Drag Chain Upgrade Page Title Needs to Change

I admit, I only read “Parts to upgrade 2015 X-Carve to 2016 drag chain,” which is big letters at the top of the page underneath the main heading and right next to where you click “add to cart.” I never suspected that below, in the details, it would say, “2015 X-Carve Gantry Side Plates and X-Carriage will not work with this upgrade, as they are missing the hole pattern to attach the drag chain brackets.” https://www.inventables.com/technologies/x-carve-drag-chain-upgrade
How, exactly, is it an upgrade for a 2015 machine if it doesn’t fit the 2015 X-carriage or gantry side plates? That’s all you attach anything to…

It’s not just the gantry side plates, its also two holes in the X-carriage which takes a fair amount of time to drill through. The plastic that holds the chain rail will break if you don’t move the L bracket on the X-carriage up. All I’m saying is all of that information should be in one place. If it’s an upgrade for a 2015 x-carve AFTER you’ve upgraded to a 2016 gantry side plates and X-carriage, then it should say that well before you click “add to cart.” Anyway, I’m making it work, even after I’ve broken the plastic piece.

I bought the kit and am ready to upgrade. I bought the side plates but didn’t want to change out the X carriage due to the extreme amount of work since I just finished upgrading the Z axis and SuckIt. I think I can drill the two holes needed for the bracket on the X carriage. I DID contact support and they verified that the only X carriage mod needed was the two bracket holes.

Also, the new X carriage does NOT have the mounting holes for the terminal strip used before they went to “pre-wired” connectors. So that’s another problem. It’s not the cost of a new X carriage, it’s the work.

Edited 4/17/19

Nearing completion of the upgrade. Here’s a summary of my experience and perhaps tips for others.

I DID drill the two holes in the X carriage needed for the drag chain bracket. Not too hard since it’s aluminum. I did “mask off” everything around to prevent aluminum chips from going all over. A PDF is provided by Inventables that shows where the two holes should go. It shouldn’t be critical anyway.

The instructions indicate that the right stepper wire is now mounted “outside” of the X maker bar. That would make sense if you had the newer, pre-connected, stepper wiring. But, I didn’t, and didn’t want another wire running along the outside of the new X axis drag chain extrusion upgrade. So, I just ran the right stepper wire through the main X maker bar hole as originally designed.

I didn’t want to disconnect all of the wiring from the X-Controller (because it’s mounted under my table) but, I did have to disconnect all of the steppers and limit switches to remove the old drag chain, install the new side plates, and install the new bracket on the X carriage. I took pictures with my IPad to minimize re-connection errors or problems with broken wires.

After re-connection of the wiring to the X carriage, I carefully moved it along the X axis. Somewhat surprisingly, there was interference between the new X drag chain and the X carriage wiring. I thought that I had carefully “dressed” the wiring and cable-tied it in place. Part of the problem is that I’m still using the old barrier strip. I thought about just redoing my wire “dressing”, but, there’s really no way to tie it off to preclude interference. I’d have to drill MORE holes in the X carriage.

Since I had recently upgraded my Z axis, there was plenty of room ON TOP OF the X carriage. So, I designed a 3D printed support for the barrier strip and all wiring except the X limit switch. See attached photo.

If you’re having to re-crimp any wiring!, I’d recommend using IWISS END-SLEEVEs. They are basically “pins” rather than the typical automotive crimp connectors. They’re not cheap and you have to purchase a special crimping tool. But, they’re much more reliable than the old crimp style and smaller. I built my original machine with the old crimp style but switched to the pins when I upgraded to the X-Controller and other mods like this one.

Another Edit 4/18/19

Just finishing up the wiring when I got another surprise. The new Y drag chain is UNSUPPORTED and sagging. See the photo. Also in the photo you can see a “tray” I made to support the original drag chain. I can’t just “move it up” because I have Y axis stabilizer bars installed. Yes, I could just “stack” some more wood in the tray to effectively elevate it. But, I’d like a better solution.

When I reviewed the Inventables build instructions, I saw that the Y chain was really supported by a 20 X 20 extrusion THAT WAS PART OF THE X-CONTROLLER SIDE TABLE. I didn’t need the side table because all of my wiring and electronics is mounted UNDER the table top. I’m buying a piece of 20 X 20 on E-Bay, about $15, and then 3D printing some “L” brackets to attach it to the 20 X 20 extrusion that makes up the base of the table top.

No experience yet, but, I’m somewhat concerned that my steppers can handle the extra weight and friction from the new, bigger, drag chain. And then, having the chain “unsupported” just adds to my concern.