May 9, 2019

LulzBot’s X/Y/Z Backlash Compensation for Printed Part Accuracy

LulzBot’s all new X/Y/Z Backlash Compensation System, a concept based on professional-grade CNC machines, uses a calibration cube to measure backlash, or lost motion in a mechanical system, to deliver exceptional printed part dimensional accuracy. This first of its kind system was developed by LulzBot and can be found on the new LulzBot TAZ Pro and LulzBot TAZ Workhorse.

What is Backlash?

Backlash is defined as the correction for the slack in a mechanical system, measured in distance (in this case, millimeters, or microns).

The drive systems in 3D printers have a certain amount of slack present to allow for movement along the X, Y, and Z axes. When the tool head reverses direction and then tries to return to to its original position again, it may be off by a few microns because of this flexibility.

Backlash Compensation: How it Works

Lulzbot’s X/Y/Z Backlash Compensation System accurately measures the parameters of the backlash value by using a low-voltage electrical signal. For all three axes, a 5 volt electrical charge is sent through the print bed and into the calibration cube, which completes a circuit when it comes into contact with either of the extruder hot ends. The printer’s nozzles then runs through a series of touch interactions with the cube. Once a connection is made, the tool head then moves away from the cube 10 microns at a time in each direction, and the printer records the number of steps needed to break the electrical connection. The printer then takes an average of all the data points, stores these values to onboard memory, and applies these calibration and backlash values to any future movements.

Learn more about our two new products featuring the innovative backlash compensation system HERE.