One of the first upgrades I wanted to do to the TronXY before I start putting it together is to upgrade the Hotend for 2 reasons. Availability of nozzles, and for better part cooling. Whilst I’m at it I’ll also be upgrading the X Carriage and the wiring loom.
This was the most important thing for me to do before the machine was together (the rest could be done after). I wanted to:
- Enable easy removal of the hotend, with connectors for the Heater Block, part fan, hotend fan and thermistor.
- Replace the cabling for the hotend. The hotend loom connects to the rest of the wiring with a molex type connector, the pins of which are rated for 3A, which is pretty marginal for a 30W heater, and will melt PDQ if I ever decide to put a 40W heater in.
For the fans/thermistor I’m using standard Dupont connectors. They’re cheap, easy to fasten up and work well.
For the Hot connectors I’m using what I had to hand, namely Dean’s connectors. They’re insanely overspecced (I think they’re rated to about 120A) but they’re the only latching connector I could put my hand on at short notice. If I was somewhere with easy access to an electronics store (there presumably are some in Belgium, but I haven’t found them yet) I’d probably have gone for standard ‘Tamiya’ type connectors.
For the hotend cabling again, I used what I had to hand, namely 1.5mm silicon cable, again, hugely overspecced but it will work nicely.
The finished hotend connectors:
Longer term I intend to print up a ‘panel’ mount for these to neaten it up a bit. For the moment lots of cable ties will do.
Over on facebook there have been a couple of alternatives suggested for improving rigidity in the wheels of the carriages. Harald Gutsche came up with the fairly straightforward mechanism of replacing the flimsy plastic spacers with a nut and a couple of washers. It works a treat:
You can also see in this picture the ‘strap’ designed by Sgabolab which should be helpful in straightening out the belt paths.
The other thing I wanted to replace was the stock hotend. As I’ve never actually turned the printer on I’ve no idea whether its good, bad or indifferent. However it does have a number of features I’m really not keen on. Namely:
- Poor cooling & a massively heavy fan shroud. For some reason TronXY chose a combination of both a tiny heatsink, and a hugely heavy folded metal fan shroud. Quite why they thought that made sense and then use acrylic for the carriages I’ve no idea, but there you are. Due to the design of that shroud cooling isn’t well separated from reaching the heaterblock, which has led to some people having problems with it struggling to maintain temps.
- Choice of nozzles. I have 10s of E3D compatible nozzles already, and (so far as I can see) Tronxy don’t provide a spare. Considering the size of the machine 0.4mm is too small anyway.
- Part cooling. The stock part cooling fan is really poor. When it’s done I’ll be using 2 5015 radial blowers for part cooling (at least when printing PLA). Hoepfully this should enable me to keep the speed up whilst not losing bridging/overhang performance.
The mounting points on the carriage are the same as a Creality CR10, as well as the other Tronxy extrusion type printers, so there are tonnes of designs on thingiverse. I chose to use this one as it has a good mounting solution for part fans. The only change needed was to sink it into the bed when slicing so the back of the mount is flat. It’s still not perfect, but it’s good enough for council work. A replacement will probably be one of the first things I print up.
Mounting to the carriage is pretty straightforward:
You can make out in the shot above where I had to shim it to sit flush with the screw heads. Eventually I’ll replace this with either my own design or one someone else has done in the meantime.
The whole thing assembled, yes, my PETG settings need dialing in better on the i3. Once this is built and printing, that is getting upgraded to an E3D clone hotend as well, so I’ve not spent too long calibrating for something I’m replacing in a couple of weeks.
Next step (more properly the previous step, but I printed them in the wrong order) Assembling the Y Carriages.