PLA Replicator Ducted Fan Clips Modded

by thruit00, published

PLA Replicator Ducted Fan Clips Modded by thruit00 Nov 26, 2013
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This is just a slightly modified version of funbarts great idea: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40524

It also requires to turn the fan blowing direction by turning the front fans.

Depending on your installed fans you might also have to print the shorter washers from funbarts thing.(Not required for me)

It's outlet is designed to directing the air a little more to the printed model instead on the upper part of the nozzle.

I made the fan collector cap a little wider and a little longer to allow removing the protection grill and almost fetch all air comming from the fans.
The duct itself is not as deep as the original to make sure there is a small gap of 5mm to the front of the printer in warming up possition.

Basically the clips give pretty good results when doing fine PLA prints without the need of an addtitional cooling fan.

For printing material like ABS they have to be removed!

V2 Update requested by user laird to match his needs and nozzle calibration: Bottom duct is 1.8mm less high. Back has a bridge wall and air outlet is modified a little to compensate the higher position of the duct bottom. Did my successful test print with ABS, 0.1mm layer hight, 1 shell and 100% of infill. Unfortunately black is not the best color to take a picture of. Of course PLA filament is fine for this print, too, but then you should use a temporary active fan to print these thin walls and bridges successfully.


I printed it with:
0.1mm layer hight
2 shells
100% infill
NO support (bridging worked well for me with temporal actiive cooling)

Make sure you didn't forget to reverse the fans by 180°!

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I used these to help me print your active cooling V2 for Flashforge. I must say active cooling on ABS, I never thought to try it but it as to be the nicest print I have ever produced, looks almost like injection moulded, really clean edges, super tidy bridging and not a curve out of shape. Thanks. If the active is even better I can't wait to try it.

Mar 11, 2015 - Modified Mar 11, 2015

I would take the negative comments with a grain of salt and try this thing and then judge for yourself. In my case it works well as you can see from the pictures posted with the one that I made. I have not experimented with it and bridging yet but it does make a distinct difference with details.

Doesn't seem to work worth a damn. Flipping the fan around and applying this thing just causes all the air to be pushed backwards into the heat sink and ends up coming out through the fins in the heat sink. The fan is facing out to blow air into the duct but all the air hits the back of it and comes out through the heat sink instead of going down to the extruder. Can you make a new one for me that covers the heat sink side and maybe is a square instead of a circular shape so it covers the whole fan forcing more air down instead of letting it get out of the small gaps between things?

this does fit a duplicator 4 quite well, i just attached one to mine last night... printed one, then attached it to print another one. the bridging was pretty rough on the first one... but after i attached it the bridging on the second was much better. and now that i dont have a lot of sagging plastic in the airway i'm sure it'll work even better. thank you for sharing this design. so much easier than trying to figure out how to wire a dedicated fan for active cooling.

Hi thanks alot for the effort doing this . Im pretty new in 3d printing and would this system be enough to have a good print or i would need the v2 where i need to solder something on the board to have a better print ? And just to be sure ,i need to turn my fan the other side right ?
Thanks in advance :)

you need to turn the front fans. i havent tested yet but u should be able to use the v2 withouth solder on the mightyboard. you can use the power supply of the printer

Does any body know if this will duct will fit my duplicator 4?

If so, which one do I print? Original version or vers 2?


On the pictures you can see the ducts mounted on my Duplicatpr 4 so I expect the to fit on yours.
On my printer the original version fitted well but it depents how high your nozzles are setuped. User laird has his nozzles mounted higher and thats why I created V2 for him.

I guess the bearing part of the sled is wider on my new FF creator, it prevents the piece from sitting up against the fan all the way by about 1/8".

So just finished printing this and it seems like it is doing TOO good of a job on my prints.........they won't stick to my build plate any longer! Any suggestions on how to fix this issue? I've tried bumping up the extruder temp by 10 degress (still no go). Is there any way to NOT have the extruder fan kick on until you print a few layers first?

I have no issues like that even if I use 3 big 92mm fans to cool the PLA while printing. Are you sure ur basic setup, configuration and calibration is fine?

I never printed on a different layer height than 0.1mm - but as this is the lower end of the default range it should be a very strong test for this fan clips.
If you print with 0.1mm the extruder nozzle has to have a distance from the build platform of 0.05mm on the first layer.

I use makerware to slice and the important parameters for this particular problem are:

bedZOffset 0.0
layerHight 0.10
doDynamicSpeed true
platformTemp 60

  • is a wildcard and means all matching parameters have to be set that way.

In extruder profiles I set the feedrate to 30mm/s on the FIRST layer (the rest is printed fast).

The Build plate has to be calibrated and perfectly flat to have no wraping problems.
My Build platform is a 4mm mirror plate (works like glass but with better heat spreading effects)
On top of that I use a normal 150mm wide kapton tape.
For platform calibration I use a feeler gauge to calibrate the 0.05mm offset of the nozzle and the build platform on all of the metering points and control the constant distance with a dial gauge (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:24864)http://www.thingiverse.com/thi....

That's all and PLA sticks like hell - sometimes a little to good ;-)

If U often switch between Makerware and ReplicatorG you have to modify the Skeinforge slicer profile to not have to relevel the build plate all the time you swich between those applications. Here you can see my configuration changes in RepG:

Skeinforge slicer profile -> Craft -> Bottom:
Enable Active Bottom
Additional Hight (...) 0.5
Altitude 0.1 mm

Alternately U can setup 2 different profiles inside Sailfish firmware (if you use it on your printer). For each profile you can define a separate bed offset. (I don't use this Sailfish feature cause I tend to forget to switch the profile and than destroy my Kapton tape on the build plate if the distance of the nozzle is to low.)

Keep my fingers crossed that these details of my setup help U to fix your warping problem.

Dial Gauge Holder for Replicator

Yeah............I came to a conclusion too fast that it was the duct causing the warping....but it seemed like the build plate was off once I attached the duct. I have leveled the build plate with the duct on the extruder and now it seems like the duct really isn't doing anything to cool off the print :(

Hm, they really do a very good job for me on most of my PLA prints. I just use a bigger blower fans on extreme small detailed parts. I added a picture of one of my prints I did with this ducted fan clips and they cooled the PLA well enough to be able to print those very thin cylinders. Without the clips the same print was a disaster!
Are your profiles well optimized for the the models you are going to print and the PLA you are using or do you use the default settings where you just can insert a few settings with original makerbot fillament? With the default settings I never had good results on my 0.1mm prints.

So what is the risk then of turning the extruder fan around for this purpose? Has there been any instances of overheating of the extruder motor because the fan is now being used for cooling the print instead of cooling the motor?

ir doesnt over heat just blows a crap tons of heat outward, and can blow the smell of abs out as well.

Oh nevermind.....seems like this issue has been addressed earlier....

I printed this, and it LOOKS beautiful, but it's perhaps 1/8th of an inch too long, at least for how my nozzles are installed, because it hits the print and knocks it loose. I am uploading a photo of the two, as a 'made one'.

I suspect that the nozzles on different replicators can be in somewhat different positions and the printer works fine, so it might work fine for some people and not for others.

So I'll file it down and bit and see if that'll get enough clearance.

Sanding it down seems to help, but not enough. But looking at it, even 1mm shorter might do the trick.

Hi laird!
Realy stange - I use those ducted clips very often and never had issues with them. I have modified higher quality fans and a self adapted/redesigned spring extruder, but all of that should not matter concerning your problems with this clips. You want me to modify the model for you?

You need the bottom duct 1mm (or more?) less high so that you get more distance between the duct and the printed material? Something else you ask me to modify on this? Is the rest fiting well on your replicator?

It's a perfect fit - snug between the fan and the platform, faces the fans, and fits into the notch in the front of the platform. And I like the way yours is flat on the build platform so that it doesn't require support for the "wings".

One suggestion - if you put a vertical wall running up the middle of the vent that runs from the fan down to the nozzle, it would help support the bridging where it fills in the top of the vent. And I think that the air flow would be unchanged.

I suspect that my nozzles are just screwed in a bit further than yours. 1mm would give me clearance. 2mm would give a little extra room in case of printing problems (curling, etc.).

Did you try the updated version I created for you?

Yep, perfect fit, thanks! I'll put a pic in as 'made'.

Great to hear that and thanks for your plans to post your result!

Bottom duct was at the lower side just 4,8mm high. That's why i did just reduce its height by 1.8mm.Hope this version is fitting your need better, than the first one.

with the fans on backwards, don't you get print failures about 30min into builds?

Mar 17, 2015 - Modified Mar 21, 2015
wisar - in reply to Enlightenme3

I agree with the statements about the cooling not being different with the fans reversed but decided to do a test anyway. I took an Arduino Nano and connected it to a thermistor that I placed behind the heatsink. I then did two test cases and charted the results. These charts can be seen with the version of this thing that I made. A longer writeup is on my blog at http://raspberrypirobot.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/to-fan-nozzle-or-not.html


All those nice charts and I have to admit that I may have been measuring one thing when another thing may be the source of a possible problem. Namely that when you invert the fan you are pulling hot air into the fan itself. The fan has an operating temperature range (though I am not sure what it is exactly). I have been printing a lot of ABS and I think the higher temperatures involved may have killed off the fan on that side! I am planning on using the duct for PLA when needed but I am afraid that in my configuration and use of ABS that it may have cost me a fan. I would be interested in other folks experiences as it could just have been a normal mortality event. :-o

I'm printing 99% of my parts with ABS and a closed build chamer on all of my 3 printers. While I desined the first version of my active cooling duct in 2013 I was using this passive duct from over here for around 6 month with inverted fans ~12h a day. At least none of the PAPST 414F fans died neither in these days nor till today. The original 3 fans (2 extruder, 1 mighty board) of my first printer died because of a bearing failure within the first weeks of heavy but normaly mounted usage. On the second and third printer I exchanged the fans to the PAPST 414F model before I switched them on for the first time.

Mar 20, 2015 - Modified Mar 20, 2015
wisar - in reply to thruit00

I can't explain what happend to me then. The fan on the ABS side completely died and the one on the PLA side is making sick noises. I had assumed that it have been the heat from ABS but if you and others are not having a problem then maybe it was a bad batch of fans of which I got two. I love the design it just did not love me. Ironically the fans died right after I did that whole series of measurements to prove that cooling on the extruder side was the same regardless of the airflow. Go figure. What makes my situation even more confusing is that a number of the fans for which I found data sheets (but not mine specifically) quote operating temperature ranges of up to 70c. I did not fry mine to that point so am really wondering if my fans were either defective or lower spec than what could be on other machines.

All of the Replicator 1 clones and original Replicator 1, 2 and 2X I saw live (at home, at my friends houses or on exibitions) do have had loud beering sounds, completely failed fans or already exchanged fans. My advice for people at forums I'm in is to grab good fans instead of searching for the original replacement. Because of the 24V and the high air rates you need the variety sucks. Me and most of my friends use the PAPST 414F model and we are pretty satified with it. A few use fans of Sunon, because of a little higher air flow rates, but those are also known to fail after a while.

That is good advice. My replacement fans are going to be the PAPST 414F's. They are rated to 70c but they aint cheap! I would suggest that if you are going to use these ducts, and they really do work great, and print nicely, that you check your fans. If you search for a data sheet and can't find one you can probably suspect them!

I bought mine on ebay UK and got them shipped to Germany. They are still available there for the same goof price: current item number is 170858769121

I've been running this way for two years, and it turns out that the cooling is identical, at least for the Replicator, because the airflow is controlled such that the fans either blow onto the cooling fins or they suck air past the cooling fins, so the heat transfer is the same. So all this does it take the warm air and blow it at the filament that was just extruded. And even though the air blowing outis warm, it still cools the filament more than still air.

I did several PLA prints from around 2 hours to 13 hours with fine details without problems. Why do you think there should be trouble after 30min? It takes the air from the sides and blows it to the printed material. Cause the extruder fans blow very strong compared to their small size the air is not getting very warm and works well for cooling.