Printed Extruder (Printruder)

by Zaggo, published

Printed Extruder (Printruder) by Zaggo Aug 29, 2009

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After having some difficulties with the Plastruder MK3 which comes with the MakerBot, I decided to try to print a better (i.e. more reliable) extruder with and for my MakerBot.

The design was inspired by the \"Thermoplast Extruder Version 2.0\" from the RepRap project and by photos I saw of Nophead\'s \"Fast extruder\" .

(Update: There's now a 4th part to print: InsulatorRetainer.stl)


Please see http://wiki.makerbot.com/makerbot-127 for detailed build instructions.

In addition to the 3 printed parts, you\'ll need:

  • Two 626 ball bearings.
  • Four M4 bolts, 60mm long
  • Four M4 nuts (optionally two of them as wingnuts)
  • One M6 bolt (30mm long)
  • One M6 nut
  • Three M3 bolts (30mm long)
  • 3 or more M6 washers
  • 3 or better more M3 washers
  • 4 M4 washers

new or canibalized from your current MK3 Plastruder:

  • 37mm DC motor with pulley
  • The \"heater section\" (i.e. thermal barrier, heater barrel, nozzle, and so on...)
  • Big and small dino (for mounting in a MakerBot)
  • Extruder driver electronics

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I just wanted to say. Thanks for this awesome design. It has only failed me once in a month, compared to the constant tinkering my MK3 needed. I am so glad I printed this before my mk3 died.

1: It should be mentioned that this is for the Makerbot.
There are lots of others out there. Reprap-darwin, reprap-mendel. repman V3, RepmanPro, ...

2: What about adding links to how the "heater section" and electronics are made/sourced?
After all, it
´s of little use without these.

did you read any of the text above ("Description"/"Instructions")?

I'm not sure how to put this: RTFM

  1. I guess the first sentence in the part's description should make this clear ("After having some difficulties with the Plastruder MK3 which comes with the MakerBot, I decided to try to print a better (i.e. more reliable) extruder with and for my MakerBot")

  2. Please see a) the instructions above ("new or canibalized from your current MK3 Plastruder") and b) the link to the MakerBot store in the detailed build instructions on the makerbot wiki (section "Assemble the Motor Bracket"), also mentioned above.

do you think its possible to print an idler wheel? The epoxy I was using cracked mine and I was wondering if I could up a replacement for when that one fails. Easy model just wondering if itys strong enough.

once i thought i was wrong but i was mistaken. well the problem with my motor not turning wasnt that the filiment was pushing against it too hard it was that i had one of my mounting bolts threading in too far and making contact with one of the gears. thereby stopping the motor. I have it working fine now. :)

i did clean all the holes before i tried to assemble it and that wasnt the problem. the hole runs trough the piece right next to the bare shaft so putting the wheel on it pushes the entire filiment over by about 1/8" placing too much pressure on the motor to turn even without a idler bearing pushing against it. still love the print regardless though :)

ok, my origional extruder finaly bit the big one and i tried the printruder to no avail. the placement of the throughhole for the filiment was way to close to the gear and overloaded my motor without being able to move it at all. currently building a new one out of aluminum so i can try printing a new plastic one :)

Sorry for the problems.
As described in the build instructions ("Clean the parts up", http://wiki.makerbot.com/makerbot-127)http://wiki.makerbot.com/maker..., you should always check the diameters of all holes and re-drill them if necessary. Due to shrinking of ABS during the printing process, some of the hole might be smaller than they should be.

Be also aware of the still existing problems when loading filament into the printruder ("Load the filament and try a test extrusion" section in the instructions). To avoid problems, I always load filament with a loose idler bracket and tighten the bolds with the filament in place.

after all the problems ive had with my mk3 extruder i figured one of the first things i better print out is a replacement. im going to have to make a bearing or bushing holder that mounts on the side opposite the motor to prevent destroying another motor though.

Ill upload the file when i get it made :)

Outstanding, this is both well done, but also a creative improvement to the CupCake extruder. This is what makes this new revolution in printing so exciting, you have just shared a update to the core part of the printer.

Excellent work. What software did you use for modelling?



That's a screen shot from a software I started to write while waiting for my MakerBot Kit.

The application is still in a very (!!) early stage and I'm not sure if it's ever finished (I'm kind of short on time right now).
But one of the few things already working is the GCode importer and visualisation. It uses OpenGL to visualizes gcode toolpaths in 2D and 3D and it's kind of nice.

I used Cinema 4D. I tried to export to a more common format (besides STL) and managed to export the data as "Wavefront (.obj)" file which I'm able to open in AOI. Of course the internal object structure gets a little bit messed up by this, so I'm not sure if's easy to edit in AOI (I don't
really know AOI!).
But I guess it's better than nothing :)
I added the .obj file to the downloads.

the extruder looks fantastic, and those renders look beautiful! is there any chance that you'd be willing to share the program and/or code for those of us who want to tinker? :)

Cinema 4D is commercial software. But I exported the designs as .obj files (Wavefront) which can be opened and edited with Art of Illusion and maybe other 3D programs. The OBJ-Files are downloadable below.

oops, sorry -- i had meant the software you wrote for rendering the toolpath with OpenGL? :)

Oh, my fault.
As said earlier, the application is in a very early stage. As soon as it's a little more stable, I'll provide something to download.
I should mention, that it's a native Mac application, only running on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and later.

How hard would it be to port it to windows?

It would be a complete rewrite.

I'd like to test your app, beta or otherwise...


Nice work! Hey, on the wiki page, there's a great image of the gcode tool paths - this one:

what software did you use to produce that image?

Oh my lordy lord! Excellent work! Its exciting to see this sort of progress being made into "self-replication". Maybe if the internals of the parts weren't so solid, they could be printed in a shorter period of time. 3 hours is a long time to make a plastruder.

This looks awesome. Does it get rid of the "skreech" people have been mentioning with plastruders? How is the durability?