Cable Carrier

I have looked at many 3D printers and definitely want one. While looking at prices, I like the Prusa i3. Only down fall was, wires everywhere. Well, I got thinking and came up with a "cable carrier' designed to work with it. This would take some moderate modifications to the motor's bolts/screws and the extruder. But all in all, it gives it a cleaner, more industrial look.

Step 1: Designing the Parts

This took some time and I'm sure I, or someone, could get it better. But for starters, I needed to get a link first.

Step 2: Still Designing

Next, I needed to get in to where it would look as it should. but there was a problem. I didn't have a 3D printer, so I ended up looking for a model, to work from.

Step 3: Design

Getting the model helped a lot. Although, not as pretty as I wanted, it still have the look and feel I was wanting.

Step 4:

I'm sorry to say, I haven't got to print this, but would love to, so I can get it better. This was about, maybe 4hrs total work. The file here are for Sketchup and Collada(dea). Sorry, I have STL file export, but not sure if it works correctly. Enjoy! If you like it, please vote for my model, its in the 3D Printing, Move It, and Mind for Design contests. Thank you!



    • Epilog X Contest

      Epilog X Contest
    • Faux-Real Contest

      Faux-Real Contest
    • Sweet Treats Challenge

      Sweet Treats Challenge

    8 Discussions

    Mark Rehorst

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I had a cable chain on my extruder carriage with a similar radius of curvature for a while (see It looked great, but after about 6 months of printing with it the wires inside the cable chain started failing due to excess flexure. The problem is the small radius of curvature.

    You can't tell which wires are broken by looking at them- the metal conductors fracture inside the insulation jacket. You may be able to tell which wires are failing by their effect on the print. (see the attached image- in this case one of the extruder stepper wires was intermittent and lost connection in the same general XY location.

    You could put a lot of effort into figuring out which specific wires failed and replace just those, but if one wire in the bundle fails, wouldn't you expect the others to be on the verge of failure? It's better to just replace the whole cable at the first sign of failure. And that's the problem. Replacing that cable is a lot of effort and some expense - how often will you have/want to do it?

    I went to an overhead drop-down arrangement that was much more reliable due to the larger radius of curvature. Image attached.

    More recently I was able to replace that with a flex ribbon cable from a scrapped tape library robot at the Milwaukee Makerspace (see photo below). I've seen the identical item listed on ebay for $25. (here's a similar one:

    One cable (of the type I have) can be split lengthwise and used in two printers (maybe your friend's?) depending on how many wire connections your extruder carriage needs. You can use multiple conductive strips in the cable for things like hot-end heaters that need a lot of current. It has standard ribbon cable connectors at both ends (but not the parts that bite into the flex ribbon!) so you can terminate them using header pins. I made two small circuit boards to terminate the ends of the ribbon.

    IMG_0491-crop.JPGbroken wires 2.jpgextruder carriage and flex ribbon.jpg
    2 replies

    I understand your frustration. Yes, cables fail. That's part of the process. That's the thing though. All metal gets fatigued from bending, even bandsaw blades.


    The thing is not to make the radius too tight. Thats why I want to work with it, till I get the radius about 3".


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I do want one and plan to get it as soon as I can. Unfortunately, this economy is hurting alot of people.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, I am looking at getting a Folger's Prusa i3. In which I would have to modify the Y axis or reverse the interchange.