Thing-O-Matic Y Stage Assembly


Building the Y Stage should take approximately 1-1/2 hours. At the end, you'll have an assembled XY Stage ready to be inserted into a Thing-O-Matic.

Parts List

These are the parts you'll need to assemble the Y stage. All laser-cut parts should have their names etched onto them. Find and put aside these parts:

  • Laser-cut Stage Parts
    • Y Front
    • Y Back
    • Y Top
    • Y Bottom
    • Y Left Side
    • Y Right Side
    • Y Left Top Cap
    • Y Right Top Cap
    • Y Drive Rib
    • Y Idler Rib
    • Y Clamps
  • Four (4) M3x12 socket cap bolts
  • Four (4) M3x16 Low-profile socket cap bolts (they are silver-colored)
  • Thirty-one (31) M3x16 socket cap bolts
  • Thirty-five (35) M3 nuts
  • Three (3) M4x25 socket cap bolts
  • One (1) M4x50 socket cap bolt
  • Fourteen (14) M4 nuts
  • Two (2) 3/8" self-aligning bearings
  • Three (3) 624 bearings
  • One (1) stepper motor
  • One (1) stepper motor pulley
  • One (1) cork gasket (not shown)
  • One (1) idler pulley
  • 272-tooth continuous timing belt (Early May 2011 and on may be a 267-tooth belt)
  • One (1) mechanical endstop switch (not shown)
  • Two (2) 1/4" spacers (not shown)

Build it

Insert Press Fit Bearings

Slightly sand down the inside of the holes. Set the Y Front and Y Back laser-cut pieces in front of you with text facing up. Snap one bearing to the right hole of the front and one to the left hole of the back.


Careful: check that you just installed two bearings, not four (the rod on the other side will be supported by internal roller bearings you will install next).


Attach Bearings to Idler Rib

For this step you'll need these items:

  • Three (3) M4x25 socket cap bolts
  • Twelve (12) M4 nuts
  • Three (3) 624 bearings

Take the Y rib and stack it like this:


M4 bolt head + 624 bearing + two M4 nuts + Idler Rib + two M4 nuts.


The nuts should be tightened against each other to "lock" them in.


Attach Y Belt to Drive Rib

Take the 272-tooth (or 267-tooth) continuous timing belt and use the two clamps to secure it to the drive rib. Make sure it's nice and tight as clearance with the Y rods is very close.

Attach Top to Ribs

The holes will guide you, and the 624 bearings on the Idler Rib should be towards the left (the side with the elongated motor mount holes, behind the empty bearing hole).

Attach Front and Back to Assembly

The text should be on the outside. The belt will need to come through the holes on either side. Make sure it's on both sides of the drive rib.

Attach Pulley to Motor

Slide the pulley onto the motor with the teeth facing upward leaving at least 3mm of shaft visible above the pulley and secure it. If you find that you are having difficulty sliding the pulley onto the motor, sand down the shaft so that you can more easily position the pulley.

Attach Motor to Top

Put a cork gasket between the motor and wood. Attach the motor to the top using four M3x12 bolts, keeping the bolts loose. Push it all the way against the bolts that secure the 624 bearings to the Idler Rib but do not tighten down firmly. (You will be adjusting the placement of the X-axis stepper motor after you determine how much tautness/slack is in your belt.)


Attach Rod Caps to the Left Side

These are the little curved triangles with two holes in them. Use the low-profile M3x16 bolts (head is shorter than standard M3x16 bolts; they are silver-colored). From outside-to-in: it should be M3 bolts + rod caps + left side + nut. Tighten them all down.


Attach Rod Caps to the Right Side

Using four M3x16mm bolts and four nuts, secure the other two rod caps to the right side.


Insert Rods and Attach X Stage

For this step you will need both the X and Y stages fully completed along with the X rods (these are the shortest rods).

You'll see that there are two options here depending if you go with the Acrylic Build Surface or if you've made the Automated Build Platform.


Attach Left Side to the Body

With the text on the outside, attach the left side to the Y stage body. Make sure the rod caps are facing out. Double check that "Left" has low-profile socket cap bolts.


Insert the rods into the Y stage

Inserting the rods and attaching the X stage has to happen at the same time. These rods are the shortest rods in the kit.


Attach Right Side to the Body

Now that the X stage is in place attach the right side to the body.

You might have to jiggle the rods a bit to get them to fall into place with the holes on each end. Once the rods are in place go ahead and secure the right side using four M3x16mm bolts and four nuts.

The XY Stage With Wooden Build Platform

Yours should look just like this except with the type of platform you chose.

Attach X Min Switch to Right Top Cap

If you are using the Automated Build Platform use 1/4" spacers and M3x16mm bolts.
If using the heated or acrylic build platform you will need 1/8" spacers with M3x12mm bolts.
Secure the switch either way to the right top cap using two spacers, two bolts, and two washers.

Attach Right Top Cap, Idler Bolt, and Idler Pulley

The idler pulley rides an M4x50 bolt. Thread the M4x50 bolt through the top cap, then through the idler pulley with the belt looped around it. Place the bolt through the hole and install the top cap. The bolt gets two nuts on the bottom underneath after you get it all in place. Make sure the belt is around both pulleys before you move on to the next step.

Don't tighten it down too hard or you'll crack the wood.


Secure the Right Top Cap with two M3x16 bolts. The T-slot under the endstop will be empty.

Lock the nuts against each other to prevent it from vibrating off.


Attach Left End Cap

This goes over the motor. Tighten it down.

Attach Bottom

If you tightened all the bolts down already, this may be a bit hard to get on. Loosen everything a bit and it will slide right on.

Zip-Tie Stepper Motor Tail

This will help make sure that the wires stay out of the way and don't get caught under the platform while it's moving.

Tighten All Bolts

Ensure all the bolts are tight.

Finished X–Y Stage Automated Build Surface


Finished X–Y Stage with Acrylic Build Surface


Congratulations! Your Y Stage is now complete.

Next Step: Z Stage Assembly

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