Universal Paste Extruder for 3D printers

by RichRap, published

Universal Paste Extruder for 3D printers by RichRap Apr 6, 2012

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This is a universal paste extruder for RepRap and other 3D printers.

It allows you to experiment with various pastes on your 3D printer without the need for any air compressor equipment or valves etc.
It simply uses the existing Extruder motor output from your printer’s electronics.

It's designed to fit on the Quick-Fit X Carriage Thing 19590-


And it will also fit on Prusa and Greg style X carriages.

7th-4-2012- Split and added Gear set on two plates for Cupcake and smaller build-bed machines.

11-April - Uploaded Sketchup Source files (sorry for the delay)
I challenge you to make one that works with 50ml Syringes! or do a fully parametric version in SCAD :)

And a very big thank you to Greg Frost (and derivatives) for the wonderful work done on the Parametric Involute Bevel and Spur Gears script, without this, the gear set would have taken me a lot more time to make.


An assembly video for the Universal Paste Extruder can be found here, giving you details of how to build one up - http://youtu.be/iiyEOKpz_b8

You can print with Ceramic Clays, Silicone, Sugar pastes, solder paste for PCB assembly, Chocolate, Frostings, Masa Harina, and all sorts of other food’s or pastes that can be extruded through a syringe.

A Blog post on the Extruder is Here - http://richrap.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/universal-paste-extruder-ceramic-food.html

Printing with Sugar paste video - http://youtu.be/vEqLvqTCDko

Printing with Chocolate - http://youtu.be/tbVVT0Q0PyU

Printing with Porcelain Clay - http://youtu.be/x8ILdNDrXrc

Printing with Masa Harina (Corn chips) - http://youtu.be/cUvu522Q_f4

Intro video - http://youtu.be/Moiyvq8P2Vs

1 x Print - Plastic Body V2 Extruder
1 x Print - Gear and drive set (small gear, medium gear, large gear, idler block, syringe pressure block
1 x NEMA17 motor
1 x T5 10teeth Metal drive Gear (you could print one of these)
4 x 624 Bearings
1 x 608 bearing
1 x 20mm M8 Smooth rod
1 x 55mm M4 Bolt
1 x 75mm M4 bar or bolt
1 x M4 Hex spacer (or M4 wingnut)
2 x M4 plain nuts
4 x M4 Nylock nuts
3 x M3 Nuts
2 x 20mm M4 bolts
5 x 10mm M3 bolts
4 x M3 washers
14 x M4 washers
3 x M3 nuts
1 or 2 x 45mm M3 bolts for Idler
1 or 2 x springs or Silicon pressure spacers for Idler
1 x small zip tie
1 x 5-6mm wide T5 belt ~about 40cm
1 x Plastic sheet

Standard 10ml Syringe - Luer Lock or Centre slip types
Various syringe needles 1.8mm - 0.1mm - For Lure Lock Syringe type.

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Not sure if it's been mentioned before, but have you considered replacing the syringe feed mechanism with a peristaltic pump?
This way, you could draw your chosen liquid material from a reservoir with a much larger capacity.

It might also help when using molten chocolate as your printing material, where the reservoir could be a pan on a hotplate keeping the chocolate liquid.

Food for thought.

Can I use this on any 3d printer?
I'll use a 3d printer named "cremaker", made from Korea, darakmall company.
I will upload it's photo. Could you check whether it's available or not?

can you put a link to the drive gear online?

Anyone have 12mm rods spaced 50mm??
Please I want to print it without changing rods.

Anyone did already a version with a 50ml or even a 100ml syringe?

Can you make a list of all of links to where you got each of your parts form? Thanks!

just to let everybody know, if you are having trouble finding some of the longer screws try a website called fastenal.com

Can we attach this to a RepRap Prusa i3 and how.

you can use a adapter such as this one http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:590801

Prusa i3 Paste Extruder Adapter - V2.1/V2.2 - Adptateur Extrudeuse à pâte Prusa i3

Will pancake batter work? I'm looking at creating a personal Pancakebot because the manufactured one is too expensive.

How to adapt it for a Prusa i3?

will this work on a davinci duo ? thanks . this is so awesome i am a long time chef and this would be great to make centerpieces for the table.
and now we can make like edible motorcycles cars trucks and so on for birthdays weddings or any occasion. instead of paste how bout pastries dough! hope it works n mine or i will have to buy a pursa 3.

Hi there, I am new to 3D Printing and I am very impressed with this mechanism. I worked in adhesives applications in the aerospace world and can see the utility of your mechanism. It will be a while before I am functional to your level with conception of a device, selection and insertion of small parts and upon assembly, make it work. Thanks, it is beautiful!


Do you have any specifications on the belt that is used? ie. pitch, number of teeth, or possibly even a part number?

Any idea's on how to fit it on a Prusa i3 Hephestos? Problem is that the extruder resides on 2 metal rods placed on top of each other, and not next to each other...

Any help is very much appreciated!

I have the same problem!

I'm having trouble with finding the items in the BOM. Is there a more detailed BOM available? Thanks

Try eBay or McMaster Carr. Your local hardware store should have a lot of the hardware too.

does anyone knows of this extruder fits on a mendel 90?

Is there a way to have more printing material other than getting a bigger syringe

Hi, just found this... and think my girlfriend and me can make much use of it

One thing are the printed parts.... but all the mechanical parts, where do i get those? are there a "shopping list" ?

i tried to look at http://ifeelbeta.deifeelbeta.de but they do not have it anymore.... and i would rather get a list from the source :-D

I have problems with all the 3 wheels. Using Repetier it looks like they have something strange in the normal, even trying to fix it with netfabb basic.

Any help?

Thanks in advice.

I've finished assembling this extruder but I'm unsure as to how I would go about mounting it onto a Reprappro Mendel. Any suggestions?

Please disregard my previous comment...didn't see the instructions tab.

Hi Rich,

Just wandering whether you could post a list of all the names and quantities of the? required components needed to assemble the universal paste extruder. I had a search through your website but I couldn't find one.
It would be really really helpful:))


Thanks a lot!!!!!
This is fantastic!!!!!

Wow! Almost 17,000 Downloads and 22,000 views.

I did make it Creative Commons and for your commercial use, so if any of you entrepreneurial people are selling it, or have been inspired to make something similar that's really great! well done and congratulations, keep going :)

Just have a think about donating to my Blog if you can, I'd most appreciate it - http://richrap.blogspot.co.uk/http://richrap.blogspot.co.uk/

Keep sharing and Stay Awesome everyone :)


This is really awesome!

But I am not quite familiar with the mechanical part. So could you please tell me where I can buy these metal components such as bearing, bolt? And what is the proper dimensions or specific models of them?

Sorry for the fundamental question.
Thanks a lot~

Is there a version for 20ml syrines? I wanted to remix your model, but it looks like I have to build the model from the ground up again :(

Yes, I posted the challenge for someone to make it parametric and ifeelbeta have done a 20ml version - also parametric design - http://ifeelbeta.de/index.php/paste-extruder/2printbeta-feat-richraphttp://ifeelbeta.de/index.php/...

="thingiverse-881cb5534ac04cd691cdfa681afffb45:disqus" href="http://disqus.com/thingiverse-881cb5534ac04cd691cdfa681afffb45/RichRap I am new to extruder design, but do you think that this is capable of up to 100ml syringe? I have seen the design for the Ultimaker for a 100ml but not for an x carriage design. Just asking what the chances are that this version of the syringe extruder may be able to work with one that large. Thx in advance!

Hi Rich. Any tips on slicer settings? (Slic3r) I've had problems with the extruder jamming against the body and subsequently missing steps. I'll try again, I think 3 vertical shells may be too many.

Hello, could you be a little more specific about which parts go where?  Sometimes it's hard to tell from the video.  For example, I don't want to accidently force an M4 nut where an M3 was supposed to go.  My print wasn't perfect so some places seem like more than one size of nut could fit there.  Specifically, I'd like to know where the four M3 washers, three M3 nuts, four M4 Nylock nuts, two M4 bolts, 55mm M4 bolt, and 10mm M3 bolt go.  Thank you!

Hello, the Pressure block nut traps are M3
The Syringe grip block is M4 (you don't usually need this)
All the gears are held on with M4 bolts and Nylock nuts
The M3 x 10mm (x3) nuts and washers are for the Nema17 motor mount.

Another M3 nut, washer and bolt is for the pressure block hinge

Finally the end-cap that presses on the Syringe uses the smaller M4 bolt, bearing and two washers (one each side of the bearing) and a M4 Nylock nut to secure it,

If your print is a little out, use a heatgun or hair drier to soften the extruder, and insert the nuts.

Good luck with the build.

hi - My paste extruder is mostly working, but for some reason the teeth on the gears are coming out "fat" and don't mesh all well for me. Certainly not as nice fitting as your video. I printed it on both a Rostock and  Prusa, same issue.  No issues with meshing on several other gear related projects.

Could you post your gear specifications (pitch, pressure angle, etc?). I'd like to generate these as SCADs and tweak some tooth spacing to see if I can get a nice meshing.  It would be much quicker with the original numbers. thanks!

Hello, Are you using Slic3r for the Gcode generation - if so Don't use V 0.8.4 (ever!) it makes everything too big, and things don't mesh.

V0.8.3 or V0.9.1 works very well for the Gears, if they still don;t mesh, then you have another issue to sort out first (maybe incorrect extruder calibration?)

Wonderful design. I was wondering if this is easy to adapt to the ultimaker. Would love to hear back from you. :)

Not so easy for Ultimaker as it has a moving head and fixed build bed.

Maybe we need a Bowden based paste extruder for Ultimaker and Huxley?

Can you give a link to buy the T5 10teeth Metal drive Gear ?

Or a link to the printed part or at least the dimensions of the part ?

Hello, Where in the world are you based?

I got my gears locally but there ate loads online -

I put T5 10teeth into Google and MFA parts pop up everywhere - one on eBay - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Timing-Pulley-T5-MFA-10-teeth-/251103171623http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Timi...

Hi Rich,

Thanks for the great design. One question, what feedrate (mm/s), layer height and motor RPM did you use? I am really in the ultra low RPM range on my first tests: 20mm/s at 2RPM...

Hi, Thanks.

My Slic3r settings show all the settings I was running it at for the initial testing, it can go faster, but mainly depends on the material being extruded.
Masa and Ceramic with the needle was about 12mm/sec
It's quite highly geared so it can extrude thick pastes, so the RPM is reasonably slow, did
n't seem to cause problems even with a very small needle.

Good luck, I hope you can get it printing for you.

I failed on this. the gear holes are all eight-cornered and too large for the axles diameters. looking closely at the stl files i see its in the design. opening the skp file, its also in there. but looking at your fotos, i see they are perfectly round.

maybe you wanna post the scad files for the gears as well, i wouldnt mind working on this.

my motor doesn't fit either, it sits 2mm too high since the 'cap' of the motor has a 2mm 'overhang' over the motors black body. i might dremel a little groove into the base though, but thats not what 3d printing is all about...

and a question: why are you using sketchup, if the gears were made in openscad anyway ?


Hi, I get round printed holes with Marlin? Sorry, the Scad was just used for the simple gearing teeth output, I then heavily modified them in Sketchup to add all the other bits and re-size holes etc.

I use Sketchup because I like it and I can do things very quickly, I only used SCAD for the basic gear spacing and teeth calculations, I'm not a SCAD expert, so it would have taken me a lot longer to do it all in SCAD, otherwise I would have done a Parametric version from the start.

Feel free to
do whatever you need to the Sketchup / STL files or make your own SCAD gears etc. that's what it's all about, post a derivative if you make things better.



I posted up an update on the Ceramic prints - they have been fired now and came out quite well - more on my Blog here - http://richrap.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/ceramic-printing-update-may2012.htmlhttp://richrap.blogspot.co.uk/...

Thanks for the update!

Have you had any time to experiment with "fiber of choice"/paperclay?

Hi, I'm doing some printing with Precious Metal Clay first, then Paper clay is on my list, along with a few others...



Does anyone else have problems with this design? NEMA17 motors do not fit properly. The hole spacing is 28.5mm, but NEMA17 motors have a 31mm spacing. I had to drill some extra holes to get it to fit properly. The hole in the pulley is too small as well, approx. 4.5mm.

Hello, it could do with a small tweak to fix this, the holes are a little bigger than required, but it is still a little tight. I was intending to make the holes oval so the motor could be moved slightly, it got missed.

The pulley hole should be ok, that's just a normal size gear output from Greg's SCAD script.

What type of Nema17 motor are you using?

I hope you get it up and running.

Thank you for your reply.

I got it all together by drilling some extra holes and printing a modified pulley. It's all a bit tight right now, but it will probably wear in.
I'm using a NEMA17 from Zapp Automation with a 31mm spacing (according to the datasheet).

Working great now :)

RichRap put a couple complete kits, as well as some printed parts kits, up on eMakershop. Just incase there were other folks wondering if they could get a kit without having to go to the trouble of sourcing all the parts themselves, and/or thought their printer's resolution might not be up for the print job. http://www.emakershop.com/browse/listing?l=243http://www.emakershop.com/brow...

Define: "Standard 10ml Syringe"

Because I just picked up a 10ml syringe here in the USA, and when in the housing, the bottom of the body reaches the 5ml mark, whereas in your picture it reaches the 4ml mark. My syringe is also very very loose...are you from across the pond?

Where can I get a syringe that fits this thing? I've
been to pharmacies, medical supply shops, everywhere...nothing fits like it does in your picture.


I have 3 different 10ml Syringes and they all fit, the only difference being the flange that sits in the recess at the top.
Remember to use a packing piece of plastic wrapped inside hole for the syringe, you can see this in the video, and to tighten you can use the pressure block with an M4 screw,
but after fitting the packing piece, you should not need to tighten.

Without the packing plastic, it will be loose in the extruder, this is to allow hot pastes to be thermally insulated using foil and PTFE film, should you need it.

I expect all you are doing wrong it not fitting the packing piece
of plastic sheet.

I am in the UK, but I doubt Syringes are different dimensions over in the US, the ones I'm using are made by -http://www.muzamalindustries.com/muzamalindustries/index.phphttp://www.muzamalindustries.c...

Brand name 'Ciringe' - made in Malaysia

Hope any of that helps.

Here's an idea I had for a dual paste extruder based on 2 syringes driven by a single motor the idea is that forward direction on the motor will push one syringe and reverse will push the other. Might need some tweaking in the software though. https://imgur.com/2Q7CXhttps://imgur.com/2Q7CX

nice idea, but I'm not sure how that would work unless the other end of the belt was also tensioned,or you remember where you are with each syringe and then need to fast feed the belt forwards and back to the point of next extrusion. You could it with one belt and two motors, just fix the belt in the middle of your picture and have the motor's on the other ends of the belt.

Or one motor, one belt and one solenoid clamp, that may be the easiest way.

Amazing it works great judging from your vids!

I'm not familiar with ceramic porcelain clay, does it have to be baked? Is it food safe and waterproof?

thanks, it does depend on what you want to do with it, you can fire it and glaze then it's just like a finished ceramic mug.

Great to see my little frog printed in clay. With the void inside, can the porcelain clay be fired?

He is a great little frog, thanks for such a nice model.

I'm not expecting all the frogs to last the firing process, but I did prick a few little holes in the base, so if he does not explode it may just work.
I should find out in the next few days.

It would be fun to try this with PMC (Precious Metal Clay). You can get PMC in silver, gold, copper, bronze and steel!

Hey, I don't mean to rush you - I really appreciate all of your work!!!

But I'm really curious how the PMC turned out! I really wan't to try it myself, but since you have the setup already it really makes more sense for me to wait for you to try it first.

Have you ordered it yet?

Is there anything I can do to assist?

Thanks again for everything and I wish you the
best of luck!!!

Hello, I now have some copper clay, it's really nice but I have not had time to try it in the extruder, hopefully next week.

I'm really excited! Any luck with your copper clay?

Thanks, I will see if I can find any and give it a try, should look nice.

I think this is a very exciting idea. I can't wait to hear how it goes. If you can't find it, I know Rio Grande sells gold, silver and cork (cork clay can be used for supports and it burns-out in the kiln). They sell it in packets, jars or pre-loaded syringes.


If you've never seen their catalog before, you will just go nuts! It's like McMaster-Carr but for jewelry! They have a Gems and Findings catalog (the PMC is in there) and a Tools and Equipment catalog. They're both huge and amazing.

It used to be that Rio Grande only had some of their products online but I just looked at their web page and it looks like they've added a lot more to their online catalog.

Here's the direct link to PMC:


It looks like they have bronze and copper now too (perhaps others, I haven't looked thoroughly).

dumb question what is a good xcarriage that use lm8uu bushings and a good x xcarriage that uses 608 bearings. were can i download the files that have the modifications with the lm8uu or other types of bearings. I am trying to build a reprap off of my makerbot that demonstrates the other uses of a 3d printer, like this. Any help is a apreciated and thanks for this awesome design.

I have quick-fit X carriage that may help - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:19590http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

Quick-Fit X carriage and Extruder - LM8UU
by RichRap

printed now, two questions though:

what's the small rectangle piece for? shown in the main photo between the body and the double gear. I couldn't see it in your instructions.

How do you use the wade mounting holes? was I supposed to pause the print to insert a nut or something as I can't work out how to bolt it on :s

Cool print t
hough :)

Like the galaxy Blue print, nice.

The little rectangular piece is for the syringe insert, you can tighten the syringe and this block by using an M4 screw and the M4 trapped nut in the extruder body, but you don't really need it, it was a bit of design overkill as the syringe is held enough if you use a plastic sleeve, see my video on that.

I didn't have a lot of room to make the Wade mount all that easy so you screw up from the bottom and the M4 screws tap into the extruder body, they should be a nice tight fit.

Also you will need a flat button M4 bolt on the Main gear or it will not clear the middle gear as it turns - or use an M4 grub screw, room for improvement in that bit of the design.

I see now, the slot exactly the same shape should have made it obvious for me :P I'm printing your quick fit x-carriage now so the wade mount won't be a problem anyway I was just curious. I won't be using that m4 bolt, I just need to go to the hardware shop and wanted to mock up how everything would fit together. Thanks for the help.

oh and I had a spare 625 bearing, which is a little bigger, and it looks like a better fit for the top plunger bit, plus it means that a 5-pack of 624's (seems like a fairly common number per pack) is sufficient for this and your quick change carriage. Thought this might be of use to someone

Half way through printing now, I can't wait to have this working, thanks for the cool design :)

Thanks for the excellent design. No compressed air! Our current post on Open3DP was amended to include this design!

Breathtaking! This makes me to abort any further work regarding paste deposition.

However some kind of suck-back movement would be nice!

Congratulations again! :)

Just spit ballin' here, but if you printed with cookie dough(say sugar cookie dough so it was smooth and even) onto a HBP, could you cook the cookie while printing it. Leaving you with a perfect cookie of your design? Of course, the first few layers might get over cooked if you don't do it at the right temp.

Hi Rich - any chance you could upload the source files? I'm almost through putting it together and there are a few small changes I would like to play with (e.g. using a standard Prusa T5 pulley for the main drive)

Hi Gary, no problem, I'm just tidying up the sketchup files now and I'll pop them up shortly.

Great design!

I built a paste extruder (not a reprap style, more of a repstrap, metal junk style) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgiVMrtO7Jshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

I always thought that printing clay on paper/newspaper is the best thing to do, since the paper suck away the water from the clay.
how does the aluminium foil working for you?

That's an impressive build, nice job.

The foil works really well, it slows down drying so you get less warp as the layers build up - I'm using Porcelain which is tricky to use anyway, other clays may have less of an issue, but building on foil works well for me.

Hi, No problem, I have split the gear set and uploaded two new plates, that will fit on a Cupcake or other smaller machines.



Any chance you could export the models into individual files for V2_007_Paste_gears_Set_23rd_march_2012_ready_to_print.stl? This plate will not fit on a 4"x4" Cupcake platform.

I dig that you used the term Universal :) If we gear our designs towards working on most common reprap designs, we will see these machines advance faster :)

this is great work, and great videos! have you by chance tried it (or, do you plan on trying it) with solder paste? i'd be very interested to see how tiny a blob it could squirt out -- corresponding to how tiny a pitch one could use for SMD parts.

thanks again!

I'll give it a try, it should work fine, solder paste is quite forgiving of slight over or under application and even slightly off centre as it pools nicely when heated and usually sucks and straightens the component onto the SM pads.

This is awesome! I want to use it to print emulsion on a silk screen to quickly make intricate designs for silk screening! I wonder if that would work...

Thanks, and nice idea, it should work fine, you may need to mix some cornflour (cornstarch) with the dye / emulsion to make it thicker so it won't leak out.

Oh wow
§ dude, thats a great idea! It ought to work straight syringe on the fabric, right(?). Sure a few test runs and such, but Hey.. It should work!

Yep, that's the idea! Then you wouldn't have to use light-sensitive emulsion, you could just print the design, cover the screen in emulsion, and then rinse the printed area, and finally press the shirt or whatever you're screening.

Very clever design! I like the fact that it has a mechanical activation of the syringe instead of compressed air.

Thanks for sharing this with the rest of the 3D printing community!

no problem, I hope people find uses for it.

Simply Amazing.

Now, please stop designing great things; I am running out of filament to print them all.


You'll just have to buy more I'm afraid :-P



Nice work!

I'll just leave this cookie right here: http://www.jerrybennett.net/paperclay.htmlhttp://www.jerrybennett.net/pa...

It could take things to the next level, literally.

Cool, thanks for the link, that sounds perfect! I'll contact Jerry and see what he thinks, but it sounds ideal to help with warping and maybe even overhangs! I may get to print the bunny ears after all!

Yeah, paper-fiber-clay seems like a whole revolution within the ceramic-community! A "inversed" usage of fan/overhang function/plugin aught solve those overhang-bits. As fibers keeps the mojo together, one could probably get away with some heating. Not that I propose or dissuade from orbiting brainlasers, especially utilized for the RepRap-project. Just saying there got to be a easier way.

This is so amazing.... that I have no words... Wonderful work! Many thanks for sharing! Now the reprap project is going to spread even more