Building an improved Zidex

Hi Dr D Flo. I know I’ve probably annoyed you with a lot of questions, but I hope to finish my Zidex build soon. I’m building the Z axis which should be easy, but there are no instructions on your walk-through and your video does not clearly show what parts including screws, to use. I’m not sure which side is “up” for the end plates. Do I need to tap the ends of the z axis?
I admit that I made some modifications to the Zidex, but it should have superior specs to the original. Can’t wait to put it on your forum, but I’m stuck at so many steps. I bet once I complete it, I could put together an identical one 90% faster.

The end plates are symmetric and you need to either tap the hole or use a self-tapping screw. There is a guide on OpenBuilds for putting these types of actuators together: V-Slot® NEMA 17 Linear Actuator Bundle (Lead Screw) | OpenBuilds

Excited to see your build!

yes I’ve been looking at the OpenBuilds CAD site. Impressive & very helpful.
The Zidex is progressing, but OMG, the amount to learn is astronomical!!!
For example, I’ve been watching tapping videos on YouTube. Wow, there’s an entire science behind this. I’ve bought a huge tapping set (but guess what? The M5x 8mm) was missing!). Anyway, I’m sure I’ll use the other taps & dies. I also bought tap oil and a tap guide which is a metal block to guide your tap at perpendicular angles. I also bought a crimper plus its accessories for the wire ends. The t-nuts, I discovered, are of several types and the “Drop-in” ones must not be used as they may rotate inside the rail groove and fall out.
This Zidex build is very good for me as I want the knowledge & experience. By the time I finish completing it, I think I’ll have the
confidence to go to my next improved iteration of it.
At first my goal was to just learn, build, and be happy printing out a few things etc.
Now this has changed. I want to develop 3d printers.

We’ll see.
P.S. I hope you’re not upset with all the comments I left on your YouTube site.

Oh, the BOM for Zidex is missing the nuts for the M3 x 32mm Button Head Bolts. I just 99 % completed the Mini-V gantry for the motor on the X-axis with all the bearings stacks, spacers, bolts, washers, etc. … I would not wish this on my worst enemy. It literally took me over 2 hours to get this little part done … on just one side! It’s still not 100% completed as I have to order on Amazon the missing nuts mentioned above.
Also, I discovered a way to triple the number of extruders to a total of 6, all working simultaneously. After I complete this Zidex and get it configured, I’m gonna pull apart a few pieces of the frame and add in the extra 4 extruders. It should work even though there are only 10 stepper drivers with the Duet2wifi+Expansion.
So, I’m struggling bravely and winning slowly.

There’s actually only ONE nut missing per mini-gantry assembly on the x-axis. The other 3 bolts screw into the motor as you know. Nevertheless, these nuts need to be put on the Bom. To be honest, there are several things missing on the BOM.
I’m curious, how many people have built this Zidex?

Hi Dr D Flo,
OK here’s a progress report on the Zidex build.
Right now I’m waiting for parts from China via Aliexpress. I do like the Openbuilds company and I bought everything from them that you suggested on your BOM, but I need some other parts not listed on your BOM. Also, I live in Canada and unfortunately, shipping across the US/Canadian border is more expensive than via China.
My question to you is:
Do you know what computer software was used by Stephen to design Zidex? This would help me immensely as right now, I’m trying to design my iteration of Zidex in my head. Should I just use Fusion360?

Hi there!
I was so inspired by your YouTube videos I had to try out the Zidex printer build. The mechanics and machining is superb. I’m progressing well with the build; got everything from OpenBuilds. However, I seem to be missing the STL drawing for the “Y-Axis Motor Holder (3D printed part)”, the part which attaches to one end of the C-Beam y rail. Has anyone else had this problem? Or perhaps I’m missing/overlooking something? I’m hoping someone can help me out. Thanks in advance and have a great day!

Hi Avi

I was doing the exact same thing last year that you are doing now.

I bought all the parts from OpenBuilds and Amazon. Yes, there are parts missing on Dr D Flo’s BOM list and the STL list. I believe I had to find another STL source for that Y-Axis Motor Holder (3D printed part). I may have gotten the STL for that part from the website of Stephenci who designed the Zidex. If you have problems finding it, then contact me. I will have to dig into all my parts. I may be able to mail one to you as I made “extras” of several parts.
Also, the black triangle-shaped connectors for the aluminum rods on the BOM are the wrong ones. They will NOT fit properly into the grooves of the aluminum extrusion. Do not buy them. Contact me about this for further info on where to buy the correct black connectors.

I put my Zidex build on hold 6 months ago because I am preoccupied by other things (scientific research in atomic bonds, and marathon training… I don’t know which is harder lol!)

Overall, the Zidex build is a great learning tool, but the cons outweigh the pros unfortunately. It is a very impractical design because the build plate is too small for the amount of $$ you are spending. If you try to build the Zidex larger, as I will do, it will cost extra because you have to add more aluminum frame to bolster the entire contraption from bending due to the crane design. It cost too much. In hindsight, I would have first bought a Prusa 3D printer for $1000 and started learning from that starting point with the help of friends experienced in 3d printing. I now intend on buying the Prusa this December, learning from it for a few months, and then resume my Zidex build in March 2022.

Dr D Flo has now added a much more improved 3d printer to build with all the plans. It has a cube shape, can be expanded to any size while remaining rigid, and is enclosed to keep in the heat and toxic gases. That one I will build as well, after completing the Zidex.

After I have a fairly competent level of 3d printing experience and knowledge, by July 2022 I hope, I want to go to the next level, which would be CNC machining. I’m buying a Tesla and want to create and add some very strong parts to it that cannot be made strong enough from plastic 3d printing.

Anyway, gotta go for now. My dog Alfie (a Shitzhu) wants some attention … he thinks he’s a person lol!
Keep in touch.
You remind me of myself a year ago!!!

Allan Holder---- Ottawa, Canada

Hi Allan

I hope you are doing well. Thank you very much for your response; I’m very happy to know you. I found the drawings I need on ‘StephenCi’ GitHub, thanks for pointing that out. I very much appreciate the offers of help, I’ll be sure to reach out.

I thought I’d start with the Zidex as an introduction into linear rail systems. I love the mechanics. I will want something with a larger print area in the future (I like the cube build you pointed out) but I figure the Zidex will be a good learning opportunity (albeit it expensive) into some of the more complex parts and components of 3D printing.

I also thought of purchasing a simple Prusa in the beginning as well, but I love to tinker and thought I’d go with the Zidex. The Zidex will allow me to print small and concise parts for the next set of prints I’ll need for a CNC and that cube 3d printer.

I’m a newbie with this 3d printer stuff to be honest, I built a 3D printer 5 years ago using spare computer parts (cd roms and floppy drive motors) and a RAMPS board with Arduino. It was was able to handle really small prints, until the Y access stepper motor died. So I been out of the game for awhile. Those linear rails and gantry boards were pretty to pass up! lol

It’s very much a pleasure to meet you. I’ll keep you posted on progress. Hope you and Alfie have a wonderful weekend!


Avneet Dhanowa – Vancouver Island, BC