Around-the-nozzle cooling ring

by scanlime, published

Around-the-nozzle cooling ring by scanlime Feb 6, 2011

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This is another cooling design, inspired by (but not directly based on) thing 5756.

I wanted to use Iwo's design, but I just upgraded to a MakerGear stepper plastruder on my Thing-o-Matic, and there wasn't enough clearance around the extruder nozzle to mount any fan ducts on the top side of the Z-stage. So, this design is a circular cooling nozzle that mounts around the extruder nozzle, just under the Z-stage.

It is fed by two 1/4" PVC hoses, attached to a fan mount that sits on top of the Z-stage, near the rear of the bot. This mount holds a 40mm fan salvaged from an old graphics card.

The overall airflow is very subtle- it's detectable with your hand, but just barely. But it makes a huge difference in print quality for small parts. In the attached image of two single-wall calibration boxes, both boxes were printed consecutively using the same g-code. The only difference is that one box had the cooling fan intake blocked.

This design is in parametric OpenSCAD, so it should be fairly easy to adapt to other nozzle types or fan sizes.

Note: This adds some extra hardware to the underside of your Z-stage. Make sure there will be clearance with anything you have sticking up from your build platform. I had to remove the nozzle wiper from my ABP. (The wiper wasn't working very well with my MakerGear nozzle anyway, so no big loss...)


  1. If you aren't using a MakerGear extruder, adjust the OpenSCAD sources for your nozzle geometry

  2. Measure your fan, and adjust the OpenSCAD sources for its radius.

  3. Print both parts. Be aware of the overhangs- the nozzle has 40 degree overhangs throughout, and the tubing barbs can be difficult to print correctly. You shouldn't need to enable support material. The only support necessary is under the hose barb, and it's been added explicitly by the OpenSCAD sources.

  4. Using a sharp knife, clean up both parts. In particular, you'll need to remove the support material from under the PVC hose barbs.

  5. Test-fit your fan. If all is well, hot glue it to the fan mount.

  6. Attach some suitable lengths of 1/4" PVC tubing to the fan. Most hardware stores carry this stuff in the plumbing section. If there are gaps or uneven spots in your printed hose barbs, you may want to seal the edges of the hose with hot glue. Make sure the hoses are long enough to curve back around to your nozzle, and then leave some extra.

  7. Affix the fan mount to your Z-stage somehow. I used just a tiny dab of hot glue.

  8. Run power to your fan, from any convenient source of 12V DC on your bot. I'm tapping power off the stepper driver that I added for the MakerGear extruder.

  9. Run the hoses through the holes in your Z-stage, and around toward the nozzle. Use zip ties to keep them snug against the underside of the Z-stage. You don't want them drooping below nozzle level.

  10. Using the printed ring nozzle as a guide, cut the hoses to the right length.

  11. Fit the nozzle into place. Again, if the hose barbs aren't making an airtight seal, add some hot glue.

  12. Use more zip ties if necessary to keep the nozzle in place, by securing the hoses near it. The nozzle should be centered around your hot-end, and make sure to leave some clearance between it and the nozzle along the whole perimeter. We don't want the nozzle melting!

  13. Finally, do a test print! The extra cooling will help the most on parts with thin pieces.

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Barely any air flow?.... Have you seen the other coolers and how much they blow? If you think a barely noticeable current helps, try it with a "real" cooler and see the difference. This concept is clever, but terribly inefficient. It also looks like you used PLA... Not a good idea by the hotend, use Tglase at the very LEAST to avoid melting. If I see correctly here, you've made a sort of turbine, but whats the point of doing that when it turns air pressure and speed into kinetic energy, when a direct blow is far better in this situation? This isn't a turbo for a car, and using that concept isn't gonna work here. I don't like to be negative, I hate spewing truth all over the place, but fact is, it cant hold a candle to the direct coolers. You also don't want it blowing on the block, that insulation is there for a reason. The idea is to cool the very tip of the nozzle where its extruding hot plastic. Props on the effort... but eeeeh.... no thanks.

I think you're misunderstanding this design completely, which is funny given the tirade you went on a bit lower down this page railing against people with no engineering knowledge or modeling experience. The point of this design is simply a ring-shaped nozzle. Air comes in the side through a barbed fitting, and exits out the bottom directed to converge at the tip of the nozzle where the plastic is being extruded. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were confused by the fourth picture from the left, so let me explain that one. It's a fan housing. It blows air with a PC fan into a hose that runs down to the nozzle. Efficient? Not overly. Cheap, easy, and effective? Sure!

As for choice of plastics, that does look more like ABS than PLA to my eye. But it's not a relevant point. In the way it fits around the hot end, the heat is not sufficient to melt the cooler nozzle. I ran one for a while, I know. Also, you're forgetting (again) that this was 2011, and TGlase didn't exist for 3D printers yet. Printing in PET, PC, or Acrylic was not commonplace at all. We had ABS and PLA. ABS worked plenty well for the application.

As I said below, please watch your condescension and be thorough before you criticize. Constructive criticism has its place, but this is... not very constructive. Nor is it accurate. This was at one point a nice community, and although I have not been an active member of it for a long time, I would like to believe that it still is. Please help work towards that goal.

You're a goddamn genius. Can I ask one question... what is the black insulation material around your nozzle? Don't have a hotend yet so when I attached this print to my bot, it melted.

Its fiberglass lined heat shrink..... You don't have a hotend but somehow melted your cooler for a hotend.... I don't think you have a bot, do you....? Or are you new? Because you have to have a hotend to print anything....

You know what? I re-read my comment and it makes absolutely no sense. And considering I posted this over a year ago, I can't even figure out what I was trying to say. Apologizes for being an asshat.

I do have two bots though. Please check my designs if you don't believe me.

This is awesome. I had a bit of a hard time with some of the overhangs in the hose barbs, so I think I'll use this to print another one. Hooray for iterative printing!

What overhangs? I don't think you printed in the right orientation, those overhangs print bottom first. Im shocked at hoe many people don't understand how this all works.... Yet bought a printer... No schooling, no modeling ability.. Just woke up and said "I can do that".... I feel like most are posing with them because theyre cool. But it takes an engineer/artist to work them properly.

You may wish to think things through a bit before being so critical. The overhang in the nozzle itself is only an overhand in the most technical sense; it's barely 20 degrees. That's not the one I was mentioning. You'll notice that on the side of the nozzle there is a barbed fitting. That's round. The base of any circle printed in that orientation will have an overhang of greater than 45 degrees for the first portion of the print. That's not such a big deal now, but it was an accomplishment to get good print quality with a home machine in 2011. We've come an incredibly long way since then.

The wonderful thing is that 3D printing is so accessible, it was somewhat then and is more so now. You can go out with no education and buy a 3D printer. You don't have to be proficient in CAD. If the barriers to entry were so high, this would have never taken off the way it did. Please watch your condescension.

Great thing. I used an aquarium air pump instead of a fan. You can even adjust the airflow...

Great idea!

i would like to implement this on my repman at least to just get rid of the fumes.

If you ran it in reverse would it be effective in piping ABS fumes out a window?

Ok, obviously someone now needs to print an adapter for hooking this nozzle up to a Shop Vac ;)

Seems like a vacuum would cool as well as pipe away fumes.

Love this design btw. :)

That is a great idea! 8-)

I was using a side panel mounted fan (with limited success). This could get the fumes at the 'source', and pipe them safely away...