Plastruder MK5

by MakerBot, published

Plastruder MK5 by MakerBot Aug 20, 2010

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Plastruder MK5 by MakerBot is licensed under the GNU - GPL license.

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Plastruder MK5, Do or Die!

After strenuous testing which logged hundreds of hours of continuous extrusion, we are supremely excited to offer the all-new Plastruder MK5.

Designed for reliablity, low maintenance, and ease of use, the next-generation MK5 revolutionizes the MakerBot's extrusion mechanism.

Hot End Reinvention:

This story begins with the complete redesign of the extruders' heating element, barrel, and nozzle. Our goal was to take user feedback and our experiences the MK4, and return with the most robust, most reliable, and longest lasting extruder possible.

In close consultation with our manufacturers, we opted for precision machined stainless steel throughout the hot end. Every part was totally redesigned and pushed to the limit before we included it in the final product.

Each component screws tightly together, creating rigid connections and no room for leaks or loosening over time. The result is an all-stainless hot end that feels heavy and strong, and extrudes smoothly for hours and days without issue.

The heating element has been reinvented too: Nichrome wire has been replaced by two matching power resistors that screw-mount directly to the stainless steel MK5 Thermal Core. The resistors receive current straight from the Relay Board, and they heat evenly to produce a consistent temperature perfect for reliable extrusion.

Sayonara Idler Wheel:

You may notice the reduced footprint and profile of the MK5 Plastruder. It's thinner, sleeker, and the motor housing is smaller. The reason for this is the complete "Paxtruder" inspired redesign of the filament guide mechanism. Now simply twist the thumbscrew to push the Delrin plunger into place, and your filament guide is set. No moving components, and the low coefficient of friction and high strength of Delrin means that the filament will slide over it smoothly and meet with the MK5 Drive Gear with no variation. It's a simple design, and it's simply effective.

The Gear that Drives It:

The MK5 Drive gear, released earlier this year, has become the defacto standard drive gear for MakerBots around the world. It's custom machined stainless steel, lasts ages, and is easy to clean without removing from the plastruder body. The MK5 Drive Gear grabs filament with 100% greater push strength than the MK4 Extruder Pulley. The proof is in the pudding for this item- it's already in successful use around the world.

Power Play:

With the larger surface of the MK5 Thermal Core to heat, the extruder needed more juice to get hot. For this reason the MK5 is powered by our Relay Board Kit, already in steady use with our Heated Build Platforms.

The Relay Board comes standard with enough outputs to run the Plastruder MK5 and the HBP simultaneously. By using the relay, the MK5 doesn't draw the power load through the Extruder Controller. Translated- Steady power, without wearing on sensitive circuits or microcontrollers.

The combined effect of our innovative new components, redesigned filament guide, and stainless steel construction is tremendous. It's a totally reinvented extruder that mounts easily to existing CupCake CNC Z-stage, and makes your machine better instantly.


Full documentation located here: http://wiki.makerbot.com/plastruder-mk5

Note: I uploaded some profiles to use with the MK5 titled s1,s2,s3. You have to put them in the right place in your home folder. On a mac, they are invisible files so you have to make those visible as well. I used this tutorial to see the invisible files: http://www.macworld.com/article/51830/2006/07/showallfinder.html Should be irrelevant when ReplicatorG 0019 comes out because Adam will include these profiles in it. - Bre

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Does anyone know the thermistor settings for the thermocouple that comes with the Thing-O-Matic? I'm restoring one that has a Plastruder Mk5 (I will eventually switch to a stepper driven extruder and modern hotend, but I want it working for now). My current settings are 4,066 for the beta, 100,000 for the thermistor resistance, and base temperature of 25. With those settings, it shows 1,023C at room temp.

I cannot believe the incredible out-of-the-box quality of prints with my new extruder. And it's quite amazing how such a drive system fits in the tiny 4 layers of acrylic and delrin. And I love the new tensioner, since my old MK4 is notorious for its idler wheel.

My old MK4 is SO out of my printer.

And the defaults for SF standard with MK5 are AMAZING. I never thought a raft could pop off that easily.

Great job on this AWESOME new extruder. :-D

The hot end does not leak and is a solid fit. I only had to hand tighten the stainless steel parts together. The temperature has no problem reaching the programmed endpoint in order for the build to proceed. This is whether it is set to 220C or 250C. That was always the issue with my MK4 plastruder. I noticed that the UP printer from China heats up their filament over 270C in one youtube demonstration. Why does replicator G only read up to 255C? The assembly issues I had was breaking one of the three tabs that the base acrylic plate attaches to. It's a tight fit and pulling it apart caused this. But it didn't matter in the end. When it came to inserting the motor gear into the hole for the filament drive, I used regular lotion as lubrication because that also was a tight fit. Breaking those layers of acrylic would of been frustrating. The thumbscrew/plunger was a big help in giving a direct feel adjustment. However, a further advancement would be something more motorized and automated with the use of pressure sensors, whatever that may look like. Currently it can still loosen due to operator error or regular use. It would also be interesting to see a displayed pressure reading value against the filament and having that automatically maintained.

What is the material thickness on the Delrin and Acrylic? I may want to cut my own, try it then buy a hot end

I too would like to know the material thickness and have a go with my own laser cutting.

looks really cool..
i am planing a similar design for my repstrap.
what values did you use for the resistors? I tried with 6R and it seems to work well.
Is the lower part of the tube glass or what material did you use for heat isolation?

where do you mount the extruder controller

You got a lot of space on the Z platform.

HEY! Good question! All the images show the extruder running with out the electronics mounted, or with the electronics sitting off to the side. Are we to mount them elsewhere now? If so, where?

i'm trying to figure that out too. the dc motor of the extruder is too short. help... :'(

Whats the reasoning on the new nozzle standard? How come you chose to mix imperial and metric treads?

"The threading on the nozzle has been changed to a standard 3/8"-24 thread pitch which allows for easy hacking and custom nozzles"

just as a reminder http://goo.gl/DG9phttp://goo.gl/DG9p

And I will respond with a map :)


There are more RepRap in the Liberia and those other countries than there are in the rest of the world. Ignorant, backward measurment system for the win ;)

looks awesome

will you be selling just the hot end soon? i have been printing out the rest of the parts needed for an extruder

I just got my MK4 working the way it's supposed to again...and you guys go and release this into the wild! Empty Bank Account is empty!

Just snapped up one of the kits from http://makerbot.commakerbot.com, looks great! I hope it works well with PLA too, I like it a lot more but have been having a lot of trouble working with it on the mk4 plastruder.

Built one of these from the source (from two months back). It's really quite nice, though I reverted to the MK4 motor block for convenience and compatibility with my bot.

If I may ask, why isn't the MK5 stepper driven?

It appears to have mounting holes for one, so if you find a high-torque NEMA17 you could probably use that just as well.

Yup, we have someone working on this right now with a nice torquey stepper we found. its looking very promising right now, but we need to work out the kinks and get the software right and all sorts of other little odds and ends before we launch it.

when we do launch it, it will most likely be a seamless upgrade from the MK5... probably just the appropriate stepper.

Out of curiosity what kind of stepper are you testing out, and what kind of torque would a drop-in replacement need to supply?

The goal for the MK5 was reliability. We wanted to focus on making it so it would not break. Ever.

MK6 is going to be stepper driven, and the MK5 is going to be the base for that. In fact, there are NEMA17 mounting holes in the design if you want to 'read ahead' so to speak.

Can we expect this to be included in the MakerBot kits anytime soon? I really want to order a Makerbot but I don't really want to order a kit and a second extruder.

when I ordered my makerbot I was expecting to get a MK3 extruder and board, but was pleasantly surprised when it arrived with the new MK4 design. hopefully they will do the same.

Looks really beefy, this time you guys didn't mess around!

Looks HOT! ;)
If my MK4 decides to fail i definately will get this upgrade, but for now, my MK4 seems to work pretty well too...