Replicator 2 Extruder Upgrade

by whpthomas Jan 14, 2013
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Lol did you print some gaskets??

This worked wonderfully!!!
I printed it out in ABS on my delta printer. I had to buy the spring, but luckily enough had the screws and bearing laying around.

What an improvement!! The stock replicator extruder is terrible. After this, the watercooling mod for the cold block, and tightening the belts a little, the replicator 2 now prints better then it did when it was new!

Will this mod work on the Flash Forge Creator Dual Extruder?


I'm printing these out for my Rep1 Dual right now. Looking great at your print settings too! .15 Layer Height, wow... I didn't even know mine would print that low without issues, but it's moving along nicely! And quite quickly with your speed settings too. Using ABS to make 'em super strong.

My question is this. Because I don't have a Rep2, so no original plunger... What size is the screw that goes into the PIN in the arm? That's the only missing info for sourcing my, (and other Rep1 owners) parts.

Thanks In Advance!

Glad you adressed the issue and in a way and manner that suits you. The plunger design may work for some (mine did for 2 months, then it was over), but overall the spring design is much more reliable, especially with varying filament diameters. There’s always room for improvement and it’s better to share this.

Is the bearing meant to rotate as the plastic is being extruded? My bearing is not rotating.

Is this also compatible with the Replicator / Replicator Dual?

I don't believe so. Though I'm sure it can be modified and then mirrored for the second extruder.

Regarding the Makerbot patent - the thing one must do before getting all worked up about this is to read and understand the claims. Claim 1. it the most important. You will notice that their invention involves a cam lock, which is a separate part of the mechanism that is included in their Claim 1. The cam lock holds the sprung pinch arm open in order to make filament changes easier. This is the design they used in the Replicator 2X. I think this is substantially different to my design, and with it Makerbot makes a novel, inventive and original contribution to the art, and therefore does not infringe on my design or place any restriction on printing and using my design. So from my perspective I think it is an over-reach to claim that Makerbot patented my design - what Makerbot did was patent something that is quite distinct and different.

But.... aren't all of the other claims still trying to patent this exact design? Or an even more vague representation of this design?

Like I said, you really need to read and understand the claims - in the MBI patent claim 1 and 14 are the important ones. For example, here is claim 1.
"An extruder assembly comprising: an extruder comprising an input opening aligned to a feedpath for a filament of build material, a chamber shaped and sized to pass the build material along the feedpath, and an orifice to discharge the build material in an extrusion;
a drive gear having a number of teeth positioned to engage the filament in the feedpath;
a bearing positioned opposite the drive gear along the feedpath;
a spring coupled to the bearing and biasing the bearing toward the drive gear with a spring force;
a lever extending from the extruder assembly to manually move the bearing against the spring force away from the feedpath;
and a locking mechanism to secure the lever in a position with the bearing moved away from and out of the feedpath."
A mechanism must include all of the elements in this claim, in order to infringe this patent. So in the case of my design, which does not have the locking mechanism - describe at the bottom of claim 1 - it does not infringe on this patent. All the subsequent claims in the patent add are in addition to claim one. Except claim 14, which simply duplicates claim one with the addition of a manual release, but once again all steps are required before the patent is infringed. So if you want to avoid infringing this patent all you have to do is leave one of the steps in claim 1 or 14 out, change one of the steps in claim 1 or 14, or add an additional step into mix.

Agreed... but if that one line about the "locking open" feature were removed, the patent would indeed describe nothing but your design.
We can be intentionally obtuse and talk like the "locking open" feature is a revolutionary addition to the community-developed designs, but in reality it seems like an incremental improvement at best. Doesn't treating it as the feature that makes this design patentable or valuable unquestionably diminish the work of people like yourself who developed, tested, and solved a solution to a much more significant shortcoming in Makerbot's previous design? Isn't it acting in bad faith to take 80% of a great, totally open design, add another 10% to make it slightly better, and then claim ownership over that 80%+10% combo, and any future designs that might spring from that combo?
You're an inventor and designer; I have a hard time believing you wouldn't be incensed if I, as some random asshat, added a minor mechanical improvement to your design, claimed it as my own, and patented it. You'd be (justifiably) angry, I suspect, because I would have taken your open-source design and claimed an entire swath of its offspring as my own property, and because what had begun as an open-source, community effort would now be permanently tainted by the fact that a subset of all possible great designs were off-limits.
To be clear - I'm not anti-IP protection at all... I've considered plenty of my own patents - but this action sets a disturbing precedent in an industry with amazing and world-transforming potential.

How did makerbot file a patent on this before it was available on thingiverse? Provisional patent was filed in 2012, it was not granted until May 1 2014... What a bunch of Faux controversy. Good job on the extruder BTW. Sorry I should have posed this under the McSquid comment.

I think MBI should strongly reconsider this action; Prior Art has been established in this instance. Not just by Thingiverse users, but by other manufacturers who have been using a bearing, spring and arm combo to feed filament LONG before the replicator used this (PrintrBot and Prusa i3 machines just to name two examples) It's bad form.
I still prefer this extruder feed; btw.
This system was started in the open source community, MBI should know better, as their own origins are saturated by Open Source; The factory extruder's plunger block was an attempt to skirt the very patents they are now trying to file.
Every time I think MBI is making a move for the better, they shock me with actions like this. Bad form indeed.
Here's hoping they withdraw the application for the good of the community, and their reputation.

Great product, but could you please add pics of the newer versions of the upgrade. I want to be sure that I am putting the upgrade on correctly as the printer is school property, not mine! I have tried everything to fix this printer, and the printer just wont work! the printer seems to not be catching filament because when I print stuff (or at least attempt to!!!), the bottom of the raft looks like it extrudes a normally, then it decreases in amount, then it works for about an hour, then it fails completely! I know it is not a clog because when I push down on the filament, the motor catches it again and takes 5 seconds of continuous pulling in order to come out of the nozzle. Hopefully, the printer should work tomorrow with 60N of force on it!!!!!. If anybody has experienced the same problem where the printouts don't extrude enough and eventually don't catch any more, PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO FIX IT, I AM ABOUT TO THROW THIS PRINTER OUT OF THE WINDOW AND IT'S NOT EVEN MINE TO THROW!!!!!!

Thank you for your replies
Has been upgraded with new accessories.
I would like to ask you now with the extruder won't plug throat how to do.
The 3 d printer market

Could you tell me how to sell this. thank you!

You should design your own items if you want to sell them. But these printers now come standard with an extruder like this so there wouldn't be much of a market anyway because everyone already sells them on ebay anyway and those with delrin plungers probably already did the upgrade anyway.

Could you tell me how to sell this thank you!

HI I am
Chinese.Do It Yourself 3 d printer enthusiasts. Very much hope to communicate with you together . At the same time also hope to get your help, thank you

Anyone know the specs of the hex head screws from the Delrin plunger assembly? I took mine off months ago and can't find them, but I still want to install this upgrade! Been using the Makerbot version upgrade and it starts to suck after about 50 hrs of printing! This one looks to be better. THANKS!

having a really hard time. I think the feeder is working as it should, but I
started hearing some clicks as I had never heard before. Also, in each click, I
can see the (I don't know what to call it) "sprocket" hesitating at
each click. Not using this exact same upgrade, as I had a hard time finding a
good replacement for the spring, but the same principle. Still using the
default medium profile, totally unchanged. Could this be caused by too much spring??
to little?

confused, so I will try the other issues already mentioned, although I’m not
sure how to address some of those issues, such as packing density, or the filament
diameter (what is the print-o-matic?? I only use the makerware!!??

i printed this at 0.2 (wasn't able to get 0.15 successfully on my stock replicator 2) and wasn't able to get it to work. sadly the stock plunger worked better.

i think it's due to the arm assembly not rotating freely when it's installed to where the spring wasn't able to put all its force on the bearing. could this be from my print coming out too thick, or do you think i mounted the stepper motor/heatsink/fan too tightly?

I'm reprinting at 0.16 right now, so hopefully that will work better than my first attempt.

OMG... so THIS is how my Replicator 2 is supposed to work!!!! THANK YOU!!!
Bought the screws and bearing on Amazon - Works perfectly....
I was so frustrated with the original setup, this is sooo much better. I'm going to go re-print most of what I've done for the past 3 months!

I'm from Brazil and we have mm as default measure unit, and I brought the spring dimensions in inches as you provided to the spring store but I think they gave me the wrong spring, would you mind giving me the right dimensions in mm for the spring? thanks! and excuse my primitive english.

Can you please make one for the other extruder? It works really well but I have a dual. Shouldn't take too much time, just mirror the arm and base Thanks!

You can always mirror them yourself. In most software you simply hit mirror under edit.

This is awesome, I only have one problem.
My servo is getting extremely warm.
So it basicly melts the pla once it gets the the bearing and squishes it so it loses grip.
What would you advise me to do ?

that doesnt sound like an issue caused by this... is your extruder fan running? how high do you have the temp set to? 230 is usually sufficient for pla...

Yes the fan is running, it's not optimally running but it is none the less.
Temp is 230C
And I dont know if it was caused by this but seeing this is being monitored by people who were having extrusion problems they might know what I should do.

i dont work for makerbot, but i would personally try a few things. one, try resetting your printer to factor settings. two, see if you need to update your firmware, and three, tighten all of the screws on the extruder assembly. i know right after i used this upgrade, i heard a godawful sound after a few prints. i discovered a hex head had come quite loose and the servo wasnt firmly attached to the guide rails. it could be one or none of these things affecting your servo, but all of them are worth doing occasionally, even if you dont have any issues. also, are you sure you are using the correct bearing on the upgrade? using one that is too large could cause too much pressure on the servo head and that could definitely cause an over heat...

Thanks for the tips Nick.

I checked everything and it was all good.
But if my fan isn't correctly working then what ?
Could it be that the heat is "climbing up" the pla string?

which fan isn’t working? the 40mm one in the front or the ducted one on the left?

the 40mm in the front, I thought the fan on the side was passive haha

also, if you are hearing a clicking sound on your prints, try removing the guide tube from the top of the extruder and feed the filament with a slight amount of force by hand. see if that helps. check your spool holder and be sure it isn’t catching. and if you are using a opaque filament, try using a translucent one, like the natural one that came with the printer. I have some trouble printing with the opaque ones sometimes.

the fan on the side is there to regulate the extruded filament, to cool it off as the printer head moves. you can toggle this on and off if you want a slower or faster cool. by default, it comes on when the head starts printing. as for the 40mm, the fan comes on to help regulate the extruder itself. there isn’t really any temp regulator for the servo. try this… use a test print to determine how long it takes for the servo to heat up to the point of your “failure”. then, let everything cool off, unload your filament, and remove the upgrade or stock plunger, whichever you are using. leave everything disconnected, run the software in “load” mode. this should activate the servo. it has a five minute shutoff, so you may need to do this two or three times, depending on how long it took for your test print to heat up the servo. if it heats up, you probably need a new servo motor, if it doesn't overheat, I would guess that your filament is being pressed against the head too hard, causing the servo to overwork. you need to look at your upgrade and make sure it printed with the correct dimensions. if they are okay, make sure the spring you are using is the one in the description. this could be the cause of too much tension, as could using the incorrect bearing.

no succes another air print :/
I'm going mad here.

when you say air print, you mean the filament isn’t coming through the extruder during a print? does it come out when you load the filament?

I can't even load right now because this just happend to me:

I am actually close to just throwing the entire thing out its a 3k paperweight >_<

does the smoke smell like fried electronics or burt out motor, or burning PLA?
please tell me you are still under warranty… I personally sprung for the extended plan, which includes parts, support, etc… I would advise you to start a ticket on the makerbot site.

Started a support ticket
But I live in europe so I couldnt get the extended warenty but I only have it for like 2 months or something at most.
And it smells like... ozone, don't know how to describe it.

I let it rest for about 2o minutes but after trying to reload some plastic it's temperature is stuck at 128C

And makerbot's help has been bullshit from the get go.
I've replied and asked for help on multiple occasions and after a week of posting and updating everything as it happends no reply as of yet >_<

what is your email addy? (PM me) maybe I can get them to get back to you sooner. I’m in the states, actually only a few kilometers from their home base… I have had some pretty crappy service from them as well when it comes to support. usually I figure it out before they get back to me.

Thanks man I sent you my email through a pm ^^

I sent them an email, we will see if they make good.

just got a mail back they want me to send them the entire printer's head/setup so thanks Nick :D
Finally some progres !

my pleasure. let me know how that goes for you.

Just printing a 40mm fan replacement kit, going good so far on the small prints but larger ones autofail.

I'll try to get the fan replacement working as soon as that works or not I'll report back.
I think it doesnt ventilate enough fresh air into the mix, so that the printer head overheats, seeing its also connected to the servo that might be what's heating that up.
Unfortunatly I can't put anything in between the servo and the heater :/

This plunger is awesome! I had problems early on and I swapped out the delrin plunger hex screw for a bearing screw. That worked for a while (not sure why), but then I lost a lot of extrude pressure after a big failed print.

So, I printed and parted this plunger. It was definitely superior, but I still had problems with downward pressure. It turns out that my drive gear was also slipping. This is another REALLY bad design by Makerbot. The flat section of the drive shaft does not reach the grub screw, so the drive gear will eventually start slipping. I modified the shaft by using a Dremel to flatten the shaft a bit further.

The combination of the shaft mod and the new plunger are golden!

Thanks so much for this upgrade, I have one quick question; The base plate support isn't "snapping" off. I assume this hole should be clear based on all the older upgrade pictures, I'm guessing I'll have to drill this out, any thoughts?

Yes, the circle snaps off.

Kept reminding myself to print the V7 as a spare.... kept postponing until my current Replicator 2 Extruder Upgrade warped :( Used your method of softening the PLA back to shape with hot water and managed to get it back up. So now i'm printing V7 as a replacement. Once it's done, will print another set as spare. Lesson learnt! Hey Whpthomas, the V7 looksreally slick! ;)

Thanks, this is the best upgrade for the rep 2, it has really changed the experience for me. The other thing that made a huge difference was switching to a glass build plate: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:57411http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... I could not live without these now. Well done!

A Replicator 2 build plate
by kwalus

This is ton better solution than stock? Why hasn't it been hard tooled. I think talc or glass filled nylon would be awesome for this application. I am going to see how cheap a small tool could be made from my Asian sources. Need to be tooled

-----------Replicator2 Extruder Upgraders Update----------

I am pleased to announce the availability of complete ready to bolt-on Extruder Upgrade Kits now in high strength ABS.

Still, only $30 including First class shipping(lower 48)

These ABS kits are proving to be all that the PLA kits are, but better in strength and heat resistance.

These kits are like the original PLA kits except I now include all bolts and hardware so there is no need to reused the axle screw from the delrin plunger assembly.

It is a truly five minute upgrade and I can have it in your hands next day by 3pm.

All pricing and contact information can be found here.

or contact me directly at taylorstull (at) http://giis.netgiis.net for quick delivery.

this work great all makerbots need this it also lets me print anything with no problems

Would this build apply for the Replicator 2X as well?

This kit does not fit the 2X. The extruder drive gear on the 2X is spaced 5mm farther out on the shaft from the stepper motor than the Rep2. The 2X extruder parts also run at a much higher temperature than the Rep2 and thus melts PLA parts within 45 minutes. I tried it... :)


I haven't received my replicator 2x yet so I am familiarizing myself with the product 's
features and limitations during the next eight weeks. Your videos are right on and after viewing this little improvement it's clear you have a depth of understanding
that far exceeds the norm. I appreciate your sharing it with us.

Is there a photo of the snap-off support on the bottom of the base that is there to act as a bridge to support the printing of the recessed area which shows how it looks before and after it is removed? I'm a little confused with the most recent version of this part.

Will these fit the replicator 1? If not, is there a design out there for the replicator 1?

my printer started clicking pretty much straight away when i opened it! i am in the UK however and bought my printer from america and had it imported. sucks that i havent really had a decent print yet. a couple went well but they stopped before they could be finished for no reason.

a side note - does anyone know where i can get the parts i need in the UK? i.e. the spring, bearing etc etc, or anyone could give me a detailed list/name for each part so i can look for them myself. i am completely new to 3d printing too. thanks guys

Thank you for great work. This upgrade are popular in Japanese community too!

I suspect this is the right spring pack on Home Depot. Right brand, and the two safe working load limits match: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-Zinc-Plated-Compression-Springs-6-Pack-16087/202045468http://www.homedepot.com/p/Eve...

This is an outstanding upgrade, thank you!

Thanks for this one again. It's usable for the replicator 1 as well. For T1 just mirror the design.

Maybe three suggestions:

  • print a spare one, as you can't print when it's broken with a Rep 2. With a Rep 1, you still print the replacement with the other extruder of course.

-about the Gasket for warm climates. I have the feeling it's a good thing to use anyway to insulate the stepper motor from the heater block, but you have to adjust the drive gear on the motor shaft to be sure the drive hear is lined up with the rest of the assembly.

-I think the screws and bearing are commonly available. For the spring I bought 10mm spring in the length of 1 meter (4 dollar) By adjusting the length cut off, you have some influence on the tension applied.


Will this work in PLA? I've read that PLA can't hold the temperature the same as ABS and this would melt? Is that true? If that's the case, where can I purchase this assembled in ABS since I purchased a rep 2 and I can't use ABS. (Did I make a mistake, this damn marketing, it looks like I could have bought a rep one and made it alot better for less with upgrades)

Almost everyone is printing them in PLA - mine is PLA and holding up quite OK - just print in black if you can and avoid white.

Can I print this in ABS? Im unable to print white PLA consistently. Really want to print some bigger pieces with PLA though.

I know its been successfully printed in nylon so I am sure ABS would work too.

Can this be fit to a Rep 1?

As far as I know yes - it will work on any Mk8 extruder - just scale it by -1 to create a mirror for the other side if you have a dual-extruder.

Could this be fitted to a Replicator 1 last generation?

Does this work on the Replicator 1? If not what does?

As far as I know yes - it will work on any Mk8 extruder - just scale it by -1 to create a mirror for the other side if you have a dual-extruder.

Works like a charm! I do hope MBI compensates you for your design, since they are sending out something just like it for those of us who filed help tickets for feeding issues. Here's the video link they sent me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7fX4uegPKw&feature=youtu.behttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

A quick word of warning. I had my arm snap down the middle this morning (wasn't' pushing any harder than usual so I'm not sure why). It's fine because I had a first attempt still lying around I could use to print a replacement. It's worth printing off a couple though the first time so that you have backups. Otherwise you have to reassemble the original one just to print it off.

Haven't experienced this - but have had one bend from overheating - so very prudent advice. I have an older version sitting on the shelf as a backup.

I have not even received my printer yet and read the horror stories on google, I can't believe I have to print up upgraded mods and install them in order to ensure that an item I spend over $2 grand on will work as intended. Thank you so much for making this, further reading also suggests that makerbots support would take days and weeks to answer questions with unhelpful 1 sentence responses. This community is awesome.

Thank you. I can finally use my Rep 2. I did do a little improvising on the spring though, I couldn't justify paying $5 - $10 for one spring but that's the cheapskate in me. Thanks again.

Awesome upgrade. It is working incredibly well for me. Thank
you so much for contributing this to the community! Really awesome.


Installed this upgrade last night (got the complete kit from scvette!!!)

Before I was never able to print out anything using the transparent blue filament without many many attempts. After the upgrade I got some of the most beautiful printouts since the very beginning.

Before, the calibration cube looked like a stack of pancakes. Now it prints as one solid block.

Thank you so much for designing this. My bet is that all Replicator 2 owners will have to install this at some point.

hi whpthomas!

I was wondering, would you recommend sanding/filing the contact faces between the base and the arm smooth? i did and may have actually increased the friction, but before i print another set to test i'd like to hear your thoughts! thanks for making this thing!

I printed out the parts and will be installing them soon. Once I do I'll probably do it again at a higher resolution. I used Makerware medium resolution. It was a pain to get the pin to fit. I was looking at McMaster Carr for a shoulder screw and they have one that might be a good substitute for the pin (P/N 90278A317). It has a M3x4mm thread, 4mm dia x 10mm long shoulder and 6mm x 3mm head. The base and arm would have to be modified to use this pin.

I agree. This kit would be considerably improved with this seemingly minor change.

Replicator 2 upgraders!
I have these preFit assembled extruder upgrade kits version 3 ready for same day shipping at the very low price of $30 shipped(lower48) or +$6.55 international first class.

It is hard or impossible to source all the parts and get it printed, cleaned, assembled and properly fit before I can have it in your lap for the ultimate 5 minute upgrade that it is or for less money.

Don't spend 50 bucks on Ebay for a kit that is just a bag of parts. I spend a lot of time hand fitting the pivot pin for a tight accurate pivot point by hand scraping the small ridges down. Drill out the pin holes and filament guide hole for a nice round smooth hole. I then preFit each assembled kit to my personal Rep2 to ensure a clean tight fit on the extruder motor.

Am I making money on these? Not if I have to include any of my labor time on each one.
Am I here to help the Makerbot Operators Group keep printing cool stuff? You bet!

Here is a link to the Group buy thread at Makerbot Operators
or reach me quick at taylorstull(@)http://giis.netgiis.net
Thanks again to whpthomas for the class act piece of hardware that this upgrade kit is!

Hi Whpthomas,
thanks for this design that replaces the original plunger design!
The original plunger design is very amatuer when compared to a design which uses a bearing. Posted a pic of my orange print :) Cheers!

OK after much hassle trying to source the bearing (it came as pack of 2
pairs of bearings for RC helicopter) at a cost of $7.99 at Action
Hobbies in Calgary, the screws I got a wide selection of M3 screws 8mm -
1.6mm. I think the bearing screw could be a 10mm rather than 12mm

I assembled the parts as directed (yes it does look
better with the stepper rotated), cut down my over long spring.
Reassembled (the fan guard appears to be slack now :/) it actually took
me a dismantle to ensure the filament was going into the heater.
Levelled the plate & applied olive oil (no corn oil to hand) lightly
to the first 20mm

My first print of my own designed part went to
air very quickly, but a friends design of the same part that airprint I
thought at 3% on Friday (pre-mod) is now zipping along at happily

This mod has already proven it's worth & thus far has
given me the product I thought I'd bought in December. Next thing of
yours I'm going to try is the Snap on dial indicator.

After two weeks or so of use, my replicator 2 failed with a
disastrous failed print on the first long print that I attempted (the
ones before had been relatively short so I could monitor them) that
resulted in the creation of a PLA ball that destroyed the kapton tape
around the extruder.

reading through the forums and watching the video on the support site, I
was able to exhume the extrude from its PLA tomb

without further damaging the heating and temperature sensor
wires by disassembling the extruder unit, and carefully using a
soldering iron to melt away the PLA that did not come off with the
extruder heating procedure.

I was able to get the unit working
again, and by following the suggestions on the various sites regarding
tightening the plunger, and increasing the temperature of the extruder
to 240, I have been able to increase my print success rate.

did contact support regarding this, but after waiting several days, the
only suggestion they made was to give me the support phone number and
suggest I order a replacement part.

I will follow through on
that, but I have also printed out your replacement part and will be
installing it as soon as I get the replacement extruder to prevent this
sort of disaster from happening in the future.

By doing some
experiments with the temperature and the length of print it does appear
that the PLA ball formation is related to the PLA material not feeding
cleanly. Once the printer misses, the PLA starts to form 'curls' and
'fuzz' that then stick to the sides of the extrduer as it passes over -
gradually forming a ball around the extruder.

Increasing the
temperature and the plunger adjustment has so far stopped that from
happening, but I still have consistency issues with prints taller than a
5-10 cm or so - fracture planes appear to form in the prints beyond a
certain height.

By watching the unit for an extended period of
time, I have observed that using the makerware print software seems to
delay the second fan until part way into the print. Once that fan kicks
in the extruder temperature suddenly drops by about 4-5 degrees
(probably would be less if the kapton tape and insulation were still
present). The sudden extra blast of air also seems to cause the PLA to
curl and pull away from the bed as well. If there are feed issues with
the PLA when the second fan kicks in, that also seems to start the
'fuzz' effect, which then results in a failed print.

The second
fan seems to run right off the bat with the ReplicatorG software, which
seems to limit the curling effect more - I am guessing because there is
not a sudden change in temperature part way into the print.

I am
not sure what the behaviour of this fan is supposed to be, but it seems
odd that it would be different using different printing software.


  • hopefully I can get a new extruder and get back to just enjoying the
    unit instead of having to troubleshoot issues. Based on what I have
    read, your modification will allow me to do that - so I look forward to
    trying it out. I am having trouble finding the spring and the bolts
    though (http://amazon.comamazon.com wont ship to Canada) so if someone in Canada knows
    where I can order them from please let me know. Thanks,
    Mike M..

Have a search on the google Makerbot operators group, there are some guys in Canada that had excess parts to sell.


Willing to buy a kit for the parts! Since I live in Asia, it is impossible to find the parts with correct dimensions. If guys are willing to help please hit me a reply! I appreciate your help in advance.

Yeap, i have parts..whats your email

Does anyone have an image of the Replicator 2X extruder design? It would be interesting to see how they did it there as they're also saying "new design employs a spring-loaded ball bearing". Wish they came up with an official solution for the Rep2 too, even if we had to pay something for it.

I like to know whats the build time for this things with the recommended settings?

My bot just arrives yesterday :-)
Greets from Germany,

Takes about an hour on my Replicator 2 to print the arm and base, and 15 minutes to print the pin.

whpthomas, I have to thank you in advance for releasing such an awesome design and definite upgrade to the Replicator2. I've had my Rep2 for about 4 months now and I can attest the delrin plunger design should indeed be considered a manufacturer defect. It's an otherwise great 3D printer, marred by an extruder design that is just plain broken.

I've printed 2 different extruder modifications that I found here on thingiverse, both designs are vastly better than the Delrin plunger design. However, I still have trouble printing clear PLA and it's also a bit of a pain getting the pin, spring and bearing just right. For many of us, we'd have to order these tiny parts from various places, just to put it all together. I wish Makerbot would finally admit that the plunger design is not working and offer everyone an upgrade kit to fix this issue.

Until then, we'll just be left to fend for ourselves. I'm going to try working with some of your commenters below and see if one if them will sell me a kit with the right bearing and spring already included.

Also, I notice that you already recognize that there may be an issue with the PLA warping over time. I know this will be an issue. The previous two designs I printed, both eventually warped to the point of no longer being usable. Have you considered testing your design printed in stainless steel? I know Shapeways does this and a friend of mine already did one of his designs in stainless steel and it worked great. I'm wondering if the heating block would transfer heat through the stainless though and cause even more extruder problems. At least the warping would be fixed though :-) ... anyway, just a thought. Thanks again for such an awesome design.

Thanks for the upgrade. I melted a few of the bright color ones. Then I made the final one out of black because it has the highest melting point. It has yet to melt and bend.

I just installed this upgrade. Super easy, super slick, and I've got a big print going that failed miserably the three previous times I tried to print it. Its going flawlessly so far. THANK YOU for making my expensive paperweight into a 3-D printer.

Bravo! I've got a Rep2X on order, which I understand is a different design now, hopefully a better design. But great job on the engineering and the detailed plans. You should consider selling a little "kit" to retrofit, I bet people would just as soon buy a kit then source and order all the pieces...

Hi there, I have a couple of spares, will sell as a set

1) 1 x ball bearing

2) 1 x spring

3) 2 x M3 screws

All for $10 USD. Exclusive of postage.. but it should be very cheap for standard mail. Can contact me at zhangwl87 [at] gmail com

This makes me want to buy a Replicator all the more...I don't like you right now (at least my wallet doesn't...nothing personal) ;)

Hi, saw your comment about the R2 feeder upgrade. I'm needing this so if you've got one available to send me I'd really appreciate it. What do I need to do to get one?

Thanks so much for doing this. I'm east of Toronto in the Oshawa/Clarington area FYI.

I started having this problem today (day 2 with my Rep2). Thanks for the simple upgrade. I'll definately try it out and hopefully get through an entire print without the nozzle clogging.

Great stuff, thanks for the upgrade. I wonder how MakerBot came up with such a bad original design. Printed it on medium quality first (as it messed up HQ number of times) and later managed my first proper 100-micron print.

The dimensions of the model could have a bit of margin in them, had to file down the pin, M3 holes and the bearing slot a bit but generally seems to work great at first try :)

thanks to thomas (and all other guys) for making this! - it´s really making life with the rep2 easier - even the first prints i made showed me it is working much better now! - thanks to bre for leaving everybody room to improve things - it would be really boring to have a perfect replicator - my iphone is perfect enough - and i´m already bored!

Printed and installed, at the beginning there were some clicks, so I changed the spring. +20 hours of printing later is working great! the stiffer the spring the better, no doubt. Thank you whpthomas! indeed it should be stock. Solved all the clicking.

IF I were Bre...

  1. I'd stop production of the Rep2 and insert this upgrade into it's design
  2. I'd make upgrade kits (bearing and screws) and send them free of charge to all Rep2 purchasers
  3. I WOULD PAY whpthomas and all those who helped! Free plastic seems appropriate.

I found I had to increase the scale by 1.05 for everything for it to match the motor. That way there was no gouging necessary and the screw hole lined up with the screw holes on the motor.


If you own a Replicator2 from MakerBot - PRINT AND INSTALL THIS MOD!!

Thank you, Henry (emmet and infinityplusplus)! I've been pulling my hair out for weeks over large, mid-print extrusion fails with a new Replicator2. I swapped at least ten(?) emails with MakerBot support, to no avail. I suspected the (very poor) filament pressure mechanism, but wasn't aware of any improvements—then I found your excellent design, purely by accident. After installing, I just finished a large print that ran without a hitch for 20 hours and 45 minutes. :-)

Worth noting, for those trying to print these parts with either MakerWare or a machine without this improvement -- printing the lever arm laying down (after trimming off the "ears")—with Raft and Support on—was necessary because when the part was printed standing up (without Raft or Support) the extrusions failed at the very top (where the thumb release is). Also, since prints are weaker in the Z direction, laying them down makes the lever stronger if you're having some adhesion issues at the very top.

I want/need this upgrade so bad! But cant get the parts atm. :@

Thank you Whpthomas!
I received my rep2, two days ago and have already printed this upgrade out and put into use. The extruder feeds flawlessly now.
Although I ordered the spring from Amazon, I ordered a couple and instead got a few bags totalling 20 springs.
I would be willing send these out to other Makers or actually put some kits together, but do not want to muscle-in on your beautiful product. With your permission, I would be able to ship these US side for minimal shipping cost and ship time.
Thanks again for this upgrade!

They sent me a ridiculous amount of springs as well. Glad to know I didn't go crazy on the quantity button ;)

Please do - I have a day job ;) I only printed some out and sent them on because I had spares and others were having trouble sourcing parts and reliably printing the upgrade. Post a group-buy on the Makerbot operators google group - I am sure you will generate some interest.

Replicator 2 Upgraders!I have these complete, ready-to-install kits now ready to ship, linky to makerbot operators here https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/makerbot/-8PWUKprZ6ghttps://groups.google.com/foru... with information on ordering.

If there is any Canadians that are having issues finding theses parts I have several myself. Can offer this to make life easier. :)
Just drop me a line.

Hi, I'm needing this so if you've got one available to send me I'd really appreciate it. What do I need to do to get one?

Thanks so much for doing this. I'm east of Toronto in the Oshawa/Clarington area FYI.

Such an elegant design. And now my Rep2 prints like silk. Great work.

just successfully printed with natural PLA for the first time after installing this update, produced a flawless print at 0.1mm, I would definitely recommend this upgrade.

So its not just me - very pleased to hear this ;)

I think I spoke too soon. Had two prints fail last night with makerbot's natural PLA. As soon as I switched to white from faberdashery I had a perfect print again

I wish I'd known that Makerbot's natural PLA was such a pain to print. I've tried everything, including this extruder upgrade, and I still can't get the natural to print reliably. This extruder upgrade is incredible though. I've never had such trouble free printing. I highly recommend this extruder upgrade. I also highly recommend that everyone stay away from Makerbot natural PLA.

I am glad to have seen the last of my Makerbot natural PLA - it was trouble right from the start!

It's all I've got right now sad face but I ordered 6x1kg spools in various colors from Voxel Factory in Montreal this morning so hopefully I'll see even better results.

This machine is still magic even if it isn't perfect. I pulled it out of the box and was printing in under 30 minutes with no previous experience in 3D printing. This morning I hacked together a model of a product I dreamt up last night with OpenSCAD in about 15 minutes and 45 minutes later it was sitting on my desk.

Hopefully with your upgrade and some easier filament stock this will be effortless.

Worked perfect, the first time.

Very impressive... been looking at all of your posts.... great work!

Here in SE Ohio any M3 screws are impossible to find. There are some M4s, but nobody has the M3s. So I ordered some boxes of 100 from Amazon. I ordered a bunch of springs because the only one I could find was 5 packs of 4 springs each, and I got 10 bearings because the shipping was $5 if you bought 1 or 100 of them. Might put together a little kit for just over my cost plus shipping for people to order these things, get just what they need, all at once, and not have to pay a fortune shipping from 4 places. Offer just the hardware or hardware plus the printed pieces. I keep a big drill set next to the printer and use the drills to ream out the holes after the build. Just use the next size smaller than the hole and it works great. I also found that candle wax works really good to lubricate the plastic parts. Just rub the candle on the part where it rubs against another piece of plastic.

I need a kit. Are you selling it?

Happy for you to put a kit together, you can post on the google Makerbot operators group and let everyone know. I did one originally for others who found the parts hard to get, complete with printed parts, but all local springs are out of stock now, so waiting for more. Plus - I have to post from Australia.

I love my replicator 2 but I was having prints fail mid print.

I would trouble shoot each time and I found that is was because even the Makebot filament changed in size up to .1mm over ten or so feet, and the delrin plunger just doesn't have the travel to handle that.

I printed these parts, and found the spring at Home Depot. My local Fastenal didn't have the bearing in stock so I just ended up turning a small aluminum roller the correct size on my lathe and at the slow RPM's the etruder turns it is working great so far. If it ever stops spinning well I will replace it with the bearing.

This fix has solved my printer problems! I have 12 hours of unfailed printing on it, which I could not accomplish with the delrin plunger method.

It works so well I have decided to make a new one on my CNC Mill to make it a long term fix for my printer.

Printed this one and found the hole placement was better then previous version,
had to sand the pin down as it was a bit over size and make the bearing slot a bit bigger to fit the 3x4x9 bearing.
overall the best version so far....Great work...Thanks

I love the fact that the users can actually design a better product than the manufacture. I am very thankful that you have created this as I unfortunatley suffer from the dreaded plunger problem. I am in the process of getting all the parts so that I can do the mod. Unfortunatly I have to have someone else print the parts as my printer is in bits. On a side note I noticed that some people have fitted the mod but are still having problems with slippage. I have just stripped my brand new Rep2 down in frustration and have found that the temp sender in the heater block is only lightly crimped to the thermister wire. when I pulled the wire it simply fell out of the fitting in the Heater block. I believe that the wire should be soldered into the fitting. When the head moves the wire has an air gap around it which can only be giving out an incorrect value as air in non conductive. My machine has suffered from blockage and jams since I received it and now i believe that this may be the cause, that the heater block might not be hot enough which is causing the Filament to not melt. Anyway Thanks again and I look forward to fitting your design.

I just got one of these installed on my printer today, I was hoping to cure the dreaded Air Print!

The new part is definitely printing better: smoother lay down, smoother action: but I'm consistently getting air prints about an hour in: so at least as-installed it hasn't cured that issue yet.

The variable I've introduced is that I couldn't find the exact spring listed in-stock here locally, so I ordered the closest thing I could from McMaster-Carr: a 1.25x.375x.041 spring, of which I've trimmed half a coil to bring down to 1.125.

It could be that the spring is too strong or weak, but I'm wondering if this upgrade will even address air-printing without the services of some other mods/tweaks.

What's the McMaster part number for this spring? I can't find a 1.25 x 0.375 x 0.041 spring on McMaster's website

No that spring should be OK as long as the number of coils remaining is about 8 or 9 - much less than that and it may be too sparse and provide less tension.

Sorry to hear you are still having issues printing - here are some things to go over. Does your printer print reliably in any colour? It may be a problem with a particular roll of PLA you are using. Is the build plate level http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:39430http://www.thingiverse.com/thi..., is the packing density set correctly in the profile you are using http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:39050http://www.thingiverse.com/thi..., have you measured and entered your filament diameter correctly in Print-O-Matic - have you tried applying a dab of vegetable oil to the beginning of the filament.

If none of that helps, try changing the temperature you are printing at - some guys on the Makerbot Operators google group have found that their heater blocks were reporting incorrect temperature readings https://groups.google.com/d/msg/makerbot/unAXKmDvUFw/ekdfqUXpSawJhttps://groups.google.com/d/ms... Increasing the print temperature fixed the problem - but this is not a cure-all just may be the problem you are experiencing.

Finally don't change everything at once - or you will have no idea what worked. Dial-in your basic setup first and then start tweaking one thing at a time.

Interactive Build Plate Levelling - Print Aid
Surface Finish Calibration Test Shape

Thanks for the feedback.

I just took the assembly apart to see what was going on, because I was having issues loading and unloading fillament, like it was jammed! So out of the printer I look it over, and the screw through the bushing pin was very tight and the rocker arm wasn't able to move as free as needed. It seemed better when I installed it before... but I must have been eager to use my new part! I've loosened it up and it seems better, I'm trying a print now to see if that alone did anything.

On your other feedback:

I've got a fairly flat, level plate: my first was warped from the factory but I got a new one RMA'd and it's night-and-day difference. I've been using your leveling circle and it comes out great.

What I've been using are your profiles for .1 and .2mm printing that you uploaded with the surface-testing nipple shape, and those alone turned out awesome prints on smaller parts, even with the stock plunger. I used them to then print the parts for the Mk8 rocker, and it printed well.

(Once thing I ran into BTW was that my tolerances were very tight on the assembly: there was a lot of sanding trying to open-out the printed ball-bearing pocket so that the bearing would spin freely. I don't know if anyone else has come across that issue.)

I may need to look at taking more measurements of my plastic, but I'm currently using the White Makerbot-supplied plastic and it's ranged from 1.74 to 1.79. Now, I figure 1.75 in conjunction with the Mk8 should work. I hope it will: I've got three rolls of white! I'd hate to need to ditch it and use some other color.

I havn't tried the vegetable oil yet. If this current print goes ramen on me, i'll try that next.

If the printed parts do not fit together with just a light cleanup, you may have a smidgen too much plastic coming out - try adding 0.03 or even 0.05 to your filament diameter in Print-O-Matic - just for these prints - that should make the extrusion a bit leaner and reduce the amount of after-print clean up involved. If you have variation in your filament diameter - go for the larger value (in this particular case) rather than the average. So In your case start with 1.80 mm and if that's too rich, try 1.82 mm

Having better luck with 1.80 and boosting my temp up to 240. I added a dab-o-canola oil just for the heck of it, though I probably should have waited to see if the other variables made it better. On the plus side instead of smelling the plastic I smell cooking oil :)

That actually makes some sense now that I think about it.
I come from operating Dimension printers in a school... not used to having to tweak so many variables! But it's been educational.

I'm taking the plunge (anti-plunger) move now. Wish me luck and I'll see you on the other side.

Hi Thomas, I made it, it works awesome! Let me know if you decide to machine these, although the printed one works just fine.

I added it to my Rep2 essentials collection, as well as your dial holder. both excellent parts. Thanks for all the info you gave in the makerbot google group too. I'll be watching your career with great interest!

I looked for "C624" on century spring web site, but there was no result, do you have a link for the springs entry? (don't have it at home depot Canada)

Hi Thomas, thanks for the detailed descriptions! Will this bearing work?
ID 3mm, OD 9mm and width 4mm.
I'd ordered it for the MK8 upgrade...

No its pretty precisely aligned. You really need the ID 3mm, OD 10mm and width 4mm - no simple fix there I am afraid.

I see, will go hunting for the bearings. thanks for your reply :)

Any chance that Replicator 3 will use this design?

Hi Bre,

Thank you for the complement. I understand now after watching a CES interview that you decided the launch the Replicator 2 5 months earlier than your had planned because you landed the Wired magazine cover - on balance I am glad you did - despite the teething problems I have experienced with this product. If I had been in your shoes I would have done exactly the same, so I trust you'll see my criticisms above are intended to be constructive.

This upgrade really does seem to have finally fixed my printing problems. I say "make it" and my Replicator 2 now happily obliges. The feelings of frustration and exasperation are fading and my initial excitement and enthusiasm for this truly magical machine is returning. Thank you for your part in making this all possible, it really is transforming the way I work.

Best Wishes,


Do you know if there is a metric alternative to the spring you have chosen?

If you do, maybe you update the description?

The exact equivalent would be 9.5 x 28.5 x 1.04 mm however in metric, there is a 9.0 x 28.5 x 1.0 which would be close, but too narrow and a bit weaker and the next size up is 9.25 x 33.0 x 1.25 but its a bit too long and too narrow. But if you can get hold of a metric spring that is close, that you think will work and you need me to tweak the design, let me know the spring dimensions and I will upload some revised STL files for you.

Can you please look at this one, I guess it is really close?
But I do not know if the tension is right?

Yes that one is right on the money - my spring has about 30N of force so this one will provide similar tension. I don't think I will have to change the spring footing in the model either, mine was 7.2 and yours is 7.1, there is enough play there to accommodate your spring. Well done - good find!

Do you think that one will be close enough?
Are redesign necessary?
Maybe that I have got you wrong with the numbers, DI and DO etc?

I like your detailed description and the good photos!
Will print this tonight and replace the Minimal MK8 that I have mounted now.
I hope this will solve some of my problems!