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jfkansas

FlashForge Creator/Pro/X/Dreamer Extruder plastic. Works with Flex Filament. Also works with the Monoprice 3d printer and MicroCenter's PowerSpec. Now compatible with CTC with new version.

by jfkansas May 31, 2015
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Hey JF, any updates to these?
They still working good as a replacement for the stock ones?

Any idea if this design would work with the Qidi Tech X-one 2?

I'm out of ABS, is there any reason this can't be printed in PLA?

Hey man, first off.. THANK YOU.

Second - I wanted to let you know that this also works on the Dremel. The disassembly of the existing is a little different than the FF, and the hole for the feeder gear needs just a tad bit of sanding to work with the stock gear, but aside from that?

I am officially on the 3rd layer of a print with Flex filament in my Dremel first gen IdeaBuilder. :)

You, my friend are a rock star.

Hey thanks, ya if it is the gear I am thinking about it is slightly bigger around. It also helps to print the plastic at 101% due to plastic shrinkage.

On the left side "lever" model, there seems to be an extra "bump" on the area that would press against drive gear. This isn't present on the right side model. To illustrate, take a look at the attached image. In the foreground is the right side lever and behind that is the left side lever. I've circled the relevant area on both with red.

Is this by design?

Should the left side plastic be an exact mirror of the right side? (In other words, can I take the right side base/lever and just mirror them in S3D to make left side plastic?)

Thank you
Gary

I made an attempt to print this. When printing, I tried using HIPS for a dense layer support filament (which wasn't actually needed, but was fun to do anyway.)

My own print wasn't completely successful the first time. The plate that screws directly to the stepper motor was a tiny bit too small, making it very difficult to get the screws on both sides. (My problem wasn't that the screw holes were too small - it was that they were too close to each other.) As well, the drive gear was very difficult to turn without the lever pressed. Finally, I was a bit "eager" when screwing in the roller bearing and cracked the plastic. So, everything is getting reprinted with a (very) slightly higher scale. My guess is that when I find the scale for the base plate to fit properly (and reprint the level to the same scale,) that the drive gear will move better.

Anyway, I found a couple of differences on my variation of the printer (Micro Center PowerSpec Pro 2) and wanted to document them for those who might encounter them in the future.

First, this printer doesn't have a brass bushing/pin for the pivot point. Instead, the pivot is actually part of the bolt. Everything works fine like that, but you can't put a non-existant pin into the base plate before attaching the lever. Instead, just "skip" that step in the instructional video, and insert the bolt/pin single piece when attaching the lever. Here's a picture of the bolt/pin I'm refferring to: https://photos.app.goo.gl/kk6TfeowcSq6PJSY2

Second, this printer has the drive gear with the teeth in a channel. While JFKansas suggests replacing the drive gear in this case, I'm sure many of us are going to try with the one we already have anyway. If so, it's much easier to put the drive gear in BEFORE putting the roller bearing in. Then, look in the space where the roller bearing would be to align the drive gear before tightening it on the motor shaft. The teeth should align with the filament holes. Again, here's a picture to illustrate: https://photos.app.goo.gl/WDLcxY3EBnZKpZk12

Take care
Gary

Thanks Gary. Obviously running changes since this was made over 2 years ago.

On the sizing, It varies with filament. I generally print ABS at 100.6 percent.

Hips supports aren't needed. I print these with very minimal supports.

Right side printed and installed (101.1% scaling.) Now that the right side fan is fixed, I can also say it works (for ABS at least.) I really like the simple and elegant design of this, and makes me wonder why Flashforge would have a more complex design for their "factory" extruder.

One item of advice to those who might do this in the future: Be careful pulling the extruder spring, especially if you have cats who might find the idea of something small flying across the room as an invitation.

On HIPS support - they probably weren't needed, but I just got the spool of HIPS and needed something to try it out with. This is all still new to me, and I really enjoy testing (playing with) various things. ;)

Will these hold up to the higher temp to print PC? I have the microswiss all metal hot end, but I'm wondering if I should bother trying to print these part if the higher temps required to print PC will yield these ABS lever and base.

Thank you

Yes, should be fine, I've ran ABS extruder parts at 275c for many hours.

This looks like the perfect solution for my flex needs on my FFCP2, but I am having trouble with it. It all installs fine, however it is too snug for the filament to feed properly. When I try to load the filament it doesn't feed. If I physically push the filament I can get it to pass through, though it will not feed on its own. It feels too tight. I am wondering if there is some adjustments I can make to get this to feed better? Others seem to have no problems so I must be doing something wrong. I am going to try a new print with a better resolution and see if it is a printing issue of mine.

Did you drill the path out with a 1.9 - 2.00mm drill, 5/64ths works. Do it without the gear installed.

You should also use the old style drive gear. It has teeth that run the length of the gear, not the little narrow pathway.

Hi JF,
great work, the only issue I have are the small bearings but ...

now I want to machine them in Aluminium, but the CNC router needs STEP
any chance you could upload the step to thingiverse ?

Regards
Peter

So in short, this an upgrade for the extruder that lets it print flexible filament? Is there other benefits or a reason to watch the fifteen minute long video?

Will this work with a all metal hotend? Thinking about buying these but wanted to check it will be ok https://www.amazon.co.uk/micro-swiss-10672-Printer-Metal/dp/B019H87E04#detail_bullets_id

Hi,

Anyone know of if this works with metal hottend from above link?

I've been using this upgrade for last few months and it's perfect.. but wanna upgrade to metal ends.. will it still work does anyone know?

Yes, I have a microswiss all metal hot end, and it is awesome. You really need it for higher temp prints such as PET-G.

HOWEVER, from what I've been told on other forums, you should NOT use the all metal hot end for flex filament.

So I have the all metal in my right extruder, so I can do PET-G and other prints faster.

And then have the original in my left with this extruder so I can do flex.

Printing PVA support material can be fun too on an all-metal.
I have kept the left hotend with a PTFE liner (read somewhere that FlashForge went for liners as it helps alleviate heat-creep - cheaply), and I went with an all-metal on the RH side for the really hot stuff.
I find it a good compromise as it makes the FFCP2 a more versatile machine.

Yes, that is what I do also. I keep a PTFE lined hot end laying around for PVA or NinjaFlex.

Can anyone post their settings for printing Ninjaflex preferably with Simplyfy3d? I printed this a few different ways, opening up the holes with different drill bits and still have no luck printing ninjaflex. Its either super stringy or gets clogged up on the hot end. Currently the one I have installed has been printed at 100.5 and it prints abs and pla beautifully, but ninjaflex comes out like a hot mess.

Can't recommend this enough printing at 60mm/s with TPU, going to try at 100mm/s.
Will be sending you a tip in the near future.

Can anyone tell me if this will help with flexible filament for the 2016 version? Or if this metal one will? I have horrible problems with the flexible filament as it stops during dual extrusion prints. It happens whenever I'm using dual extruders. When i use a single extruder and pull out the length needed for the print, to reduce friction, it works fine. But in dual extrusion, it seems after retracting for tool change, the filament doesn't start extruding again. I can easily pull the filament out. It seems as though it was melted and on retraction separated the unmelted from the melted.

Did you ever figure out if this would work with the 2016 version?

No, no one ever responded and i couldn't find elsewhere.

It should, as far as I know nothing has changed in the print head.

Awesome thanks for the quick reply.

I tried making this model with my Creator Pro 2016. It would not run ninja flex at all. ABS and PLA ran fine. For some reason the flex filament extruded slower than the ABS or PLA. I followed the instructions and the video. The hot end temp was set to 235. The semi flex extruded better but not great.
On my machine the original extruder worked better with the flexible filament. If there are any suggestions on how to make this work, I would love to hear it. Flexible filaments are important for the stuff I print out.

check your PTFE tubes a slight obstruction in them won't bother standard filaments but will kill flexible extrusion.

Semi flex prints fine with the stock extruder at half speed on the FFCP 2016 - maybe you know this already though!

define "half speed". Semi flex does work better than flex, I agree but I use flex more than semi-flex. If I can get flex to work well, I would be thrilled.

Actually sorry I just checked my last settings for semiflex which say I am printing at my normal speed of 3600 mm/min and not slower. Could have sworn it was half that. Bed was 30 and hot end is 220, retraction 1mm, 100% fan after first layer. Nothing else special worth noting...

That is pretty much what my settings are except I am not using the fan at all. The main issue I think I am having is that the flow rate through the hotend seems noticeably less compared with ABS or PLA. The feed rate setting are exactly the same. So, the print comes out badly. To be honest, I do not know if it is feed rate or something else.

Ahha! There is still a difference that I stupidly forgot, I have the micro swiss all metal hot end installed. This may explain the flow rate difference...

What is the advantage in this over the factory version?

Is anyone else having a issue with the size? I have increased print to 101% but still not enough. I also have the QIDI which has the the plastic pin for the roller bearing. Help!!

Hey there, you will not use the plastic pin anyway. That gets replaced with a 3mm x 10mm FH screw for an axle.

Not sure on the size issue. It depends on how well your printer is setup, you may need to print at 102%. I print most things at 100.3% to adjust for ABS shrinkage.

Hi
so just pick that screw online then right?
Thanks for the quick response!

I would go to a hardware store and get a couple for 50 cents or so.

what speed you guys using when printing flexi filament?

The FF Left Base.stl is missing the Allen wrench grove have you noticed?

Nope, didn't notice, but fixed it with new files yesterday.

Cheers, got it printing

Cool, I need to check one thing though. I exported those out of S3D instead of going to the native Design program. Sometimes I enlarge models 100.3 % in S3d due to shrinkage. Problem is if the base is enlarged, I will need to upload new "arms" to match.

Seems to have printed fine the filament holes seem bang on to each other on the lever to base so that indicates they are the same.
What I do notice is the curve above the roller pivot countersunk screw hole has a bump in the curve not a smooth curve like the RH lever and it is going to hit the stepper cog when depressed to release. Ill sand it down to make it like the RH and try it on the printer.

Have problems using this with me 2016 FFCP.

  1. I had to change out the 623V idler bearing because it bottoms out of the drive gear without applying enough force to the filament, I don't know if I have a different drive gear. So I had to change this out for a 623Z bearing, which allows more force against the filament and allows normal extrusion, until it jams of course. But when I put the 623Z in this piece, the diameter around the bearing is too large and will not let the idler bearing create enough force.

2.My machine did not have a roll pin but a plastic pin, need an appropriately sized screw to fit it.

dbavatar, where did you get the bearing that worked? I seem to be having the same issue with my 2016 FFCP

Actually, I dumped the bearing in favor of changing the grooved drive gear with a non-grooved one. Both gear and bearing don't need a groove. This also meant I could use this thing, after slightly expanding the hole for the drive gear. "Signswise 2 Pack 5mm 40T Extruder Driver Feeder Gear Bore for Makerbot Mk7 Mk8 3D Printer" on amazon. I'm now targeting 50mm/s with TPU filament. Still get jamming at 70mm/s

Just so I understand you correctly you replaced both the drive gear and bearing to flat surface or non-grooved parts? What hotend temp do you use for Ninja-Flex? Does it still run PLA and ABS reliably?

Non-grooved drive gear and stock V-groove bearing. Using 250-260C for TPU, 220 for ninjaflex. Haven't tried hard filaments in this extruder, although I don't expect any problems.

Am I the only one whos FF Creator pro has plastic pin for the vgroove bearing and not a roll pin?

No. I chopped up the smooth end of a broken drill bit I had in my scrap bin to use instead as I also have the plastic pin that is not removable. Also the spring tension seems a bit much?

How does it stay in?

It was a tight fit poking it through the holes, tight enough in my one that it just kind of stayed there!

I ended up going to Harbor freight and got roll pin set and cut them to size

fantastic work! I made a set of these for my flashforge creator pro, it increased my TPU printing speed from 20mm/s to 50mm/s! have reclaimed many hours of machine time thanks to to mod.

as a bonus the fast print speeds make the TPU parts look more shiny, and almost no fluff.

While the thing looks pretty GOOD and probably I will make a try but...

The video is annoyingly SLOW.
(Where do you work? Where do you have so much time for doing do so little?)

Lol, sorry my first attempt at a how to video. This was the second take. The first version was worse.

Hope thing works well ;-)
(Publishing is hard for me too.)

So I purchased NinjaFlex and printed out these models for 1 of my FlashForge printers. Had to do a bit of cleanup to make everything fit proper. ABS flow proper thru the new setup, however NinjaFlex never makes it into the nozzle. Any suggestions?

Ya cleanup of a 3d print is normal, more or less depending on print quality. Ninjaflex doesn't exactly like to push leftover ABS out of the nozzle so clean up the nozzle as much as possible. There is a newer style feed gear that doesn't work as well as the old sharp tooth one, might try that. I run all my ninja at 240 or so, pretty much treat it like ABS. A P3-d coated nozzle helps flow some, but stick with the ptfe lined system.

Pretty much you gotta figure out if it is a nozzle or temp problem, or a grip problem.

Nozzle and tube is fresh. Tried Ninja first and failed. Then tried ABS...proper.

What drive gear is on the extruder? This one works best with NinjaFlex http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=12133

Tried this - does not fit.
Holes are in wrong place and it rubs against the center gear.

100's of others haven't had issues. Maybe the plastic you are using shrinks too much. Try printing at 100.5 % to compensate for shrinkage. It's possible you have some overextruding going on, maybe post some pics of the parts that don't fit.

The tolerance between the drive gear and plastic is very tight. Generally it will fix itself after running the gear a few rotations.

Thanks for the reply..
It is very odd. The problem was only on the right bearing assembly, which I fixed with a file.
The left one fits perfectly.
Must have been some printing problem.

It works great when I can get it to load, but now I cant get it to load any flex filament, I tried pushing the tab and that did not seem to help.
ABS does not have this issue.
Any ideas?

FF Creator Pro - Nijaflex

Pressing the "tab" never helps, it is a release lever. You should be using the older style drive gear with ninjaflex. The newer style doesn't work as well.

This works spectacularly, I'm now able to print semiflex through a 0.2mm nozzle. Great job, truly a work of art. Thank you sir.

Will this work on a Qidi Tech printer?

Very nice job BTW.

Thanks, yes it will work on a Qidi. Use the non CTC version.

I printed and fitted the ctc version the print came out really well,
on fitting it struggles to grip the filament unless I apply considerable pressure to the lever to force contact.
I have been using another printed extruder and it was working fine with the same springs I used for your version so spring pressure is fine.
We use a v groove bearing as standard on the ctc did you set these up for a flat one as that would explain the difference?.

It is possible the pocket the spring sits in might be a little deeper for the CTC on this one vs the other one you were using. You can probably shim it up a little to preload the spring a little more. The Flashforge also has a v grove pinch roller.

Does the stepper make noise when pushing? If yes then the grip is just fine.

To load filament you have to press the lever a little this removes the bearing tension and aligns the filament holes up to allow it to pass the bearing.
At least in my other one it does, its minor but the offset is there.
When I load this one the filament passes the bearing to easy with little to no pressure on the lever.
I'm experimenting removing material from below the bearing for it to allow the bearing to move further over I think that will cure it.
When its loaded the filament just misses the drive gear instead of having the bulge pressing it to the gear.

Ya it is hard to tell, it is possible a different drive gear is being used now with a smaller diameter. Or something happened when printing to throw the alignment off some, material shrinkage maybe?. Is the lever below the gear closing all the way?

This printer is over a year old but in perfect condition,there's always a chance of shrinkage but I don't think its this case on this one. Yes the lever is closing all the way and that's where I removed a little material from with a small file It didn't need alot but its sorted it or at least in my hand the tension feels far better now on the filament and the Bulge is now there to push the filament further onto the drive gear.

My next issue is I use filament guide tubes on the ctc and the lever does sit higher than its back plate when its loaded up.
My other one sits level and allows use of the guide tube top plate, this one would not work with it yet as it would compress the lever removing the tension.

I prefer your design to the other one I'm using and with a few tweaks it would be perfect for my needs in so many ways.
Its for personal use only so its worth my effort to get this how I want it, I just need to angle the lever down a little so it sits level when loaded and I'll be happy with it. This also has the bonus of adding more tension to the spring and will allow me to remove the packing piece I had to put under the spring in the first place
Great design BTW the loading of the bearing is a great touch

Thanks, can you take a picture of what you are shaving on the lever for clearance? I think someone else has mentioned that and I did change the design a little bit but never uploaded new files. It just didn't seem like my changes would fix anything. But maybe it would.

Ya it is possible where the two parts meet at the bottom there might have been some over extruded areas or possibly the filament packing was a little high. There are a lot of variables, different slicers, etc. to predict how each will fit.

I could take a picture but its simple really I removed a little material from the base of the backing plate and the lever to allow the bearing to move further over towards the centre hole the drawback to it is that now the lever sits higher than the backplate as I've already stated.
I'd have to add the picture as a make or remix and I don't want to screw up your clean layout with testing images.
You could probably get away with moving just the bearing bolt hole over about .50/.75mm that's all that would be needed from your end for me I have to work with what I have.

From my experience when the extruder is built I look up through the base hole and its supposed to be partly blocked by the bearing, when I printed and checked this one I had a clear line of site through it so I had reservations from the start.
These were proved right on testing them on the printer itself and most/all the variables ( worn drive gear,different filaments,printing tolerances,slicer settings) were tested for where applicable.

These are just my opinions and they may work fine for others as you said all printers are different, for me its not the case yet but it will once its tweaked a little.

Hey JF. Great design, and it printed well. I have a dual extruder FF Creator, possibly a Replicator, but either way, am having trouble with flex filament buckling out the side of the feeder. I printed this, but then noticed I do not have the spring leaver on my assembly; it's 1 piece and I think it's sealed. Any thoughts? I don't think the hardware store has springs this size.

Thanks, try this. Most hardware stores will have large bins of different size springs that you might be able to match up.

http://www.flashforge-usa.com/shop/flashforge-extruder-spring.html

Any plans to make your upgrade with a threaded bar so it's compatible with all metal hotends?

It is compatible with Micro Swiss all metal hot ends. The clamps don't work with threaded thermal barriers so probably not. 2 different worlds. But I do get what you are thinking, and yes I have thought about packaging up the heatsinks separately. The threaded bars generally have an offset of 33mm since they are on Makerbot printers. This extruder mount is more for clone printers that most all have smooth thermal barriers.

I was refering to the threaded thermal barrier hot ends. Really like your upgrade but I use a mk9 style bar. Thanks.

Right, what brand of printer do you have? It might be possible to make one to fit. It just won't benefit from the easy height adjustment the smooth thermal barriers have. Makerbot Replicators have a different tool head offset and the mounting holes to the carriage are a little different also.

I have a Wanhao Duplicator 4X using a cooling bar from Carl for a Replicator 2X. It wasn't plug and play either but it works well.

i did something wrong - neither side is gripping the material, even though the filament is a tight fit against the extruder gear. My educated guess is the brass wheel - doesn't seems to be not consistent placement comparing left and right extruders...
I had to do considerable filing to get the brass wheel into that section.

any ideas?

What brass wheel? Maybe some pics would help? What extruder gear is installed?

Thanks mate :)

Adjusting mine now, for some reason the flashforge bearing isnt big enough and there isn't enough contact to push it through.

I have the Monoprice Maker Architect 3D printer (i.e. FlashForge Creator 3D clone). Is this compatible?

It should be but I haven't tried it.

I'm using a FF creator pro, and I'm wondering if after the installation, it's still possible to print PLA and ABS just as before?
Thanks

Yes works fine for abs and pla.

Thought you might like to know - works very well on Prusa i3 with flexible PLA (although not exactly the right form for the printer)

Thanks, what form is different? Is this a Wanhao I3?

This is the RepRap Prusa i3. I think the two relevant differences are that the motor is set a bit higher, so the base needs to be higher, and that the fan is right behind these parts so there is no room for the "handle" at the end of the lever. Hope this makes sense to you.

cool, shoot me some pics at jfkansas@gmail.com

where did you find your top plate stl? that looks like a nice cableholder setup 8-)

What top plate STL? On this item?

In the video, there is a red printed replacement for the tube/stepper top plate holder.. It looks good 8-)

What size brass bushing is required? My CTC printer came with a crappy fixed extruder mechanism (see https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Jx4CsazHm8A/maxresdefault.jpg for a photo); no sprung lever, so nothing to cannibalise. Thanks.

http://www.hobbylinc.com/htm/k+s/k+s9821.htm

You can usually get this at hobby shops that deal in airplane stuff. Cut the tubing long enough so the bolt doesn't bind on the plastic. The lever pivots on the brass bushing and needs to move freely.

Trying to print TPU and NinjaFlex filament, does the flashforge creator pro work well for this purpose? I know the dual direct drive extruder will help but Im seeing a lot of troubles here in the comment section. Any friendly advice? Haven't bought the printer yet.

Does it work with dual extruder?

I have a powerspec ultra. I beleive it uses MK10. Will this work for me?

Where did you get a heat sink that can attach to the back? I am trying to find some for my FFCPs and cant find any/

The stock black ones will mount to the back. You just have to use 30mm long 3mm screws since the only threads on a stepper are on the front.

But then I wont have any on the front :) Any idea where I can get extras?

Wait a couple weeks and get my extruder mount, it comes with new heatsinks for the front. Then you can use the stock ones on the back.

I don't think I need your mount at this point in time. I am just wanting to keep the extruder motors cooler and want to mess with your printed extruder block for flexible filament. I will just have to work some Google-fu and find something :) I can always use thermal tape to mount it

Do you have a mount upgrade for Flashforge Dreamer?

There are several using the mount on a Dreamer. It requires removing the junktion box at the top and rewiring direct to the board. It is actually better to do this since the thermocouple that monitors the heater temps is setup wrong when terminating in the junktion box...

I am currently out of stock of the mounts though, should have more in a couple weeks or mid Jan.

Ok let me know when thats available and a how to would be helpfull too if that comes with it.

Printing these now.

I also have your Extruder Mount Upgrade. It is the best thing I've done for my printer. Make adjusting the heads a snap, and quickly move my 2nd nozzle out of the way for single head prints. Very easy to adjust

Do you have a link to the Extruder Mount Upgrade? Would love to try it

Jason, who made this flex extruder part, also made a very nice mount, which allows you to adjust the nozzle heights without having to remove the heatsinks and steppers. It makes things so easy

http://store.wmdproducts.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=63

Going to try this since I am having issues with ninjaflex. BTW, I have your extruder upgrade and it rocks.

Hey thanks, I recognize that name from a few weeks ago. Glad it is working good.

The extruder plastic works for every type of filament including NinjaFlex.

In your video, where did you get the heatsink you have mounted on the back of your extruder stepper motors?

I make those for a custom extruder mount. A link is on my description.

I "usually" don't sell those separately though. They are very expensive to make so I usually just get enough supply to cover the number of extruder mounts I have made.

What extruder gear was it? I haven't tested with the newer style that seems to be a little bigger in diameter.

This worked for me, though I haven't yet had a go with my roll of Ninja...

That said, I had a little bit of rubbing up against my extruder gear's set screw, but only on the far/inside towards the motor. A little shaving worked fine.

Thanks!

I finally had my first successful print with Ninjaflex's Semiflex with this improvement. :^D

I saw some of the black ABS streaks I used to print it in that first model, but I want to believe it was just residual stuff from the fine tuning to the model and not it also partially melting the mechanism itself. More science yet to perform!

What is the recommended fill % for printing this with ABS?

I'd run it at 100%. Maybe 90, but it needs to be a solid piece for the most part.

Just fitted one of these on each extruder on my FF Creator X, worked great, so far have printed ABS, PLA, and some flexible TPU.

What program did you use to create the models?

I've been using Autodesk's Fusion 360.

IF i KICK YOU SOME COIN, CAN i DO THIS IN METAL? sorry caps

LOL

Check out Solid Concepts, but beware, metal printing isn't cheap.

Ya I replied to Tram but haven't heard back. I think plastic is the way to go on this for heat reasons. Metal extruder parts hold heat and plastic insulates. I have been able to extrude NinjaFlex at up to 20mm/s with this extruder plastic. That is far higher than you will ever actually extrude at. This was 20mm/s ran direct by RepG in free air, which is a lot less pressure than extruding, but it is cooking right along.

Ah that makes sense. I wouldn't want to waste the money printing in metal, just trying to help out a random fellow 3D printing enthusiast... who seems to have issues with caps lock. Thanks for the info though.

haha, Ya the caps lock thing. probably typed on a phone and didn't want to go back and fix.

I am pretty sure he was wanting to mill these in aluminum though. Not sure if it is worth the expense.

Yea I don't think it would be but hey its a free country.

What did you do the rendering with? It looks nice

I've been using Autodesk's Fusion 360. It has a Ray Tracing module that does a pretty good render job.