Low mass gearExtruder

by dkennell, published

Low mass gearExtruder by dkennell Mar 14, 2013
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An updated version can be found at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:251227.

This is a robust, low mass extruder for 1.75 mm filament. It can be mounted to a vertical x axis with 70 mm spacing or can be mounted to a horizontal axis using the hot end mounting bolts. It is for the MakerGear hot end with the standard mounting pattern. The shaft is really milled rather than hobbed, which gives a much better "bite". It uses steel gears from Misumi which give a 5/1 gear ratio. The aluminum mounting plate acts as a heat sink, so fan cooling is unnecessary.

This extruder/carriage is about 1/2 the weight of the original on the Aluminum Mendel, allowing for faster prints and smoother operation.

Some weight comparisons to common extruders:

gearExtruder - 311g (11 oz)

Wade extruder - 549g (19.3 oz)
MakerGear 5 /1 - 457g (16.2 oz)
Minebea PG35L w/fan - 178g (6.3oz)


This project requires some metal working tools. I used my MicroMill to cut the aluminum back plate, hot end mounting plate, and the hobbed shaft. These can be done by hand if you are very careful. Print out the alumPlate Template and use it as a drill guide. I originally used a #4-40 tap to hob the shaft, but I had much better results milling the shaft. I will post a fixture for milling the shaft soon.

I recommend setting the retraction length to .5 mm and the retraction speed to 15 mm/s in Slic3r to avoid skipping steps on filament retraction at high print speeds.

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Great to meet you and see your work on display at the RepFest, I am printing the parts now to make my own low mass extruder. When I checked with Misumi they showed the gears you call out to be discontinued and the CS did not have a direct replacement. Have you ran into this also ?

Use the BOM and files on the flexMendel (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:251227)http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... page. I will put all the extruder files in a separate folder later this evening. The part numbers for the gears have changed slightly, and the printed parts have changed as well.


MakerGear offers the hot end in 12V and 24V do you recall which you used? hopefully I did not over look this somewhere. Thank you for posting your designs dkennell!

I still use 12 V for my electronics, but the trend looks to be to 24 V. Either should work as long as it matches your DC power supply.

Also it appears that bushings are used for the carriage but they're not listed in the BOM.

I like to use self aligning bushings, but you can use the bearings/bushings of your choice.

I would like to build this extruder but want to modify it for 3mm filament and use a J-Head Mk V-BV I have on hand. Could you please post the original 3D cad files, stl's are a bit of a pain to work with in order to make modifications.

Also would you happen to know of of a source for a hobbed 8mm shaft? I suppose a hobbed bolt would work. Just dont have the time to machine my own hobbed bolts.

I have downloaded a zipped file of all the Inventor source files. http://Ultimachine.comUltimachine.com has a hobbed bolt for sale, I do not know if it is suitable for this extruder.

Thank you David. This is an excellent design.