Ultimaker quiet retraction

by maxy, published

Ultimaker quiet retraction by maxy Feb 24, 2013
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This greatly reduces the noise from the extruder motor. The wooden backplane of the Ultimaker did act like a drum.

To find out how much noise this upgrade can remove, carefully un-hook the feeder while printing, and hold it in your hand. Answer: it makes a huge difference.

Update1: separate, much better holder for the bowden coupling, and other tweaks.
Update2: upper hook should withstand PLA creep better.


Print the "feeder_suspension" STL twice, the "middlepiece" and the "coupling holder" once.

I sliced with Cura, with two walls, infill 20% and 30% both worked fine. I think natural (clear) PLA has the best spring properties, but I have printed the second version in gray PLA, and it works fine too. I had to turn the bearing holes through sandpaper because there was a printer blob inside.

Note: the new material feeder will tilt slightly to the side, and follow the movements of the printer head. It's probably a good thing, because it relieves some tension that was previously in the bowden cable. But it sometimes adds a new clicking noise, when the grip on the wooden back plate shifts during printing. Also, the filament seems to make slight rattling sounds when it is not feeding straight now.

Known problems: PLA under mechanical load will creep over time, even at room temperature. Check and re-tighten the motor screws after the first few weeks. The upper hooks were a weak point, I had them slide out after a few months (impossible with a fresh print), so watch out. The latest version should be better, but only time will tell for sure. You can fix the upper hooks with a zip tie or packing cord through the wooden back holes to prevent it.

The design was done in Blender using 2D splines. You could probably extract them from the .blend file and laser-cut it. It was based on the laser-cut drawings by Ultimaker. There isn't much left of the original, so I dropped the silly non-commercial license restriction. Please consider my design public domain. Attribution is appreciated but not required.

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I'm sorry to sound negative, because this does look really cool! But, the primarily problem is not infill or PLA vs ABS. The problems are associated with the unstable design which resembles the polymer structure of a rubber band. This would work if it were made from metal. Red or blue anodized aluminum would look killer!

This thing is really nice. It bends a bit to the motor side when used a while, but keeps working perfectly for me. I first did a 40% fill with PLA, but have since replaced the outer parts with 100% fill PLA ones. They seem to be holding up a bit better

This was fantastic to begin with, but after using it for dozens of hours, the motor heated up the PLA and then caused it to warp. The top two hooks don't even hook into the machine anymore because it is warped so badly.

Was fine at beginning, but then bended to the side over time caused by the weight of the stepper! Beside of that, I had no issues with the temperature with PLA.
And - I think because it bended to the side - I have issues with the feeding of the pla after some hours of printing...

maxy - in reply to thagu

Bent by how much? Mine is bent to the side by 10 degrees (after a couple of months), that's expected and should be no problem. If you print it again, try a higher infill, different PLA if you have any, and be sure to slice with two outer walls minimum. Do your walls stick together well? If you were underextruding already when you printed it, this could be the reason why it's bending now. A hot stepper could also cause the bending, I guess - mine is only hand-warm.

Just made this in PLA and wow, what a difference it made! Thanks for the design! I actually printed the remix (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:121427)http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... but that doesn't really matter from a noise perspective :) THANKS!

Ultimaker quiet retraction (Remix only Changes)

I used white 3mm PLA and it worked pretty good. I printed twice the "feeder suspension coupling holder" as it was messing things with the filament. I disabled the "automatic retraction" and it worked straight. It's very silent. It is a little bent when the head is in home position but it does not matter at all. Thank you, I really enjoy this update.

I just printed it with ABS (I have nothing else at home anyway), and the amount of noise this cuts away is amazing, I can't hear the e-motor anymore, at all. thank you for the new design.

like it! but the bowden holder does not look strong enough to me

maxy - in reply to yzorg

I just uploaded a new version. Problem solved ;-)

yzorg - in reply to maxy


maxy - in reply to yzorg

You are right, I have cut away a bit too much material in the last version.
I had the bowden holder actually flex and release the clip. Stay tuned for
an update.

It also looks pretty!

I would suggest to print this part with ABS, not PLA, since the stepper motor can exceed 65 deg C (which is the T(glass) of PLA), and the contact area between the motor and the frame will deform over time. Or you could tune your stepper driver down so the motor will never exceed 63 deg C.

My stepper motors don't even get hand-warm, not even after an hour of printing. I have tuned the current to 1.15A as reccomended in the UM wiki, but I can't exclude that I made an error somewhere. Anyway, the force seems okay, I can just barely make it skip steps when I turn with so much force that my hands hurt from the gear teeth. IIRC there used to be weaker steppers shipped by UM which got a lot hotter...