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I recently upgraded my Ender 3 V2 to use a Micro Swiss Direct Drive and extruder. with the layout change, comes a lot of cable management changes, especially to prevent the cables from getting pinched between the stepper motor and the frame at the very limits of x or z

I've started with some various cable chain things, like:

and adapted them to work for me. They're all printed in PLA, and they are a little "creaky" sometimes, or otherwise "stick" and don't freely rotate/hinge as much as I'd like.

Is there some kind of lubrication I can/should use? I tried some graphite powder spray and really all it seems to have done is make a mess and stain the links of the chain black :D

The closest thing I think I can find with some info is this Reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/comments/7d4rhi/good_lubricants_for_enclosed_pla_gearbox/

but it's from ~4 years ago. A fair amount of the things I'm finding are contradictory, as the internet always is :D

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  • $\begingroup$ The first thing that came to mind was white lithium grease, but I don't know if that would react in any way to the PLA. Maybe someone with greater experience could chime in on this. $\endgroup$
    – agarza
    Oct 14 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ I use that middle one you linked to. Did you clean up the surfaces with a sharp knife or piece of fine sandpaper and check for free movement before final assembly? If so, perhaps it depends on the particular PLA used. $\endgroup$ Oct 15 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ if knife and file just expose more rough, make printed surfaces smoother by ironing. $\endgroup$
    – Abel
    Nov 14 at 4:01
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FDM printed chain links are inherently rough. This roughness results in friction, which directly results in squeaking, creaking, and other noise as well as uneven movement as it snags.

An injection-molded cable chain is best, and you need to have the right bending radius for the cables you use.

If you need to use printed parts, including some non-printed smooth bushings in between the printed parts is the most effective way to have smooth movement.

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