How to replace MakerBot endstop cable. Source: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock.com
How to replace MakerBot endstop cable. Source: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock.com

How to fix your MakerBot if it doesn’t recognize the endstop on the X axis.

The symptoms

  • Your MakerBot doesn’t seem to recognize the Home Axes when starting prints.
  • When the extruder reaches the right-rear corner of your 3D printer, you hear a grinding or loud clicking noise.

If your MakerBot is experiencing these symptoms, there’s a good chance the endstop cable has a short. The symptoms may be intermittent as first and progressively get worse over time. The cable bends back and forth as the gantry moves forward and backwards. Over time, this can cause the cable to short.

Testing the endstop cable

You can test the endstop switch by manually pressing the switch. If the red light comes on, the switch is working (Figure 1). But if the signal that the extruder has reached the home position isn’t relaying, the problem likely is with the wiring.

MakerBot Endstop Light

Figure 1

You can also try this test; move the extruder to the front-left corner of your printer. Then, on your MakerBot, select Utilities > Home Axes. Before the extruder reaches the right-rear corner of your printer, manually push the endstop switch. If this doesn’t stop the extruder and the red light comes on, you probably have a short in the endstop cable.   

Don’t continue to print until you get the issue resolved as this may further damage your MakerBot.

The fix

The good news is this a fairly easy fix though it does require some time and few steps. The first step is to get a replacement endstop cable. Email MakerBot support (support@makerbot.com) explaining your problem. They can send you a new endstop cable.

Once you receive your cable assembly, follow these steps to replace the endstop cable on you MakerBot Replicator 2:

Remove the filament. Note: This isn’t necessary but we found the extruder is easier to move without the guide tube and filament attached.

Turn off and unplug your MakerBot.

Carefully tip your MakerBot on its left side.

Use the 5 mm hex wrench to remove the six bolts that hold the right side pane. (Figure 2).

Remove MakerBot Bolts

Figure 2

Remove the right side panel.

Use the 2.5 mm hex wrench to remove the four bolts that hold the bottom plate in place (Figure 3).

MakerBot Bottom Plate

Figure 3

Remove the bottom plate.

Use a pen to remove the tube that holds the X cable in place (Figure 4).

MakerBot Endstop Cable Replacement

Figure 4

Carefully snip the zip ties that hold the X and Y cables in place (figure 5).

Pay close attention to how the X, Y and Z cables run so you can later replace the cables.

Unplug and remove the X, Y, and Z cables. Take your time and be careful so you don’t damage your MakerBot (Figure 5).

MakerBot Endstop Repair

Figure 5

Unplug the cable assembly from the motherboard (Figure 6).

MakerBot Motherboard

Figure 6

 On the new cable assembly, the X, Y and Z should be labeled. If the cables are not labeled, label them. Hold the cable up by the main, white plug. The shortest cable is Z, the middle cable is Y and the cable on the other side is X.

Plug the new cable into the motherboard.

Thread the Z and Y cables through the back-right corner of the frame (Figure 7).

Thread Endstop Cable

Figure 7

Thread the X cable through the front-right corner of the frame (Figure 8).

Thread Endstop Cable

Figure 8

Replace the X, Y and Z cables using the clips to hold them in place.

Plug the X, Y and Z cables into their corresponding sensors.

Replace the three zip ties. The cables are easier to thread through the eyelet if you bend them in the shape of a hook (Figure 9).

MakerBot Ziptie

Figure 9

 Replace the metal tube that holds the X cable in place.

 Ensure the X cable has enough slack so the gantry can move without pulling on the cable (Figure 10).

MakerBot X Cable

Figure 10

Replace the right side panel.

Use the 5 mm hex wrench to replace the six side panel bolts.

Use the 2.5 mm replace the left bolts on the bottom panel; do not tighten. This will help hold the panel while you put the right bolts in.

Hold the bottom panel in place.

Replace the right bottom panel bolts

Tighten the four bottom panel bolts.

Carefully tip your MakerBot upright.

Plug your MakerBot in.

Turn you MakerBot on.

On your MakerBot, select

Utilities > Home Axes

to test if replacing the X Y Z endstop cable assembly fixed the problem.

After tipping your MakerBot on its side and moving things around, there’s a chance the build plate may have shifted. We recommend leveling the build plate after replacing the X Y Z endstop cable.