This article is dedicated to all the owners of Tevo Tarantula, or who is interested in buying this printer and wants a preview of what are some great upgrades to achieve excellent print quality. Have you finished mounting your Tevo Tarantula? Well now it’s time to improve the print quality.
If you are serious about making some upgrade, or you will convince yourself by reading, or you are passionate about 3D printers: I recommend you also read the article that describes the tools and accessories essential for the maintenance of your printer.
FIRST UPGRADE: Box for electronics and power switch.
Electronic box – Required materials:
All links are open to allow you to decide both the color and the material of the components, in addition to the colors to match you can also opt for nylon for screws and bolts.
On Thingiverse you can find the project for the Electronics Box. In my opinion a necessary upgrade that serves both to make the printer more functional and comfortable and also more beautiful and tidy.
Once you have printed all the parts that are in the project just join them very simply with the screws, and then install the board.
I didn’t think to add a Mosfet, but this project can easily contain it.
Power Switch – Required Materials:
A serious flaw of the Tarantula is the fact that it does not have a switch for switching it on and off. This can be an opportunity to remedy this as well. Here’s an access point for the power supply to place a power switch. Following Thingiverse’s project it will be very easy to install this great improvement.
Personally, I didn’t adopt this system, I built myself a box in plywood, more spacious, able to accommodate the board, the power supply and with a socket (housewife) to turn on and off the printer. I tried to gather all the electrical and electronic components in one place.
SECOND UPGRADE: Connecting ring nut
If you print for a long time with this printer, you will soon realize that many of the electrically powered parts of the hotend are wearing parts, and as such will need to be replaced: in particular I’m talking about the temperature probe, heating cartridge, hotend fan and layer fan.
The main issues related to this will be the constantly short wires and going to get your hands on the board every time!
This is easily avoided if we add to our printer a mammoth, with the number of outputs that interest us, here in the picture you can see my solution but there are several.
Added this accessory on the frame of the Tevo Tarantula will be very simple to go and replace the faulty part by simply unscrewing 2 screws! This is one of those upgrades that make you “turn”, at a ridiculous price.
I also recommend joining the electrical test leads, to make sure that the wires are well connected. It can happen that some connections only with the wire is unstable, for example the temperature sensor wires, given their very small size.
THIRD UPGRADE: Dual Z axis
- 1 GT2 closed belt 900mm.
- 4 608 Bearings
- n. 2 400mm “lead screws” (Trapeze Bar) of 8mm pitch 2mm, with attached bronze screw. Particular attention must be paid to the purchase of this component, most sellers market the screw with 8mm pitch (a full turn is 8mm, compared to 2 of Tevo printers). For this reason I recommend you to buy 2 anyway and in case you get the step 8, don’t worry, just change the motor steps inside the firmware (which must be changed anyway – the link is in the background to the description), from 1600 to 400 and you’re done.
- n. 2 8mm pulley with 20 teeth
- n. 1 5mm pulley with 20 teeth
- n. 2 Smooth pulley of 16mm diameter
- 2 M5 screws 25mm long. They can also be longer.
- 2 Nylon spacers.
- n. 10 M5 washers, I have not used 4, but it is right to have a little more.
- 2 Self-locking M5 nuts
- Original Z-axis motor – you have it
- No. 4 x M3 screw to anchor the motor (You should recover them from the original motor).
- n. 8 M3 screw 20mm long and M3 nuts, to install the bronze screw of the trapezoidal bar.
- No. 50 (At least) 10mm M4 screws and 50 “T Nuts” (hammer nuts). I recommend at least 6 screws with bolt each corner and motor stop, 8 for low center and 2 for the 2 Y-axis stops. The total is 42, but more it is better than less.
- Optional n. 2 8mm locking collar. Used in case you have the problem of the Z wobble and you can not set up the printer properly.
- Optional n. 8 wood screws m4 15mm long. These screws are used to fix the printer to the wooden board written underneath.
- Optional n.1 Multilayer wood board coated 40×40 minimum. Fixed the printer to this board of coated plywood it will be much more stable and with less vibration. You can also decide to fix the printer to a desk or a larger table, it is recommended to go to the stre below the house and get the table cut to the desired size.
All links are to Aliexpress, as it is the platform where I was able to find all the components. If you want to buy something faster you can also use Amazon, but unless a recent re-design of the catalog you will not be able to find everything unfortunately.
This upgrade is by far the most laborious and complicated to implement, but it is also the one that will give the best results in terms of improving the prints. It consists of many printed and purchased parts. This improvement allowed my little Tarantolina to achieve excellent print quality.
On Thingiverse you can find the complete project for the doubling of the trapezoid bar, I relied on this project as I consider it the best and most complete. Following the link you can download all the STL to print. In total you will manage with about fifteen hours of printing, depending on the height of the layer.
You don’t need any particular recommendation except that you have to print the pieces separately if possible, because if the low angles require supports all the others don’t, and therefore you can set this difference.
- https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1458534 Take just central piece and small one for ahead and back
Of course, you must print out all the necessary parts before you start making changes. The only thing to pay special attention to is to try to align the brackets in the best possible way. Insert the bearings in the relevant spaces, they should fit well, although it may be necessary to pass them with sandpaper, depending on the dimensional accuracy of the printer and filament.
First insert the engine mount with the screws, otherwise you will have to reassemble one of the 2 latches of the trapezoid bar.
Then add the brass nut to the Z supports. Use the M3 screws and nuts to secure it securely. Attach the pulleys to the 8 mm bar at the end of the screws (outside the frame) and tighten the screws. Insert the conductor bars through the upper bearings, then insert the Z nuts, then push the screws into the lower bearings. If you use recommended 400 mm screws, it will be the perfect size and we will not have any overhanging. I added a 10 cent euro coin at the bottom of the lower bearing housing to make sure that the threaded rod does not fall below the limit over time. Attach the bearings of the bronze z to the X axis.
It is better to leave all the screws loose until everything is in place and pull once you have verified that everything is apostolic.
To verify that the x-axis is perfectly flat you can remove the plate from below and place the axis on two objects that we know have the same size (you can use 2 cans of beer, which will be fine even after you toast to the company!). To level the x-axis and make it rest on the 2 objects you have to rotate the “leadscrew”.
At this point you can also tighten the screws that weld the motor mount and connect it to the frame. Position it as centrally as possible. Add the pulley to the motor and try to level it with the pulleys on the screws, at the same height. Push the M5 screw through the hole for the “neutral” pulley. Add the nylon spacer, then add the washers (2 for each). Finally put the pulley and add the final nylon nut. These must also be checked for height against the other pulleys.
You may need to add or remove the washers to get the correct heights. If everything is correctly positioned we can add the belt at this point. Once you have checked that it is positioned flat on all the support points, you can insert the motor with its pulley, tension the belt and then fix it. Try to move the belt to check that it runs free, and if it does you have finished!
With this configuration it is necessary to make a change to the firmware, and reverse the direction of the motor Z for it to work properly. This is the only change that needs to be made.
Once all these operations have been completed, it is time to fix the printer to this coated plywood board, it will be much more stable and with less vibration. You can also decide to attach the printer to a desk or a larger table.
If the alignment is not perfect, this conformation can give rise to Z Wobble. In case of this problem, all you have to do is remove the 2 bearings located underneath and fix the trapezoidal bar with a special block, the locking collar.
This operation is very simple, it is a matter of anchoring the Leadscrew at the top to ensure that it does not fall by removing the bearing underneath. You will have to remove the pulley, thread the collar and tighten to the desired height, and then reinsert the pulley. The collar will not allow the bar to “fall”. The Leadscrews suffer a lot from 3-point harnesses if they are not perfectly in line and give problems. Removing a fixed point totally eliminates this kind of problem. Here is the photo of a similar system, if you have any doubts on how to do write in the comments!
You must reverse the direction of the Z motor in the firmware for it to work properly. This is the only change you have to make unless you have changed the pitch of the Leadscrew. In this case you will also have to change the motor pitch, in this case you will also have to change under Configuration.h. By scrolling you will find the motor pitches that typically for the Tarantula are indicated as follows: (400,400,1600, ……) These are the values (X,Y,Z,E). The value that interests us is 1600 (the Z), which if we had a bar step eight (4 times steeper than 2) should be divided by 4 and then become (400,400,400, …).
I understand that this is difficult and could scare the less experienced but if you trust me I guarantee that it is not so difficult. In case you can also turn to the Italian Facebook group of printers Tevo, where you will find many people to help you and the various firmware already modified for each occurrence between the files of the group!
In case of doubt do not hesitate to comment!
FOURTH UPGRADE: The fanduct for the Layer fan
The layer fan is an essential option for successful PLA and PETG printing. Its function is to quickly cool the extruded material to ensure that the model does not deform due to slow cooling. The Layer fan is connected as shown in the diagram and is identified as a Vortex flow fan. It must be connected to the FAN outlet as it must be able to be controlled by the slicer and switched on, off and adjusted as required.
There are basically 2 schools of thought both valid, the flat fan and the radial one.
- Here is the FANGS fan for the flat fan, to be anchored to the extruder fan
- If you’re a fan of the radial fan, here’s the FANDUCT project for you.
I opted for the second version, but since 2 radial fans seemed excessive to me I cut off the right fan support. I have to say that this design, as simple and clean as it is, is not perfect. The mouth from which the air comes out in fact hits the heating cube, cooling it and sending the printer in error. There are 2 ways to solve this tiny problem.
1 – Buy a silicone “Cover” for our heating cube (Check the measurements!).
2 – Cover the upper part of the mouth with a little insulating tape, in this way the air will only hit the plate.
There would also be a third way, which is the re-determination of the PID, but I would advise against this solution for a problem induced by us.
FIFTH UPGRADE: Various small upgrades
Here are some more upgrades to print that can be very useful.
- Belt Tensioners
- Wheel to adjust the plate. It may not be accurate, it depends on the dimensional accuracy of your printer and how the filament behaves, print 1 and try, you can make small size changes from slicer until you find the perfect size!
- Dustproof wire cover. Practical hole cover that prevents dust from accumulating in the folds of the aluminium profiles, making the printer more eye-catching.
SIXTH UPGRADE: Replace acrylic with aluminium
Let’s face it, nobody likes acrylic pieces, they’re not rigid and they break easily. Just pull a little more on the screw and bam! That’s the damage.
To strengthen and professionalize our Tarantolina certainly a good thing to do is replace the acrylic parts with solid and durable aluminum. On the TARALU website you can find the complete kit to transform the Tarantula into full aluminium at prices that are anything but prohibitive.
The only negative note is that you will have to practically reassemble the entire printer to make the change, if the thing sptaventaventa you can also replace a few pieces at a time, slowly!
SEVENTH UPGRADE: Printing bed
The original Tevo Tarantula bed is anything but perfect, it can be shipped or have other defects. But all this can be easily overcome.
We can equip ourselves with borosilicate glass, resistant to high temperatures. This glass is 21×20, so it will not cover the entire area of the plate, it will still be large enough to be fixed easily. Another solution is to have a normal glass 4mm thick and 22 cm x 22 cm, which will still withstand a lot of time to 100 degrees of the bed for some time, at a much lower price.
The best way to fix the glass to the plate is through spring clips, these are long enough to anchor even the reduced plate in borosilicate!
But if you really want to turn, you can buy the Ultrabase bed directly! We discussed this plate in depth in the review of the Anycubic I3 Mega and all its excellent properties. It happens to be compatible with the Tarantula one. Here again we point out the negative note, this bed is not compatible with magnetic level probes, but if you still want to use a level probe do not despair, but read the next point!
EIGHT UPGRADE: Touch sensor
If you want to use glass or ultrabase and still use a sensor for the level of the plate, you can opt for the
BLTouch, original or not.
This sensor does not detect the metal but simply a plane, which can be of any material.
To install this sensor you will need to make changes to the firmware, so I invite you to contact the Italian Facebook group of printers Tevo, where you will find firmware already modified ad hoc.
Just download and print an arm to support it. I suggest you to download my arm from Thingiverse, as it is compatible with both the fanducts I presented as a fourth upgrade. In the model you will also find various thicknesses for the installation.
Here is a picture of how this sensor should be installed on the motherboard of the tarantula, if your was slightly different know that the 3-color plug should be inserted on the servo input 1 in the order of colors as in the picture (in some cases you will have to unplug the plug and redo it in the right order. The 2-output cable must be connected to the Z endstop output.
To physically mount the sensor you have to touch the nozzle on the plate and bear in mind that the plastic part of the lower sensor (not considering the metal rod) must be mounted 8 mm from the plate. You can refer to a stack of washers up to 8 mm and secure them with tape for them to be together. Place the sensor there, with the metal rod inside the washers, and add the shims (present with the arm model) until you get a perfect fit. If you have any doubts write them down in the comments!
You can buy the Tevo Tarantula HERE!
And with this closes the series of 8 upgrades to do on the Tevo Tarantula, if you have made others that you find interesting or want to propose some integration or correction write it in the comments! LET OPEN SOURCE FLY!