Ender IDEX Kit: Installation Guide

Congratulations on your purchase of an Ender IDEX dual X-carriage conversion kit. In order to make installation as easy as possible the video below will take you through every step of the process.

Following that we have a written documentation which should always be the most up to date source for information, files and links.

If at any point you get stuck, have an issue or feel you need help, please contact us and we’ll be happy to provide expert help to get you up and running.

1. The Printer

This kit requires a Creality Ender 3 to work. It does not require any existing upgrades to your printer. It may also work on other printers of a similar structure but this cannot be guaranteed.

The focus of this documentation is on a standard Ender 3, however for specific differences and notes see the sections below for the Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 V2.

1a. Baseline Object

Before you begin disassembly and installation of the kit you should print an object that can be used as a baseline for comparison throughout the process.

It is advised you print a Benchy as future test files also use a benchy making it ideal for comparison throughout. You can the benchy files here.

If you are unable to successfully print with your existing printer for whatever reason, you should rectify those problems before proceeding. Issues not dealt with now that occur later will be much harder to diagnose and fix once you have also made a lot of other changes to the printer.

2. The Motherboard

This section opens the kit and handles the installation of the motherboard box and it’s 32-bit Big Tree Tech SKR board.

2a. The Kit

The kit includes the following parts:

  • Motherboard Box Printed in PETG
    • SKR Pro V1.2 Board
    • 6 x DRV8825 Stepper Drivers (pre-tuned)
    • Extension cables for all existing Ender 3 Cables (no need to touch the motherboard)
    • Cables for all new stepper drivers, hotends, fans etc. (all pre-installed, no need to touch the motherboard)
  • New Second X-Carriage
    • 3 Wheel Carriage
    • Carriage Mount printed in ABS
    • Fan housing printed in ABS
    • Hotend & parts cooling fans
    • Hotend with 0.4mm nozzle
    • Timing belt
    • Bowden tube and all other pre-installed cables
  • New X-axis Nema 17 stepper motor
    • ¬†Stepper mount printed in PETG
  • New X-axis pulley arm printed in PETG
    • End-stop switch
  • Longer bowden tube for original extruder/hotend
  • Longer timing belt for original X-axis
  • Second Extruder Nema 17 stepper motor
    • All metal extruder
    • Extruder mount printed in PETG
  • First Extruder mount printed in PETG
  • 2 top mounted spool holders printed in PETG
  • Extrusion end-cap printed in PETG

2b. Remove Old Motherboard

Before the new motherboard can be installed the existing one must be removed. Start by turning off the power and disconnecting the cable.

Now remove the lid to the motherboard box, it is held in place by 2 screws at the front and 1 at the rear. Once the lid is off you can disconnect the fan and put the lid to the side.

Now unscrew the motherboard by the 4 screws shown below.

Unscrew the 2 screws on the front of the box. Now place the Ender 3 on its side and remove the remaining screw holding the box in place underneath.

The box should come free and can be placed to one side, it will not be needed any more.

Return the printer upright. You will see the plug-in connectors are glued in place. Use a knife or other tool to carefully pick away at it.

You should take care to not injure yourself or damage the cables. Once the glue is removed it should be possible to unplug these cables.

A small flat head screwdriver can be used to release the remaining cables. Once the motherboard is free put this in a safe place as it may be useful for spares in the future at some point.

Finally, disconnect the cable to the LCD display. The new motherboard comes with it’s own display cable to you will not need this one.

2c. Install new motherboard

Place the printer back on its side and slide the new motherboard box into the extrusion where the original motherboard was. At the same time guide the cables through the gap in the extrusion behind the box.

Keep sliding it in as far as it will go and return the printer upright again.

You can not plug in all of the existing cable to their respective sockets.

The X, Y, Z and E steppers are 4 wires wide and should have small yellow tags labelling them. The endstops for X, Y & Z are 2 wires wide and also labelled with yellow tags.

There are 2 pairs of wires that come from the print bed. The thicker cables heat the bed, they also have no connectors at the end. To hook these up you will need to use the attached Wago connectors. Simply lift the arm on the empty side of the connector, insert the cable all of the way and clip the arm back down. There should be no exposed cable and if you pull it firmly it should remain securely in the connector.

The other 2 wires from the print bed is the bed thermistor than can be plugged in.

Finally, from the hotend will be 4 pairs of wires. The red wires that are slightly thicker and have no connectors at the end are the heater cartridge. These use the Wago connectors again.

The yellow and blue wires are the parts cooling fan. The thinner wires with no connectors at the end are from the hotend fan and connect with wago clips. And the remaining plug is the hotend thermistor that simple plugs in.

 

The display cable plugs into EXP3 which is the connector closest to the box. And finally you can connect up the power.

Now return the power cable and turn on the power. If all is well the printer should boot up.

You can go to Motion>Auto Home and the printer should home as it normally does, except this time with the new motherboard.

2d. Test run

Before proceeding it’s advised you run another test print. There is a benchy print on the provided SD card but you can print anything you like. At the stage the printer should operate the same as it did before you replaced the motherboard so any existing Gcode should work.

What you’re looking for here is a quality of print that is equal or better than before. You are looking to ensure this stage of the install has not introduced any new, significant issues. There will still be time for detailed tuning later.

3. IDEX

With the motherboard now installed and working as expected, this section handles in installation of the new X-axis.

Before you start pre-heat the hotend and remove the filament. Once it’s removed turn off the power and allow the hotend to cool again.

3a. Dismantle X-Axis

Start by removing the spool holder on the top of the printer.

Now undo the 4 screws holding the top bar on. Keep the bar and screws safe as you will need to re-install them later.

Using your fingers slowly turn the z-screw to raise the x-axis up. Do not turn it too fast as this can permanently damage the motherboard.

Keep going until it gets to the top and remove it.

Remove the timing belt from the x-carriage.

Now remove the belt tensioner.

Remove the screws holding the right side and left side brackets on.

Finally, remove the x-carriage from the extrusion.

3b. New X-Axis

Now the axis has been completely disassembled you can begin to rebuild it.

Take the new, longer, extrusion from the kit and identify the side with the holes spread further apart. You will also notice that on back the are much wider openings for some of the holes than on the front. Just like the original extrusion, this allows the the bolt heads to sit flush against it.

Offer up the larger left side bracket to the extrusion. You should find the bolt head fits snuggly in the hold and the remaining holes match up.

You will also find 4 silver screws in the kit. It’s advised you use these to re-attach the bracket. They are slightly longer and so make a firmer, more rigid connection.

Slide the original X-carriage onto the new extrusion. Be sure to not tangle the cables as you do this.

If you wish to use the included cable arm this can also be attached now. It should slide onto the back of the extrusion with the logo facing up. The carriage should still be able to move past it freely.

You can now slide on the new X-carriage. Again, be sure to keep the cables untangled from the box the the axis.

In the same way as you did for the left side bracket, offer up the right side bracket. Screw in only the screw closest to the centre (again, you can use the new silver screws here).

Before installing the second screw you need to install the pulley arm for the new axis. Slide it into the extrusion so that it fits snugly against the bracket as shown and the screw holes line up.

You can now install the second screw to the bracket to firmly attach everything together.

The next step is to install the new stepper motor for the second X-axis. To enable this you will need to remove the top wheel and screw from the left side bracket.

Use a spanner to hold the nut whilst you unscrew the bolt. Once removed place the wheel and 2 spacers to one side.

Push the stepper motor mount onto the bracket as you can see below until it is firmly in place and the holes line up.

Return the bolt to the hole, then one by one thread the spacers and wheel back into place. Finally add the but to the rear and use a spanner to hold it in place as you tighten everything back up.

Take the belt from the new X-carriage and thread it through the pulley arm.

Now unscrew the small tensioner block from the carriage. Holding it as shown thread the melt through the rectangular gap with the teeth facing up.

Take the plug from the bag of parts and line it up with the teeth of the belt. Slowly push the plug and belt all the way back into the tensioner. It should now be securely held in place.

Run the belt over the new stepper motor and thread it back onto the carriage.

If you look at the other side of the carriage you will see a hexagonal hole. Inside there is the nut that the tensioner bolt screws into. However, if you just screw into it the bolt will be pushed out of the hole.

To hold it in place use a large allen key or screw driver. Slide it into the hole and gently press it up against the pulley arm so that it won’t move.

You can now screw in the tensioner. Once it catches on the nut you can remove the allen key/screwdriver.

Continue tightening the screw until the belt is taught. Remember you can always tighten it further but if you over-tighten it and break something, this is much harder to fix.

The new x-carriage should now move smoothly with a little resistance from the belt.

As this axis is now wider you will need to replace the timing belt for the original X-carriage. Take the new belt from the kit and insert the pre-clipped side into the carriage with the teeth facing into the extrusion.

Feed the rest of the belt under the wheels and around the ends and back to the carriage.

Take the clip from the bag and thread the belt through the rectangular piece. Now mesh the plug with the belt as you did before. Push both back into the rectangular piece for a snug, tight fit.

Don’t insert it into the carriage yet.

Return the belt tensioner to the extrusion and lightly tighten the screws to hold it in place.

You can now insert the end of the belt onto the carriage to complete the loop.

Now everything is connected, loosed the belt tensioner screws. You need to tension the belt before re-tightening these screws.

As you can see below, you can use a screwdriver to gently apply outward force on the pulley to get it tight before re-tightening the screws.

This is just the same as when you have previously tightened the belt on your regular Ender 3.

The new X-axis is now complete. You can place it back onto the frame. Check that the cables are not wrapped around it before you do this.

As you did before, slowly turn the z-screw to lower the axis. Just like last time, do this slowly to prevent causing damage to the motherboard.

This is also a good time to push the cables into the cable arm to be held out of the way.

3c. Top Bar

This is the final part of the hardware assembly. Before returning the top you will need to slide on some parts.

Take the bar and identify the side with the larger hole openings. Face this upwards and slide on the parts.

First the new extruder with the motor towards you. Then the spool holders with the logos facing away from you. And finally the empty extruder holder in the same direction as the first.

Finally, return the end cap.

Insert the “dog bone” part between the 2 spool holders. This will keep them securely together and add extra strength.

Now place the bar on top of the printer and return the original 4 screws.

Take the pre-attached bowden tube and screw it into the new second extruder motor.

You can also install the remaining 3 cables. Split the cables apart, run the X2 endstop under the power supply and connect it up.

You can also plug in the new X-axis and Extruder steppers (the extruder is at the top and X-axis on the side).

Whilst the printer would work as it is, it’s a good idea to move the original extruder motor to the top of the frame.

This reduces weight from the X-axis (as we have added an additional stepper motor and x-carriage). It also helps make the printer look more symmetrical which is purely aesthetic.

The new extruder location is slightly further away and so needs a slightly longer bowden tube (provided in the kit).

Start by removing the plastic bowden clip at the hotend and unscrewing the tube connector with a spanner. Once it is removed, press down on the top of the connector to release it from the tube.

At the other end on the extruder stepper motor you don’t need to unscrew the connector. Just remove the bowden clip, press down the top and pull out the tube.

As you can see, the difference between the two tubes is not huge, but just enough to make a difference.

Push one end of the new tube securely into the stepper motor connector and return the bowden clip.

At the other end of the tube push it onto the connector you just removed. There should be about 3cm showing.

Push it into the hotend and begin to tighten the screw. Don’t tighten it up, just enough to catch the thread and hold it in place.

At the other end of the tube push it onto the connector you just removed. There should be about 3cm showing.

Push it into the hotend and begin to tighten the screw. Don’t tighten it up, just enough to catch the thread and hold it in place.

Now push the bowden tube further into the hotend, ensure it goes in as far as it can. Return the plastic bowden clip to the connector and tighten it down.

These last few millimetres of tightening down should ensure a nice tight fit and reduce the chance of clogs when printing.

Finally, disassemble the extruder assembly. You can see below the stock setup but this may look a little different if you have upgraded it already.

Hold your hand under the motor as you release the last couple of screw of else it will just drop out.

Now move the motor and assembly to the empty extruder mount at the top. Point the bowden tube out towards the front of the printer before installing and tightening all the screws.

You can also install the cover plate to the extrusion at the front.

Before you move on to printing you should check the eccentric nuts on both the Z and X axis. As you can see this can be done with a spanner.

Slowly turn the nuts and you should feel it get tighter or looser (depending on the direction you turn it). You want to ensure they are nice and tight, so there is no wiggle at all on either axis.

If these (or the other eccentric nuts) are not tight you will get a lot of movement during printing and noticeably poor quality prints.

4. Calibration

Now that the hardware is complete you can calibrate and test your new IDEX printer.

Before turning it on you will need to update the firmware. The existing firmware is only set for a single extruder.

To do this remove the SD card from the printer and insert it into a computer. You will see a file called “IDEXfirmware.bin”. Rename this file to “firmware.bin” and reinsert it.

When you power on the printer now it will see this file name and install the new firmware onto the printer.

If you would like the latest firmware or have special requirements (like a wider original extruder) you can see and download everything pre-compiles here.

Once the firmware has installed and the printer booted successfully it’s a good idea to start with homing.

On the LCD go to Motion>Auto Home. Box X-carriages should home to their respective sides.

4a. Levelling

As with all 3d printing, a level bed is vital, this is even more true with IDEX printing.

By this point you have dismantled a lot of the printer so you should start with a basic paper levelling. Home the printer and move the first x-carriage over each screw of the bed.

Place a piece of paper under the hotend and adjust the respective screw until it just catches the paper. At this stage it is better to be slightly too high than too low.

After you’re happy all 4 points have been roughly levelled run the “Extruder 1 levelling squares” print on the SD card.

This will print a square directly over each screw. Carefully watch as each is printed and fine tune the screw for a nice, close and even print.

The squares should look something like this (depending on your filament). Nice and even, well squished but not too close.

Repeat this print multiple times if you need to until it’s perfectly levelled. The better you do this, the easier all of the subsequent steps will be.

You should also notice that despite adding a second independent X-carriage you have not lost any print volume for the first hotend.

As both hotends share a single X-axis we cannot adjust the bed for the second hotend, it will mess up the first hotend which is now nicely level.

Instead the new X-carriage has a screw that can be raised or lowered to get it perfectly in line with the first hotend.

Once again, start with a paper levelling. Push the new hotend over the closest screw and push a piece of paper underneath. Using an allen key as show below, insert it into the hotend and slowly adjust it until it just catches the paper.

As you are just adjusting the hotend this only needs to be done at a single point. If the bed is truly levelled, the second hotend should now be ready to print.

Run the “Extruder 2 levelling squares” file from the SD card. Much like the first one it will print 4 squares on the bed. However, this time the left side will stop a little short as the first extruder is in the way.

As the first square begins to print watch it closely. Insert the allen key back into the carriage and gently adjust it up and down for the perfect print. Don’t press down too hard as you will impact the print.

If you have levelled the bed well and everything else is working correctly the remaining 3 squares should print great without needing any further adjustments.

4b. XY Offset

Now that the bed is level for both X-carriages the last remaining task is setting the XY Offset.

You are basically telling the printer where both hotends are in relation to each other so that they can print prefect 2 colour models.

Start by running the “XY Offset” print file.

In the example below you can see that the first extruder printed in red and the new, second extruder printed in black.

The two crosses should be perfectly inside each other. Measure the difference in the X (left to right) and Y (front to back) directions.

If the new second hotend is too far forward and needs to move backwards you should take away from the existing value. If you need to move it forward you would add to the existing value.

In the same way, if the new hotend needs to move right you should take away and left, you should add on.

Once you have measured the differences in millimetres go to Configuration>Tool Offset. You can then edit the values in millimetres for the X and Y offset.

When the values are updated scroll to the bottom and select “Save Settings” to store the new values and ensure they don’t reset when you turn the power off.

After you update the values you can rerun the “XY Offset” print again. You should find the alignment is much better.

If it can be improved further measure the differences again and update the values in the same way.

You can repeat this until you’re happy with your offset settings. If you don’t plan on running many 2 colour prints this offset if not as important, it will have no impact on Duplicate, Mirror and other print modes.

4c. Mirror & Duplicate Mode

You’re now ready to print. A good place to start is running some of the demo files on the provided SD card.

Start with the “Mirror Benchy”. This prints 2 benchys at the same times in perfect mirror of each other.

This mode is ideal for 2 mirror parts, they can be printed at the same time and half printing time. You can also use duplicate mode to print 2 identical objects at the same time.

4d. 2 Colour Print

The best 2 colour print files to start with is the “Extruders” file. This is relatively fast and does not require a purge tower.

When you run this file, it is not unusual to get a tiny bit of extruder skipping every now and then. This will be caused by very time differences in layer heights between extruder 1 and 2.

However, if you are getting a lot of skipping this means that hotend 2 is too close to layers printed by hotend 1. this can be fixed by turning the screw very slightly to lift up the hotend a tiny amount.

Remember, when you’re dealing with layer heights of 0.2mm or less, even the tiniest adjustment of this screw can make all the difference.

Similarly if you the second hotend if printing too high you can lower it slightly.

The SD card includes some other test files you can try. The most challenging is the 2 colour benchy.

The cabin section especially contains lots of very tiny pillars. Poor quality filament, the wrong temperature or retraction settings can cause this to fail.

Don’t lose heart if you struggle with this print, it is very challenging. Especially as the model was not originally designed to be printed in 2 colours, you will see a lot more success with 2 colour models designed from the ground up.

5. Appendix

5a. Ender 3 Pro

Coming soon…

5b. Ender 3 V2

Coming soon…

Close

Sign in

Close

Cart (0)

Cart is empty No products in the cart.


Currency