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Silicon Boot for Wanhao Duplicator 6

by 1bigpig, published

Silicon Boot for Wanhao Duplicator 6 by 1bigpig Oct 10, 2016
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Summary

Update 6-1-2017: Added instructions for how to make the silicon boot. Also added how to "season" the silicon boot after you make it.

Update 10-11-2016: After using the mold a couple of times, I found that if you do not apply enough mold release (Vaseline) to the base of the mold, it makes it near impossible to remove the silicon part in one piece, so I decided to modify the design to allow the base to be removed if necessary. I also went ahead and added some sprues/vents to the top of the mold and added a lip to help align the mold insert to the mold.

This is a silicon "boot" for your Duplicator 6 (and Zortrax M200) heater block. Its main purpose is to help stabilize the temperature of your hot-end. It has two secondary benefits. First, it helps prevent burns from touching the hot-end when clearing the nozzle or other tasks. Second, it helps keep your heater block clean as most plastic will not stick to silicon.

It is a 5 sided "boot" that slips on from front. The top part is split to allow it to cover to slide over the cold break. The boot is about 2mm thick on all sides--plenty of thickness for insulation. The back is open.

I used oogoo (high temperature silicon and corn starch mix). Here is how you make it:
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/

As for "casting" instructions, these are the ones I followed when I made my mold:
http://imgur.com/a/PDQXW

I made a model of the hot-end in 123D design. I then made a mold from that design. It is just two parts. All you have to do is fill the mold up about a third of the way with the oogoo mixture and then push the top half flush with the bottom half. Also need to make sure all four sides are flush to make sure the mold is equal thickness all around. I use a slightly different mixture ration of 2 to 1 silicon to corn starch. Too much corn starch makes the silicon hard and it smells pretty bad until it is all cooked off.

Print Settings

Printer:

Wanhao Duplicator 6

Rafts:

No

Supports:

No

Resolution:

.2mm

Infill:

25%


Notes:

I used PLA. 4 top and 4 bottom layers. 3 shells. The fine resolution made for less finishing as the inside of the mold was almost smooth to the touch. A small amount of sanding was required to make for a smooth sliding fit between the mold and the mold insert.

Post-Printing

How TO make them:

I make 2 at a time and used 22grams on Hi-temp silicon to 2.5ml (1/2 Teaspoon) cornstarch all mixed up in a LDPE cup. Silicon (cured or uncured) will not stick to PE, so I use that to mix it up. You need to work the cornstarch into the silicon. At first, it will not want to mix until the silicon starts releasing the acetic acid. Then the silicon will blend with the cornstarch. Make sure that there are no pockets of cornstarch. Don't worry if you have unblended cornstarch on the sides of the cup. Just make sure that you ball of silicon is well blended with the cornstarch that it did mix with. Now, I put the cavity part of the mold on a scale and TARE it to zero. Drop in about 10.5g to 11g of silicon into the mold. Press the nozzle shape into the cavity and make sure it fully closes. You should get ooze out from the two vents on the top. Scrape the ooze and mix it back up in the cup. Now load the other mold on the scale and dump the rest in the second mold. Repeat and with any ooze out, put it back in the cup.

Now put both molds either top to top or bottom to bottom into a vice or clamp (a C-clamp or even better those squeeze trigger bar clamps) and clamp them together. You may get a little more ooze out. Scrape off the ooze and wait about 12 hours. It will take less time, but this gives it a lot of time to really form a thick "skin" so that you can remove it from the mold. It will continue to cure for a day or so. Hint, before removing the boot from the inside mold, grab a paper towel to help remove excess Vaseline off the outside of the boot. Then push down (with the split side up) and slide away to remove the boot from the mold.

Instructions for AFTER you have made them:

While these boots are silicon and they are flexible, they do not have a lot of stretch. If you pull them or squish them too much, they will crack because of the added corn starch. Once installed, they are designed to stay in place--you will more than likely destroy/tear your boot if you try to remove it.

Clean your Heater Block:

If there is plastic adhered to the heater block, I recommend cleaning the heater block before installing the boot. While it will should not hurt the boot or the heater block, it can causing tearing of the boot if there is a thick or sharp bit of plastic stuck to the heater block (the boot is a tight fit) and the trapped plastic will permanently stain the heater block.

Burn-out:

Remove the filament from the hot-end and set the temp to 190'C with the boot on--install the boot while the heater block is cool. Let it "cook" for about 2 hours (longer is better) at this temp. You want to run the cooling fan at 100% as it will smoke and smell of burn bread for the first few minutes. This is any corn starch and Vaseline burning off. Now, the smell may turn acrid with any last bits of acetic acid that will cook off over the next hour or so. After this, there should be no more smell from the boot as they heat up.

The silicon I use is high temperature automotive type. It is good to 371'c. It will get slightly darker with heat and might even stick to the heater block after it has cooked on--mine did, making it almost impossible to remove without destroying/tearing it. It should not burn and plastic will not stick to it once cured. Obviously, the thick part of the boot with the split goes over the heat-break (top tube) while the bottom thick part goes over the nozzle. The nozzle should protrude through and, if necessary, a little bit of flashing of silicon may need to be torn away to expose the nozzle--but not much of the nozzle needs to be exposed. Do not cut or tear the thick part of the boot near the nozzle area.

PID Auto-tune:

I did not need to do an auto-tune of the PID. My machine was already pretty good holding a stable temperature. Your machine may be different, so up to you if you want/need to do a PID auto-tune.

How I Designed This

123D Design

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I don't suppose anyone who's done this would be interested in selling me a few of these boots? :)

Will kapton tape do the same thing as this mold?

Thanks for making this....it worked great. I used the High Temp Permatex Silicone and Corn Starch (about a 2 to 1 Ratio, Silicone/Corn Starch). I sprayed the molds with regular Silicone spray, it released just fine. To get the inner piece out, I used my air compressor with the needle air adapter. I wiggled it between the mold and the silicone boot. A quick (short) blast and you could see it expand like a balloon. After a blast or two, it popped right out.

Thanks for the nice fitting mold. I used mold max 60 from smooth on. I printed in PETG and cut the mold with dremel and razor blade so I can open the mold after removing top and bottom on one side and reuse. Top breaks off, so I guess creating two pieces to separate the inner part from top keeping it in place would make it more reusasble.

I included the 123D Design file, so you could design/make changes as you see fit. The mold really was designed for Oogoo. It could easily be changed to make it more friendly for castable silicon. I just am not that experienced in castable silicons or silicon mold making. Just an FYI, I know some other folks have used a castable silicon rubber but just make sure that it is 350'C+ temperature resistant. Some folks have used regular bathroom silicon and it will start to burn and char.

Thanks so much. This kind of silicone rubber is designed for pewter and other zinc allow casting so it withstands up to 294C. Initially water and Etoh ( byproduct of curing) will evaporate when you heat it up for the first time but its running with no loss of flexibility for a week nonstop at 230-240C. There is nothing castable I could find that goes up to 350 C. Cast a few as I was afraid that things will fall apart but thus far no degradation at temps as high as 240C. Improves printing quite a bit with PETG as I could almost double my printing speed for most parts and finally I can run the fans at high speed if required. I am not experienced with 3D design software but would make the middle part into two halves and extend the core into or through the top so that it is held in place but could be removed easily. I will give it a try.

just a few notes if anyones interested, i used permatex ultra copper (700F-371c) with no additives or corn starch, direct from the tube. applied dishsoap ( a lot and a drop or two of water helps to really lather it up sometimes) for mold release. used black pla for molds placed on wet paper towel on piece of aluminum foil on dashboard of car for 3-4 hours (texas 90f day so maybe an oven at 100+ would be good also) all came out absolutely perfect but the mold starts to give out and is only good for 2 reliable uses (heat) i washed off any remaining soap and waited until the next day to put the first one on (probably not needed ) worked really well and i find it easier to just be able to fill a mold direct from the tube than having to mix a batch. just an alternative method that seems to work quite well for me.

edit- extra notes
permatex copper is available at almost any auto parts store in the u.s.
extra dish soap on your hands before packing the mold makes cleanup much easier as the permatex won't stick to your hands either.
i like to fill the bottom square before pushing the middle piece on and then filling the cavity while squishing it down with a finger to get out any gaps (this is where the soapy hands help alot)

Hey MJ,
Does the permatex ultra copper adhere to the heater block or can I slip it on and off?. I want to be able to remove it easily if needed for maintenance of the hotend. I sometimes try different nozzles and have to be prepared to take it apart in case of a jam.
Thanks
JT

You can slip it on and off no problem. does not stick to the heater block when hot or cold. can be easily removed and replaced without issue for maintenance. should stand up to being taken on and off quite a few times even. after >500 hours of use my first one is still in excellent shape and i swap nozzles once a week or so for different materials. (including nylonx at >260c)

In hindsight I wish I would have printed a couple molds, it would have made the process easier instead of mixing a new batch for each boot.

I found out a little Vaseline goes a long way, I used too much and some got on the mix causing a split in the boot where it didn't adhere correctly to itself.

I found dusting the mold (shake and bake style) with cornstarch after applying Vaseline works great to avoid my above mentioned accident, and help with both the drying and removal.

Overfilling is a must if it's not coming out the side holes you don't have enough in the mold and apply a good amount of pressure to make sure everything is seated and compressed properly.

I am glad it worked out for you! Yea, the dusting with cornstarch is an excellent idea. Also, I learned of a new trick yesterday from a silicon mold maker. Use KY or other water soluble lubricant instead of Vaseline! Much easy to clean up and does not prevent the non-self adhering.

You are also correct, I make 2 at a time. IF you mix up much more Oogoo than that, it will start to skin up on you and if you just try to make 1, it is hard to mix such a small amount of oogoo.

Here is what I tell people who ask me how I make them:
I make 2 at a time and used 22 grams on Hi-temp silicon to 2.5ml (1/2 Teaspoon) cornstarch all mixed up in a LDPE cup. Silicon (cured or uncured) will not stick to PE, so I use that to mix it up. You need to work it into the silicon. At first, it will not want to mix until the silicon starts releasing the acetic acid. Then the silicon will blend with the cornstarch. Make sure that there are no pockets of cornstarch. Don't worry if you have unblended cornstarch on the sides of the cup. Just make sure that your ball of silicon is well blended with the cornstarch that it did mix with. Now, I put the cavity part of the mold on a scale and TARE it to zero. Drop in about 10.5g to 11g of silicon into the mold. Press the nozzle shape into the cavity and make sure it fully closes. You should get ooze out from the two vents on the top. Scrape the ooze and mix it back up in the cup. Now load the other mold on the scale and dump the rest in the second mold. Repeat and with any ooze out, put it back in the cup.

Now put both molds either top to top or bottom to bottom into a vice or clamp (a C-clamp or even better those squeeze trigger bar clamps) and clamp them together. You may get a little more ooze out. Scrape off the ooze and wait about 12 hours. It will take less time, but this gives it a lot of time to really form a thick "skin" so that you can remove it from the mold. It will continue to cure for a day or so. Hint, before removing it from the mold, grab a paper towel to help remove excess Vaseline off the outside of the mold. Then push down (with the split side up) and slide away to remove the boot from the mold.

1bigpig has it right with the KY! I didnt do the cornstarch though and used RTV Ultra copper and I used taerog's remix, I was having trouble getting the RTV Ultra Copper to dry in the mold, let alone release once dry. The method I used and it came out perfect was to use some no name KY lube (Must be water soluble as any petroleum based lubricant messes with the RTV silicone) I coated every part of the inside of the mold with a generous amount, then when adding the RTV silicone I actually added maybe 1/8 teaspoon(Basically one full eye dropper full) of distilled water to the Silicone and mixed thoroughly, then quickly filled the mold half way, and inserted the inside mold attached to the base plate slowly to allow for any air pockets to escape. Let it stand for 2-3 hours. And carefully took apart the mold and it came out great!

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