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  • Hacking the 101Hero: Strut Tighteners, New Plate Clips

    Posted on December 20th, 2016 admin 1 comment

    There’s a very helpful crew on Facebook Groups sharing ideas about making this little $50 printer into a real machine.  Here’s one hack that came from the group, and an update on one of mine

    Tighten the Ball Struts

    The ball joints used on the connector arms are very loose and sloppy, which allows the print head to move up to 1 mm or more in any direction.   Users have recommended a three fixes for this:

    1.  Replace the struts and ball joints with higher quality parts.   The radio control industry supplies ball joints and connectors in various sizes, configurations, tolerances, and prices.  For example, Stefano Marcon found a good quality aluminum strut with what appear to be metal ball joints.  Some users wonder if the expense of these parts is justified given the low overall quality of the printer, but replacement is an excellent option.

      Ball strut by Stefano Marcon

      Ball strut by Stefano Marcon

    2. Connect the arms with a light-weight spring.  It doesn't take much tension to pull the arms in together, and too much may stress the poor weak little stepper motors and wear the ball joints prematurely.  Possibly even a spring from a ball-point pen would work?  I used three identical springs that I had in my junk box, and stretched them out so they had less tension.  I didn't measure the force, so don't ask.

      Spring retainer by Stéphane Keep Hérault, from a UTube video

      Spring retainer by Stéphane Keep Hérault, from a UTube video

    3. A small elastic band will do the job too.   Simply remove the struts at one end or the other, slip the rubber band on, and reassemble.  It is enough to keep the sockets tighter on the balls at each joint.

      Elastic band retainer by Stefan Gautsch

      Elastic band retainer by Stefan Gautsch

    Two of these are cheap and simple and appear to do the job of tightening up the ball joints.  Does this simple strut-tensioning hack work?   Well, here are photos of two Benchy prints, almost identical in settings (the one on the left used top/bottom 0.8 while the one on the right used 1.2, had springs, and had a fan running for the top half of the print.  Oh, and I wound up hanging the spool of filament on the holder above the printer, which may have twisted the Benchy just a little.  Gotta fix that).

    Left:  Benchy 1 Right: Benchy 2

    Left: Benchy 1;  Right: Benchy 2.   Dang, the photos looked sharp enough on my phone.

    Clip Down the Build Plate

    One of the first hacks I did was to replace the metal binder clips that were supplied to hold down the round glass print platform. There is nothing wrong with them; even some higher-end printers use this simple and economical retention system.   However, I found them a bit awkward to get at, and they tended to fall off my desk or scoot under the printer.  For a while, I clipped them to the top of the printer or to the edge of one pylon, but I soon saw that having one turnbutton at the front would be superior.

    Low-quality prints in black 101Hero PLA

    Low-quality prints in black 101Hero PLA

    The first ones were in the way for larger prints, so for this batch I moved the LED mount behind the screws.   They still illuminate fine.  I wrapped an elastic band around the one without an LED mount to serve as a gasket or cushion. This was a fast, low-quality print; the clips don't have to be all that sturdy or pretty.  I didn't oversize the holes, so you'll have to drill them out to fit the screws, and if you want to recess the screw heads so they go further into the base, you'll have to drill the recess wider too.  Layer height 0.2, shell/top/bottom 0.8, fill 0%, print speed 12 @ 200C.  They're installed and working fine.   Here they are lighting up a Benchy:

    Clips serve to hold and illuminate the print bed

    Clips serve to hold and illuminate the print bed

    Note the little arrow showing how the front one rotates. When it's swung out of the way, the glass will slip out of the other two and can easily be removed.  Put the plate back in, swing the clip back into place, and the build platform is locked down and ready to go.

    You'll find the .STL files for these clips here, here, and here.

    The hacks are fun and the sharing is a great way to make the most of this little printer.

     

    1 responses to “Hacking the 101Hero: Strut Tighteners, New Plate Clips” RSS icon

    • Very cool, was hoping to try get those clips but the links ask for a login?

      Thanks for sharing

      Regards
      Maciek


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