Is cutting the arm off the Z-axis switch a good idea?

Carl Witthoft
  • Is cutting the arm off the Z-axis switch a good idea? Carl Witthoft

    We all know (or should!) that the repeatability of common spring-arm limit switches is crappy at best. I'm looking to build & install one of the precision height adjusters for the Z-axis limit switch, and noticed a post on some forum suggesting removing the arm and triggering the switch button directly (e.g. with a screw end).

    Has anyone tried this, and if so has the repeatability of Z-homing improved any?

    Edit

    Sorry -- this is a stock Prusa i3, which depends on physical contact between the vertically-moving subassembly and a microswitch mounted on the frame.

  • No. Buy a better switch if it's an issue (see below).

    You would need to have some very tight tolerances to hit that micro button with whatever your arm is. If you had a machine with good tolerances you would not be considering this modification. That alone is why I would say this is not the greatest idea.

    Following it might work if your Z is connected to the hot end and smashing into the bed. But I suspect you will still have a myriad of issues, such as the switch getting out of position enough to cause the head to crash into the machine. The real question now is how many rotations of the Z axis could happen if the printer is moving at maximum speed and the button is pressed? That metal arm is your grace period. Now your printer is potentially smashing into the switch.

    Lastly, just get a switch with a more solid and less springy metal tab.

    The real question is whether there is actually a variance caused by the metal arm? I would suspect that it hits the switch very precisely, consistently and within an acceptable tolerance. Removing the arm will buy you little. Replacing it with a stiffer-arm switch might serve you better.

  • While I haven't seen this on a Z axis for a printer personally, there is no reason it wouldn't work, and would improve your repeatability in theory. Removing the arm on the switch is taking away the lever. Going back to simple machine mechanics, the lever gives you a larger range of motion in which the button could be triggered, with the tradeoff that you get a larger target to hit. How much of an improvement depends on the exact switch, where the button is compared to the axis of the switch, and how long the switch is.

    My Shapeoko 3 CNC router has a switch for all three end stops that do not have arms, and my Original Prusa i3 mk2 has switches without lever arms on X and Y axis endstops, so there is is no reason it won't work for your i3 Z axis, you just need to make sure you can accurately hit the small button on the switch.

Tags
z-axis endstop
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