3d Printer Upgrade — X-axis Belt Tensioner

Some time ago, when I was having issues with layer shifting and was flailing about for a fix, I bought a pair of belt tensioners for my Ender 3. I can't remember exactly where they came from (they came via Amazon), but they were pretty cheap — about ten or fifteen bucks each.

There are designs available on Thingiverse that can be 3d printed, but I prefer things like this to be made of aluminium and steel rather than plastic.

This is the one for the X-axis, and I've only just got around to actually installing it — I resolved my layer shifting issue, so there was no urgent need to change anything else, and I'm generally reluctant to fix things that aren't broken. It was not a big job, but it was pretty fiddly, and they came without any sort of instructions or drawings, so there was a certain amount of trial and error involved in installation.

I've done a small test print, and all seems well, so I suppose now I should go ahead and install the one for the Y-axis. And, looking at the photo, maybe I should give the printer a dust and wipe down from time to time too.

These things aren't strictly necessary for the Ender 3, but the belt rollers that come with the base machine aren't the best and have fairly obviously been designed for cheapness rather than efficiency or ease of use. These ones should, in theory, be less likely to rack the belt to one side or the other, as well as making it easier to maintain a decent tension thanks to the thumbscrew adjustment.


I also bought a Y-axis tensioner, which turned out to be designed for the Ender 3 Pro, which uses a different size of aluminium extrusion. Doh!

It took a bit of modifying, but I got it working.

I printed a pair of spacer blocks, and bought some longer M4 machine screws for the rail anchors.

The roller sits up higher than the original Ender 3 one, which means that the belt gets dragged across the sharp edge of the aluminium extrusion — I fixed that issue by adding a spacer-roller from bits out of my old Meccano set. It's a bit clunky-looking, but it seems to work.

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