Improving the Prusa i3

March 18, 2014 3D Printing

As promised, here is my 3rd post on my Makerfarm Prusa i3 in which I’ll talk about some simple improvements.

Simple Improvement #1:  Cable Management

Rats nests of wires make me anxious.  Not only do they look terrible, but having all of those loose wires increases the likelihood that one will get snagged on something and get pulled out, leaving you with a malfunctioning printer.  There are a number of products that help with this problem.  Zip-ties will work just fine, and the Prusa i3 kit included a bunch of extras just for this purpose.  However if you’d like to go a little bit further, then you can buy some ClutterKeep ribbed hose available at MicroCenter and conceal your wires with the ribbed black conduit.  This also simplifies adding or removing a wire from the bundle.  With zip-ties, you’d have to go and clip all of the ties on the bundle and replace them.  With the ClutterKeeper, you will only need to clip a couple zip-ties you might have to hold the conduit to your frame, and the wire can just be inserted into the conduit.  The uniformity of the ClutterKeeper hose is also a bit more visually appealing in my opinion, if you care about that sort of thing.

  • Rats nest!

Simple Improvement #2: Vibration Dampening Mat

Anyone who has operated an Open-Source 3D printer knows that they are LOUD!  Vibrations from the stepper motors makes it sound as if the machine is singing, and if you have a long print, this can get very tiresome.  Unfortunately, the only way to truly reduce the sound is to build an enclosure.  When I first got my Prusa i3, I placed it on a nice/cheap Ikea table.  Unfortunately, these table tops are made of a composite and have a hollow core that acts to amplify the reverberations.  I noticed that you could actually feel vibrations through the floor while standing in front of the table, and since I live on the 2nd floor of an apartment building, I’m sure my neighbor could hear the printer singing as well.  SO, ordered some foam flooring tiles to cut up and use as a vibration isolation pad to dampen out some of the vibrations.  I even placed some squares of the stuff under the legs of the table to further isolate the table.  The effort was a success, and I can no longer feel the vibrations through the floor.

  • Cut the foam mat to size with a utility knife. 18″ x 20″ worked well for my Prusa i3.

Simple Improvement #3: Extruder Fan

This is a must for any 3D printer as extruder fans help keep your Hot End cool and prevent a meltdown (like this).  It is also a great first project on you new 3D printer.  First, I purchased a 12V computer fan, like this 40mm fan from Amazon.  I measured it, and determined how far away I’d like to orient it in relation to the extruder head.  Then I hopped into Solidworks and created a quick model.  Printing it took about 30 minutes and then I installed it with the provided mounting hardware.  My fan mount is available on Thingiverse, or make your own for a fun, easy, and productive project.

  • CAD model in Soldiworks

Hope you enjoyed this little series on the Makerfarm Prusa i3.  It is a quality product, and I’d recommend it to anyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *