3FPD-Replicator 2X - Extruder Upgrade - REV3

by 3FPD, published

3FPD-Replicator 2X - Extruder Upgrade - REV3 by 3FPD Jul 2, 2013


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This is an extruder upgrade designed specifically for the Replicator 2X similar to whpthomas, and others, but with improvements.
-base is fully printable without supports(REV3=DESIGN TWEAKS)
-arm is printable with only external supports (bearing slot)
-arm integrates feed tube mount as well(REV3=DESIGN TWEAKS)
-tension spring geometry improved (REV3=MORE TENSION)
-use 5/32" and 1/4" bits for tight clearance bearing/arm pivot holes
-uses Makerbot hardware kit for Rep2 + 1 extruder screw ($8 ea from Makerbot.com)
-can be pre-assembled for quick swap (under 2 minutes each)
-L and R extruder parts included, and labelled (common pin)


-Acquire the Rep2 extruder upgrade kit hardware only. ($8 ea shoudler bolt, small FH screw, bearing, spring) from Makerbot
-I printed it at 0.27mm layer with no support on base, and external supports for the arm just because of the bearing channel.
-you will need to chase the bore for the bearing shoulder bolt with a 5/32" drill bit just to make sure it is a tight fit.
-you may need to chase the 1/4" pivot hole in the arm to make sure it is a tight fit as well.
-you will need to lightly file the pin flats, and round edges to make it fit tight into the base key slot
-the base key slot has a relief at the bottom to make sure the pin seats flush and square with no radius in the corners


-included parts are LH-Arm, LH-Base, RH-Arm, RH-Base, and a common pin (print 2 of them, and one each of the others)
-put the small flathead screw into the deep corner countersunk hole in the base part.
-put the pin into the arm part so it is flush on the outside face
-put the bearing into the arm slot and secure with the shoulder bolt
-shoulder bolt head should be flush to the outside face, and the threads should stick out the back
-bearing should spin freely
-put arm onto base rotating the pin so the shoulder bolt threaded end rests in the curved slot in the base face.

  • now that the movement is limited in the arm via the threaded end in the slot you can add the spring
    -place the spring on the bottom perch and compress it into the arm perch.
    pre-assembly complete.

-follow makerbot instructions on how to remove the existing extruder.
-place the newly pre-assembled extruder upgrade onto the stepper. You may have to compress the arm slightly to move the bearing out of the way of the drive gear.
-new extruder should seat flush to the stepper face.
-use one of the long flathead screws from the removed Makerbot extruder through the corner pin to secure the new 2X extruder upgrade to the stepper.
-tighten until snug, but arm moves freely with very slight resistance.
-press the arm down until you can insert the hex-key though the arm hole to tighten the small flathead screw in the other corner.
-repeat entire procedure for the extruder upgrade for the other side.

Please let know if you have any suggestions on improvements.

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Greetings, could I trouble you for a set of arms to use with 624ZZ bearings please? ID 4mm, OD 13mm, width 5mm . Thank you.

Hi there...so you want a LH and RH arm to fit the specified bearing? The bearing has the same bore, but is 1mm wider, and 3mm larger in diameter. This will mean a redesign of the geometry of the arm to ensure the same contact point, angle, and maybe force...we'll have to see how the arm lengths change. The larger diameter bearing, and the repositioning of it, may also interfere with the cooling tube (if you are also using the cooling fan option for the Makerbot Replicator 2X we have...it works well.

Let us look at this, and get back to you.

Thanks for your interest!

Thank you for your reply, I have made the changes myself, my use will not be for a Makerbot, it is to fit my prusa i3 that could be found here. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1926655 for now its all open air but perhaps I will find that it will need air cooling on the shaft to prevent low temp plastics like pla to get to soft.??

E3D Chimera / Cyclope Dirct drive
by tibuck

I was bored so I changed the RH one...before I add a LH one, please download and try the 624ZZ RH version...based on your dimensions. Print it, and see how it works. WE HOVE DONE NO TESTING AT ALL ON THIS...USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! ;)

LMK how it goes.

This does NOT fit a Flashforge Replicator 2x. Perhaps you mean a Makerbot Replicator 2x? The part that connects to the steppers is way too thick.

We were not aware that Flashforge made a product called the "Replicator 2X" You might think that Makerbot would have had an issue with that.
But this is designed for, and only intended for use on a "MAKERBOT-REPLICATOR 2X" machine. So we are not surprised to hear it, "does NOT fit a Flashforge Replicator 2x". Our apologies for any confusion, or inconvenience.

Thanks! this upgrade has eliminated 90% of the problem's I was having with my replicator 2x. Not a single "air-print" in two weeks now.

3FPD, did you model this in millimeters? When I bring it into MakerWare, it is tiny, and converting to millimeters seems to bring it up to size. This suggest it was done in inches. I think the standard Thingi is supposed to be in millimeters, not inches. In any case, this is a nicely modeled Thing, and I have to order the hardware to go with it.

kaptekarev, I've been trying to get an answer on the problem with .STL file in SolidWorks. I never get an answer. I'm using SolidWorks 2006, and of course it outputs .STL just fine (maybe a few holes, but nothing that seems to bother the printer or MakerWorks) But importing .STL back into SolidWorks bring in a file you can't do anything with. It's like a ghost that floats there, and cannot be worked on. Useless for tracing or using as a model.

I think your issue is that you are importing the .stl as a graphics body (instead of a solid or surface body). To change this...

  1. Go to open the file from solidworks
  2. Change the file type to .stl
  3. Click on the options bar
  4. Change to solid body hit OK
  5. Open file. It will still be a mesh however, which can be a pain to work with.

Thanks Harrison. I was having the same issue. Glad I stumbled upon your post.

Can you add support on the base for flexible filament? Like this: http://www.thingiverse.com/make:50422http://www.thingiverse.com/mak...

Replicator Mk8 spring loaded filament drive

Check out our REV4...We are experimenting with flexible filament, and different extruder, and hot-end designs for the Makerbot Replicator 2X

3FPD-Replicator 2X - Extruder Upgrade - REV4
by 3FPD

There's been a lot of problems printing PLA on the 2X. The current theory is the filament gets too soft when printing. Do you think it would be possible to take this extruder upgrade and modify it so that the drive gear is farther away from the barrier tube?

It would take a re-engineer of the way the stepper gets attached to the carriage. Also with the increased distance you may need a guide tube to make sure the filament doesn't bend/kink as it is being fed into the tube. The extruder as-is would be fine, it's just finding a way to increase the distance. Basically, I think, you would need to mill a new aluminum base with the original tube attachment, but with higher mounting holes to relocate the stepper/extruder/fan assembly higher, and away from the heat source. We would have to do a thermal study to really see what would happen, and how much distance would keep the PLA under the threshold temperature.

Or you could just duct some cooling air into the extruder feed area to keep the PLA stiffer. ;)

We have a new ducted cooling fan design for the 2X coming out soon...as soon as we can get it to print consistently. I could look into diverting some of the cooling into the extruder feed area.

can you post the cad file? I'd like to see the chamfer on the side closest to the pivot pin extended all the wat to the top of the square boss. A 45 degree angle would allow for great printed without support if this chamfer were sitting flat on the build plate. Thanks!

We just post the STL files so others can use and share our designs with others. We do try to get all our designs to print without supports, as long as it does not interfere with operation, or ergonomics of the part. We are constantly trying to improve the designs with feedback from users. We will take your design change suggestion into account when the next round of improvements are made. Thanks.

This is a HUGE improvement. Printed ABS, 100%, 0.1 and 75%. No more air prints. I am finally confident to take on those long print sessions. Dual extrusion with consistent results. I was thrilled with how quick and easy it was to change filament.
Fantastic Job 3FPD !!! Thank you

Printed mine in ABS, 100% scale, 0.1mm layer 75% infill. Upgrade is outstanding. I've spent days trying to get the stock feeder to work correctly for a couple prints. I've wasted so much time and plastic on the original feeder! I used a small file and 1/4 drill bit to clean up the parts before assembly. I printed the pins using a raft as I was having sticking problems, and the arm with supports only as recommended.

Great thing! Thanks 3FPD!

Glad to hear it. As for sticking problems, I clean the Kapton tape with acetone before printing, and I level the bed with my leveling pattern about every 4-5 prints. It does get out of level just by scraping and pulling on prints being spring loaded on the 2X.

printed these in high quality, 0.1mm layers. installed yesterday after chasing issues with the stock extruder. Working like a boss so far. Had a successful 4 hour print last night with no issues.

V2 worked like a champ for me. No doubt the rev3 would be excellent as well.

3FPD, Thanks for the files. I;m on the verge of returning my 2X and figured I'd try this in a last ditch effort. I have ordered the hardware and will try to print these files, although my success rate has been about 20%. Did you use a scale factor in printing these? Also, is there anyway I can get these files in SolidWorks format or in IGES? When I imported the STL files into SW2012 they cam in as some weird STL Graphics format which I can't do anything with.

.STL files are one of the default file types for Makerware, and RepG. That's why most files are posted as .stl

These machines seem to have a learning curve that requires a lot of patience, perseverance, and dedication to make work properly. If inkjet printers had these issues they would never have been successfully adopted. We've only had ours since April 7th. Stick with it...it does some wicked cool stuff, but getting an improved extruder truly does change the machine's entire reliability from flaky to dependable. Clogged nozzles are the only thing that has stopped this extruder so far, and I have almost 100 hours on the REV3.

Do you print yours in ABS or PLA. Do you scale the ABS at all?

Printed in ABS and no scaling.

if you are printing with abs i have had better success printing some things at 100.7% +/- .1% if that helps

I print with PC-ABS 101% works great. Only complaint is that the part geometry could be altered so printing with NO support were possible. I make every attempt to select the best build orientation to avoid support material if possible. The results is a better finished part. Wish I had the original CAD file so I could edit it.

Just get software like Maya that can edit STL files.