P3Steel Build Log (#11) – Endstops / Limit Switches

By ChunkySteveo,

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X, Y and Z Endstops / Limit Switches

Now that all the axis are complete, we can install the endstop/limit switches. These are simply a switch which is triggered mechanically by one of the printers moving parts hitting it, be it the hotend, print bed etc. You can set up virtual endstops in your printer software, but there are here to physically stop your printer from crashing into something it shouldn’t! For the P3Steel there are three endstop switches, which mark out the minimum travel the printer is allowed. You can add maximum ones too, but this isn’t required and a little overkill for a Prusa i3 design.

I am using some endstop switches which can be purchased from AliExpress, or on Amazon if you like. Best getting them in a pack of at least three, and they should come with some signal wire too to hook up to your RAMPS board. The AliExpress ones tend to be discounted if you buy them in 5, 10 etc, and they are very handy for future projects.

You could wire up your own switches and use only two wires, but the ones I have gone for have three wires and an LED which lights up when triggered. I will go over the wiring later, this post is just the installation of the switches and where they go. It is pretty quick – so I will rattle through it!

Print out the endstop parts and secure them with some small M3 bolts and nuts – simple!

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X-Axis Endstop / Limit Switch

The x-axis endstop is attached to the two 8mm smooth rods. It should just clamp on with a little force. For now you can just butt it up against the stepper part of the x-axis. But when configuring your printer you may well need to move it towards the bed a little. And if it is loose – secure it by adding a zip tie to the 8mm smooth rod just behind the endstop. The endstop should then be able to be triggered by sliding the x-axis carriage into it. Make sure you can hit the endstop switch.

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Y-Axis Endstop / Limit Switch

The z-axis endstop is located at the back of the printer. It can be at the front, but it depends on how you want to configure the firmware later. For consistency across other builds. and Toolson’s design – I have kept the y-stop at the back. It can be secured to the frame either side of the stepper motor in the available screw holes in the frame. For ease of use and to reduce cable lengths, I have opted to keep it close to the RAMPS board, which is to the left of the printer as you look at it.

Secure it in with some more M3 bolts and nuts which install into the plastic and it’s done! The switch is triggered by one of the bed bushing clamps. Slide the bed back until it triggers it to make sure everything is hitting as it should.

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Z-Axis Endstop / Limit Switch

The z-axis endstop is probably the most important endstop and stops the printer from crashing into your print bed and possibly ruining your hotend and print bed surface. Take care with this part! It is installed on the side of the left z-axis motor mount as per the image below. You will need to remove one of the M3 bolts in the frame, line up the part and screw in a slightly longer bolt.

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The endstop is then triggered by the x-axis stepper assembly. And due to numerous hotend configurations and setups – this length needs to be adjustable and manageable. For the P3Steel Toolson Edition Lars added in a small plastic part which bolts into the stepper part of the x-axis with an M3 bolt and nut. This can be re-designed, adjusted, replaced etc without affecting your whole x-axis assembly. The little part also needs a small m3 nut inserted into the gap which allows you to screw in an adjuster bolt through it. You can see it in the below image inside the little orange part:

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With that part now secured to the z-axis, screw in an M3 bolt down so it sticks out the bottom. You are just going to roughly set this up as you won’t have the hotend on yet! You can get away with just a bolt, but over time this will vibrate and may well thread up or down. To secure this the bolt needs a small spring. Using a spring and a couple of washers gives tension on the bolt to stay still and make a more solid “poking device” to the trigger. I have used a standard spring which are commonly used for bed levelling. In fact that is where I go it from – but I have also purchased a pack of springs too. The AliExpress listing I got them from can be found from seller ‘All Electronics Mall‘ here – 3D Printer Bed Springs. I got the 10 pack.

You may/will need to adjust the tension depending on your bed and hotend configuration, which can be done by adding and removing extra washers. The spring and bolt will eventually want to be solid with no movement or rattle.

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Once all is setup as per the image above – lower the x-axis by turning your shiny knurled knobs to drop the z-axis. The screw seen below should line up with the trigger switch and eventually come in contact. When you have your print bed and hotend installed, it would be at this point when the endstop is triggered that the nozzle is just microns above your print bed. This is why this part is very critical and needs to be done carefully. I have found that my z-axis endstop switch is a little away from its PCB (printed circuit board) and as such the M3 bolt only just triggers it. I will swap this out with one of the x or y stops as they do not need to be as accurate or secure.

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  Comments: 6


  1. Hello!

    First of all thanks for sharing, it’s very nice of you! I’m in the process of documenting myself to build my first 3d printer and decided to build a P3steel toolson edition!

    With his blog and yours, plus the reprap info, I think I’ve got the hardware part covered. But regarding the software, I haven’t read a lot up to this moment.

    Is the software is the same with this printer than for other P3steel? Do you plan on doing more post about this?

    Also, I’ve understood it’s not your first printer. What do you think of the final result? Would you recommend as first printer?

    Thanks again for your blog!


    • Hi Matthieu,
      Thanks for the comment! It’s a good printer to build, and a real DIY project which you will learn loads on. For the software I think you have two options – Marlin and Repetier (if you are using a RAMPS board). I am using Marlin, and I think Toolson uses Repetier. The both have advantages and disadvantages and I think is a personal choice. I will be continuing my “Build Log” with the next steps, which will include the firware/software installation – stay tuned!

      As a quick overview, I have used the standard Marlin firmware and am currently in the process of calibrating my P3Steel by adjusting the speed, acceleration and other settings. It’s a bit of a black art and a little confusing for me too – but I am getting there. I think your best bet for now is to Google “Configuring Marlin” and see how others set this up. You will need some Arduino programming knowledge too – as that is how you “load” the firmware onto the Arduino Mega/RAMPS board.

      Regarding my first printer – this was/is a Printrbot Simple Makers Kit (1405) model. It’s a great printer, but is quite dated now in terms of what is available. It was one of the first types of printer to come out, and Printrbot was one of the pioneers of 3D print. At the moment I would highly reccommend the “Original Prusa i3 Mk2” as a kit build – the support and quality you get is supposed to be first class. As a first printer, it all depends on what you want to do with it – I enjoy building and tinkering, so a kit build is a must, but then you could just buy a ready built consumer model and get printing as soon as you un-box it? I’m loving my P3Steel so far – still at the config stage, but already I can see an improvement from my Printrbot – mainly because of the physics of how it works and the differences in the mechanics. Also I treated myself to an E3D V6 hotend – and those things just print like a pro – you just install it, feed it, and it lays down plastic perfectly. So perfect; I can eliminate it from any config changes while I tune the printer – that was one of the reasons for buying it – one less thing to tune and worry about!

      Cheers,

      Steve


      • Thanks for your answer!

        I’m looking forward your next build log 🙂 Regarding the E3D hotend, I decided to go with the lite version. I think that first, it’s better to give the money to “local” companies, and second, the quality vs the chinese copy seems to be much higher.

        I looked at some kit, especially the micromake delta one, but at the end, I like to know exactly how things are working and what’s going on (i’m an electronic engineer, so this explains… :D), and I think it’s way easier to debug something that you made, than something than you buy.

        Anyway, i’ll start listing the part and do the shopping, as I’m not convince the toolson mk2 is the right printer for me. I’ll keep you updated 🙂

        Matthieu


        • Haha, thanks Matthieu – sounds like you’re well on your way to building something great! Agree with the comment on the E3D and the clones. I have clones and was going to use them, but installing one I had so many issues I thought I should just get a real E3D and have one less thing to worry about. I think I am going to do a blog and video some time comparing the real and clones… I don’t seem to see many of those, just people saying not to buy the Chinese versions with no actual working examples of difference other than “quality”…. will see!

          Steve


  2. hi.
    Where is the download link for this…?

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