Ducted cooling fan

by Iwo, published

Ducted cooling fan by Iwo Jan 24, 2011

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Ducted cooling fan by Iwo is licensed under the Public Domain license.

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This is a ducted fan mount for a Makerbot/Cupcake with MK5 Extruder. It seems to successfully stop small objects from turning into molten blobs.

The whole thing clips into the extruder mount. It uses an old fan from the junk box, I think it was from a graphics card or similar.

Mostly cools the current top layer of the printing object without pushing the platform heater into desperation. I'm running the fan through a 200 Ohm potentiometer, to control the airflow.

The air flow is down and towards the nozzle, roughly 45 degrees. The air follows the extruder hot end and reaches about 60 degrees by the time it hits the object.


The thing prints without support.

The ducts have a designed central support that helps with the bridging for the top layers.

The outlet support pillars can be cut away or left standing. Mine broke off while cleaning the ducts.

The fan is 'mounted' with 3 drops of superglue.

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Absolutely brilliant! I had been trying to deal with the cooling issue for overhangs and tall, narrow things through a combination of Skeinforge Cool (which really slows down the prints and doesn't do much for overhangs) and lowering the extruder temperature (which causes delamination problems). A couple of quick test prints showed that I could up the extruder temp to 230C and still print tall features 1 x 5mm with no sagging or delamination.

It works so well that I ended up hooking it up in parallel with the stepper cooling fan on my MK6+ extruder.

Note: this is designed for a 50mm fan.

Printed mine in green ABS, required a fair bit of cleanup after, the generated toolpath seems to be quite erratic for this thing. Used a 50mm fan from Maplin (UK highstreet electronics store) and cut it out of the frame. Used superglue to hold it in place.

See my print of the small cube gears to
see what difference it makes: http://www.thingiverse.com/derivative:13550http://www.thingiverse.com/der...


Very nice, mine is printing as we speak.

While you're at it you could stick on some LEDs to illuminate the build area.

Good idea. One day...

I would have given it 5 stars if the original files where there instead of only the exported STL-mesh.

You can edit STL in some interesting (if limited) ways in OpenSCAD...

I uploaded the Blender file. Although I'm not sure that is a huge improvement over the STL.

Have you though about adding screw holes to mount a standard 40mm fan?

No, there was no standard fan in the junk box. I don't think it'll fit on this design, it's 49 mm across. But it should be easy enough to do this with a square cavity and mount the fan on top.

You can turn any regular fan into this, you just cut the little supports off, plus, to mount it would add a lot of height.

yea, blowing on a print gets real old (and dizzying) after a minute or two.

could you show a result printing with and without it that would be great


That is some thick filament, maybe some speed would help that as well.

The single layer wall thickness is 0.6mm, when the filament goes where it should.

The speed/feedrate is already at 28mm/s, and the backlash starts showing. To get less filament, I have to slow down the extruder. I'm currently running at 215 PWM. Below that, the extrusion speed is unstable and at 180 it won't even start.

I'm working on a quadrature encoder for the MK5 extruder,
so I can slow it down - if that works, I'll cut down the layer and wall thickness.

Wow, I dunno, that seems like a big difference. I wonder if the flow is laminar, would be cool to get a bit of fog or something on that. This might be one of the first things I print when I get my ToM(7 week lead time:'( ) Plus, this just looks cool.

dammitcoetzee, do you know how to make sufficiently dense fog to visualise the flow? I had a quick go trying to do this with a little smoke generator, but the flow through the nozzles was too fast to be visible.

Hah, back in highschool we used to use incense sticks to get a stream of smoke in our windtunnel for CO2 cars. It worked pretty well. It helps if you have a red or UV led to shine too.