Printrbot Nozzle Fabrication Toolbox

by Jerrill, published

Printrbot Nozzle Fabrication Toolbox by Jerrill Feb 23, 2013

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These are the parts that I used to make a 0.20mm nozzle for my Printrbot.

I put together a video of the process here:

UPDATE: The above link is now the HD version of the video. The original link is http://youtu.be/01rWylsUFTU .

I also uploaded my slic3r config that I'm using right now. Feedback on how to improve it is welcome!

UPDATE: If you have been making nozzles like crazy, but need a place to keep them check out the http://www.jerrill.com nozzle case at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:71322


Watch the video!

The brass acorn nuts I used were a pack of 25 1/4"-20 brass acorn nuts (P/N 92716A519) for USD9.16 from McMaster-Carr

Here's a link to the catalog page:

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Thanks for the demo ! Incredible !
Do you use 3mm plastic to print ? I wonder if the diameter difference matter betwen plastic and nozzle.
Can't you "just" drill the nuts ? There is print complication after ?

I hope I can find nuts for my printrbot LC in france.
(but yeah... I will have the nuts turning and the cutting tool static)

Nicely done.
However, my thinking is that the tooling could be a LOT simpler.
For example you could do the "lathe" part with just the one end block and a shorter latch bolt. Then that end could also act as the "advancer" for the drill phase. Basically have the slot for the thumb wheel on it behind the bearing section lathe and only thread it on when you are going to drill. So I am suggesting:

  1. shorten the lathe to have only one bearing section.
  2. combine in the advancer capability of the other tool.
  3. When using it as the lathe, leave out the advancer wheel
  4. When drilling add in the wheel.
    I may try to work something up out of your two pieces. The "chuck adapter" for the tiny bits seems ideal as you designed it.
    Thanks for this!!

You basically had my idea already captured by your drill advancer jig. With the tweak in thing #296482 you can use THAT one as BOTH jigs (and will be quicker and less material intensive). It is linked under the "remixes" here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:296482http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...


The remix worked great. I also found that in a "pinch", the stainless steel "cap nuts" at Lowes (3 in the blister pack) seem to be made the same way as the "good" brass nozzles but are a little harder to shape as you say. I ended up using the drill to spin it against a running bench grinding wheel and that seemed to shape it really nice. A quick sandpaper (fine grit emery cloth) in the jig polished it up really nice.Now I just need some .2mm and .3mm drill bits (my small bits only go down to #70 and I need #80 or smaller)

OK, the carbide drill bits (with the larger base) are way to brittle and the stainless nuts are really really hard - a combo that results in 10 broken bits in no time even using a Dremel Drill Stand to steady the drilling!! I have HSS bits on the way now as well as BRASS cap nuts!!

Where are you buying your drill bits?

I started off buying the drill bits from McMaster-Carr (http://mcmaster.commcmaster.com) but have since been buying them from China via http://Alibaba.comAlibaba.com. The new drill bits are 10-20% of the cost and have a deeper drill depth which is good for this application.

I started off getting them from McMaster-Car, but they were expensive and had a really shallow drill depth. I've since been buying them from China via http://Alibaba.comAlibaba.com for 10-20% of the cost with a much deeper drill depth that works much better for this application.

that is the most clever way to build a craft lathe I have ever seen!

You're the third person to ask that question and the best answer that I have is that this just seemed easier and less likely to break the drill bits. I don't have a machinist's background though so I would love for someone who is to tell me why I'm wrong! :-) I'm having a hard time imagining rotating the nut would break fewer bits. The bits that I'm using for the holes are quite small. It seems that unless the bit landed on the rotating nut at the exact axis of rotation it would be more likely to break because it would effectively be dragging on the rotating nut. At least with the stationary nut, I can land the bit anywhere on the flat and have a chance at getting a hole. What am I missing? Thanks in advance for any insights!

Don't get me wrong, if it works, it works! Also great instructions!

It is true that would have to be equally centered. However, I don't think it would be any more difficult than what you had already done and it would avoid one needing to mount the bit into a drill, it could be locked down and you could rotate the acorn on the assembly you already made.

Honestly though, the easiest thing would be to drill press it in something like this:


I would definitely look into using a dremel to cut the hole as well at a higher speed and you should get a cleaner hole.

Hopefully, we can purchase some nozzles more reasonably soon as more and more printers are on the market.

I just ordered one of the Dremel drill presses from Amazon mentioned in the instructable. I've been meaning to try one out to make 0.10 mm nozzles anyhow. As everyone has stated, the hand drill just isn't fast enough to keep from breaking the 0.10 mm drill bits. Down to 0.20 mm it's pretty easy. 0.15 mm is okay once you get the hang of it. I'll post back with the results.

What RPM are you trying to drill at? I would guess that drill falls way short of the correct rpm for a .1mm drill bit. Which would also contribute to why you break so many drill bits getting the smaller nozzles to work out. Have you tried chucking the bits in the dremel? You might need to make a tiny baby collet for it, but I would imagine you could get much better control over the speed and get it much closer to the correct speed.

I'll give it a shot! Thanks!

I would like to try my hand at making some for my printer as well, is there a reason you chose to use brass over other types of metal? Mine currently has an Aluminum Nozzle that I cant use for future printing materials and is messing with my current prints, also hoping to make it narrower/pointier, if I can. I noticed McMaster Carr has some steel and stainless steel acorn nuts, also ones coated with zinc, nickel or chrome.

I mainly made them out of brass because that's what the nozzles that shipped with the Printrbot are made of. I guess brass is a little more expensive nowadays, but it is a little softer than steel and easier to machine / drill. Also, you don't have some of the environmental/health concerns involved with metal plating.

I dunno... i think what you did here Jerrill is the smartest way to do it without going out and buying new power tools. despite using common home tools you have shown how using a 3D printer can help to extract vast more potential and possibilities out of them. i mean, really, the only off the shelf tools here are a regular power drill and a moto-tool. i think if given the challenge of creating 3D printer nozzles, which do require finesse, you've come up with a really elegant solution here. i look forward to trying them out!

Thank you!

Nice video.
some good tips (no pun intended)

Great video. Can only wish it was in a slightly higher resolution. Question. Why did you choose to rotate the drill bit rather than keeping it still and moving the nut itself. I believe that's the preferred method for this kind of thing.

The link to the HD version of the video is now listed in the description above. Thanks for your patience.

Agreed. I wasn't happy with the resolution of the video either and am working on uploading a higher res version already.

As for keeping the drill bit still, I'm not sure I understand the setup you have in mind.. My reasoning was as follows. In order to drill the nozzle something has to rotate and something has to translate. Fortunately there are only four combinations possible.

1) The drill bit is stationary and the nozzle rotates and translated. This would imply that the nozzle is on a drill press sort of mechanism. I was trying to keep the project hand tools only. I have a drill press bit wasn't sure it was stable or precise enough to pull this off without breaking the bit. I would still have the issue of making an adapter to hold the nozzle and then would have to mount the drill bit stationary by some mechanism. This seems like the most difficult of all possibilities.

2) The drill bit rotates and the nozzle translates. This is what I did. It actually gives me very precise translation and very stable rotation since the bit can be held stationary.

3) The drill bit translates and the nozzle rotates. This is similar to that I did, except that the drill bit and nozzle exchange positions. I have similar problems holding the nozzle in a rotating chuck of some sort and then have to hold the drill bit level as it moves. Again more difficult than number 2, IMHO.

4) The drill bit translates and rotates and the nozzle is stationary. This is the typical drill press scenario where the nozzle is bolted to the press. You still need a chuck adapter for the bit. Again the hand tools only goal is at play and I don't have confidence that my cheap drill press can pull it off without breaking the bit.

That's why I approached the problem the way I did.

My thought was the drill bit would be statically mounted. That way you reduce the possible torsion on the bit. You already have the setup to rotate the nozzle, a combination of the first and second jigs would be optimal - a rotating central rod with the nozzle mounted and then slowly move it forward

I'm certainly interested in seeing how you would reduce it to a single tool. You working on it? :-)

I could maybe model something up for you though I dont know that I have the patience to actually make my own nozzles. Of course that might just be until I destroy one :)

watched the video...very cool! excellent job on the process.