Bowden tube feeder with filament release mechanism

by satoer, published

Bowden tube feeder with filament release mechanism by satoer Oct 1, 2013


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Bowden tube feeder with filament release mechanism

This is a Bowden tube direct drive filament feeder for 1,75mm filament. (User Kert made a remix for 3mm fillament using a geared stepper over here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:306532)
The great thing of this feeder is that it has a quick release mechanic to remove the tension of the filament on the extruder motor. This way you can easily remove en feed filament by hand.

I've made a complete instruction video how to assemble the feeder and explanation of the inner working mechanics:
(One mistake in video: the two 45mm M4 bolds should be 50mm)

Also included is a filament spool holder for extrusion bars

If you use it, please share a picture!


Print everything without support. Print the visible text by pausing en change filament after the first 3 layers.

See instruction video how to assemble.

Use 2,5cm pipe for the filament spool holder

Feeder parts list:

  • 4 x M3 x 8mm
  • 1 x M4 x 16mm
  • 3 x M4 x 30mm
  • 2 x M4 x 50mm (IS WRONG IN VIDEO!)
  • 2 x M4 x 15mm
  • 10 x M4 Washers
  • 4 x self-locking M4 nuts
  • 2 x M4 nuts
  • 1 x bearing. Dia:13mm W:5mm Hole:4mm
  • 1 x toothed wheel (Felix)
  • 2 x springs Dia:7,5 mm L:15mm (Ikea clothes Pegs)
  • 1 x Nema 17 stepper motor

You can buy the toothed wheel over here:

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Can i also use the bearring provided with the Felix (the one in the default extruder)?

I've been using the geared version of this with great results but I want to print this one for direct drive.
I'll be using this motor: http://www.omc-stepperonline.com/9deg-nema-17-bipolar-stepper-44ncm623ozin-17hm191684s-p-12.html
which makes my delta move crazy fast off a Melzi or Rambo. You need to be sure not to over drive the motor, it has low coil ohms so turbo drives off 12 volts. It's also the longest Nema 17 that steppersonline sell which gives it more torque and it's a 400 step per revolution motor so you get pretty smooth filament stepping, important for slower accurate prints and small nozzle diameter. I really was astounded at how fast my delta could move after switching from some short generic 200 step Nema 17s to these.

There seems to a a-lot of different nema 17 stepper motors out there. Any suggestions on one that will fit?

I'm using the 42BYGHW811

Hi! My compliments for this design, I really like it. Currently using it for my box-frame i3 with MK8 drive gear (The drive gear includes a M3 set screw. Dimension: 11mm (height) x 9mm (diameter), Effective diameter: 7mm, Bore size: ø5mm). I had to drill and cut out a bit of the provided center space for the drive gear because this one is slightly bigger and the set screw sticks out. Other than that, works like a charm.

I have a request though. Is it possible to upload a mirrored version (with correct text of course)? I would like to use it on my dual extruder, but with this design I can't place it on the left side unless I completely turn it around. I'm a bit of a maniac so I like things neat and in the same direction. If it's too much work, I understand. Just thought I'd ask :)

Hi, I'm working on a remix for 3mm filament, here are the changes I made :

  • adapted to my setup, I wanted to use a M8 ball bearing (didn't want to buy a new smaller one) so the whole box is a bit larger
  • I use a hobbed bolt, not a crancked gear, so I had to modify the hole for it to fit
  • I use a Nema14 with a gearbox, so the screw spacing is not the same
  • and finally, I of course modified the holes for the 3mm filament to fit ^^
    Will post results once it is fully printed, and validated

Nice, remake kert. Neat re-modeling :)

what is the bearing code? ID? Number?

dunno, these are the measurements: Dia:13mm W:5mm Hole:4mm (see instructions)

its a 624 bearing whit the metal sides its an 624zz

Pretty Simple - Pretty Smart.Thanks for releasing so others can use. I'm anxious to put it to use!

hi satoer
could you please upload a iges or step file of the [BowFeeder[Top[V5 because i have some problem with the toothed wheel and i wanto to use the MK5


I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can help you. As I understand IGUS is a NURBS modeling file. And this model is made with polygon modeling in 3D studio max. It can’t export polygon’s as nurbs. 3D studio max can’t export STEP files either.

I haven’t tried the mk5 hobbed gear myself, but I’ve had read someone using it with this feeder. What’s the problem? What needs to be changed to the current Design?

the design is ok but after some retraction the filament become oval and it locks inside the outer filament guide, i'm quite sure it is tooted head too aggressive ( if i loose the springs it has not enought force to pull the filament<)

if all you need is filament clearance - use a drill to enlarge the path.

Also, most CAD/Dwg apps import STL. So, import the file - make adjustments as required and print. But, in your case a drill and exacto knife sound like the solutions.

I honestly haven’t had a single lock using this design with the toothed head. I’m using cheap PLA and ABS, with 3 mm retraction. Are you sure the problems isn’t elsewhere? This is the standard toothed head what comes with the Felix printers, and although I’ve made a different design, the basic working is the same. Just a bearing pressing fillament against the toothed wheel.

Maybe the power settings on the stepper driver pot is too much? This way the stepper motor becomes too hot, and the hot spindle from the stepper motor is deforming the PLA?

What needs to be changed with the Bowfeeder top to implement the support for the MK5 hobbed gear?

an I use it for my printers I sell?

hello this good for filament 3 mm ? have driver 32 step pololu thanks

Probably not.
Its a direct drive and the pass-trough holes are designed to be used with 1.75 fillament.

ok you have designed one of the best, nice and usable extruder on thingiverse... but if you have time accept the challenge to design an extruder nice usable and... DOUBLE ;)

Hi Bencini, Probably not. Its a direct drive and the pass-trough holes are designed to be used with 1.75 fillament.

This is one of the best extruders I have used! I'm loving it! Great job!

it is a shame tha felixprinter works like that, and is a shame for one of the nicest estruder i have seen ( and printed) i'm gonna find a mk8 gear so i could try it

thanks again

be aware of felixprinter shop , they take my money for 6 extruder nut 15 days ago and nothing is yet arrived, also they do not answer to the mails

I don't have any association with the Felix printer shop. In my experience they do reply on mails but very slow, and delivery times can take a while but they always deliver.
I've had a confirmation the MK8 gear also works with this feeder. Didn't tried it myself.

Hey, Been trying to make it work with My mk8 gear, but no success so far, I have modified the top part to make space for the mk8, but now I need to move the whole base away from the filament cause it pushes it to much.

Do you have any link or infos or example on how it would work with an MK8 ?

Thanks !

Many thanks for releasing this design, already have it printed :)

Q: whats the small hole for on the filament feed in on the top cover

Thanks. The hole is for a thread to attach a filament cleaner. This way it won't slide all the way down.
Maybe I should make a new design that has a filament cleaner integrated. Mechanically connected to the lock / release lever to seperate the sponges if unlocked.