I’ve been the happy owner of a Makerbot Replicator for almost a year now. But I’ve started running into repeated problems with the X axis motor. Well not the motor itself, but the wiring harness that goes to it. The wires go through some flexing with every movement of the Y axis and with enough flexing, the copper starts to work harden and break. It’s definitely repairable but requires patience to find the break and the finesse to re-solder it and patch it up well enough.
My solution is to use a wire that’s meant to take a few million bends; A Printer’s ribbon cable.
The donor for this project was an old inkjet printer that had been relegated to the garage for the past 2 years. Inside was a 22 conductor ribbon cable, meant to last for thousands of pages and millions of flexes.
The Ribbon is essentially flat copper conductors sandwiched between a plastic support, so soldering to the pads on either end is a bit of a challenge. For this attempt, I cut the wire down to 10 conductors and soldered 5 pairs of ends together while pinned flat to my workbench.
Once everything was soldered together and I amazingly enough did not have to use my spare 5th conductor I taped up the ends of the ribbon cable with some electrical tape to prevent any shorting that might occur.
The cable seemed to be just the right width to place into the original holders for the wiring harness. I wedged it in place and reinstalled the new hybrid harness. Just a few checks to make sure that I had the proper length that could move and I tucked the remainder of the new and longer cable underneath the machine near the motor drivers.