Check for play on axles

The four X and Y axles are locked in place by pulleys. It is possible that one or more of the pulleys will loosen over time, which can alter their position. If this is the case, there could be play on the X and/or Y axles which in turn will lead to issues with print quality.

It is recommended to check for play on the axles at least once every three months.

Start with the right Y axle. Place the print head in the back-left corner to keep it out of the way. Hold the frame of the Ultimaker 2+ with one hand and firmly grab the right Y axle with the other. Attempt to move the axle forwards and backwards; do not be afraid to apply too much force.

Move right Y axle

Repeat this for the other axles; move the X axles side to side and the Y axles forwards and backwards. Make sure to move the print head to the opposite side each time.

The axles should not move at all. If one of the axles does move, you can observe a ticking noise of the pulleys hitting the frame. In this situation, it is recommended to calibrate the print head.

Calibrate the print head

The print head shafts should be perfectly perpendicular to the X and Y axles. This ensures that the movement of the print head is accurate. If the print head shafts are not at a 90º angle, it can lead to print inaccuracies.

If this is the case, or if you are experiencing play on the axles, it is recommended to calibrate the print head.

To perform this procedure, you will need to use print head calibration sticks. These are a set of tools that can be 3D printed. Download the STL or the gcode here.

Caution: Make sure the Ultimaker 2+ is turned off before starting this procedure.

1. Loosen all the pulleys

  • Use a hex screwdriver to loosen the set screws of all the pulleys. (There are nine in total)

Loosen all the pulleys

2. Tighten pulleys on the X axles

  • Make sure the X axles are in the middle of the bearings.
  • Push the double pulley in the back-left corner against the frame and tighten the set screw.
  • Push the pulley in the front-right corner towards the frame and tighten the set screw.

Tighten double pulley back-left corner 2
Tighten pulley front-right corner

3. Tighten pulleys on the Y axles

  • Make sure the Y axles are fully inserted into the front panel.
  • Push the pulley in the back-left corner towards the frame and tighten the set screw.
  • Push the two pulleys in the back-right corner towards the frame and tighten the set screws.

✔ Tip: Check for play on the Y axles after tightening these pulleys

Tighten pulley back-left corner
Tighten pulleys back right corner

4. Use the calibration sticks - back X axle

  • Place the print head in the middle of the printer and place the calibration sticks around the back X axle, one on each side.
  • Move the print head to the back until the set screw of the back right pulley is visible.
  • Click the print head calibration sticks around the print head shaft and make sure that it falls into the same notch.
  • Push the back-right pulley towards the frame and tighten the set screw.

Place the calibration sticks
Click the calibration stick on the shaft

5. Use the calibration sticks - front X axle

  • Remove the calibration sticks from the back X axle and place them on each side of the front X axle.
  • Move the print head to the front until the set screw of the front-left pulley is visible.
  • Click the print head calibration sticks around the print head shaft and make sure that it falls into the same notch.
  • Push the front-left pulley towards the frame and tighten the set screw.

Place the calibration sticks on front X axle
Tighten front left X pulley

6. Use the calibration sticks - right Y axle

  • Remove the calibration sticks from the front X axle and place them on each side of the right Y axle.
  • Move the print head to the right until the set screw of the front right pulley is visible.
  • Click the print head calibration sticks around the print head shaft and make sure that it falls into the same notch.
  • Push the front-right pulley towards the frame and tighten the set screw.

Place the calibration sticks on right Y axle
Tighten front right Y pulley

7. Use the calibration sticks - left Y axle

  • Remove the calibration sticks from the right Y axle and place them on each side of the left Y axle.
  • Move the print head to the left until the set screw of the front-left pulley is visible.
  • Click the print head calibration sticks around the print head shaft and make sure that it falls into the same notch.
  • Push the front-left pulley towards the frame and tighten the set screw.

Place the calibration sticks on left Y axle
07.2_Tighten-front-left-Y-pulley

8. Check the print head movement

  • Remove the calibration sticks and place the print head in the front-left corner.
  • Move the print head diagonally towards the back-right corner.
  • Now move the print head diagonally from the back-left to the front-right corner.
  • If the movement is smooth, the calibration was successful. If not, repeat the process.

Move the print head around
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