Drill clonedel parts

WARNING: Drilling thin parts without proper support will result in shattering. I've been able to repair pieces with a thin layer of cyanoacrylate (super glue), but have not put these parts into use yet. Potential problems noted below.

General drilling tips

  • Divots in parts match intended drill bit size
  • Use of a drill press is recommended to maintain accuracy of the holes
  • Pilot holes are not recommended, as they increase the possibility of the larger drill bit biting into the part and shattering it
  • Use a Brad Point or Doweling bit if possible as they tend not to bind in the plastic when punching through the back of a part


General guidance on drill bit sizes for Clonedel version of SAE Prusa Mendel:
1) 5/16" for M8 bolt, smooth and threaded rods
2) 5/32" for M4 screws
3) 9/64" for #6 and M3 screws
4) 4-40 tap for set screws on pulleys
5) 5mm for pulleys on 5mm motor shafts

An alternate list of drill bit sizes (matched to the list above) can be:
1) 5/16" for all M8 bolt, smooth and threaded rod holes
2 & 3 & 4) #6 for all M4 and M3 holes, including set screws
* Optionally, you can tap many of these holes and eliminate the nuts
5) 13/64" for pulleys on 5mm motor shafts
* Sloppy, but with the set screw against a flat on the shaft it shouldn't be a problem
6) 1/8" for 3mm filament feed through Wade's extruder

Frame Parts and drill bit sizes

  • coupling
    • test fit ends on motors, one side is already snug for the 5mm shaft so no need to drill. The other side should be drilled out with bit #1 to a depth of halfway down.
    • bit #3 for divots on face
  • endstop-holder
    • bit #3
    • Slide scrap smooth rod into endstop holders to stabilize them during drilling
  • x-carriage
    • bit #3 (may not even need to drill, just press out any excess coating)
  • x-end-idler
    • bit #1 for trapped nut hole in top plate, side of bottom plate
      • NOTE: Support the back of the drill hole for the idler shaft with scrap material, or else part could snap when drill bit digs in at the other end of the hole.
    • bit #3 for aligned bottom/top plate holes (can optionally be tapped)
  • x-end-motor
    • bit #1 trapped nut hole in top plate
    • bit #3 aligned bottom/top plate holes (can optionally be tapped) and motor mount holes in bottom plate
  • y-motor-bracket
    • bit #1 for threaded rod holes
    • bit #3 for motor mount holes
  • z-motor-mount
    • bit #1 on ends for threaded rods
      • NOTE: Early Clonedel parts flickr:5487897933 flickr:5488228144 required a deep hole be drilled through the part flickr:5488229078. Along with requiring the hole to be precise, failure to clear out all plastic dust generated by drilling could lead to pressure building up and blowing out the relatively thin walls. More recent parts have two tabs with space in between to eliminate this problem. flickr:5547855623
    • bit #3 on ends meeting trapped nuts (can optionally be tapped)
  • belt-clamp
    • bit #3
  • bar-clamp
    • bit #3
      • NOTE: The small part size and large drill bit combine to place a lot of torque on this part. Recommended methods for drilling include using a wrench or other clamp to hold while drilling flickr:5487668237
      • Inserting a paint stirring stick or other expendable flat stock through the slot in the clamp
      • Slide scrap smooth rod into bar clamps to stabilize them during drilling
  • rod-clamp
    • bit #3
  • pulley
    • bit #5 for motor shaft
      • NOTE: Using a pair of pliers around the teeth of the gear is recommended both to keep fingers away from the drill bit as well as to counteract the force of the bit drilling down and pushing outward. flickr:5487785767
    • bit #4 and tap for set screws
  • frame-vertex with foot
    • bit #1 flickr:5488191310
  • frame-vertex
    • bit #1
  • pla-bushing - n/a

Insert nylon spacer into the bushing holder. You can press fit these bushings from Lowes, or hotglue in other bushings that fit your particular rods.

Wade's Extruder Parts and drill bit sizes

  • Extruder Block
    • bit #1 in side for hobbed bolt
    • bit #2 for bolts aligned with idler (can optionally be tapped)
    • bit #6 through top for filament, through bottom for mounting to x-carriage
  • Extruder Idler
    • bit #2 for bolts
  • 11t gear
    • bit #5 for motor shaft
    • bit #4 and tap for set screws
  • 39t gear
    • bit #1 for bolt

Clonedel Drilling Tips from hb

I've got a complete SAE Clonedel Mendel working from Metrix::Create parts. It was a bit of a journey, but it's working well now. You're trading money for time, make no mistake, but I kind of liked the look of the molded parts (Matt and Aimee are doing some crazy cool combinations, liked supporting a local business, and greatly appreciated their support, and wanted to start NOW.


  • There's a bit of a philosophical debate around using molded parts at all, and whether that's the true reprap spirit, which I don't subscribe to. I do subscribe to this though: since the Clonedel parts are about $50, you can afford to get a 'free' Harbor Freight (HF) drill press, compared to reprapped parts. You probably want one of these as well: Drill Press Vice. There are MUCH better versions of each available, even at HF, so choose your own price/performance ideal. Eye protection please!
  • I did many of the parts on a drill press, and the rest with Bosch hand drill. Highly recommended, I love this thing.
  • Unexpected useful tools I fortunately had or acquired: bench grinder to file "flats" on the z-rods, various hand files, cable wrap ($4 for 20 ft from Amazon), hex key wrench, vice grip pliers. Dremel with cut-off wheels (cheap at HF). This 6-inch digital caliper is indispensable, I don't think it's left my hand for 20 minutes while building/operating the reprap. This large caliper pretty fabulous, too. Leveling and measuring distances turns out to be surprisingly hard once assembly is underway. I spent 1/2 a day trying to level and get the rod lengths perfect and Duncan at Metrix did it in three minutes with that large caliper.
  • Do several practice drills on scrap they provide until you know the right speed and how to clear the holes.
  • 98% of the at Prusa Mendel Visual Instructions match the Clonedel parts. But there are a few differences. The z-couplers shipping with the clonedel are different, and x-carriage mounts are a little less substantial (they don't wrap the threaded z shaft), but still seem functional. The y-motor mount is a different thickness so you use one less nut on the threaded rod holding the bearing above it to get it line up properly. The x-carriage extruder holder appears slightly different but installs the same. The bearing holders are separate pieces and need to be epoxied in.
  • Don't try to optimize buying the metal parts 'vitamins' to the last screw. Buy a few more of everything so you don't run out at 2AM. That's no fun. Extra bears, extra washers, bolts, etc.


  • There's very few good pictures of a complete Wade's extruder. Drilling is a little tricky without a great reference. You need to decide whether you're drilling for 1.75mm or 3mm filament. I believe (not 100%) sure that you need a hobbed bolt that matches the filament you're going for. I drilled for 1.75 filament, which is the 'new' standard according to my IRC colleagues.
  • I drilled for a bearing on the side to hold the hobbed bolt, but I don't believe you need that. Try yours without it first (then update this wiki as to whether it's really needed or not).
  • I needed to drill a hole with a spade bit in the bottom of the extruder to accept the top of the MakerGear hot end PEEK tube. Before i realized that, I spent a good two weeks with the wooden mount on the BOTTOM of the x-carriage, which worked, but the gap between the extruder and the hotend entrance made changing/feeding filaments unbelievably frustrating. With a hole drilled in the base of the extruder, feeding new filaments was easier.
  • The extruder idler mount is fragile. Don't force the small rod piece that holds the bearing, file the slot away a bit until it pops in w/o putting a lot of force on the sides of the idler, otherwise you'll crack the idler.
  • I drilled idler holes about 2x the recommended diameter so it slipped on and off the Wade's bolts easily. I had a lot of hot end challenges (mostly my fault), so I've probably assembled and reassembled that extruder 100x to date, easily.
  • The hex holes that the idler bolts go into did not come out of the mold well on my parts (and others I've checked - this might be fixed in more recent deliveries). I drilled out this holes (which of course made them not hex anymore), then put some Shapelock (hot glue or even melted PLA/ABS or epoxy could work) into to reform the hex and while it was still hot, I pushed the bolt all the way in.
  • The x carriage sides where the motor and x-idler are mounted are a little weak and tended to 'toe-in'. I put a few extra large washer and a little spacer on the outside only to 'toe' it outward to compensate. I've encouraged Matt to make these thicker. It works fine now.
  • All the clips are a fragile, put a thin piece of wood inside before you start drilling, and hold them in a vice-lock pliers. They'll spin out and your fingers will be sorry.
  • Triple check you are really centering the gears before you drill. I had one eccentrically drilled gear on the y-access and experienced backlash. On the one I got 'right', I drilled with a very thin bit first and made sure it come out exactly centered. Then I came back with a thicker bit.
  • Matt and I have both left the z motors unmounted, they are floating. I'm told that locking these motor down will often over-constrain the z-mounts. Not sure if that's true or not.
  • The z-motor mounts were a continuing source of challenge. Matt upgraded the molds so you if you get the hex ones you are getting the newer ones which are better than the early 'clips'. However, I found it hard to get a tiny set screw to 'bite' properly into the molded parts, the material is too soft. Using larger (1/4") set screws fixed that. Matt used metal sheet screws which have deeper threads, seemed to work as well.
  • You'll probably want to file 'flats' on the z thread rods with a bench grinder or file so the set screws hold properly.
  • My z-rods were a little short for where my bed height ended up, I wish I'd cut them another 1/2" longer. They almost miss engaging the nuts on the x-ends.
  • The x-end takes only a single nut to hold the z-rods in. I epoxied them in with the threaded rod already inserted/aligned. Not sure if that's necessary as the threaded rods would hold them in.
  • My other hints are not particularly Clonedel specific. I built the SAE Prusa Mendel, courtesy of Prusa and Spacexula, RAMPS (which was great), motors, mechanical endstop kit, PLA from Ultimachine, a hobbed bolt from fireraisr (which was oriented a bit strangely, but eventually it worked), and Arduino Mega from Ebay, hot end/1.75mm groovemount, wood wade's mounting kit from Makergear, misc hardware from Metrix and McMaster, rods from Lowes, Wade's hardware kit, the Sprinter firmware, and an LCD 12v 5A small power supply. I originally used a 16v power supply which I got for a 'bargain' and it heated too fast and melted my first hot end. Sigh. Stay up to date on firmware changes! I use Skeinforge 4.0 and Repsnapper, and OpenScad.

Future and Thanks

  • I'd like to make the x-carriage bushings removable so I could remove the whole extruder as a future project, working with it installed on the x-carriage is a pain).
  • Not a huge fan of molded gears. I think they're doing ok now, now that I've installed them carefully, but it's clear they are degrading due to friction. I'll be reprinting this part soon with Wade's Accessible Extruder.
  • I'm on IRC #reprap as hb fairly often if you have questions.
  • Overall I had good luck with these parts, but it's my first Reprap so I have nothing to compare it to. I spent as much time on the hot end as the whole rest of the reprap put together.
  • Matt and other Metrix folks (like Duncan and Aimee) support was exceptional. The reprap IRC channel in general and especially, http://reprap.org/wiki/User:Spacexula, fireraisr, maxbots, Action68, Rick from Makergear as well. No doubt I'd still have a heap of metal/electronics/plastic if it wasn't for them.
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