UPrint SE Table Tram Adaptor (Dial Indicator Mount)

Our shop’s uPrint SE Plus 3D printer developed an issue recently where
the printer was unable to calibrate the bed height. After contacting the manufacturer and our local service representative who were able to examine the configuration file and see that the bed had developed a list and was no longer within the narrow requirements for a successful calibration. I was able to get a copy of the actual service manual where the process of tramming the bed was outlined. Unfortunately an adapter was needed to mount a dial test indicator to the “X” way. The manual showed a neat little aluminum adapter that would most likely be extremely expensive or impossible to obtain. I decided that I would prototype a model using 1/8 Luan. To date, I have gone through three revisions and am satisfied with the end result. These parts were drawn in DraftSight and cut on a laser cutter. Time from initial concept to assembly of pieces was around 2 hours. Each subsequent revision took another 30-45 minutes after assembling the pieces and test fitting to the “X” way and test fitting to the dial test indicator. The initial unit was quite a bit on the large side when measured horizontally and limited how close I could get to the edge of the table. The final iteration shrank nearly by ½. There are always tweaks that can be made and this has a few that I would make if I were going to go any further with the design process. However, it has accomplished its goal and I’m happy to leave any further tweaks to others.

Step 1: Introduction

Our shop’s uPrint SE Plus 3D printer developed an issue recently where the printer was unable to calibrate the bed height. After contacting the manufacturer and our local service representative who were able to examine the configuration file and see that the bed had developed a list and was no longer within the narrow requirements for a successful calibration. I was able to get a copy of the actual service manual where the process of tramming the bed was outlined. Unfortunately an adapter was needed to mount a dial test indicator to the “X” way. The manual showed a neat little aluminum adapter that would most likely be extremely expensive or impossible to obtain. I decided that I would prototype a model using 1/8 Luan. To date, I have gone through three revisions and am satisfied with the end result. These parts were drawn in DraftSight and cut on a laser cutter. Time from initial concept to assembly of pieces was around 2 hours. Each subsequent revision took another 30-45 minutes after assembling the pieces and test fitting to the “X” way and test fitting to the dial test indicator. The initial unit was quite a bit on the large side when measured horizontally and limited how close I could get to the edge of the table. The final iteration shrank nearly by ½. There are always tweaks that can be made and this has a few that I would make if I were going to go any further with the design process. However, it has accomplished its goal and I’m happy to leave any further tweaks to others.


Step 2: Parts Layout

Notice the smooth radii! Dialing this in at this point. The first model was all straight geometry, with no arcs or curves. As I started to get things where I wanted them I began to add larger radii and curves to make thinks flow. There is an extra cutout on this sheet that is missing the actual part. I goofed and forgot to adjust a hole offset and had to cut an additional piece. Luckily I had the room left within the cutting margins I had set up on this piece. Where I to go into production of this I would move all of the parts together so that cutting lines would overlap on every piece and then I would discard the duplicate lines. This would speed up cutting time on this by at least 1/3. However as it is it only takes a little over six minutes. I left things isolated so that I could easily grab a piece from the layout and move it so I could then make adjustments and then drop it back in the layout for cutting after changes had been saved.

Step 3: Assembly

Assembly is fairly straight forward on this. There are only a few places that can be a little tricky and attention must be paid while assembling. Pieces are mounted on both the front and the back of the backer board. Only two pieces go on one side and all the others mount on the other side. This is readily apparent from the pictures, but it’s easy to get carried away and mount everything on one side by accident. I did this and luckily caught it before the glue started to set. The drawings have an easy slide fit for the materials and everything is bonded with Gorilla Glue. It sets up fairly quickly so that you can test fit and adjust parts and then it will set, but changes can still be made. The glue sets up overnight. The residual glue can be removed with an Exacto knife after it sets up, so you will see that I was liberal with the glue as I wanted strong joints and knew that I would trim the excess after it cured.

Liberal application of glue and then put the parts to be joined together and slide them around so that excess glue is worked out of the edges and all bonding surfaces are coated with glue. Wipe the edges and excess glue away with a wet rag and allow the glue to take an initial set. Here I show glue spread on half of a laminated anvil assembly, there are three of them.

Step 4: Continued Assembly (Laminated Parts)

Below are the laminate parts all glued together. There are three anvils, two top and one bottom anvil that serve to anchor the assembly to the “X” way. The bottom anvil is the one with the slot in it. This slot serves as a way to mount a plate that will ultimately hold two ¼ - 20 bolts that provide the clamping force. Further picture will show this clearly. The top frame shows the backing plate, the bolt carrier as described a few lines earlier and the slide stop piece which also will be mounted onto the bottom anvil.

Step 5: Assembly Continued

Here we are gluing up one of the top anvils and getting ready to set it in the backing plate.

Step 6: Assembly Continued

Here the two top anvils are mounted/glued to the backing plate and the bolt anchor plate is also mounted.

Step 7: Assembly Continued

Here the bottom anvil and the slide stop are shown before gluing, (left) and then glued (middle). The slide stop is one of the two sliding pieces in the assembly so care must be taken to make sure that the slide stop is loose enough to slide, yet tight enough not to move excessively. The bottom anvil is test fitted (right).

Step 8: Assembly Continued

Here the bottom anvil was carefully removed after fitting and allowed to dry.

Step 9:

Here the dial test indicator mounting pieces are mounted on the other side of the backing plate. Notice the bolt carrier plate slid under these mounts. I did this to make sure that I had a proper sliding fit under these as the slide stop for the bottom anvil must fit and move underneath. It is better to be a bit too tight here than a bit too loose. If it is a bit too tight the bottom of the slide stop and the bottom anvil mating surface can be lightly sanded to give a smooth sliding fit

Step 10:

Here I am sanding down the bottom anvil and slide stop. It doesn’t take much.

Step 11: Final Assembly of Glued Parts

Here all the Luan parts have been assembled.

Step 12: Adding Hardware

Here we have the two ¼-20 by 4” bolts with wing nuts and washers installed. The bolt heads are almost perfectly spaced to lock in to the side. It wouldn’t hurt to narrow this center to center dimension by .010”. The wing nuts interfere with each other, I just tighten one until tight then the other and it works.

Step 13: Full Assembly

Here we have the dial indicator mounted, just so that you can see what it will look like. Actually mounting the assembly requires that the dial indicator be installed once the anvils are firmly clamped to the “X” way. More on that in a minute!

Step 14: Installation Procedures

Installation is fairly straight forward. The anvils must be securely fastened to the “X” way first. Position the anvils as shown over the “X” way and then insert the two bolts.

Step 15: Installation Continued

Then place the two washers and wing nuts and tighten everything snug. We want it to be tight enough that we can move it across the “X” way with some effort, but it must be rigid enough so that you can actually use the dial test indicator to tram the table.

Step 16: Mounting Dial Indicator

Now the last step is to mount the dial test indicator to the two ears that are protruding from the front of the base plate. It is secured with a ¼-20 bolt with a washer and nut as pictured. This is the last step, because tightening the bolt that holds the dial test indicator actually tightens the hold on the bottom anvil slide stop adding additional holding power. The finished product!

Step 17: Revisions

You can see the significant changes in geometry as I got closer to the finished product. Again, there are certainly tweaks that could be done, but it works as it is and it is going to be a one off or maybe twice used item, so while this was a fun project, it’s time to move on to something else.

Step 18: Conclusion

This really shows the power of rapid prototyping, as I was able to start with an idea and have a part in my hands within a few hours that cost literally less than a dollar. I can then test fit and make immediate revisions and then have another better working prototype in my hands in less than an hour.

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    Swansong

    10 months ago

    That's pretty neat! Thanks for sharing :)

    1 reply