Lubricating linear rails?

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Noircogi
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Lubricating linear rails?

Postby Noircogi » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:48 pm

I double-checked the instructions to make sure I hadn't missed it, and there's no info on how to lubricate the rail and carriage system.

I had the problem that after only a few hours of printing, my printer started chattering and producing very poor results. The Z tower was worst but all did it to some extent. I cleaned the rails and applied some light motor bearing oil to them and the printer now prints smoothly again. The Z tower still makes a sort of "scraping" sound in one small region (of course it's where the carriage is for the first few levels).

Were they supposed to be pre-lubed? Was I supposed to apply some lube during assembly? Am I just seeing this from running my speeds higher than most?

I could probably fix the noise by flipping the rail top to bottom, but without more documentation on the rail system, I'm reluctant to tear it apart.

kylefaucett
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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby kylefaucett » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:47 pm

I never even thought about lubrication until I was recently trying to fix a problem that was caused by the bearing sleeves. One of the many things I tried was adding lubriplate (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FJ07W2) to the towers. It didn't seem to make any improvement. I now have a strange sound when one carriage is moving in a particular area, but it seems harmless.

Since all of the sliding should be occurring in the bearings between the races, I would assume lubrication isn't necessary but could potentially cover for bad bearings. If a bearing doesn't turn easily the lubrication would help it to slide against the rail instead of rotating. Maybe that would cause some bad wear to the bearing sleeves. I would suspect this was the source of the noise I now hear except I don't think it would be so localized to a tower position.

My printer is a Rostock Max v2 upgraded with the injection molded carriages.

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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby Bones056 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:05 pm

This was a tuff one to trace.... and it was driving me nuts. I love the printer!!

Every now and then when the HotEnd would move slowly. I would hear what sounded like a linear rail squeaking. I put some light machine oil on all the rails and still had the squeak when the head moved slowly. I tired to listen for where it was coming from and was not making any progress. Then I remembered how this machine is assembled. Metal on Metal!!! Sound does some strange things when you have a machine built like this. Nothing SeeMeCNC should be worried about as I will not be dumping on them. It's a new machine. Everyone is learning about it as time goes by...

I started to really think about where the sound might be coming from. After much trial and error, I found it.. Yeaaaaa

The idler pulley at the bottom of each linear rail was the problem. The pulley was rubbing against the small circular end stop and at slow speeds would squeak. I thought I had fixed the issue but today it has come back. What I need to find is something thin enough to make some spacers so the pulley doesn't rub against anything. Kind of surprised more Artemis owners haven't had this happen to them. Any who.... you now have the fix!

Jeff Hammond

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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby Bones056 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:52 pm

20180307_093153.jpg
See the wear on both parts.. That's the squeak!!

Two of the three idler pulleys looked like this...

Went to local hardware store and picked up some small nylon washers. Had to take a file to round one of the edges down so it would fit the idler pulley bearing better. Then assembled it back up by tightening till it just becomes tight. Then I backed off a half turn. Worked out great. The small circle end stop is at the very end but doesn't seen to be a problem.

20180307_110019.jpg
Nylon washer that has been filed...

You should be able to see how I filed one side of washer....

20180307_110049.jpg
Assembled idler pulley assembly...

You should also be able to see that the small bearing was loose and had come out of it's location in the idler pulley. Was not a big deal to fix, still a little to loose for me which makes this fix worth the effort. Hope this helps anyone with a squeaky Artemis...

Noircogi
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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby Noircogi » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:47 pm

Is the scraping sound at certain speeds gone now?

Bones056
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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby Bones056 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:01 pm

I never had a scraping sound... just a very irritating squeak at low head speeds. Like when the head is going back and forth for a base layer. Gone now..

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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby JayDee » Wed May 23, 2018 1:40 pm

Hi Bones056 - I had the same squeaking issue and it nearly drove me out of my gourd! My coworkers would come into my office and ask me if I was torturing a kitten, which was especially painful as I bought my Artemis in part to be very quiet in an office environment. I was so annoyed with the thing that I couldn't stand to print anything on it and actually considered selling it.

I started off with similar troubleshooting steps - lubricating the linear rails, regreasing the ball joints, etc. Nothing helped or made any difference at all. When this squeak occurs, it's very difficult to pin down because it causes the entire axis structure to vibrate; it sounds like it is coming from everywhere. I finally isolated mine to the X axis by pressing my ear against each axis as the printer was running, and from there narrowed it down to my idler pulley just like yours. I discovered the location by pressing on the retention washer that holds the pulley in place - I found that I could get the noise to change in character and intensity by pressing on it. Bingo. In my case, I don't think the screw attaching the pulley was ever properly installed at the factory because I could rotate it indefinitely without it ever getting any tighter, indicating that it wasn't engaging with the nut I surmised must be on the other side. Sure enough, I removed the entire pulley structure at the bottom of the rail, and the nut just fell out when I did. I reinstalled it in its capture pocket, lubed up the idler with some teflon grease, and put the whole thing back together. I'm delighted to report that I'm now back to beautiful, stealthy ninja silence when printing. I actually thought of the same washer solution you implemented (although I was considering Teflon washers) and was going to try that as a next step, but was very happy to find that simply assembling the thing properly eliminated the noise.

My idler had an asymmetrical wear pattern like yours (see pic). In my case, it seems clear that because the screw wasn't tightened, it sat in the hole at some small angle because it was under constant tension from the belt, and that caused the high spot of the pulley to rub against the plastic end cap.

I hope your experience and mine will be useful to anyone else who suffers from this maddening problem. To anyone assembling the kit - these pulleys are already installed when you get the kit, so you won't catch the problem in your build unless you experience this same noise or go check all the idlers.
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rubbing idler.png

Bones056
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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby Bones056 » Thu May 24, 2018 8:00 pm

JayDee

I was beginning to think I was the only one.. ;-) with that terrible squeak!!

I thought I could get away with some lub only... Squeak came back so I opted for the nylon spacers.. Had to work on them to fit the bearing so I could tighten without locking the Idler up. Haven't had the squeak since I did the mod. Might just print me some replacements as the nylon washers are a little thick. But hey... these are still working.

I'm getting a pillow chatter every now and then. Also at slower head speeds. Lubricating doesn't seem to do anything for the chatter. Not quite sure what I want to do about it yet. Will keep this thread posted as to my fix.. if I can find one.. It also seems to happen to all axis. Not all at the same time. I had a print that had a big head move like most of the plate. So I was getting chatter on the X then the Y, then the Z. Not as annoying as the squeak by a long shot!! But you can hear it.

Jeff

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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby JayDee » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:44 pm

Good thoughts, Jeff.

I'll add this for anyone else who is facing this issue. When I complained about this to SeeMeCNC, Steve sent me some new idler pulleys which he said were of better quality than the originally shipped ones. I tried replacing them, but as you can see from the picture (newer one is on the left) they're considerably larger along the axis of rotation. I got one of them installed, but the belt was then misaligned and produced a rubbing noise that was almost as irritating as the original squeak (plus I'm sure it would have resulted in premature belt wear). I removed it and reinstalled the original.
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replacement idler too large.png

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geneb
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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby geneb » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:38 am

Did you tell him about the rubbing issue?

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Re: Lubricating linear rails?

Postby JayDee » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:41 pm

I did tell him about the noise on a few occasions (which is why he sent me the new idlers), but I didn't send a specific email after solving the problem.

I'll do that and just point him to this thread.

j.


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