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High performance bowden links

by hdonk, published

High performance bowden links by hdonk Mar 14, 2013


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After another pair of links failed - one broke off at the base and the other end just kept slipping out, I came up with these.
I've been using these to print successfully. No slippage, and easy to take the bowden tube out when making changes to the hot end.
I've also got a jhead groove-mount to bowden one piece to upload at some point, which also works really well.


8 x 20mm M3 bolts
8 x M3 locknuts
6mm OD 3mm ID PTFE bowden tube.
3mm/6mm drill bit

Print the part twice.
Clean the parts.
Insert one end of the bowden tube in to the mount. Drill through one hole to groove the edge of the tube. Insert a bolt. Repeat for the remaining 3 holes.
Install on printer and print :)

I printed with these last night, and everything was successful.
Now just to recalibrate my retraction & print speeds :)

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Sooo, this thing has been here for 2 years, Is it good in long time period?
I converting a 3mm direct drive hotend to 1.75mm bowden so Im trying to use 3mmOD2mmID PTFE tube but finding a good fitting for it is really difficult :/ most people are using 4mm 2mm And im not sure why

I've not had any problems with the ones I've been using.
You might have a problem with the 3/2 tube as it only leaves .5mm around the sides to cut into for attaching to the links. Also thinner tube can stretch, giving more hysterisis in the extrusion/retraction. 4/2 would give you better results and stronger attachments to the links.

I was thinking about the same but prefer 3mm because I'll be able to put it all the way inside the hotend.
However I found an interesting way which im going to use. Im gonna use 3/2 PTFE tube, slide it in a 3/5 PVC tube with the same length then block it both side. Doing this the ptfe tube will stuck inside the pvc and you'll more than enough grip from pvc tube :/

I'm mean 2id3od ptfe and 3id5od pvc

what kind of hardware does this require other than the screws and nuts?

As per the instructions:
8 x 20mm M3 bolts
8 x M3 locknuts
6mm OD 3mm ID PTFE bowden tube.
3mm drill bit

I'd also add a 6mm drill bit to clean out the hole for the bowden tube. The 8x is based on making two :)

I've always used the threaded nut method, but instead of cutting threads in it, I've always just forced the nut on, and then drilled out the center to the appropriate diameter. Never had any slipping problems that way.

The only problem I see with this, is that the screw threads are parallel to the PTFE tubing, so there's a potential weak-point.

hdonk - in reply to

That was one of my concerns when I made this, but everything seems fine.
I suspect if it became a problem you could use offcuts of 3mm filament in the holes, then put some tape around the block - then no thread issue.

One thing which could limit slipping: using a piece of heat shrink tubing... You just need to make your entrance hole a little bit larger...

I've tried heat shrink tubing on PTFE before, and it didn't work well at all. It would grip to an extent, but after a few minutes of pressure, it would fail.

Just goes to show, nothing new under the sun... :)

hdonk - in reply to

That would be another friction based solution - might work :) The idea behind these links was to use a mechanical catch, which unlike the nut trap idea doesn't mean cutting a thread all the way around the ptfe tube, weakening it.