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TwisterBlocks installed (with instructions)

And boy, do they rock! It's not often a design does exactly what you want it to do from the first try, but this time it worked. These blocks are the best upgrade I've ever given my poor old Ultimaker. Not only are they much easier to install than any bearing blocks I've previously had, they have amazing grip on the 6mm rods. My print head never felt this stable. Also, they actually provide a lot of tension by themselves, quite more than I expected.

With the TwisterBlocks my printer seems to be much quieter, and the sound of it moving is really smooth. I suppose it is due to the fact the whole XY carriage is more rigid now than before. Although I will provide STLs I strongly suggest you use the STEP files, print one out to see if the bushing and M3 nuts fit properly and adjust if necessary, because the final printed radius can really differ between various printer/slicer combos.  [The M3 nuts should fit snugly in the traps so that they don't fall out, and the bushing should slide in the block with just a little bit of friction, and without deforming it significantly.]

UPDATE 26.12.2013: The parts that engage the endstops have been widened to 10 mm to compensate for the blocks being 2mm wider towards the center of the printer, so that the default endswitch positions still work. All the files have been updated accordingly.

How to install TwisterBlocks:

[Before you print this please note that these blocks are 2 mm longer than stock towards the center of the printer, so effectively they will shorten your print envelope by 4 mm in both X and Y directions]

1. Download the files from YouMagine or Thingiverse.

2. Additionally you will need:
  • 8x M3x20 bolt
  • 8x M3x30 bolt
  • 16x M3 nut

2. Slice with 25% infill, double walls, 0.6 up/downskins or similar. No support. I used Cura for slicing.
[You can print everything individually, or use the plated file, all the parts are already properly oriented for printing, so do not rotate them!]

3. You need to end up with the following printed parts:

  • 4x Belt clamp
  • 4x Rod clamp
  • 4x TwisterBlock [Left, Right, Front, Back - note that each one is different]

4. The Left and Front blocks have pre-modelled break-away support, use thin pliers to remove those parts after printing. Clean any blobs or strings left from printing. 

5. Check if all the bores for M3 bolts allow them to slide in and out without much trouble, if necessary use a drill with a 3mm bit to carefully widen them. You want them to slide freely, that will save much time when (dis)assembling.

6. Remove your old blocks and take out the bushings. [This is a good opportunity to clean all your linear rods while you're at it.]

7. Slide a bushing into each TwisterBlock, and place two M3 nuts in the provided nut traps on each one. 

8. It's easier to clamp the belts in the appropriate blocks before actually installing them on the rods. At least that's how I do it. Be sure to remove any tensioners before you do that! First bolt in the part of the clamp with the rounded end, then press the other one in and bolt that one too. [Note the orientation of the rounded end!]

This will also keep the bushings in place. Be careful not to over tighten anything. The belts are kept in place even without it being very tight, you only need enough tension to keep the bushings in place, which is not a lot. 

9. Assemble everything just like you would with the normal UM blocks. Yes, it's a pain but it's the last time you will ever be doing that. :)

10. Now take your printhead with the 6mm rods going through it, and rotate it clockwise to slide all the rods into their positions. Take the rod clamps and bolt each one with two M3x30 bolts and M3 nuts. 

And you're done, enjoy your TwisterBlocks, and happy experimenting without having to dissasemble half of your UM every time. :)

[If you decide to use them, let me know how they work! I'm always eager to hear other peoples experience with my designs. Also, if you find something in the instructions unclear, don't hesitate to ask.]

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