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Makerbot Replicator Quiet Fan mod

by delsydsoftware, published

Makerbot Replicator Quiet Fan mod by delsydsoftware Aug 26, 2012

Description

I've only had my Makerbot Replicator for less than a week, and I was already tired of the level of fan noise when the machine is idle. My job requires me to be on the phone when I work from home, and people could hear the fan blasting over the phone. So, I tracked down a larger, lower RPM fan to replace the tiny, angry little fan in the Replicator.

I tried doing a solid mount with a metal bracket, but too much fan vibration was being transferred to the case. The noise was only moderately better. I then tried suspending the fan between 3 zip ties, and that isolated a majority of the noise. You can watch this vid to see a comparison of the original, the direct mount, and the zip tie mount:

youtube.com/watch?v=0A_AMbNscj8&

Doing this means that you can't have the bottom cover in place. However, fan airflow is greatly increased with this 80mm fan, so the board should run even cooler.

The installation of the fan meant that the fan would touch the table surface if the normal rubber legs are installed. I removed the rubber legs on the base and replaced them with Bench Dogs, which are normally used in woodworking as anti-slip mats. The double-neoprene coating isolates a lot of the Replicator's movement during printing, making the unit quieter overall. They also add about an inch to the unit's height, allowing ample clearance for the fan.

As a side note, the small fan appears to be the same one used on the extruders. So, you'll end up with a spare fan as a bonus.

Recent Comments

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The fan is blowing onto the motherboard. The video is really just demonstrating the sound levels of the stock fan vs the new fan in two mounting orientations. I pointed the camera at the build platform to be sure that the mic on the camera was about the same distance from the machine during each test.
Is the video supposed to show anything other than the platform? I didn't see anything else except for text. Also, is the fan blowing away from the motherboard or onto it? Thanks.
 I use a separate power supply.

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Instructions

What you need:

1. This Orion 24vdc 80mm fan:
mouser.com/ProductDetail/Orion-Fans/OD8025-24LB/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMtffRBI%2F27p9D9Z%252b0ndCFBuddsQFKTde%2F8%3D

2. 4 Bench Dogs:
amazon.com/Bench-Dog-10-035-Cookie-Grippers/dp/B0037Z7D0A/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1345958247&sr=1-2&keywords=bench+dogs

3. Some long zip ties

4. Allen key for removing bottom panel and original fan

5. A small flathead screwdriver for loosening and tightening the fan wire connections

6. Tin snips, bolt cutters, or another device capable of cutting screws easily

Steps:

1. Unload both extruders and remove the spools and spool holders

2. Turn off the Replicator and unplug any cables attached to it

3. Turn the unit onto its back.

4. Remove the bolt and nut which secure the bottom into place, and remove the bottom plate

5. Locate the 2 bolts/nuts which hold in the current fan in place and remove them. Put them aside for the moment, as we will be using them later

6. Find the fan connector on the motherboard. Make a note of the polarity of the wires (or snap a picture), then use a small screwdriver to loosen the terminals. Remove the wires and set the fan to the side.

7. Take the nuts you removed from the original side and insert them into the bracket on one side of the fan. Secure the nuts with the bolts, and then use tin snips or bolt cutters to trim off the excess bolt length. These bolts will be used as mounts for the zip ties which will hold the fan in place

8. Connect the new fan wires to the motherboard, being sure to observe the correct polarity. Tighten the terminal screws to makes sure the connection is as tight as possible. I found this to be a little fiddly, as it is sometimes hard to get the wires into the correct position in the terminals. Take your time.

9. Locate the 2 slots near the back of the machine which used to hold the bottom plate in place. Orient the fan so that the label is facing away from the motherboard and the bolts are facing the rear slots, and use zip ties to secure the fan to the 2 slots. Putting the fan in this orientation will pull air away from the motherboard instead of pushing air towards it. I wouldn't recommend putting the fan the other way around. When I tested the fan in the other orientation, the fan blew enough air that there was a breeze coming into the build area from the holes in the corners. That might be enough to warp your ABS parts.

10. Use a long zip tie to connect the opposite side of the fan to the vertical support where the other side of the bottom plate used to connect. See the attached picture if that isn't clear.

11. Make sure that any wires that might be in the way of the fan are moved or zip-tied out of the way. I used a couple small zip ties to make sure that the excess fan wires were moved neatly out of the way.

12. Place the 4 bench dogs on your work surface where the Replicator will sit. Carefully pick up the Replicator and place it onto the bench dogs, making sure that the bench dogs are supporting the corners of the Replicator.

13. Plug everything back in and turn the power on. If everything went well, you should enjoy a much quieter replicator.
Is the video supposed to show anything other than the platform? I didn't see anything else except for text. Also, is the fan blowing away from the motherboard or onto it? Thanks.
The fan is blowing onto the motherboard. The video is really just demonstrating the sound levels of the stock fan vs the new fan in two mounting orientations. I pointed the camera at the build platform to be sure that the mic on the camera was about the same distance from the machine during each test.
I was wondering, do you experience more failed prints after this mod? I am not an electrician so I don't know if the bottom wood panel shields the bot from EM interference. Does wood shield from EM? I don't know. I am thinking about removing the bottom wood panel to make it have better ventilation for the mightyboard as I have a heated build environment provided by a hood. Thanks.
 I haven't had any issues. Wood doesn't really shield anything from EMF, so having the bottom off doesn't make a difference.
That's only one of the 3 fans on the Replicator. Just replace all 3 fans with silent fans;  silenx.com/ Bought these at my local electronics store.
 Yeah, but the Replicator is wired for 24 volts, and those look like they're 12v fans.
 I use a separate power supply.
 Yeah, but the Replicator is wired for 24 volts, and those look like they're 12v fans.
The fan is .00001 of the noise. Replicator is enough to drive you mad... SO LOUD. Got one for my classroom and its just impossible to lecture over it when it builds.

Created two Mendel Maxs and they are so ninja. I had to install extra lights on them just to make sure they were working ;)
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