5,50,2.0]; // nylon strap securing block to rail
Block = [16.4,26.0,RailOD/2 + SwitchClear[2] + Strap[2] + 6*ThreadThick]; // basic block shape
//- Adjust hole diameter to make the size come out right
module PolyCyl(Dia,Height,ForceSides=0) { // based on nophead's polyholes
Sides = (ForceSides != 0) ? ForceSides : (ceil(Dia) + 2);
FixDia = Dia / cos(180/Sides);
cylinder(r=(FixDia + HoleWindage)/2,h=Height,$fn=Sides);
//- Shapes
module PCBBlock() {
difference() {
translate([(SwitchOffset[0] + HoleOffset[0] - Block[0]/2),SwitchOffset[1],(Block[2] - SwitchClear[2] + Protrusion)/2])
cube(SwitchClear + [0,0,Protrusion],center=true);
for (j=[-1,1])
translate([HoleOffset[0] - Block[0]/2,j*HoleOffset[1],(Block[2]/2 - Screw[LENGTH])])
if (false) // true = loose fit
PolyCyl(Screw[ID],Screw[LENGTH] + Protrusion,6);
cylinder(d=Screw[ID],h=Screw[LENGTH] + Protrusion,$fn=6);
translate([0,0,Block[2]/2 - SwitchClear[2] - Strap[2]/2 - 3*ThreadThick])
if (Section)
cube(Block + [0,2*Protrusion,2*Protrusion],center=true);
module Mount() {
difference() {
//- Build things
if (Layout == "Show") {
if (Layout == "Block")
if (Layout == "Build")

4 thoughts on “Mostly Printed CNC: Endstop Mount

  1. I’d be tempted to leave a recess in the mounting block to accept the end of the cable tie so it doesn’t stick out, but that may be getting too fiddly.

    1. I thought about a little recess, then came to my senses. At least I’m trimming the loose end of the cable tie, per the MPCNC requirements. [grin]

      Maybe in Version 1.1, with provision for something like a pill-bottle debris shield.

Comments are closed.