Cyclops/Chimera on Prusa i3

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Initial Considerations

  • For the most part I will assume in this guide that you have a stock RAMPS 1.4 set for the electronics and a typical X-Carriage installed. As there are many variations on the Prusa i3 your system may be a little different.
  • You need to decide between a top or rear mount solution,
    • Top mount solutions typically allow you to mount the hotend on an existing i3 carriage, but you will loose a little build height if you want access to the rear grub screws.
    • Rear mount solutions typically require a custom carriage and so make it harder to quick change between different hotends.
  • This guide follows my choice to install a rear mount carriage. alternative mounts can be found at the end of the document, most of these will fit on a standard i3 carriage.

Currently I have only used this mount with E3D volcano but the spacing looks fine for the other heater blocks

Tools Needed

  • All the tools in the Cyclops/Chimera assembly steps
  • Appropriate allen keys/screw drivers/spanners for your current X-Carriage and controller board

Things to Print

  • replacement x-carriage and spacer/mount block Thingiverse.
    • I've printed both in PLA and so far have had no issues with heat in use.

Things to Buy

  • (for Chimera) Additional stepper driver and additional extruder (if needed)
  • 3xM3 16-18mm machine screws e.g. ebay
  • 6 small zip ties e.g. pound/dollar/euro store
  • (optional) if using RAMPS and Chimera and you want a controllable fan you will need the RRD fan controller
  • (optional) 2xM3 5-6mm screws e.g. ebay and 2xM3 9mm washers e.g. ebay

Note my screws seem to be imperial lengths, but I think anything in the range indicated should work fine.

Assembly steps

  • Remove your current X-Carriage and hotend from the printer, by
    • unscrewing the terminal blocks on RAMPS (top left hand corner) for the extruder (normally labeled heater 0)
    • pulling out the connector to temp 0 for the thermistor
    • remove and cable bundling and routing used
    • cutting the zip ties on the X-Carriage
  • (for Chimera - if needed) fit additional stepper driver
  • If you have more than 1 LM8UU (linear bearing) installed on each X rail slide the spares on the side opposite from your end stop (normally the Right hand side)
  • Place the zip ties in the printed carriage as shown in the picture to the left
  • Clean up the printed parts removing any strings and ensuring all holes are clear and a M3 screw can be inserted without force.

Parts needed to assemble the X-Axis carriage
  • Take your X-Carriage, spacer, heatsink and M3 16-18mm screws and assemble
    • the bars on the spacer should be vertical and face the heatsink
    • the parts will only fit one way and allow all the screws to be inserted

The assembled carriage, ready to assemble the hotend
  • Now follow the main guide to assemble your Cyclops/Chimera
    • You can insert the grub screws from the front or back of the carriage, I recommend the back if you are using Chimera or swapping to allow for adjustments without removing the fan.
    • For hot tightening the parts, I drilled a plank of wood with a 7mm drill bit and fitted the heartbreaks into it (be sure to remove all sawdust first!). This makes it easier to hold them steady when hot.

The assembled carriage, mounted on the front of the printer
  • Once it is assembled...
  • Place the carriage on your X-Axis tightening the zip ties to hold it to the LM8UU linear guides.
    • note the position of the buckle on the lower zip ties, I recommend you position it such that it is not below your carriage as there is only minimal clearance in this this design.
    • trim off excess length on the zip ties when they are tight

The assembled carriage, showing how the belt is attached at the rear
  • Fit the X-Belt to the X-Carriage
    • In most cases your existing belt should fit, I don't recommend trimming the length in case you want to re-install your old setup.
    • Take the lefthand end of the belt and make a small loop with out 4cm of length so the teeth are interlocked. place the loop around the circular post, and place the belt sandwich in the gap above the belt with a hole in it. Pull the belt tight against the post.
    • If your X-Axis does not include a belt tightener: Take the righthand end of the belt and make a loop. Insert as for the lefthand side. If the belt is loose, remove and make the belt tighter by increasing the length used to make the loop. Repeat this process until you can not longer wrap the loop around the post and insert the belt into the gap. Reduce the length of the loop by one tooth and reassemble.
    • If it does, follow the above steps with the tightener set to the minimal extent, once assembled tighten your belt. You may find you do not need to get the belt quite as tight on the inserting process as if you did not have a tightener.
    • (optional) use the 2xM3 5-6mm screws and washers in the holes provided to lock the belt in place. In most cases you probably will not need to do this.

  • If using Chimera connect the heater cables on the lefthand heater block to the top left (heater 0) screw terminal on RAMPS, the righthand heater to the 3rd from the top (heater 2) and inserting the thermistor cables into temp 0 and temp 1 respectively.
  • If using Cyclops connect the heater cables k to the top left (heater 0) screw terminal on RAMPS and the thermistor cable to temp 0.
  • Connect the hotend fan to a permanently on 12v supply (e.g. your PSU NOT RAMPS).
  • (optional) Setup the RRD fan extender.
  • Reinstall any cable management system that you have.
  • Align your X and Y endstops so that the righthand extruder for Chimera is at 0,0 and the centre extruder for Cyclops is at 0,0
  • Align your Z endstop so that the nozzle is at an appropriate height off the bed.
  • (for Chimera - if needed) fit extruder
  • connect bowden tubes.

Note that this carriage and mount holds the hotend substantially closer to the XY Axis than some others so before proceeding to setup the firmware I recommend you check the location of your Y and X endstops as well as the Z endstop.

Firmware & Software Information

I followed the advice from e3d and switched to Repetier 0.92 from Marlin, a few points to watch out for:

  • Every time you make an update to configuration.h remember to toggle between EEPROM set 1 and 2, and restart the arduino software each time.
  • I had to:
    • invert direction on all my motors, and set humming to be in the negative direction
    • change the homing order to XY and then Z
    • change the end stops to switch on "GND normally closed"
    • set max temperature to 290
    • (If using Chimera) set the offset of extruder 0 (left hand side) to -18 (or do this in your slicer)

Basic printing guidelines

I've nothing more to add beyond the generic information.

Alternative Mounting Options

I've collected the various mount options below.

Mount style Link Author Work in progress Fan Mount Grub screw access X-Carridge
Rear Thingiverse smogit N N Both Replacement
Rear Thingiverse Buba Y Integrated Front Replacement
Top Thingiverse Invent0r Y None Both Four screws
Top Thingiverse MarkBenson N None Unclear Two screws
Top Thingiverse Lenzjo Y None Both Two screws / but a carriage is also supplied as an option
Top Thingiverse JCPhlux Y None Both Two screws, includes a inductive/capacitive sensor mount
Top Thingiverse Repraph Y Available Front Two screws