Author Topic: Ender 3 Max with Creality's dual Z motor upgrade - Won't home consistently  (Read 405 times)

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Offline GeraldM

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Hi, all:

I have a Creality Ender 3 Max printer, to which I have added Creality's 'official' Dual Z-Axis upgrade.
This consists of a second stepper, second lead screw & associated hardware, plus a splitter cable which runs the two steppers in parallel.
Since I've done the upgrade, I've not been able to get the Z axis to home consistently.  It shows up as the bed being out of level, in different directions, each time I start the machine.

I've gone through the usual remedies; re-aligning the Z and X gantrys, checking for binds, bumps, or other things.  All good.
I checked out the Vrefs for all the steppers.
E:  1.064V
Z:  0.883V
Y:  1.390V
X:  1.184V

Bumped the Z Vref to 1.60V.
It homes and prints fine if I disable the second Z axis (unplug the stepper and remove the nut attaching the second Z rod to the X gantry)

I've done some further research, and it seems that this particular product upgrade may be the epitome of bad ideas.

It seems that because the second Z motor isn't synched with the first. It will start just wherever it happens to be, without regard to where the first is.  Second, even should they be synched prior to power up,  the motors may move up to four steps in any direction, again depending on where they are.

My solution so far is to manually level the X gantry with blocks of plywood prior to homing.  I'm currently testing this out, to see how it performs.

Other solutions that come to mind are:
1 - Go back to the single Z lead screw.
2 - Get the kit that uses a belt to drive the second Z axis.
3 - McGyver the machine and the gcode so that it will find a reference spot for the Z axis screws between prints - possibly removing the M84 command at the end of a print…
4 - Add an extra stepper motor driver to the machine, use this as a driver for the second Z, and figure out how to recompile Marlin and use the G34 and M422 automatic Z axis alignment function…

Has anyone been able to get this dual Z axis kit working?

I often wonder whether I bought this printer to print stuff, or to tinker with!

 

Offline MarkLiu

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It seems that the condition of the stepper motor on this printer is not very good, I have bought this kind of stepper motor, which is not bad for the price-performance ratio.
 

Online Ian.M

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Generally for 3D printers with twin parallel motor, twin screw Z axis mechanisms, you should carefully level the X axis assembly before first powerup, align the couplings in the same orientation and mark them (so you can see if it looses sync), and power up initially with one coupling not tightened on its screw.  Then the first thing you need to do is a small manual jog (1mm and back again) to power up the Z driver, and only then tighten the coupling so the motors are synced with the X axis level and not fighting each other. 

Keeping them synced and the X axis level is more problematic.  Any overload, excessive acceleration or binding will cause loss of sync, resulting in a Z axis jam and excessive stress on the mechanism.   *SOME* firmware versions are aware of the parallel motors issue and attempt to resynchronize by driving the motors to the axis limits then gently past them so that if one is ahead of the other it will hit the mechanical end stop and loose steps till the other catches up. 
 

Offline GeraldM

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Thanks!

Ian, that seems to be a good idea to try for the initial power up.  I'll try it out!
 

Online dunkemhigh

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For twin screw axis, wouldn't it be better (practically and technically) to have a belt drive from the primary screw (which has the stepper) to the secondary? Having independent motors is pretty much asking for issues, particularly when they are quarter-stepping or worse.
 

Offline xrunner

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For twin screw axis, wouldn't it be better (practically and technically) to have a belt drive from the primary screw (which has the stepper) to the secondary? Having independent motors is pretty much asking for issues, particularly when they are quarter-stepping or worse.

That's the upgrade I added to my Ender 3 Pro. Works perfect no problems.
[hp] Hewlett . Packard
 

Offline GeraldM

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For twin screw axis, wouldn't it be better (practically and technically) to have a belt drive from the primary screw (which has the stepper) to the secondary? Having independent motors is pretty much asking for issues, particularly when they are quarter-stepping or worse.

That's the upgrade I added to my Ender 3 Pro. Works perfect no problems.

Thanks, everyone!

Sorry Xrunner - I'm not sure from your quote if you installed the upgrade with the belt or the twin motors.

For now, I'm going back to a single motor, (unplug the second, and remove the lead screw nut from the carriage), until I get things working.
 

Offline xrunner

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Thanks, everyone!

Sorry Xrunner - I'm not sure from your quote if you installed the upgrade with the belt or the twin motors.

For now, I'm going back to a single motor, (unplug the second, and remove the lead screw nut from the carriage), until I get things working.

Belt drive off the original single motor.
[hp] Hewlett . Packard
 

Offline GeraldM

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I'll go that route as well, once I can get the parts.

My original thought was that the two motors would be better - but not if you have to re-level the X gantry every time you power off...
 

Online Ian.M

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Dual motors could work if there is provision to auto-level them on every powerup, or if the feed rates are so hobbled it never runs out of torque and looses steps.  There are various hardware specific ways to achieve auto-leveling short of independent stepper drivers and limit switches, but they atre all some level of kludgy and need firmware support.

One 'halfway house' pure hardware option would be dual motors + belt.  The belt is only there to prevent the motors getting more than two steps out of sync and to bias them back towards synced so doesn't have to be top quality or heavy duty and doesn't need a lot of tension.  The main drive forces are provided by the motors.  The kludgy bit would be getting them synced and the pully and tensioner adjusted so the motors aren't normally  fighting the belt at rest.
 


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