Printrbot’s Dual Extruder Beta – Now Here!

●●●●Check Back Often As We Will Be Updating As We Go●●●●
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Here's the ready to fire up Printrbot Plus V2 Dual Extruder Beta!

My thoughts so far of the Printrbot Dual Extruder Beta
The design is well thought out and assembly is at intermediate level once step by step instructions are created. I was able to assemble the Dual Extruder platform without any Instructions. The cable that runs from the printrboard to the extruder add on board was the main part I had issues with. That was due to lack of documentation that will be fixed before the release of the final product. So far im impressed with the ease of asymboly and the thoughtfulness of the over all design. Once I get up and printing, hopefully soon. I will be able to give a detailed description of my experiences with Printrbots Dual Extruder Beta.

For those who are working on the Printrbot dual extruder beta please get ahold of me so we can work together and troubleshoot some issues. Also for those of you looking for information on the dual extruder beta, Brook posted 3 video’s on Printrbot’s Twitter account a few days ago. ( sometime around the end of August) within the 3 part series he talks about how to setup the dual extruder even though he references the more production version there is some usable info for those of us building the beta. After seeing the video’s I noticed that a lot of the issue’s that I’ve run across have been addressed in the production version shown. These changes are very important because the beta design makes it very hard to setup and run.

Update: August 26th 2013
My thoughts of the dual extruder beta after assembly are this: It is a great product but the beta version has a few things that need to be changed before release of the production version. Adjustments for the extruders must be added in order to move them up or down to get the height to be an exact match with one another. As of now the mounting plate is one piece making assembly somewhat difficult. They need to be two seperate entities that can be combined on a single plate which will solve assembly issues. Instructions are important to any well functioning bot or mod. The dual extruder needs to be de-mystified with well thought out instructions. Lack of these for the beta has stalled some progress but, im sure this will be fixed for the production release. One bit of confusion is the power supply issue.

Most people think that you must have two power supplies in order to run the extrdrboard which is and isn’t true. If you have a power supply with a decent amount of wattage and it also has a seperate 4 pin as well as a 6 pin molex plug you wont need two power supplies. Another issue I’ve run across is that the extrdrboard gives errors to the UI if you dont have the 3rd extruders thermisister plugged in. This can easiky be solved by throwing in a spare one in case someone is wanting to run 2 instead of 3 extruders.

The last issue I have with the beta is the width that is consumed by the dual and even more so by a triple setup. Printrbot is already working on a fic for this and you can find more information on another post referencing Printrbot V 2.2 & V 2.3. Printrbot decided to make an add on for the plus that will widen the x axis to an undetermined amount of width. No confirmation if this will be a part of the final dual kit or if it will be a seperate purchase. The V 2.2 signifies the dual extruder and the V 2.3 signifies the triple extruder setup that we hope to be running soon. We will be updating this post soon with more pictures of prints from the dual extruder beta.

So far the amount of issues I’ve run across are very minimal and can easily be fixed for the production version.

As of August 3rd 2013 we will officially start the dual extruder beta. We have setup correspondence with the other 10 members of the beta team and we will start with asymboly on August 3rd. After the dual extruder beta is finished and all tests have been reported we will start the process of adding another bowden driven extruder. This will give us 3 – 1.75mm Ubis hotends with 2 of them being direct drive side by side and the third being bowden which will be located in front. It will resemble a triangle shape for mounting.

The reason for this eventual setup is simple: We have the parts to do it, its a dream we’ve always had and we would also like to be able to print tri-colr as well as experiment with 3 different materials in the same print. Getting 3 different types of material to work together wont be easy but, what you will be able to print will be worth the effort. Now with the addition of conductive filiment, our first few prototypes with the triple extruder will be printable circuits.

I will be part of the dual extruder beta test group. I decided I needed to get my Printrbot plus V2 in order before starting this journey. I want my Printrbot to have the same or similar parts that any other printrbotter would have for the test phase portion. I will be ordering new pullys, belts for the X and Y axis. I decided to treat myself with a new LCD from Printrbot.  This will allow me to print stand alone without my computer other then using it to load files before printing. Check back for all the Printrbot dual extruder beta build info-coming soon.

Getting The Printrbot Plus V2 Ready:
In preparation for the dual extruder beta I have saved up my kysan motors to upgrade my Plus V2. I will be running the large Kysans that Printrbot sells for my X and Y axis’ s as well as both direct drive dual extruders. For the Z axis that requires less motor torque, I will run two of the smaller custom Kysan’s. I prefer Kysan over almost any other brand as they run cooler and offer a healthy dose of torque. I have also done a few other modifications that you can read about on another post on this site. Another upgrade I decided to do was upgrade to better 12mm z axis rods. The ones I originally had are worn out and not the best for linear movements.

July 23rd 2013
Today I started getting all the electronics together as well as all the stepper motors I will be using. I will be testing the dual extruder with the large Kysan’s that the kit supplied. Later on I will try out the smaller Kysan motors to see how they compair. They are about half the depth of the larger ones and lighter as well. I started mocking up the kit today and I noticed that Printrbot was really thinking when it came to the design. The mount and motors sit a little bit forward so that they give maximum X axis clearances. This takes advantage of the full size of the Printrbot Plus’s larger bed size. I plan on testing not just multicolored printing but, support material and different filiment types. I recieved recently laywood, laybrick, glow in the dark, nylon, PET, PVA and several other types of filiment to experiment with. I will be running just about every type and colr that the ubis hotends can handle.
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Im debating on wether or not to run the controller internally or externally

Update: July 24th 2013
I have started to work on installing the motors, endstops and running the wiring. I completely removed my old setup to make way for all the new stuff. I took some quick pictures and I will update with more information soon.

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I am now leaning towards mounting the controller in the original location. I have my Printrstand that has a monster fan to keep everything nice a cool


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Here you can see the mounts for the dual 1.75mm ubis hotends


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My workspace is starting to get a little messy, that means progress!

Update: July 26th 2013
I’ve recently been told that the asymboly instructions will be available this next week. This time should allow me to get everything together. I still need to order belts, pullys, lcd and rods which I will be doing in the next few days. I looked all over online but I finally decided to order directly from Printrbot’s online store. The reason for this is simple, no pun intended. I trust Printrbot with my money and I know that no matter what I will recieve top notch service as well as quality products. I will have to flash the firmware on my printrboard because I am using the printrboard that came with my Simple builders kit. I will be using one of my RAMPS 1.4 setups on my Simple which to my knowledge has never been done. Another reason for changing my firmware is LCD and Dual Extruder support. I am not the most tech savvy guy when it comes to programming as hardware and design is my expertise. I’m sure with the help pf a few guys @ the Printrbottalk forum as well as a few from Printrbot, this process should go fairly smoothly.

With my new setup I decided to finish my bed and sub mount stiffiners. These consist of half boxed stamped metal that is mounted to the wood bed itself running along the sides as well as the sub mount that the bed is mounted to. I decided at this point to mount longer, thicker bolts as well as wider, longer springs. I did this to give me more room for adjustments and a lot stiffer suspension. This will help to assure that the springs are always under a lot of tension. This will keep everything at the point in which its set to prior to printing and calibration. I now have up to 1-2 inches of adjustment to level my bed correctly. With this setup I will not lose any z-axis. Since I am switching from bowden mount to dual direct drive I will be gaining back about 3 or so inches that I had lost due to the mounting position of the bowden.

I still plan on using my bowden PTFE tubes to run from the spool to the extruders. This will help eliminate any tangling as well as keep the filiment running smoothly on its way to the extruder. I plan on employing a little trick a lot of direct drive operator’s use. It consists of taking a small piece of PTFE tubing to put between the top of the extruder and the gear. Doing this little trick will eliminate the filiment from binding in the extruder. Cooling of the direct drive extruders is another concern I have. I have yet to decide wether to do passive or active cooling. I’m currently leaning towards mounting a 20-30mm fan on each stepper motor that will run non-stop to keep the steppers running cooler and a lot happier which will intern make them last longer. Eventually I will also be adding an aluminum plate to the print bed. As of now I have two different hi temp pieces of glass that I alternate. One piece is larger then the other. The reason I have 2 is simple, clean one and run the other. Also for some projects the longer piece works better.

Update July 29th 2013
I started thinking of modifications that I could do between the spool and the extruder in order to keep the feeding of filiment as smooth as possible. Of course I will be using PTFE tubing as it holds very little resistance against filiment as its feeding or retracting. Thoughts started swirling in my head and I thought, ” Why not try a few ideas I’ve had in the past but never employed?” One of those ideas was to mount a spool on a swivel. This way the spool would turn with the extruder as it moved right to left with the spool mounted on a rod horizontally. Another idea I had was to make a little thing I call a, “bowden trolly.” Three lm8uu bearings will ride on two rods with a mount for both bowden tubes.

This trolly will move back and fourth (right & left) with the extruders. Its kind of hard to imagine but I’ve started mockups as well as a quick an dirty prototype. So far its looking very promising, the trolly works much like the extruder on the x axis. The only difference is that instead of bring moved by a belt, it’s moved via the extruder pulling the bowden tubes. This helps to eliminate any unwanted bending or awkward positions causing the filiment to hang up. The trolly in combination with dual swivel mounted spools makes for a great setup. I will be doing tests with and without. Then posting results, it may not make a huge difference but man does it look cool moving back and fourth in unison.

Here’s some pics of the quick and dirty prototype for tge bowden trolly. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of time making it super accurate and give it great styling if it wasnt going to work. So in order to get it out of my head and into 3 dimensions I quickly threw together a prototype. I figured that if it worked how I expected, I could always redo it to my somewhat perfectionist standards.
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Update: July 30th 2013
I started working with my new power supplies today. I will be using a 350 watt ATX PSU from Printrbot as well as another laptop style PSU. The reason I chose these two to start out with for the dual extruder beta is simple. It’s convenient, portable, already setup and will work great to start out with PLA as I plan on doing in the beginning. I wanted to figure out a way to combine them into one unit that will be more portable for my classes. So I went about organizing all the wiring and mounting the laptop PSU to the larger ATX PSU. I fashioned a couple of brackets that will wotk perfectly for this use and then added black cable wrap as well as a few other pieces to kerp everything where it should be. It ended up turning out exactly as I imagined it. Now all I need to do is figure out where I will be putting it semi-permanently during operation in my prototyping lab.
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Update: July 31st 2013
Im moving towards mounting my printrboard cooler andmounts to the side of my Printrstand and my power supplies to the otherside. This would allow’for optimal cooling as well as accessibility for configuration and troubleshooting. For now I plan on using my xbox 360 PSU to run the 6+ fans in my always on cooling system. I have 3 to cool the printrboard, 1 large fan to cool the z and y axis motors and 2 inlet/outlet fans for the Printrstand. This may seem like overkill but, I want everything to run cool, efficient snd to last as long as possible.

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Here's the dual mounted power supplies mounted on a floating mount

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This is the active cooling mount for the controller and the extrudaboard. It has a 180 degree dual adjustable fan mount as well as a top down 90mm fan.

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Everything is mounted semi-permanently for operation in the prototyping lab

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I mounted the printrboard and extrudaboard on standoffs to allow ait to flow over and under the board. I also made sure to leave space almost all the way around the boards for easy access to configure and troubleshoot if needed. Having this setup also allows for easier and more efficient cable management. The stock location for the Printrbots electronics is retained within the base of the printer. The main issues I have with that setup is the heat issues with having three motors and the controller in a mostly enclosed tight space. Also the stock electronics bay was not created with the extrudaboard add on in mind.

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Update: August 1st 2013
I know im captain overkill but I recently got some heatsinks for my printrboard and extrudaboard. That way it will keep my transistors nice and cool as if my plethora of fans wouldn’t do the trick. I made sure to mount them high side up which wont cool as effectively but, it will make shorting out the boards impossible. I also made sure to be extra careful when mounting the bolts on my standoffs using a small nylon washer in between the bolt head and the board even though it should be fine without. I like to take extra precautions early on, that way if anything ever happens I know I did everything possible to prevent it. I am overtly bring carful when handling as to make sure I grounded with an anti static wrist band. I also store my boards in anti-static bags when not in use in a protective case. It’s just me and my overkill so you should be fine taking normal reasonable precautions. If I didn’t do my overkill then I wouldn’t build so many cool things.

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Here’s some updated pics as of August 1st 2013
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Update: August 3rd 2013
Today is the 1st day I will be working on the actual dual extruder part of this build. Confusion over a third hole held up asymboly. The dual extruder beta’s go together just like the direct drive extruder that Printrbot recently released, with the 2nd extruder being mirrored of the 1st.
You start to notice the changes when you get to the mounting plate. Caleb C. the designer at Printrbot put a lot of thought into this setup and it is designed to offer maximum print space availability. I now have to main guts of the extruder mocked up as well as the mounting plate and sides. I will be spending extra time as I often do labeling and organizing wiring before final asymboly. I cant stress enouph how much time proper labeling will save you in the long run – especially with two extruders.

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I had to build a rear mount to hold the cabling and it turned out great

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Don't mind the top piece as its not part of the dual extruder kit. Its simply a prototype I've been working on.

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You can see the basic bones of the extruder.

Test fitting everything is as far as I made it today. Tomorrow I will focus on bolting everything together and starting to run all the wiring. I won’t however be plugging anything into the controller until the firmware is updated on my printrboard and the dual extruder hex file is added as per recommendation by Caleb Cotter, (the creator.) I’ll need to extend some wiring but not much due to the long length of wire that comes on the large Kysan. Things will start to come together tomorrow and a lot of progress shoukd be made.

Update: August 4th 2013
Today started out with mounting the gnarled gears on the flat spots pre sanded on the Kysan motors. If you don’t have a flat spot on your steppers shaft and need one, there are a few ways of going about it. The most important thing when filing a flat on your shaft is to make sure you don’t get any, “metal flake” inside the motor shaft. You can prevent this fairly easily by using a peice of paper or a post-it note to surround the shaft. I use an index card as it has a little more rigidity. Then take some tape and wrap it around the bottom of the shaft and the piece of paper which will seal out any metal shavings. After that, take a file and file away from the tip to as far down the dhaft as you can without damaging your stepper motor.

Since ours was pre-sanded we went about bolting everything together. This part of the asymboly went fairly smoothly. There are a few nuts that are awkward to position but, this can be fixed by using a needle nose pliers to position the nuts more accurately. Next we will start on getting the hotends mounting and running required wiring. We will also start mounting our fans and running associated wiring.

I finally got the time to finish up assembly and run wiring. This task was simple to do because everything just needed to be done twice. I’ve added some pictures so you can see what the final product looks like As I am I getting close to be done with assembly. Next we will move on to mounting the extruder and running the wiring for the temp sensor and heating element. Tomorrow we will start with finishing up the rest of the hardware install as well as organize the rest of the wiring throughout my Printrbot Plus. We will also take some time out to update the firmware on my printrboard and add the hex files for the dual extrduer setup.
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Update: August 5th 2013
Everything is mounted up and wiring is ran for the most part. I have both extruders wired and set in place. I haven’t got around to tightening down the extruder mounts though. I plan on doing this soon. The wiring mounts and cable organizers do not come in the kit but, I wanted to keep everything organized and clean looking. You can buy these cable guides and mounts for super cheep at hardware/electronics stores. They also come in different sizes and thicknesses. My next plan of attack is to finish labeling all wiring that I added today as well as extending the extruder wiring. I will also more then likely use a power block terminal before the printrboard. This will serve dual purpose. One as an extension for wiring and the other being a good way to keep everything available for organized troubleshooting.

After asymboly is all finished I will be moving on to updating firmware as I mentioned earlier.
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I started working on the PTFE feed tubes. These are used between the spool and the direct drive extruder. These are not part of the kit and are of my own creation. I will start all testing of the dual extruder beta without this setup so that it can be as close to the original kit as possible. After extensive testing I will put these back on to see if there is any noted improvement. After I run stock I want to test out as many different configurations as possible so that I can squeeze out every ounce of performance out of Printrbot dual extruder.

I printed off little couplers that hold the bowden or PTFE tubing in place. One is mounted on the spool end and the other is mounted right before the intake on top of the extruders. I’m currently experimenting with a slide mount that will be held on the Z-axis cross bar. The purpose of this mount is to keep the bowden tubes in place while allowing them to move forward and backwards through the mounts holes. This task is a lot harder to accomplish then you would think due to the extreme ranges that the extruder undergoes during operation.

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Update: August 6th 2013
As you can see from the updated pictures I spend some time labeling wiring as I spoke of earlier as well as running wire extensions. You can buy extra wiring with the smaller molex plugs online for a reasonable price. I just so happen to get mine with a RAMPS 1.4 controller kit I ordered off eBay some time ago. I used solid core wiring to plug 2 female plugs together. To amke sure that they dont come unplugged during operation, I used shrink tubing around both ends of the molex connectors. The wiring was long enouph that I only needed to add short extensions towards the end of the wiring. Ordinarily you wouldn’t have a need for extensions but, I mounted my controller on the side of my Printrstand.
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Update: August 8th 2013
I will more then likely take a little time today to find a SD card that I can use for my printer. Most controllers prefer that you use 2 gig or less for reasons unknown to me. I have some larger ones so i will have to search around for a 2 or 4 gig SD card. I also need to take some time to update firmware and test out the controller. I have spent part of the day working on a new LCD project im working on for my Printrbot plus. I managed to get a good portion of it together but I still need to lookup some pinouts and figure out the wiring. It looks great but, that means nothing if I cant get it functioning to my standards. It is handheld and has enouph room to hold an arduino uno, which I will probably use to run the LCD. Heres some pictures so you can see how its coming along.
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Update: August 9th 2013
Today I started out with working on the mount for the PTFE tubing that feeds the filament. I took the top piece of the direct drive extruder and filed it out a little bit to accommodate the tubing. I needed the tubing to stop right above the gear on the top side of the extruder. Some people refer to this as the drinking straw trick, even though you don’t use an actual drinking straw. This helps direct drive extruders to feed correctly and to not bind the filament causing a jam. It turned out exactly as I expected and I made sure to only file out as little as possible using a round file. The reason I want it really tight is to hold the tubing in place and to limit its verticle movements.
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Update: August 11th 2013
As I just got back in town today from working on an h bot project, I have not updated firmware yet. Instead I took some time to organize my prototyping spqce as well aw mount commonly used tools to my Printrstand. I mounted a set of allen wrenches, dikes, needle nose pliers and a small fire extinguisher. My buddy made th3 mountw for me off of a design I threw together in my spare time while traveling. It turned out pretty nice but, it still needs a few modifications before I will be q 100% happy. I plan on tearing into the firmware either today or tomorrow.
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Update: August 12th 2013
I’ve hit a snag as my printrboard was DOA. I have put in a request to Printrbot for a new one and im sure they will take care of me. It wont power up, no lights and no usb responses. I will update with information as soon as I hear back from Printrbot.

I recently heard back from Printrbot and they said a new board will be sent right out. Since I have some spare time I will be helping a friend of mine update his firmware. I am by no means a firmware master but after some help from Michael Oz on the Printrbot forums we got him all updated. It can be kinda tricky and I’m glad I was able to figure his out as im sure I will have to do the same when I get my new boards soon.

Update: August 14th 2013
Since im waiting for my new printrboard from Printrbot I decided that I would add a task light so I can see my bed better as its printing. Plus it just looks plain cool with the clear 40mm fans and I already had the parts. I used three 3mm LEDs, I positioned the middle one to be straight down and the side 2 pointing outwards. This gives me the best possible coverage and I’ve always been a sucker for A-symmetrical things. The lights I used are easy to gind and run off of 12v. I hooked them up to a spare 4 pin molex connector on my 350w PSU. You can find these lights at just about any electronics store. They were originally ment to be custom computer case lighting and cost about $5. These definitely worked the way I hoped and the wiring was straight forward. This mod can easily be done by a beginner.

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Here you can see where they are mounted. Make sure you mount them as far away from the extruder as you can due to the temperature of the hotends

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The black cable wrap gives it that futuristic alien feal

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The angle and positioning of the lights can easily be adjusted

Update: August 15th 2013
I was at the store the other day and found an timer for a riding lawnmower. It works by telling you how many hours the riding lawnmower has been operated so that you can figure out maintenance schedules. It is turned on and off via the electrical system on the lawn mower. So I bought it and figured I could use it to log the amount of totsl operation time of my printer. It has a little LCD display and mounts perfectly on the base or electronics bay of my Printrbot. I faked out the signal that its used to getting by hooking it up to my power supply. I also put on a bypass switch for if I ever need it to not log time. This will make my maintenance scheduling a lot more convenient as it has adjustable warnings for maintenance built in.

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Its kind of hard to see but it's on the left side of the base and it's black in color

Since I’m waiting for parts to come in I thought I would try out a few upgrades to test when I finish building my Printrbot. The 1st issue I decided to take a stab at was the extruders direct drive motors. The steppers being the larger nema 17 Kysans run cooler and more efficient than most motors on the market. Still being that they are being used for the extruders, they will be getting the most use out of all the motors involved. Extended use creates heat which as you may know is the enemy when it comes to running motors. So I decided to order some heatsinks that I could mount to the back of each of the Kysans. This won’t eliminate all the heat created during printing but, it will help to keep them cooler which will help them to last longer and run more efficiently. These heatsinks are very light so weight issues are negligible. I’m at the point of debating whether or not to run 40mm fans on the outside of the heatsinks to help to further eradicate heat. I had 1 spare 40mm fan laying around so I test fitted it to see if I could mount it correctly. All in all it mounted pretty easily using adhesive heatsink tape. I will more then likely mount stand-offs to mount the fan to the back and give it ample breathing room to effectively circulate air.
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Update: September 1st 2013
Hopefully today is the day that I get to test everything out. Once everything is tested and running I should be in good shape to put on my belts and pullys so I can start printed. Today I plan on flashing the firmware, making a 3rd thermisister cable from one that I bought, running repitier to check that everything tests out ok, heat up the extruders and get the motors turning. I plan on ordering my belts within the next few days and once I get those on ill be in good shape. The 3rd extruder, even though im not using it currently requires a thermisister to be plugged in, otherwise it will toss all kinds of warnings and errors. Luckily I bought one a while back just in case I needed it and what do you know? I did. It will be easy to make knce I find the proper cable that has a female connection with the correct spacing in order to plug it into the board. Luckily thermisisters dont have any specific polarity, which means it can be plugged in anyway you would like and it will operate as intended.

Update: October 14th 2013
It has been a little while since I last updated. This is due to all the recent modifications, add ons and other projects we’ve been working on. I recently did a bunch of modifications to the dual extruder setup including couplers, new fans, GT2 belts and aluminum pulleys. Under the posting title, “Same printrbot plus v2 new mods.” you can see know more detail the mods I’ve done. Now that I’ve done these modifications it is time to hook everything up and get it running again. I will update when I have more information and notes on calibrating your dual extruder setup.

Update: October 16th 2013
I recently decided to go ahead and change my mount for the Printrboard and the dual extruder add-on board. I also purchased as well as made some rather interesting wire management parts for this new setup. I had a few requirements that needed to be incorporated into this setup. Those main requirements are: It must have easy access to all the wiring, some sort of cooling system, keep all the wiring organized and be able to be built with what I already have on hand.

Originally I planned on using plexi or Lexan for the base but later on I decided to switch to this new black plastic that I had. I had already setup my wiring so that all of it is organized from the printer to the controller so that didn’t need to be done. I made 4 main mounts for the devided wiring. These mounts are raised about 1″ above the surface. This was done to acomidate for the height of the main boards that had been mounted on stand-offs. I mounted the main boards on stand-offs to increase the airflow around the boards which will help keep them cooler. I also was able to re-use my fan from my old setup. I used the same mount as well and it was easy to adapt.

So far it looks like it will be the best setup and eventually I plan to make it look more asthetically appealing. After a while I plan to add a top to it so I can add some top down cooling. The top will also help prevent any of the wiring from getting bumped. The main requirement for the top structure is that it must be easily removable for troubleshooting and be able to have a larger fan mounted to it for cooling.

Update: October 20th 2013
After a lot of work recently as well as a little bit of help from some of the other beta members, I am almost ready to fire up the dual extruder beta. I had to do a little re-working of the mounts and wiring. I am also about 99% finished with all software settings as well as getting everything going on my new dedicated CAD/Print laptop. I have tested wiring for all the fans etc that are connected to the power supply directly which is a lot more work than you would think given the massive cooling setup I have throughout my printer. All wiring has been double checked and is awaiting my triple check before powering up the system. I would rather spend the extra time now to make sure everything is wired correctly, rather than have something blow out. Within the next few days I should be up and printing. I could be up and running now but, like I said “I want to be 100% sure everything is just right before powering up the mostly new system. ” That way if something goes wrong, I know for sure that it wasn’t due to my connections and wiring.

Update: October 22nd 2013
I still need a little bit more information before actually firing up the plus v2 so I started working on bracing the x axis. The v1 had a solid piece of birch that accompanied the x axis rods which helped to stabilize the bridge. When the V2’s came out the re-design didn’t include this piece so I decided to go ahead and make my own. I grabbed 4 L shaped steel brackets. Two of them are larger than the others. After that I grabbed some half inch aluminum tubing as well as some custom machines bolts that for inside the aluminum tubing which allows them to be easily mounted. This is the first version and didn’t take to much time as I had all the required parts laying around the prototyping lab. After installing everything I am actually amazed at how much stronger the bridge is. My next few steps include beefing up the x rod mounts and the y axis bearing mounts.

Recently I decided to beef up the brackets to all steel ones. Even though the old setup worked perfectly fine, I’m all about overkill. I kept the longer L shaped steel brackets and added an extra one were needed instead of the smaller 90 degree ones. Changing these two brackets made an aesthetic difference as well as made everything super sturdy. This modification took a lot of wiggle out of the X Bridge. Next I plan on changing out the x axis rod mouth to something a little more sturdy. You can also find a similar but printable version of the x axis stabilizer on Thingiverse.com I recommend this mod to anyone who has a printrbot plus or LC as its made a difference in the strength of the entire x bridge.

Here’s some pics of the first version.

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You can see the aluminum stabilzer bar behind the x bridge

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One issue I've had with the dual extruders is like the associated wiring. So I decided to use the Stabilizer and a few bearings to make a cable carrier

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I plan on integrating a cooling system for the x axis motor as well

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I used locking washers on all of the mounts and they hold very firmly

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Update: October 23rd 2013
Today we will plan on finishing all the settings in Repitier for the dual extruder portion. Once that is complete we will be finished with all the settings until we start calibration. Another task we plan on finishing today is dialing in all of our end stops or homing. I also added a grill to cover the dual fans to keep kids from putting their fingers in them. I use this setup a lot for demonstrations so “safety proofing” it as much as possible helps and yes I really do lug around this beast. I am actually in the midst of attempting to get donations so we can build a decent size printer that is more portable, like a Jr. V2. I’ve added a few new pictures below of the Dual Extruder Beta as it sits today and I will add better ones when I have some extra time.

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Another modification that I’ve been debating is changing the z axis top joiner into aluminum round bar. This would have a few advantages: The bowden tubes would slide back and forth across it much more smoothly than the current setup. The way that the joiner mounts to the smooth rod would be sturdier. It would also allow me the ability to stabilize the threaded rod as well. Last but not least, I would be able to add some extra width to the joiner which would come in handy for future modifications.

Since I already have the half inch aluminum round bar, I think I might give it a shot while I am waiting on a bit more information on calibration. The only difficult part to doing this is drilling with exact accuracy on the side of a round object which is never easy even with the correct tools. I will update after I get it all finished.

Update: October 24th 2013
Today I’m attempting to finish up the PTFE tube mounts. I opted for a quick detach setup as its a lot more convenient when any issues arise during filament changes or extruder issues. I took a metal piece that has a nipple on it which is fed into the quick release mechanism. The other end is fed like the ” drinking straw trick. ” Leaving the opposite end to go into a hollow threaded nut. It’s fairly complicated for how simple of a function it retains. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a couple thousand.

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Update: October 31st 2013
Today I got in a few more parts I needed to get my printrbot plus just right. Since my first print is being delayed due to a last minute trip to Seattle to work on the 5 axis RepRap, I decided to install the new goodies. One of the new add-ons is a task light that will light up the print platform as I often work in low light settings. I also got a 4 component terminal block, some cable management items and a new extra deep 40mm fan.

I decided to replace the stock fans that came with the dual extruder beta because they did not use a high enough Cfm for what I need. There are some issues with mounting deeper fans because they are attached to the tension system for the DDE. I solved this issue by mounting the fans on the top of the mount instead of under it. This solved all related issues and was relatively easy to do.

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The original mount location was under the wood. To fix clearance issues I relocated them here.

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You can see the small amount of space available under the DDE tension adjustment

Update: November 2nd 2013
During my trip to Seattle to check up on the 5 axis RepRap I decided to get a few much needed tools and parts for the printers in the shop. I was in definitely in need of some quality lubricant for the rods, bearings etc. I have heard nothing but good things about, “Super Lube w/PTFE” unfortunately it isn’t the easiest to source locally but, out in Seattle area they have a supply store that stocks it. I purchased about 3 or more ounces which will last quite a while for under $8 at Tacoma Screw. I also bought a set of brass nuts to match up with my threaded rod as well as some graphite to put on the threaded rods. Since it comes out in dry powder form, I plan on using an artist brush to apply it to the threaded rods. Ive heard and read that these two combinations of additives for the linear rods, linear bearings, nuts and threaded rods is the best way to go.

I also needed a new digital caliper, dial indicator for depth measurements and 12mm rods. I was able to find a smoking deal on all three of them. The first two I was able to get from harbor freight for half off on both. This saved a lot of money which let me afford to get 3ft of linear rods at Tacoma. Another small purchase was a full set of mini rasps and files. These are some of my favorite tools as they come in very handy when you need to do filing in small tight spots or you need to remove small amounts of material. They come in varying sizes and shapes. You can also get one’s that are diamond coated but, I find that the standard harbor freight specials seem to work great and can be had for between $4-12.

I will post my experience with all of these recent purchases on the site as soon as I get a chance to test them out.

I must say the new rods are of a lot better quality than I was originally anticipating and I ended up getting them a little longer than my original plan. My z-axis rods come to almost 19″ on each side. I also took the time to bevel the edges. I still have to install them which I plan on doing in the next few days. I’m taking my time as I have to pull a good part of my printrbot apart to correctly fit them in the aluminum blocks. I figured it would wait until I am almost done with my control electronics enclosure. That way I can swap all the wiring at the same time.

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Here's the new 12mm rods. I think I might give them a slight polish before installation

Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

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About RepRap Squad

I have been involved with 3D printing for years and I wouldn't have it any other way. I also started a foundation called, "Printing a Future Foundation." The sole purpose of this foundation is to get as many 3D printers as we can into schools via donations. Being an Industry trends adviser within the additive manufacturing community allows me to be immersed in the things I enjoy most.

Posted on July 23, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nice set up! I’m also got one of the dual extruder beta kits. How’re you getting on with the new firmware? I’ve found the limit switches were inverted and its not communicating with the extrudrboard.

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