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Determining The Lead of Your Lead Screw

I’ve noticed there is quite a problem with people determining the type of lead screw they have. They’ll think they have a T8x2, order a replacement nut or anti-backlash nut or Delrin nut and it won’t fit their screw. Usually this leads to a message accusing me of sending the wrong item. The vast majority of the time, they just got the lead wrong.

The most popular size of Lead Screw used on 3D Printers is the T8. The 8 stands for 8mm in diameter. But it’s the second number that you have to pay attention to when buying lead screw nuts,. The number following the X is the Lead or distance the nut travels with one full rotation of the screw. There are three popular travel distances for Lead Screws, the most popular being T8x8 or in other words 8mm diameter screw and the nut travels 8mm with one full rotation of the screw. The second most popular is T8x2. With this screw the nut only travels 2mm in one full rotation. The third popular type is the T8x4, where the nut travels 4mm in one rotation. The most popular as I said is the T8x8, it was for a long time the cheapest of the screws to produce it is also the worst of the screw sizes due to the large travel distance and the drop in quality that entails.  Lately though as demand rises the pricing curve has flattened and you can get all three types for roughly the same price.

How to Determine What the Travel Distance Or Lead of Your Lead Screw Is.

Take the nut your lead screw came with and mount it.  Place a piece of tape on the screw and the nut. Mark both pieces of tape in the same place so the marks align. Rotate the screw one rotation, moving the nut away from the tape. When the marks align again, measure the distance the nut traveled from the tape. If it traveled 2mm then you have a T8x2, 4mm you have a T8x4 and 8mm you have a T8x8.

You can try to judge what you have by looking for visual distinctions between the types of screws but many people who are inexperienced usually are wrong. The rotating tape method is the surest and easiest way to figure out what type of lead screw nut you need to get.

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Ender 5 Falling Bed Solution

Ender 5 Falling Bed Fx. Swap out your stock lead screw for this T8x2 Lead Screw and Anti-backlash nut.

Does your Ender 5 print bed fall after the Nema 17 stepper motors are shut down? The reason this happens is that Creality 3D uses a T8x8 Lead Screw on the Ender 5. T8 means 8mm round. The second 8 stands for the lead or how far the nut will travel in one full turn of the screw, which in this case is 8mm. When the Nema 17 stepper motors shut down, there is nothing holding the screw fixed in place, so the weight of the bed and the standard brass nut causes the screw to turn and the bed will fall either 8mm, the distance it traveled in the last screw rotation or all the way back to the bottom if the nut is too loose.

The solution: Swap out the T8x8 lead screw for a T8x2 lead screw. One full rotation of the screw and the nut only travels 2mm. So not as far to drop and the weight can’t build up that much spin in the screw. The anti-backlash nut is also stronger at holding the bed’s position on the screw when the motors are off. Transfering the weight into the spring and not into spinning the lead screw.

This swap also gives you an added benefit, more microsteps! Which lead to better and more accurate prints. The stock T8x8 lead screw travels the nut, as stated, 8mm with one turn of the screw. That is a large distance when you are talking about thin layers of plastic. Replacing it with a lead screw that only travels 2mm per rotation and you can see how much more accurate your prints will be. Your micro steps go from only 400 with the stock lead screw to 1600 with the replacement T8x2!

We available what you need the T8x2 Lead Screw and brass anti-backlash nut in our product listings here!

Want to decrease noise from your printer? Consider upgrading to the Delrin (Pom) Anit-Backlash nut! The self lubricating nut made from Delrin plastic, also known as POM travels silently up and down your lead screw.

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The Words On My Print Didn’t Print.

We have been hit a few times from purchasers about why something on the thing they are trying wasn’t printed when the 3D Printer got done. Many times it is words they have raised up on the surface.

If there isn’t an error in the 3D model like a gap in the skin. Then the most likely reason is you nozzle size. If what you are trying to do is print raised up lettering from the surface of your thing, and you are using a standard font then that is your problem. Fonts are problematic for 3D printers. The average font is usually only 2 to 3 pixels wide, it looks like a lot on your monitor but for the standard .4mm 3D printer nozzle, it is way too small. Every surface of what you want to print, must be at least as wide as the nozzle you are using if not wider. If it is not as wide as your nozzle the Slicer will delete it from the gcode and most likely leave holes and other mistakes in the area where the lettering was suppose to be.

So what can you do? Be mindful of the font that you use. Hand writing fonts, you can pretty much forget. Standard fonts like Times New Roman or Arial, will work if you bolden them. Recommended use bold fonts. Nearly very computer comes with Impact.ttf installed. Unless really tiny Impact will give you no problem. Another one I like is Armada Bold. If you really want a narrow line font, then make sure that you make the surface area covered fairly large. Also use a 2mm nozzle or even smaller like one of the experimental ones 1.5.

Anyways good luck and happy printing!