Build log: 3D printer Anycubic Predator Height mod

Here I describe my steps on extending the delta 3D printer ‘Predator’ by Anycubic to 950mm z height.

The dimensions for the Anycubic Predator is originally 450mm z height, and 370mm diameter for the build plate.
The printer itself is well over 1 meter tall due to the fact it is a delta printer: the rods need atleast half a meter of space to be able to reach all corners in the build plate due to the type of movement of a delta printer. With the height mod, this printer is easily over 1,5m tall and quite heavy!

The reason why I choose the Anycubic Predator for my height mod: Delta 3D printers are more suitable for height mods. Their triangular structure and fixed build plate makes them more stable at larger heights, and they print a lot faster due to the combined effort of 3 stepper motors to move the extruder. The Predator is also standard equipped with a floating extruder drive, which makes the bowden tube a lot shorter and no need to extend it to immense lengths at height mods which would stress the bowden system a lot. The Predator also does not require any firmware or board changes to do the height mod.
My other option for the height mod, which has been done before, is the Tevo Little Monster. Similar specs and similar price, but much harder to obtain for me in the Netherlands. The Predator is also a new 2019 model which is important to get recent models since 3d printers develop so quickly.

The Predator uses custom 1000mm aluminium extrusions as the core of the 3 beam frame. These are very similar to the standard aluminium 4080 ‘C-beam’ extrusion with 40mm gap, but sport a wider 42mm gap for the gantry plates.

I didn’t know the dimensions of the Predator frame and instead winged it, which worked out for me after filing down 2mm of the gantry plates drilled holes, so the wheels would fit in the 40mm gap. It would have been much easier if i bought a couple standard openbuild gantry plates instead.

3x 1500mm Aluminium 4080 extrusions ‘C-beam’
3x 3000mm (i got 10 meters and cut them in pieces) of GT2 6mm reinforced belts
Some electrical wire to extend the wires for the heated bed and hot-end

Centerpunch and hammer
Tap and die set
Drill with HSV drills (M5, M6, M10-12)
Metal files

I had to disassemble the entire 3d printer back to the ‘starting’ point, that is, how you get the printer with the frame disassembled.
I took off all the gantry plates and belts, noted the dimension and placement of the holes in the original extrusion frame, and marked these in the new c-beams i bought.

Using my centerpunch I punched some holes at the markings, this is used so your drill doesn’t run away from the markings, especially in aluminium materials your drill quickly runs away and making your holes flawed.
I measured the dimensions of the original screws that go into the frame and make sure the drilled holes matched those. I had to use some M10-M12 drills to drill away the outer shell of the aluminium extrusions, so the bolts had better surface to be fastened (it’s similar to the original extrusions so I just imitated that)

Then on the inside of the c-beams I had to drill some smaller holes, (use one mm smaller drill than the actual screws) for the stepper motor mounts. These need to be tapped with the tap and die set, so you create threading for the screws to be fixed to. I had to make sure the stepper motor mounts fit well on there and keep the 2mm gap dimension in mind. I also took this opportunity to fit the stepper motors with dampers, to eliminate a ton of sound on this printer.

After mounting the stepper motor mounts and drilling the holes, i had to fit the gantry plates with the wheels in place. You can actually disassemble the rod mounts from the gantry plates and use standard openbuild gantry plates, but I had no time for that and decided to file down the holes that fit the wheels in place, so the wheels would fit into a 40mm gap instead of 42mm gap. This took a couple hours, but in the end it worked out great.

I had to file down the gantry plates for the idler mount as well. Then i could fit the gantry plates in place and span the belts between them. I used about 2750mm belts for each.

I mounted the new 1500mm C-beams to the hotbed and the top of the predator, made sure everything was stable and parallel too.

Last part was to extend the wires with an extra 50cm to be able to fit the extra height, since wires need to go down all the way from the top (where the electronics are), to the heated bed below, and also from the top, to the floating extruder. I kept some of the quick connectors and made sure to securely use heatshrink with every extra wire I had to add, to make sure you dont get any short circuit. I used a voltmeter to make sure that each wire was properly connected.

Then turned it on, homed it, and did a new level. The Anycubic Predator does not need any firmware changes to support the extra height. During leveling/homing however it does slow down when it reaches the original height, and it’ll take a wee bit longer to do those operations, but that’s only a very small inconvenience.