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Tiko Air Hose Clip

by walter, published

Tiko Air Hose Clip by walter Jan 23, 2017
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Clip for holding multiple air hoses near the nozzle of a Tiko 3D printer. It cools the PLA as it exits the nozzle which can improve print quality. More info and comparison pictures at http://thrinter.com/tiko-part-5-part-cooling/

This part is designed to be printed with a 0.5mm extrusion width. It holds up well in ABS, but earlier PLA versions warped after a few prints. I haven't tried PETG.

1 - First, wrap the nozzle heater with some self fusing silicone tape*. It's much easier to access before installing the cooling tubes.
2 - Run the tubes through the holes in the hotend mounting piece, then attach them to the air hose clip. Snap the clip to the hotend. You don't have to run all three, use one or two if you prefer.
3 - Trim the ends of the tubes however you like, just make sure they're higher than the tip of the nozzle (I cut mine at a 45 degree angle facing the nozzle).
4 - Ziptie the hose and any adapters to the main bowden cable.
5 - Find somewhere to run the air tubes. I've been running them through a hole in the build plate or under the printer by using clip-on feet, but I plan to drill holes in the case and run the air tubes from the top.


  • 6mm air tubing - The blue air tubing in the pictures is the normal air tubing you'll find for aquariums, do not use this kind, if it comes in contact with the hotend, it will melt (and produce a lot of smoke in the process). I have some silicone air tubing on order that should be less of a fire hazard. [amazon*, banggood*]
  • hotend insulation - I used self fusing silicone tape* to wrap the hotend, this insulates it from the cooling air. Without it I'm not sure the Tiko can maintain a high enough temperature at the hotend. A very short section of 6mm inner diameter silicone tubing* may work too, but I haven't tried it.
  • air pump - I originally designed this to work with a 4 outlet ActiveAqua air pump*. But after spending a few days looking for it, I discovered my brother had donated it. So I repurposed a single outlet Tetra Whisper AP150* pump with a 3 way splitter instead. The ActiveAqua puts out more air, and has a dial to control the amount of airflow, but it is also significantly larger and louder. If I was going to get a replacement pump, I'd look for one with at least 2-3 outlets and airflow control (ideally with an off switch too, but I haven't seen any with one). Another option might be an airbrush compressor*, but I haven't really explored that option. I don't really want to buy another air pump though, so I plan to just build the Tetra pump into the Tiko spool area and use an external spool holder.

-- Eustathios

-- Atomic Filament Carbon Fiber Black ABS

*affiliate links

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Very good idea! How did you get around the problem that the tubes get in the way when the head moves up? The tubes need to be long enough to reach when the head descends to the bottom but what happens when the head moves up? Do you guide them in a special way?

Found your blog today regarding this. Thanks very much for all the work you've put in identifying and addressing the issues..

How about combining the top part of your clip design with something like this thing? http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2036369

that would help direct the air flow more easily, no? Sadly, I'm not a CAD user capable enough to do the mod myself...

Various Blower Layer Fan Designs
by BSkorn

That's a good idea, it would be easier than trying to align a rubber hose. Initially I didn't print any ducting on the bottom because I wanted it to be printable without support material, but I'm sure there are many ways around that. With my main printer, I designed the duct to clip on with magnets, so that's an option too. I'll probably give it a try when I get the chance.

I don't particularly like the bit circular style of duct though, I've tried them before and they make it almost impossible to see what the printer is doing. I'd be more likely to make something with three ducts pointed under the nozzle.

Have you noticed a difference with cooling? A few people in the forums said they saw no improvement with cooling. But they did not have setups as good as this.

Yeah, but it depends on the model, filament, and oddly enough the choice of slicer. More info and pictures of the differences at http://thrinter.com/tiko-part-5-part-cooling/

Is the difference between the Tiko slicer and Simplify3D the fact that you have Z-hop enabled in one and not the other? It would lessen the chance of colliding with a curled-up layer during a move.

I thought it might have had something to do with the z-hop or minimum layer time too, that would make a lot of sense. But in Simplify3D I have z-hop completely disabled, and on the Tiko, I've tried several runs with z-hop at 0, 0.2 and 1mm, and with min layer time hovering on and off, and didn't see a significant improvement (they were really short tests though, I would want to do longer tests to be sure.)

Has anyone tried deconstructing the gcode from the TIko slicer to see if they're adding any trick to try to compensate for the lack of active cooling? It might explain why the Tiko slicer prints with cooling fail so badly.

I've done some more testing trying to pin down the issue and now I can't get a layer shift to happen. So unless I can get it to happen again reliably or other people run into the same issue I'm going to assume it was something I was doing and not the Tiko slicer that was causing the layer shifts.

I think there's a MicroSD card on the Tiko mainboard, so it should be possible to get at the gcode it generates by pulling it. You've made me curious now so maybe I'll try it. The main trick they seem to be using to compensate is the minimum layer time defaulted to 15 seconds, don't know if there are any others. Having a nozzle sit idle for so long tends to result in oozing though, and there isn't a priming tower or ooze shield to compensate for it.

Filament oozing during the pauses is a common complaint as a mater of fact. I'd just as soon go with a tower. I wonder if there's an existing tower object we can add to model (the Tiko slicer doesn't currently support adding multiple objects to a single job)?