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XY Axes Parts (Belts, Pulleys, Motors)

These instructions are applicable to all models in the Ultimaker 3 series. We suggest leaving the protective glass plate on your heated bed while performing maintenance, or putting a place of piece of cardboard down, to protect your heated bed plate in case anything is dropped during disassembly or reassembly. You'll find instructions here for replacing the long belts, short belts, X-motor, and Y-motor.

There is a separate page for replacing endstops.

Tools

  • 2mm hex head screwdriver

Long Belts 

  1. Push/tilt the black plastic blocks that hold the print head shafts in place to pop the print head shafts out. Holding the print head AND both print head shafts, rotate the assembly so the shafts are on the diagonal and lift them out of the printer. While working, take care. Even a short drop can damage the tip of your Print Core. Once the print head is out of the machine, slide the print head shafts out of the print head and set them and the printhead aside. (Please note, the shaft that the print head rides left to right is longer than the shaft it rides front to back; this will be important when reinstalling these parts.)
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  2. If you ARE replacing the both the short belts and long belts: Remove the corner cable covers. The cable covers are held in place with push fit tabs; tug diagonally on the cable covers at the top, with the bed lowered in order to remove the covers. Unscrew the four screws that hold on each axis motor (X motor and Y motor). The motors are located on the back panel and the left panel. Make sure you hold the motor when you undo the screws or the motor will fall. Set the motors in the bottom of the printer. Installing the motors back into position is one of the last steps of the belt replacement.
  3. If you ARE NOT replacing the short belts: Loosen (do not remove) the four screws that hold on each axis motor (X motor and Y motor). The motors are located on the back panel and the left panel. You can find a screw diagram here. Raise the motor up and retighten the screws. At this point, there should be no tension on the short belts connecting the motors to the axis rods. 
  4. Loosen the set screws on the pulleys on two rods that go front to back. There is no need to completely remove the screw. If you cannot access a set screw, manually move the black sliding blocks to rotate the pulleys. Remove the two rods by pushing them through the back panel. Remove the black spacers and pulleys as you go. The left rod has two spacers and two pulleys. The right rod has two spacers and three pulleys.
  5. The remaining rods are easier to access now that the first pair of rods is out of the machine. Loosen the set screws on the pulleys on the two rods that run horizontally. There is no need to completely remove the screw. If you cannot access a set screw, manually move the black sliding blocks to rotate the pulleys. Remove the two rods by pushing them through either side panel. Remove the black spacers and pulleys as you go. There are two pulleys and one spacer on the back rod. There are two pulleys and two spacers on the front rod.
  6. You should have the following loose pieces once the rods are removed: (8) single pulleys; (1) double pulley; (1) 25mm black spacer; (4) 8mm black spacers; (2) 3mm black spacers; and (4) black sliding blocks attached to the long belts. If you are replacing the short belts, you will have (2) loose short belts as well. Set aside any defective parts and replace them with the new ones before beginning to reassemble the X/Y axes. If you find that you are missing a piece, check underneath the bed or underneath the printer itself. The spacers have a tendency to fall and roll away.
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  7. Each hole for the rods has a bearing on the inside of the panel. Before reassembling, ensure the bearings are fully seated. The silver lip of the bearing should sit flush against the panel.
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  8. To reassemble the axes, begin with one of the shorter rods. This is the back rod. Insert the rod through the left panel. Add the following to the rod: the double pulley (with the short belt on the left half, and a long belt hanging on the right half); skewer a sliding block; a single pulley (set screw toward the right panel, with a long belt hanging); and an 8mm black spacer. Once the rod is seated in both panels, push the double pulley to the left panel and the single pulley and spacer to the right panel. 
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  9. Take the other short rod. This is the front rod. Insert the rod through the left panel. Add the following to the rod: 8mm black spacer; single pulley (set screw toward the left panel, long belt from the double pulley stretched across); skewer the last sliding block; single pulley (set screw toward the right panel, long belt from the single pulley stretched across); and a 8mm black spacer. Once the rod is seated in both panels, push the pulleys and spacers to their respective corners. DSC_0048.JPG

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  10. Now align and secure the axis. Hold the back-right pulley toward the panel and tighten the set screw. Repeat in the front, left corner. Manually move both sliding blocks to the front of the printer. Move one sliding block to rotate the pulleys until the set screw in the back-left pulley is accessible. The sliding blocks should be moving in tandem. Push the back rod toward the right which holding the double pulley to the left. Tighten the set screw on the double pulley. Grip the rod and try to move it left to right. If the pulleys are tightened correctly, the rod won't move. If the rod moves, loosen the pulley and try again. Repeat the process with the front rod, this time moving the rod to the left and the pulley to the front right corner. Once you are finished and both rods are tightly in place, move the sliding blocks to the front of the printer again. The gap between the black block and the silver pulley should be the same on the left and right sides of the machine. 
  11. One of the longer rods will be the left rod. Insert it through the back panel. Add the following to the rod: 25mm black spacer; single pulley (with the set screw toward the back panel, with the loose back belt over it); skewer the sliding block on the front-to-back belt; single pulley (with the set screw toward the front panel, with the loose front belt over it); and a 3mm black spacer.
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  12. The remaining rod is the right rod. Insert it through the back panel. Add the following to the rod: single pulley (set screw away from the back panel, with the short belt); 8mm black spacer; single pulley (set screw toward the back panel, back long belt stretched across); skewer the sliding block on the front-to-back belt; single pulley (with the set screw toward the front panel, front long belt stretched across); and 3mm black spacer.
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  13. Now align and secure the axis. Pull the left rod toward the front and hold the front, left pulley toward the panel. Tighten the set screw. Pull the right rod toward the front, hold both back-right pulleys toward the back panel, and tighten both set screws. Manually move both sliding blocks to the right side of the printer. Move one sliding block to rotate the back-left pulley until the set screw is accessible. The sliding blocks should be moving in tandem. Pull the left rod toward the front, push the back pulley toward the panel, and tighten the set screw. Grip the rod and try to move it front to back. If the pulleys are tightened correctly, the rod won't move. If the rod moves, loosen the pulley and try again. Repeat the process with the right rod, still moving the rod to front and the pulley to the front right corner. Once you are finished and both rods are tightly in place, move the sliding blocks to the right of the printer again. The gap between the black block and the silver pulley should be the same at the front and back of the machine. 
  14. If you REMOVED the motors: Loosely mount the motors back on the printer; do not tighten the screws all the way. Put the top two screws (with washers) through the panel and the black motor spacer. The spacer should be oriented so the hook is down. Hook the short belt on the pulley located on the motor while making sure the belt stays placed on the rod pulley. Orient the motor so the cord is down. Start the two top screws. Secure the cord behind the hook and start the bottom two screws. Proceed to step 15.
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  15. If the motors are ON your printer: make sure the screws holding the motor are loose enough that you can freely move the motor up and down. Hold the motor level with the bottom panel. Press down on the center of the motor block to put tension on the short belt. Tighten the four screws holding the motor.
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  16. Manually move the sliding blocks and watch the short belt. If the belt moves smoothly, the motor is correctly positioned. If the short belt is loose or wobbly, loosen the motor and try again. If you hear an abnormal noise when moving it, loosen the motor and try again.
  17. To seat the hot end back inside the printer, the longer print head shaft should go through the bearing running left to right, and the shorter one, front to back. 

    You can put them both in the print head and turn the whole head diagonally to maneuver it into the machine. The shafts fit into the black blocks as a push fit and may require a little force. Make sure the left-to-right shaft is seated far enough to the left to trigger the red Y-endstop without scraping the wall. You should be able to easily pass a piece of paper between the shaft and the wall. The front-to-back shaft should be even with the back of the rear block--putting it too far back will cause it to hit the Z-shafts. Try to keep the black blocks straight when pushing them in. It's easiest to snap the print head shaft in at the back first, and then the front so you can make sure the blocks are straight. Similarly start on the left with the other printhead shaft, and then do the right.

If you experience slanting prints after working on your belts, look for loose pulleys.


Short Belts Only

  1. Remove the corner cable covers. The cable covers are held in place with push fit tabs; tug diagonally on the cable covers at the top, with the bed lowered in order to remove the covers. Unscrew the four screws that hold on each axis motor (X motor and Y motor). The motors are located on the left panel and the back panel, and can be easily identified as the only screws with metal washers between the screw and panel. Make sure you hold the motor when you undo the screws or the motor will fall. Set the motors in the bottom of the printer.
  2. Loosen the set screws on the two pulleys on the back rod which runs horizontally.  Dislodge the rod from the left panel by moving it to the right. Put a new short belt in place of the old one. There is no need to remove the pulley to accomplish this. Settle the rod back into the left panel making sure the long belt is still over both pulleys. Hold the back right pulley toward the panel and tighten the set screw. Manually move the print head to the front of the printer. The gap between the black block and the silver pulley should be the same on the left and right sides of the machine. If the gap is the same, tighten the back rod by holding to rod toward the right and the double pulley toward the left panel and tightening the set screw before moving to step four. If the gap is different, loosen the front-right pulley and align the axis in step three.
  3. Manually move both sliding blocks to the front of the printer. Move the print head to rotate the pulleys until the set screw in the back-left pulley is accessible. The sliding blocks should be moving in tandem. Push the back rod toward the right which holding the double pulley to the left. Tighten the set screw on the double pulley. Grip the rod and try to move it left to right. If the pulleys are tightened correctly, the rod won't move. If the rod moves, loosen the pulley and try again. Repeat the process with the front rod, this time moving the rod to the left and the pulley to the front-right corner. Once you are finished and both rods are tightly in place, move the sliding blocks to the front of the printer again. The gap between the black block and the silver pulley should be the same on the left and right sides of the machine. 
  4. Loosen the three pulleys on the right rod. Move the rod through the back panel. Collect the pulleys and spacers as you go. You can leave the final pulley in place. Change out the short belts. Reinsert the rod replacing the pulleys and spacers as you go. Single pulley (set screw away from the back panel, with the short belt); 8mm black spacer; single pulley (set screw toward the back panel, back long belt stretched across); skewer the sliding block on the front-to-back belt; single pulley (with the set screw toward the front panel, front long belt stretched across); and 3mm black spacer. Hold the rod forward and push the two rear pulleys toward the back panel. Tighten the set screws on both pulleys, beginning with the rearmost one first. Loosen the set screw on the back left pulley. 
  5. Manually move both sliding blocks to the right side of the printer. Move one sliding block to rotate the back-left pulley until the set screw is accessible. The sliding blocks should be moving in tandem. Pull the left rod toward the front, push the back pulley toward the panel, and tighten the set screw. Grip the rod and try to move it front to back. If the pulleys are tightened correctly, the rod won't move. If the rod moves, loosen the pulley and try again. Repeat the process with the right rod, still moving the rod to front and the pulley to the front right corner. Once you are finished and both rods are tightly in place, move the sliding blocks to the right of the printer again. The gap between the black block and the silver pulley should be the same at the front and back of the machine. 
  6. Loosely mount the motors back on the printer. Put the top two screws (with washers) through the panel and the black motor spacer. The spacer should be oriented so the hook is down. Hook the short belt on the pulley located on the motor while making sure the belt stays placed on the rod pulley. Orient the motor so the cord is down. Start the two top screws. Secure the cord behind the hook and start the bottom two screws. Make sure the screws holding the motor are loose enough that you can freely move the motor up and down. Hold the motor level with the bottom panel. Press down on the center of the motor block to put tension on the short belt. Tighten the four screws holding the motor.
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  7. Manually move the print head and watch the short belt. If the belt moves smoothly, the motor is correctly positioned. If the short belt is loose or wobbly, loosen the motor and try again. 

If you experience slanting prints after working on your belts, look for loose pulleys.

X-Motor

  1. Remove the corner cable cover over the x-motor at the back-right corner of the printer. The cable cover is held in place with push fit tabs; tug diagonally on the cable covers at the top, with the bed lowered in order to remove the covers. Remove the cover while the bed is down to avoid damage. Remove the black ferrite core; it unsnaps.
  2. Raise the bed and lay the printer on its back or side. This will not damage the feeders. Remove the two screws that hold the electronics cover in place. The lock nuts on the electronics cover can be held in place with your finger while unscrewing the screws.
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  3. Unplug the wire for the motor in port "X". The motor wires are on the left side of the board.
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  4. Pull the old motor wire up into the printer through the hole in the back-right corner of the panel. Gently set the new motor in the printer and bring the cord down through the bottom panel and plug it in. At this point, your new motor should be plugged into the electronics and resting inside the printer, while the old motor is unplugged but still mounted in position.
  5. Replace the electronics cover, while being careful not to pinch any wires between the cover and panel. Screw the cover in place, holding the lock nuts in position in the electronics cover if necessary.
  6. Set your printer upright while being mindful not to let the motor slide around inside the printer. Remove the four screws securing the x-motor. Hold the motor in your hand while working to avoid dropping it in the printer. Take the motor completely out of the machine.
  7. You will need the motor pulley that is on the old motor. Undo the set screw to remove the pulley. Place the motor pulley on the new motor (set screw AWAY from the motor block). Hold the pulley so it is even with the TOP of the post. Tighten the set screw. There will be a gap between the pulley and the block.
       
  8. Mount the motor loosely using only the top two screws and washers. The black spacer should be positioned hook-side down. Make sure the short belt is on the ribbed part of both pulleys.
  9. Secure the cord behind the hook and start the bottom two screws. The motor should be able to move up and down.
  10. Press down on the motor block to add tension to the short belt. While doing so, tighten the four screws that hold the motor. 
  11. Manually move the print head and watch the short belt. If the belt moves smoothly, the motor is positioned correctly. If the short belt is loose or wobbly or making a strange noise, loosen the motor and try again.
  12. Snap the ferrite core around the motor wire in the space behind where the cable cover will be.
  13. Replace the cable cover.

Y-Motor

Before beginning work, be sure to open and use the ESD safe wristband that has been supplied for you. One end should be attached to your wrist (directly on your skin), and the other end can be attached to any of the white metal panels of your Ultimaker 3. For clarification on the purpose of any screw on the printer, please visit the Ultimaker 3 screw diagram page. Unplug your printer before beginning work.

Tools

  • 2mm hex head screwdriver

1. Remove the left corner cable cover. The cable cover is held in place with push fit tabs; tug diagonally on the cable cover at the top, with the bed lowered in order to remove the covers. You can lower the bed by applying pressure to the base plate behind the heated bed. The easier way to pull the cover out is to pull on it diagonally at the corner.

2. Unscrew the 4 screws holding the Y-motor in place. They are identifiable on the left panel by the washers between the screw heads and panel. Hold the Y-motor as you unscrew it to avoid having it fall and damage your heated bed plate.

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3. You will need the motor pulley that is on the old motor. Undo the set screw to remove the pulley. Place the motor pulley on the new motor (set screw AWAY from the motor block). Hold the pulley so it is even with the TOP of the post. Tighten the set screw. There will be a gap between the pulley and the block.
   

4. Loosely mount the motor back on the printer. Put the top two screws (with washers) through the panel and the black motor spacer. The spacer should be oriented so the hook is down. Hook the short belt on the pulley located on the motor while making sure the belt stays placed on the rod pulley. Orient the motor so the cord is down. Start the two top screws. Secure the cord behind the hook and start the bottom two screws. Make sure the screws holding the motor are loose enough that you can freely move the motor up and down. Hold the motor level. Press down on the center of the motor block to put tension on the short belt. Tighten the four screws holding the motor. At this point, your new motor should be mounted in the printer, but not yet plugged into the electronics. Your old motor will no longer be mounted, but is still plugged into the electronics.

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5. Raise the bed and lay the printer on its side; you can raise the bed by either pulling up on each side towards the back of the bed, or turning the Z-screw by hand. To prevent scratching the panel, lay it down on a clean work surface. Recommendation: keep the old motor in the left hand corner and lay the printer on its left side so it doesn’t move around. 

6. Unscrew the two screws that hold the Olimex cover on. These screws go down through the bottom panel on the left hand side. Remove the cover.

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7. Unscrew the two screws that hold the main electronics cover on. These screws go down through the bottom panel and are identified in blue on the below photo. Remove the cover. 

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8. The old Y-motor cable runs down the back left corner of your printer, behind your Olimex board, and behind the Z-motor, to reach your main electronics board on the right hand side. Locate the port on the main electronics board (left hand side) labeled “Y”. Unplug the Y-motor. This is where your new wire is going to need to run to.

9. Drop your new Y-Motor wire down into the empty corner on the left side of the printer, and pull it out through the bottom. Remove the 3 screws that hold your red Olimex board on. These screws are highlighted below. Depending on when your printer was built, you may have a flathead nylon screw in the back rear position instead of a metal screw. Unscrewing the Olimex board should allow you to move the old Y-motor cable out of the way, and run the new Y-motor cable in its place.

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10. Undo the 4 screws that hold your Z-motor in place and carefully pull the motor down an inch or so. This will also move the bed down as well; you want the motor far enough down that you can pull the old Y-motor wire out of the groove behind the motor and slide the new one in place.

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11. You should be able to totally remove your old Y-motor now, and plug the new one into the main electronics board. Tighten the Z-motor screws back into place and replace the covers for your Olimex and main electronics board. Be careful not to pinch any of the wires between the covers and panels.

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12. Stand the printer back up. With the bed lowered, replace the corner cover. If the print head struggles to move on the Y-axis when the motor has been replaced, check that the short belt is tight by pinching it between your fingers. The belt should be very difficult to pinch together if it is properly tight.

 

 

 

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