Lifting Platform Pt. I

Difficulty

Medium

Steps

11

Time Required

X Minutes

Sections

1

The machine has linear rails and carriages that aren’t captive. That means the carriage can easily slide off the end of the rail. Should a carriage come off a rail, you risk letting loose the tiny 332” ball bearings. Take caution on working with the rails/carriages throughout the assembly process so that they don’t come off.


Step 1 - OPTIONAL

Prepare the 3 linear rails

There are three linear rails in this kit, two for the Y-axis and 1 for the X-axis. According to the manufacturer you don’t need to do any oiling or greasing prior to assembly as the units come packaged in oil. So if you want to skip this step, please feel free to do so.

However, I thought I would do some cleaning of the “packing oil” and apply known coatings and oil to prepare the rails for assembly. These next steps are what I did. I’m not an expert on this topic, and time will tell if it works for me. I’ll be sure to update this section if I find this optional step wasn’t helpful.

For this optional step, I choose to remove the carriages from the rails and yes, I had to chase down and look for some of those tiny ball bearings as they got away from me. You don’t have to remove the carriages for this step. If the notion of loosing these tiny parts concerns you, take caution to keep the carriages from sliding off the rails. Finally, if you are going to remove/replace the carriage, I believe it is best to do so with the carriage on the underside of the rail as this gives you the best visual on the ball bearings.

  • Y-axis linear rails (2x) C Level Foam
  • X-axis linear rails (1x) C Level Foam
  • Mineral spirits - for cleaning the packing oil.
  • Boeshield T-9 for coating the rails and exposed metal. (Don't use WD-40)
  • 3-In-One PTFE lubricant for the balls and rail groove.
  • Unwrap the rails/carriages from their plastic wrap. Be careful as the carriages will slide on the rail once loose of the packaging.
  • Dipping a towel in mineral spirits, wipe down the rails and carriages to remove any of the existing oil. Be sure to work the groove of the rail.


  • Apply Boeshield T-9 in a well ventilated place. (I did mine outside.)
  • Let the units dry for 12 to 24 hours.
  • After drying, apply your lubricant to the grooves of the rail and run the carriages back and forth multiple times.
  • If needed, blot off any excess lubrication. Don't wipe the oil out of the groove.
  • Again, be aware of that the carriages can come off the rails and you could loose the tiny ball bearings.

Why Boeshield T-9? A few months ago I read about this product online and it sounded impressive. I bought a can and I’ve been using it around the house to coats various things like my bicycle chain, 1-2-3 Blocks, and other tools. Thus far I’ve liked it, especially on my 1-2-3 Blocks, as once it drys the blocks have been easy to work with without getting oily fingers. Therefore I thought I would give it a go on the linear guides.



Step 2

Gather lifting platform and Y-axis parts

  • Lifting Platform Plate (1x) B Level Foam
  • Y-axis Linear Rails/Carriages (2x) C Level Foam
  • M3 x 12mm Socket Cap Screws (12x) Bag C-13
  • M3 Nuts (12x) Bag C-13
  • Remove the protective film from the panel. Clean up any edges if necessary with a file or knife.
  • Bag C-13 is packed with hardware. It appears that there may be a bag per assembly operation, though it may not follow my instruction style here.
  • Be sure to follow the 1:1 screw guide to confirm hardware sizes before assembly.



Step 3

Assemble Y-axis rails to lifting platform

  • 2.5mm hex key, 5.5mm socket or pliers.
  • The lifting platform plate is asymmetrical, look closely at the picture to ensure you get the proper orientation. There is a metal threaded insert in the top left and two end stop mounting holes on the bottom left, near the end of the rail.
  • Install one screw/nut at each end of a linear rail. Push the rail to the outside of the plate and then finger tighten the nut.
  • Once the rail is secured by the two end screws, proceed with installing the other screws. Continue to push the rail to the outside edge. The screws will look out of center in the rail mounting hole. Finger tighten at this time.
  • The goal is to have the two rails parallel to each other.



Step 4

Gather X-axis mounting parts

  • Lifting Platform Assembly (1x) previous step
  • X-axis Aluminum Linear Rail Mounts (2x) C Level Foam
  • X-axis Aluminum Cross Bar (1x) C Level Foam
  • X-axis Linear Rail/Carriage (1x) C Level Foam
  • M3 x 12mm Socket Cap Screws (10x) Bag C-13



Step 5

Assemble X-axis cross bar, loosely

  • 2.5mm hex key
  • On the Y-axis carriage, make a sandwich with the carriage on the bottom, the linear rail mounting plate and the cross bar.
  • Screw in, but do not tighten the M3 x 12mm screws



Step 6

Assemble X-axis linear rail/carriage, loosely

  • 2.5mm hex key
  • Attach the linear rail/carriage to the mounts with the remaining M3 x 12mm screws. Do not tighten yet.



Step 7

Tighten X-axis cross bar and rail

  • 2.5mm hex key, solid reference plane
  • Align the carriage and two aluminum plates up with a know flat plane. I used 123 blocks.
  • Hold the reference tight with one hand and tighten the four screws on the plate.
  • Repeat for the other side.
  • Pull up on the X-axis linear rail and tighten the screw on each side.

At this point you should move the X-axis carriage and assembly to verify that the motion is smooth in each direction. The motion may not be smooth, and this is the time to make it right. You should feel a smooth motion, no binding or grinding. The motion should be smooth from one end of the rail to the other end of the rail.

For the X-axis rail, since it is a single rail, there should be no trouble. What you want to ensure is that it is parallel with the cross bar.

For the Y-axis rails, you should feel the smooth motion. Push the assembly slowly with your pinky finger in the center of the cross bar. If you experience binding or rough motion, loosen the screws/nuts on one side of the Y-axis rail to the lifting platform and adjust the rail in or out as needed. Again, try to keep one side fixed and only adjust the other side. Also, try to keep from adjusting the screws with the aluminum plate sandwich and carriage, since those are known positions from Step 7.

As this is my first time working with small linear guides, it is hard for me to say how smooth it should be. A small jitter may exist, and it may work itself out with ensuring enough lubrication.

Once you feel confident in smooth motion, move on.



Step 8

Lock it down

  • 2.5mm hex key, 5.5mm socket or pliers, Loctite Low Strength (recommended)
  • Since these are critically positioned parts, and parts that move or vibrate, I recommend Loctite Low Strength to ensure screws and nuts don't come loose with usage.
  • First, apply Loctite to the two screws on the X-axis rail. Ensure the rail is parallel with the cross bar.
  • Next remove one screw at a time from the carriage and aluminum mount sandwich. Apply Loctite and return it. Then repeat for all screws.
  • Finally, apply Loctite to the screw thread or nut on the Y-axis linear rails.
  • Don't over tighten the nut as it may puncture the panel. You may notice the panel crater slightly when tightening the nut, this should be the sign that it is tight enough.

Perform one last check that all screws and nuts are tight. Even more so, check your motion again in the X and Y axis to ensure it is smooth from end to end. Be careful to not run your Y carriages off the rails as there are no end stops. With that done, you can confidently move on.



Step 9

Gather X & Y stepper motor parts

  • NEMA 17 Stepper Motors (2x) C Level Foam
  • GT2 Belt Tooth Belt Pulley (2x) Bag C-13
  • M3 x 8mm Socket Cap Screw (8x) Bag C-13
  • Optional labels, 'X-Axis' and 'Y-Axis'
  • Remove any plastic wrap from the GT2 belt pulleys.
  • Be sure to grab the two stepper motors that are the same physical size.



Step 10

Mount X & Y stepper motors

  • 2.5mm hex key, Loctite Low Strength (recommended)
  • The motors will hang down on the same side of the panel as the rails. Orient them such that the wire harness connectors face each other. Finally, have the motor square with the edge of the panel.
  • Use the M3 x 8mm screws to mount each motor.
  • I recommend using Loctite on the scews holding the motors.
  • Optional - add a label indicating the X-Axis and Y-Axis. Personally I think these names are a bit misleading, as this is a Core X/Y, however this will help as you work through the rest of the assembly and wiring.
  • Don't over tighten the nut as it may puncture the panel. You may notice the panel crater slightly when tightening the nut, this should be the sign that it is tight enough.



Step 11

Mount X & Y stepper motor pulleys

  • 2.0mm hex key, Loctite Low Strength (recommended)
  • Loosen the grub screws enough so that the pulley can slide on the stepper motor shaft.
  • Place one pulley on each stepper motor shaft. Note the vertical orientation. The X-Axis has the toothed portion on top, while the Y-Axis has the toothed portion on the bottom.
  • Ensure that one of the two grub screws is aligned with the flat portion of the stepper motor shaft. Also the pulley and shaft should be flush on top.
  • Snug one grub screw, and remove the other in order to apply Loctite, then replace the screw and tighten. Finally, remove the snugged screw, apply Loctite and then tighten.