Improved Hexagon Cooling Fan Shroud System for MakerFarm Prusa i3v and i3

by clough42 May 18, 2014
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I just wanted to post back, I did get this all printed and installed today, and made my first couple test prints. So far, so good! Thanks for the design. :)

Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Hello, I'm wondering if you could please upload the entire model as an STL file? I don't have solidworks, only sketchup. I'd like to make some modifications to some of the parts that are not available for download here. Thanks!

Which parts are you missing? Everything shown in the photos is available somewhere in my uploads. If you let me know what you need, I can point you to the right place.

Thanks, I think I did find everything, I hadn't browsed your other uploads. I'm just waiting on my little 25mm fan to arrive.

Does the shroud work without the X Carriage Plate? I wouldn't mind keeping the old one.

Are you asking about the X carriage shelf? You need the new shelf to have an opening to mount the fan. You can use the stock vertical carriage back plate. The photos are showing the original back plate. Mine is just painted black, so it's hard to see that it's wood.

Great design, but I ended up switching back to the original Makerfarm fan scheme (but this time with the fan drawing air from the hotend rather then blowing on it). I print with ABS, and the temperatures were too much for the shroud and the tiny fan.

Hello Kerwood, I'm working on a 30mm fan version of this shroud, the model is done but waiting for the fan to arrive to test it. Stay tuned for the remix, might work well for you on ABS as the 30mm fan had a decent CFM

Would this work for an E3DV6?

It isn't designed for the E3dV6. The E3dV6 has its own cooling system. On my double extruder, I just use the fan shroud to pull the air up and out the back of the shelf, but use the stock E3dV6 fan.

Do you know of anything I can print that will allow me to keep the stock E3D fan shroud, bed levelling probe AND cool my prints?

I just find the E3D shroud to be too bulky to put any sort of print cooling fan on the extruder.

I haven't done a single-extruder version yet, but I do support this on my dual flex extruder: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:757864

The print fan shroud is a little longer, as is the arm attached to the E3D groove mount.

Itty Bitty Double FLEX Extruder (with mount for MakerFarm Printers)

Hello Clough42, do you think a 30mm fan version could be remixed? 25mm fans in 3+ cfm are hard to come by. Digikey is great but here in Canada, it would cost 20$ shipping for a 7$ fan... I can easily find a 30mm fan on ebay with 3-5 cfm for around 3-5$ shipped. What do you think of extending the platform forward 5mm to give the extruder the needed space? Thanks

Hmm...5mm doesn't seem like a lot. It would require modifying the shelf and the fan shroud. And maybe the side brackets, depending how everything fits. I'll certainly put it on my list of things to think about trying.

I might have beat you to it, (This is panterateama's account for our group) I worked on it for a few hours tonight and got a 30mm fan design. Had to modify the shelf to stretch it forward a bit, same with the shroud, the width on the shelf had plenty of clearance but the back of the shroud had to be stretched a bit, I also made the side arms a bit longer to match and moved the servo hole forward to match up better with the extruder since the whole extruder assembly had to come forward with it. I didn't make a side panel without the hole as I figured it would save on material and it still seems structurally fine to support the extruder. My main concern now is that the center of gravity on the entire extruder is pushed forward and might create some issues with the X carriage wanting to lean forward a bit. We will see... 30mm fan has been ordered and these parts will be being printed this week in anticipation that everything works ok. I hope that with the width of the shroud being a bit bigger, it doesn't pose too much of an issue with the z probe mounts. Ill post the remix once it is tested so you can take a look, ill admit it isn't the smoothest looking shroud as the software I use isn't really made to work with STL files, but it works and it is what I know. Wish me luck!

Great. Let us know how it works out.

I don't have any experience with that fan. In general, I think you're better off with a 12v fan for this application, since the 5V regulator on the Arduino is usually running near it's capacity. The fan I recommend from Digi-Key is actually less expensive than the one you suggest.

Thanks!, Guess that is going back :) never even thought about the 5v vs 12v. Guess I am making an order at Digi.

to anyone wondering it worked for me with pla and a little kapton tape at 225c for my makerfarm i3v 12, will probably need to reprint once I get some abs

Awesome. Thanks for letting us know.

I'd like to point out that this is not Rio de Janeiro summer compatible. I've been using it for a while and as soon as december started it stopped being enough to cool my hotend. I just popped back to the vanilla cooling system since it caused no obstructions to my auto bed levelling probe.

What material are you printing? What is the ambient temperature in the room?

Printing in ABS at 225°C with room temperature of 41°C.

Wow. That's hot. Most of my printing is done in a room that's about 20C year-round.

I'm aware hahaha. Having a 3D printer in Rio brings all kinds of challanges such as cooling and humidity above 85% all year long (mostly above 90%).


Can you make a version using a 30x30mm cooler? I am having trouble to find out a hi flow 25x25mm cooler here. I am using one, but the speed is only 5300rpm. The flow maybe is no more than 1,5cfm....

Hey guys,
i will try to upload the 30mm remix of this over the next week... I havent had a chance to take any pics yet though... so hold tight, 30mm version IS possible... but tight fit lol

Looking forward to it.

30mm fan remix has been posted, feel free to have a look and thanks for the awesome design! it's been working great on our i3v for months since I did the 30mm model.

There isn't really room back there for a larger fan. If I were to remake this today, I think I would make the front of the shroud narrower to force all of the air to go through the aluminum fins. I'm using perhaps a 2CFM fan to cool two hexagon hot ends on another printer, so I think there would still be enough air. You could constrict the airflow by blocking the sides with something to see if it works.

If instead of pulling air to the Hexagon hot end, maybe pushing air to it using a external cooling fan....
Is that possible?

Definitely possible. I decided not to go that route because the fan blades throw air of the tips that spills onto the print, causing warping. If you want a front mounted fan, there are other designs out there you might want to consider.

Thank you.
But I am Already using your solution because of the Auto Bed Leveling. It works very good. The only problem is the cooling fan now.
Just to give you an idea: I can not print anything in PLA because the plastic stucks in the hotend due to bad cooling...

The Sunon fan I recommend is available from Digi-Key and they ship to Brazil. That's probably the easiest solution. There are also numerous international eBay sellers with similar products.

Is there a version of this that's a little looser? While trying to install it I noticed that the slots for the nuts were too tight to fit them inside... Thanks,


You mean the nut slots in the base plate? They're a press-fit in mine. I force them in using a pair of needle-nose pliers. Maybe your printer is printing them a little undersize so they're too tight? If you can measure the slots and the nuts you're using, I can make a version of the STL that compensates. I would need to know the width and length of the slot as printed, and the thickness and width (flat-to-flat) of your nuts. The nut size should be standard (you never know), but the thickness can vary.

You can also just enlarge the holes with a needle file.

No worries, the problem was solved. I printed it on a different printer (with a heated bed, so maybe it warped less?), and used pliers to press the nuts in, as you suggested. Thanks

Will the stock Makerfarm fan work with this?

The stock fan that came with my printer was a 40mm fan. This shroud requires a 25mm fan. The hexagon hot end now comes with a 25mm fan, but I haven't tried yet to see if it moves enough air. The fan I recommend is a relatively high-flow fan for the 25x25x10 size (3CFM).

Ok, going to try this whole system out with the new extruder mount and dualy fan hookup! Have been printing PLA with great results EXCEPT bridging is a problem, my filament sags. Hopefully this upgrade will solve the problem...

This completely eliminated my constant warping issue. Thank you so much!

So I printed out the parts in place (that's all I have ATM) and used the fan you gave the link for. Woe when I print something, it works OK for a little bit but after a while it will stop extruding. I felt the heat sink fins on the hot end, and they feel warmer than normal. It also may be worth mentioning that I am using the other cooling fan shroud you uploaded, and it appears to be pointed at the tip of the hot end. Could the cooling fan be cooling the hot end nozzletoo much, or will this not work with pla? Also, would changing the direction if the fan make a difference? So it was blowing air over the heat sinks?

I'm using both fan shrouds on my printer, with the recommended fans. I routinely print five-hour jobs and have never had a problem.

Do you know why it stops extruding? Does it strip and chew up the filament, or does the motor start skipping? How warm is the barrel of the extruder? Can you measure it? For ambient room temps of 24C, my extruder barrel reaches about 45C.

How warm is your room?

What filament are you using?

The filament is getting chewed up by the hobbed bolt. The extruder heat sink fins are warm, but not hot. I am unsure of the nozzle temperature. The room I am in is about 22C-24C. I am using white pla from makerfarm. I also have glow in the dark green pla from makerfarm, but I have not tryed printing with that yet.

I wonder if your nozzle is clogged. That sounds like what happened to me when I first got my Hexagon. I got some kind of debris in the melt chamber. After retracting, it would extrude just a bit, then jam and strip. I dissolved the ABS out of the nozzle with acetone, cleaned it out thoroughly and haven't had a problem since.

I put the original cooling fan on and it printed fine. I also changed the direction of the 25mm fan so it was blowing air over the hotend, and it seems to work. I will try some longer prints to see how it holds up though

Great. I'm glad you got it working.

Do you think printing this object with PLA would work well, or should I stick to ABS?

I think ABS is probably a better material for parts like this overall, just due to its higher working temperatures. But if you only have PLA, that means you'll only be printing at PLA temperatures, and it might be okay. Give it a try. Keep an eye on the bottom of the shroud where it sits above the heat block. I'd add a layer or two of Kapton to keep it from melting and drooping or maybe make an insulator if you have some fiberglass lying around.

It seems that my splic3r of this stl gives me a gcode that my pronterface says is 3.4mm high for the plate in this piece. I was having issues last night with heights on a small piece and couldn't pin point it. I printed a hollow 20mm test cube which came out as near perfect as I could expect this early in my trials. Your plate here looks as thick as the wooden original, when measuring 3.4 with my calipers and holding against the wood it seems I am closer to half the height I should be. Any ideas or suggestions?

I really need to get this figured out and modified because I accidentally bumped into my fan and lost some blades lol.

I sent you a message though I can't find where to click to check to see if I have gotten a reply.

Thanks for all the work!!

If you open the plate STL in netfabb, you should see the height as exactly 6mm. If Slic3r is generating something shorter, check to be sure you don't have a scaling value set. Are the other dimensions okay? If you're slicing with .2mm layers, it should generate 30 layers for 6mm.

Hi, could you please tell me where you got those narrow z couplers from? i can only find the phat ones that always get in the way.

That is just plastic tubing. You can get it at most home centers in the US. Mine came with the MakerFarm Prusa i3 kit.

i have another hotend frame and I saw what you did and want to use this. can you tell me what the best option to download from thingiverse? and i dont have any wood plate because I have a prusa i3 einstein variant. its another extruder case. it would be great if you could help me with this

I have uploaded both the STL files and also the original SolidWorks files I used to generate them. You are free to do whatever you like with the files. I'm not sure how else I can help.

thank you so much! ill try to make it work! thanks again!

can you tell me what greg extruder version you have? the metal plate for the extruder and the piece that goes on top doesn't fit for me. It will be awesome if you could give me a link to download the stl,

Interesting. I'm using the extruder that came with the kit from Makerfarm. Do the holes in the printed plate not line up with the holes in your original wood plate?

i have another hotend frame and I saw what you did and want to use this. can you tell me what the best option to download from thingiverse? and i dont have any wood plate because I have a prusa i3 einstein variant. its another extruder case. it would be great if you could help me with this

Have you looked at narrowing the gap between the hotend cooling fins and the shroud? That would enable all air to pass over the fins vs. bypass the cooling fins.
I have fans on order to get this onto my I3V. I've been trying to figure out the best way to get a print cooler onto my I3V carriage and moving the hotend cooling fan from in front of the hotend is the key.
Looking forward to trying this one out.

Yes, I thought about it, and I was planning on doing it, but in practice, it has been working fine, so I haven't bothered.

I'm having issues when printing in PLA. Have you guys had any problems with jamming? Possibly due to heatcreep? ABS works flawlessly. I was thinking about maybe adding a fan for the front that ran off an AUX switch to give the added airflow when using PLA.

I haven't had any problems. I've done some ten-hour prints with 3mm PLA from MakerFarm without issue. Do you have any way to measure how hot the cold end of the Hexagon is getting? I have a thermocouple for my multimeter, and I'm seeing about 45C max on the aluminum fins of the hot end. The very top where it mounts to the groove plate reaches about 35C.
Of course, this would all be different with the printer in a hot location or with an enclosure that raises the temperature of the incoming air.

i don't have a thermocouple. I am running the printer in an enclosure so that might be part of the problem. As a fix I added some start and end gcode. At the end of my print job I retract 50mm of filament. That way at the start of my next job there will not be any filament sitting in the hotend heating up while the autobed leveling routine is running. I then purge the nozzle 100mm before the print job begins. So far it has worked well. Time will tell.

That totally makes sense. The airflow from that little fan is just enough to keep it cool (enough) but that's totally dependent on the incoming air temperature. You're probably very near the limit with your enclosure, so you can get it to work by not giving the filament time in the hot end to heat-soak. I wonder if you'll still have trouble with slow, detailed prints with thin layers that spend a lot of time moving the filament very slowly.

Im currently printing at 10mm/s without issue. Small detailed gears... I think the gcode was the fix! I have a smaller nozzle on order that should be hear any day now, that might open a new can of worms!! Thanks again.

The fiberglass tape I ordered came in and I fashioned an insulator to go between the heated block and the fan shroud to keep the shroud from drooping. I tested today at 305C, and it seems to be working well. See the photos and instructions for details.

This is FANTASTIC! I highly recommend! It has fixed my warping problem I had taken every precaution to avoid. I am now able to print large dense parts without them popping off the bed. I used the fan you recommended and it indeed produces adequate airflow. When I turn off the nozzle it cools quick, but it still heats faster than with the lousy makerfarm original.

I feel I may have spoken too soon. I still like the design, and it may work for others under different circumstances, but I am running into issues. These may just be because I have my printer in a chamber, but I am having issues with my extruder warping and leaning forward during long prints. I have the same stock makerfarm extruder as you have in your pictures and I believe it's warping due to the warm air blowing up the back. Luckily I have a spare on hand if all goes bad. I'm going to continue to work around your design, however, since the prints just come out so darn good. I'm thinking of rebuilding with different materials that are less heat sensitive. I'll keep you posted.

Is the extruder warping, or the carriage plate? How hot is your extruder motor? I find that if I let it get above 65C, the motor heat warps the extruder. I added a fan to the extruder motor to keep the temps down. I uploaded my extruder fan shroud design last night, but if you've got a heated chamber, your thermal options are going to be much more limited. I have been wondering about liquid cooling. Maybe a bowden setup would be better.

All is well now. Part of the issue was MY mistake which led to snowballing problems. After a complete rebuild and new parts it seems to be working better than ever. I am not using the enclosure for the time being, but since I've been using your improved shelf I haven't had much issue with warping. I'm actually trying to get an aluminum version milled. I will definitely share pics if I can make that happen.
I have lapped heatsyncs attached to my motors with arctic alumina thermal adhesive and a 40mm fan on each since the motors were originally reaching about 70c and missing steps. On long prints my motors don't go much above 40c. I have water blocks on the way and will definitely send you a pm of pics if I get around to water cooling.

Glad to hear it. Can you post photos of your heatsinks? I've been thinking about something similar, but I haven't come up with anything awesome.

I'm glad you like it. I've been really enjoying it and it's nice to hear that other people find it useful, too.

I compared your design to the stock I3 x carriage.. it looks like it should work on the i3 as well (the linear non i3v). I'm going to print one out tonight and see how it does. I'll post an update later. Have you guys experienced and leakage with your hexagon? I've only had it for a few days and noticed a lot of filament leaking from the joints. I let it reach temp and tightened everything up. Hopefully it fixed it!

I looked at my i3 frame, and I think you're right. The plate should fit fine. The support brackets are a little different, so I'll need to make another version of the Z-probe bracket. But that's another thing.

Mine leaked a huge blob of filament and it was a mess to clean up. I tore it all down, cleaned it thoroughly with acetone and reassembled. I have heard that most all-metal hot ends must be heated and re-tightened, exactly as you describe. So far, it's working fine for me.

I also just added some comments to the instructions about protecting the plastic of the shroud from the heat block. It can droop and contact the block. It doesn't seem to cause any problems, but you may wish to experiment with Kapton (polyamide) tape, fiberglass or ceramic cloth insulation. I understand that RepRapDiscount is also working on a silicone insulator for the Hexagon. I did upload a new version of the shroud that increases the heat block clearance by .5mm.

Great idea with the kapton tape. My stock hexagon shroud from makerfarm melted all over my heater block. This was one of the reasons I was after the solidworks files, so I could adjust the distance from the block but never thought about some kind of insulation.

I ran a 3.5 hour print with the new, .5mm shorter shroud with two layers of Kapton tape applied to the bottom, and it didn't droop at all. Time will tell. I made sure to bring the tape up the sides of the shroud to get good adhesion and provide tension to support the plastic if it softens.

I just uploaded the original SolidWorks files. The zip file includes the entire XCarriage assembly, including mockups of the hot end and servo Z-probe.

Thank you!!

Thank you so much. I have been trying to modify this http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:316494 to fit the hexagon without much success. Your design looks much cleaner. Is there anyway I can persuade you to upload the solidworks SLDPRT files so I can make a few changes ?

MakerFarm Prusa 8" i3v Magma Cooling System
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Absolutely. I'll get the files gathered up and I'll upload them later tonight. I've been struggling with cooling the Hexagon for a while and I've been running with a bunch of aluminum foil taped to the carriage. I'm pretty happy with this design, and I'll be very interested to see what you do with it.