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This is how my Photon looks like right now:




For those who doesn't have one, the change is the rails mounted on the outside of the vertical axis. And the red block connecting the sliders on those rails and the part where the print plate mounts.   


Originally, it used to ride on a 3wheeled carriage that slid along round steel rods embedded in the nooks in the aluminium rail. 


So, what's wrong with that? 

Wel, the steel in the wheels and the steel in the rails rub, and eventually wears ever so slightly, and since the rails are so close together, even a very small movement from side to side at the carriage will result in a much larger movement out at the far end of the print plate. 

Not millimeters or inches, though, just a few microns here and there. But even a few microns will show up as a horisontal stripe on the finished print. 


Of course, you could tighten it up...   


Just remove the 4 bolts around the 'peg', and you find the front of the original carriage:


That's the adjuster. It moves the centre wheel slightly back and forth. Loosen the miniscule set screw, then use a special tool(or mutilate a fork) in the other two holes to tighten it up, then tighten the set screw again... 

It's never going to be perfect, though. Because perfectly fitting wheels on round bar would be rather horrible with regards to friction. 



The creators of this mod sell both the plate(you source the rest) and a complete kit.


I went for plate + sourcing my own parts. 


I believe there are people selling a pre-modded aluminium rail with the steel rails bolted on and adjusted, but by then we're really talking 'money better spent on the next printer'


The rails comes in different lengths, none that matches the length of the aluminium rail. 

So if you source them yourself, you'll have to cut them. And they're '440' steel, hardened. A hacksaw will not do it.(unless you want to ruin a dozen good blades and can dedicate a day to the job) My Sherline with a Tungsten Carbide bit didn't even scratch it. My Dremel 8200(rechargeable) barely cut through them with a cutting disc on one full charge. 

It's good steel...   


Then I had to drill a lot of holes in my aluminium rail. 

M3 sized holes, so I used a 2.5mm drill bit. 

This I set up in my Sherline, and clamped the rail onto the table. 

(My Sherline is Metric, so a full turn of the wheel on an axis is exactly 1mm)

This step requires precision. 

Every hole needs to be exactly the same distance from the edge, and they need to be 25mm or a multiple away from each other. There is very little room for 'oopsies'.

After that every hole had to be tapped to fit M3 bolts. 

And that's a pain in itself. Use cutting fluid. Or in a pinch, WD-40. If you don't know what cutting fluid is, this mod is not for you. 

(Tapping aluminium is actually more difficult than tapping soft steel, because aluminium so easily heat-welds to the tap... )


If you think you can do it, but are worried about slight oopsies in hole placement, drop down to a 2mm drill bit, and tap the holes to fit M2.5 bolts. That gets you a just a little bit more clearance. (M2.5 taps aren't common in tap and die sets, though, and must be ordered. And M2.5 taps breaks much easier than M3 taps.)

Or you could use a Dremel with a diamond burr to slightly adjust the bottom of the holes in the steel rails. 

(This doesn't get you much wiggle-room, though, since the holes are recessed, and you really shouldn't mess with the recess part. ) 


If you don't have a drill-press, this mod is not for you. Trust me on this. 


Now it's time to test assemble... 

And what you'll find is that the aluminium profile doesn't have a perfectly rectangular cross-section. No, it's narrower at the 'front' face than the back. 

So we need to 'shim it'(placing a thin strip of metal between the aluminium and the steel rails) with a thin strip towards the front edge. 

And add a full shim to one side because the mounting plate is too wide.(it's on purpose, because people can always add shims, but not everyone has the tooling to adjust the plate. )


I sacrificed an empty soda can for this noble purpose.   


I just wish that by now I could show a finished print, but alas... 

I'm out of lithium grease for the threaded rod. 



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