PrintrBot Simple Adventures : The beginning

Wow, first post of 2014…  😯

Welcome to the first installment in the modification/alterations to the PrintrBot Simple.  The Simple is an upgrade over the Cupcake in many ways, but it does share limitations.  These limitations were something that I was going to tackle, before ultimately deciding to switch to a different platform.  But, the following limitations still do exist and I bought the Simple knowing this and hoping to improve them:

  1. Small build area
  2. Spool holder/container
  3. Faster printing speed


This was many months ago, and after having used the Simple over the little pockets of free time I have, I have made the following observations:

  1. Sometimes the firmware gets messed up.  I haven’t been able to find an answer from the forum(and trying to describe this makes me sound like a madman), sometimes, when I connect the board to the PC/Mac, it does not get recognized.  The only solution is to re-download the PrintrBot Simple firmware.
  2. I’m getting some banding on my print objects, and I suspect that it’s got to be the tension on the fishing line – either it wasn’t tight enough or the tube+sandpaper is warped(more of an oval shape than a circle).
  3. the print area is 100mm x 100mm, but it’s more like 95mm or 90mm.  On my printer, I get some weird grinding noise when the servos when I get to 100mm.


I got new longer rods to extend X, Y, and Z axis of the printer, but the problem is that it requires modification to the body(X and Y), but the Z axis is pretty much a swapping of the rods.

original in blue; new in green
original in blue; new in green
original in blue; new in green
original in blue; new in green


However, upon finishing the job, I realize that the stepper cables on the Y axis is too short to cover the range of the newer Z axis.  So, next time I’ll just get some wires to extend them.

As a bonus, I also decided to build a spool holder from PVC pipes, as that is also a job that does not require modification to the body of the printer.

pipe cutter or a saw to cut pipe!
pipe cutter or a saw to cut pipe!


basic spool holder done!
basic spool holder done!

The Simple is a very bare bones printer, very few places that aren’t in constant movement, and I felt it needed… protection?  Later on, I plan on securing the pipes such that this can be an enclosure that can protect the printer during transport.


I’ll look into completing the z axis mod, and looking to tackling the build surface expansion


2 Replies to “PrintrBot Simple Adventures : The beginning”

  1. Hi, where did you get the threaded rod from? Did it fit the original plastic nut? Did it come with a metal nut? If so how did you attach it to the body? Have you experienced any issues so far? I’m not having any luck finding the correct rod.

  2. All the rods, including the threaded rod + nut, I got from eBay seller selling rods for a Prusa Mendel 3d printer. The URL link to his store is I basically contacted him and asked him if he had any smooth and threaded rods that would fit a Printrbot Simple and he was able to give me a custom quote for the parts. I would recommend you try asking him; he was very helpful.

    As for the nut, my Simple came with a metal nut and the threaded rod fit perfectly so I didn’t have any issues.

    I have not experienced any issues with the smooth rods + threaded rods when I swapped them out, but my printer is currently offline as I’m doing a mod on the X-Axis as well.

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