Simple Things: Idler Spring for Hinged Extruders

by wildseyed, published

Simple Things: Idler Spring for Hinged Extruders by wildseyed Dec 28, 2012
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I think at this point, most people use their hinged extruders without springs. Improved consistency in the filament diameter from reputable vendors has made this possible. Still, I wonder if there is anything to be gained from having springs. The only choice around here is a variety pack at the hardware store, and only 4 out of 50 springs are even remotely suitable for use on the hinge, so here is one alternative.


Since we want this to be a spring, we need to leav out any kind of fill, in favor of loops, so
set the bottom layers to zero
loops to some high value like 5
and Zero fill, but don't disable fill (skeinforge)

One side of the spring has a lip. This side faces out, so as to catch the head of the screws.

Even if this thing doesnt do the trick, it makes for another good tutorial piece. It demonstrates how thin features near the base can be printed reliably by adding the anchor disks. Also note the breakaway supports in the screw slots. Those are all meant to be trimmed off, to leave the slots fully open for easy testing and removal.

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It never occurred to me to not use springs.
You must have really lousy hardware stores there. All of the good hardware stores here have an entire column of drawers each with 5 to 10 different springs, probably 100 kinds in all, and pretty cheap.
I have been in areas where places like Lowes and Home Depot are the only "hardware stores" around - and they are NOT hardware stores, they're stores with hardware.

In the hardware stores around here (the chains) springs aren't standardized the way screws, nuts, bolts, etc., are - they have specific springs for specific purposes and then an assortment pack. It's a little weird - you would think that you could buy springs based on length, force, compression/tension, and diameter. I know that's how manufacturers sell them, but I guess hardware stores don't want to stock the variety. That's (weirdly) why the variation of the extruder that uses binder clips as springs is so cool - they're easy to buy in a standard size.

Aside from that, it's cool to come closer to 100% printing the printer. So a printable spring, if it holds up under use, would be super cool.

Very cool! How long do you think this will stay springy?

That's a good question. Without a doubt, some of the springiness will go out of it over time. Heat will definitely accelerate the process.

Well, I'll be running that experiment shortly. :-)

neat idea. What is the verdict, will she print?

She does indeed print! A previous, unpublished version was a bit thicker, and produced too much tension. That one had a wall thickness of 4mm in the round area. This version has a thickness of 3mm, and seems to strike the right balance. I don't know why I've gotten on this kick about extruder accesories, but it's been fun. I have one more thing in this vein, and then I'll be concentrating on other areas.