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Monday, October 22, 2012

Removable filament feeder : add a plug to the stepper motor cables

Add a plug to the extruder stepper motor cable !

The case slot design let me thought it would be easy to remove the filament feeder for transportation, good idea. But... did they forget that the stepper cables are going through the case with no way to unplug them ? Note that the unusual feeder itself is described here.

Thus, there is no way to remove the filament feeder from the back of the printer, and the slotted design even becomes counter productive (eg. see my locking key for this separate issue).

I did the above in a hurry before a trip, and I did this badly in fact :
  • First, it is disgusting, with solder and contacts visible from the outside. I should print a nice case and hide this.
  • Second, I cut the plywood (with a dremel) in the wrong place. I should have set the plug on the right side of the main cable hole, not just below where it conflicts a bit with them.
Nonetheless, I can now unplug the filament feeder and leave in within the box when I travel. Also, I now can swap between different feeders without needing to unscrew the motor (as long as each of them has its own motor of course).

Suggestions for your own plug

  • Buy these pins! they are cheap and they make your life easier than to try to recycle them from existing stuff (search for things like "5 Pin connector 2510" on ebay for example)
  • According to your plug, you may want to leave an unused pin to avoid errors in the way you will be plugging the motor (I did it even though my plug is not symmetrical...)
  • One good way is to use a short piece of prototyping PCB and to solder it in place, on both sides of the plywood back plate (it is held by itself)
  • To solder it without burning the plywood, I temporarily protected it with multiple layers of Kapton (this works very well, and I will use this trick again)

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