Good news in the way of dual extrusion is here. Repetier knows the importance of making multi extrusion more user friendly. They recently released Repetier Host V1.0.0 which has a ton of dual or multi extrusion add ons. For the cost of a few parts and an app you can download Repetier Informer. It will send free push notifications to your iPad or iPhone updating you on the status of your printer.
Slic3r has also gotten in the game with all kinds of new options for multi head extrusion. You can now switch nozzle size on your extra extruders. It also has an option to put a larger nozzle on and use it for quick infill. This dramatically saves on print time. CuraEngine is also included along side Skienforge.
Slic3r 1.1.7 stable us out or for the guy who has to check out the newest tech – Slic3r 1.1.2 experimental is also available. Find both versions as well as past versions by clicking HERE
A lot of the issues described below are
One of the most annoying problems with the dual extruder printing is the plastic leaking from the idle extruder. It is especially noticeable with PLA that flows easier than ABS. Lowering the temperature of the idle extruder while it is not needed and restore it when it is time to start printing with that extruder again helps to deal with leaking. It is tricky though since leaking has to be prevented during the teperature changes.
Slic3r has an option to help prevent oozing. It will lower the temps of the unused extruder slightly to help eliminate this issue. They have come a long way in battling the issues involved with the idle hotends. Other options that are usually considered to battle these issues are wiping stations and using a “Parking place.” Both techniques are described below.
The technique being used with the current generation of the RepRap X2 printers (S/N: 020*) is to print a “parking space” besides the actual object. That “parking space” serves two purposes, one is to plug the nozzles while the temperature changes and the other is to “prime” the extruders (i.e. establish the consistent flow of plastic) before printing the actual object after the temperature change.
Wipe Station Idea
I think I have said this already but event the big boys have a wipe station in the back left corner to wipe ooze from the unused extruder. That is a rubber and wire brush wiper at a set height. I suppose that would cut some area out of the bed, hmm… Others have suggested a wiper mechanism on the extruder. Not a cap where pressure would build up but a little wiper.
If you have a dual (or even more than two) extruder setup, Slic3r can be used in several different ways:
You can print a normal single-material object by assigning different features to different extruders: for example multiple colors for perimeter/infill/support material; You can print a multi-material object by assigning each material to an extruder.
How to make a multi-material file
If your CAD program is not able to export a multi-material AMF file, Slic3r provides a convenient way to merge multiple STL files, representing material regions of the same object, to a single AMF file. The STL files must share the same coordinates and origin, of course. This feature is easily accessed by using the Combine multiple STL files… item from the File menu item.
You can also explore “ditto printing,” depending on your extruder spacing. This is less common due to the required extruder positioning which limits the size of your ditto prints.
Dual and multi head extrusion has come a long way since I first started to explore it through Printrbot’s Dual Extrusion Beta program. The hardware side had made leaps and bounds but, it always seemed to be too far ahead of the software side. Repetier and Slic3r have now caught up. By caught up, I mean way up! This helps to bring more usability to multi head extrusion. It’s still something for more advanced users but, if you have determination – you too can master multi extrusion.
I’ve always been a big fan of Printrbots designs and products. I decided it was time to build our version of the Printrbot Plus platform using high end parts.
We wanted to build a printer that was fast, efficient and as strong as can be. Solid aluminum blocks were milled out to replace the carriage mount, x axis and z axis setup that is similar in design to printrbots plus v2. Recently we received 25mm by 40mm aluminum tubing to make the frame and support structure. This printer will be decent size at about: 10-12″ x axis, 10 -16″ y and z axis’s. The strong materials used as well as the design will allow it to be used as a CNC or laser cutter. Lots of new technology will be applied to this build and high end parts will be used.
The y axis already has aluminum bearing blocks and we plan to use aluminum for all the rod mounts. Abs plastic will be used when necessary, primarily for sub mounts and brackets.
I’ve worked out the main setup including the x axis rod mounts as well as the x axis ends that make up the z axis. The x axis idler bearing will be quite a bit larger than the typical 608 bearings that are usually used. Since I haven’t completely decided how I plan to do the base and y axis. I plan to make a little jig or stand that can be used to mount the z and x axis’s while I work on them. I took two pieces of square aluminum tubing and bolted them together. These will work as a base to hold the setup for now.
I found some nice, heavy duty endstop or homing switches that I plan on using. The x axis homing switch was mounted today. Only time will tell whether or not these new switches will perform better than the typical ones used. Right now I currently have the x axis at about 12+ inches which will be plenty wide. The dual rod screws in the x axis mounts help the whole top from twisting. Once all 8 grub screws are tightened onto the x axis rods it makes the entire section of upper parts function as one piece.
I have yet to decide whether or not I will use the dual extruder setup that I have or make a single extruder setup. More than likely I will be using a ramps 1.4 controller that I have. The ramps controller supports dual extruders so the only parts I would need that I currently dont have would be an extra hotend. I plan to run Ubis hotends on this build because I have found them to be reliable. I will update this post as the build goes on.
Update: April 12th 2014
Today I was able to start cutting the aluminum tubing for the frame. I’ve decided on parts of the frame design but, not entirely. Right now I’m leaning towards a frame layout similar to the Bukitobot. I have finished the main vertical support and the top horizontal portion. As of now I’m working on designing the y axis setup which will help determine the last portion of the frames layout. I should be able to update with some pictures tomorrow.
I started cutting and mocking up a lot of the frame. I still haven’t completely decided on exactly how the frame will be done but, I have enough to show a few pictures. I designed and printed a few brackets as well as motor mounts for the z axis.
Update: April 19th 2014
Today I started to design the end caps that cover the ends of the aluminum tubing. I figured it would take a few different attempts to get it right but, I was luck enough to get it right the first time. I also re-designed the x axis motor mount that bolts onto the aluminum mounts. I needed to shave a few mm off of one side for a better fit. This also gave me a chance to make a more user friendly z axis switch adjustment. The main bolts for the y axis support have been installed as well.
The plan right now is to have the y axis removable for easier transportation. The z axis smooth rod mounts also need to be designed as I plan to support them from the top as well. I managed to add two feet to the main structure for easy leveling. These feet also have a non slip under coating, that way the printer won’t walk during high speed operations.
Update: April 20th 2014
Lots of work has been done today. I was able to cut the remaining pieces for the frame as well as print out some more end caps. The end caps on the aluminum tubing are not required but, they do give it a more polished look. The y axis rod mounts have been designed and printed but I have one more set to go. The top z axis rod mounts have also been designed and printed. I still need to design the ones that will help to stablize the bottom of the rods. Once all of these parts are finished and mounted I will take some pics.
I have also been trying to figure out how exactly I should mount the controller bay. As of now it will be mounted behind the left vertical uprights. The power supply will more than likely be mounted behind the right vertical uprights. I’m trying to keep everything mounted very well for transportation reasons. Some of the wiring is planned to run inside the tubing while the other bits will be ran along the outside of the tubing.
I also wanted to give a special thanks to Gold August for milling out the ends and rod mounts. He definitely did a great job and they came out exactly how I imagined it.
Update: April 21st 2014
I was able to design a few 90 degree support brackets that will be used for the lower frame/ y axis sub structure. The design printed great the first time and I was able to print 4 of them in about an hour. The brackets are heavy duty and help to keep everything aligned. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of cable management system to use. the xbox 360 16.5 amp 203watt psu was mounted behind the right vertical tubing as mentioned earlier. I was able to secure it using a large L bracket and a couple zip ties. The power plug is at the rear of the bot, this keeps it out of the way during operations.
Update: April 24th 2014
I finally have access to a decent camera so I took a few updated pics on the build progress.
Update: April 27th 2014
A decent amount of progress has been done. I designed and printed wire organizers and pass throughs. I also mounted a wire terminal block so that all the wiring could be split off of the power supply. The rear cross brace supports have also been added to the y axis’s sub mount. The beds smooth rod setup will be different than any other build I’ve had.
I’m changing it a bit in order to fully support the y axis because the rods are fairly long. This will leave the build with a huge y axis as well as a large x and z axis. The z axis will come in about 15 inches, depending on how the bed is setup will alter the z height. Right now the x axis is about 13 inches and the y will be about 16 inches.
Update: April 29th 2014
Today I’m trying to tackle the y axis and the beds setup. I’ve debated back and fourth several different setups but, in the end I think I will use a setup that is similar to printrbots design. More than likely the rods will go under the cross braces in the frame with a center mounted motor. That will allow me to use at least two idlers on the y axis. I also need to reprint a larger RepRap Squad logo that goes on the top of the frame.
Most of the rods im currently using are ones I use for mock ups. Now that I know exactly how long they need to be. I can order a few sets. I plan to explore printable bearings, but if they are not up to my standards then I will have to order a set of lm12uu bearings.
Update: April 30th 2014
I was able to adapt the rear spacers for the carriage. Since I made the x axis carriage mount a lot smaller and lighter, I needed to add spacers to the rear so that the x axis belt could be attached. I still need to decide if I will add a part to adjust the belt or if I will add an idler similar to what I have on my printrbot plus. The advantage of an idler is that it can be adjusted on the fly but, it requires more design and effort to install. I will try and get some pictures today of the progress.
Update: May 1st 2014
I was able to get a few pics together so that you could see how the belt was mounted to the carriage. It came out better than I hoped.
Today I plan on sorting out the cable management set up. I want the wiring to be as organized as possible, that way everything is accessible. I’ve been working on designing different strain relief mounts to put through out the frame. I made sure to put some wiring mounts under the frame as well. right now I am printing a setup that will organize the wiring going into the controller bay.
Update: May 5th 2014
Inwas able to print and mount the rear corner brackets that help to support the frame. After adding these supports the frame became solid and doesn’t move in any direction. I still need to decide on the y axis setup as I want it to take advantage of the available space while supporting the rods as much as possible. I need to find a happy medium between rod support and usable print space along the y axis. I added in a couple strain reliefs for the wiring that goes into the control bay.
The cooling system has been wired into the terminal block which splits power coming from the psu. The controllers enclosure has a top mounted 60mm exhaust fan and two side mounted 50mm inlet fans which should keep the controller nice and cool during operation. The cooling system for the electronics also has a bypass switch but, I’ve wired everything to come on once the power supply is taken off of standby. I also plan on adding a couple leds. One led will state that the psu is off of standby, the other will state wether or not power is going to the extruder.
Update: May 10th 2014
I finally got some time to work on the build a bit more today. I designed the 90° corner brackets for the front that go around the motor mounts. These were a little bit difficult to do because they had to go with the motor mount as well as strengthen the lower supports on the frame. I’m currently printing off the left bracket set to see if it will fit correctly. If the left one turns out okay I will print off the right set.
I was also able to make the supports that hold the z-axis motors. The point of these supports is to hold the bottom of the motors, which will help to keep the z axis inline with the upper rod mount.
Update: May 13th 2014
I finally had time to finish printing and installing the front 90° brackets that go around the z-axis motor mounts. These two brackets helped to make the entire structure rock solid. I also managed to install the spacers under the Z axis motor mounts which clear up the gap between the base and the bottom of the motor. A few more end caps were also printed today to cover the ends of the aluminum tubing. Although doing this isn’t required I think that it gives it a clean look.
The list of parts that still need to be printed is getting pretty small. I still haven’t completely decided on how the y-axis will be set up. I’ve been putting it off a little while until I can do more research. I have about three or four different ways that I could do the y-axis but I’m still debating which one is the best for this platform.
I should be able to snap a few pictures of the build progress later today. Most of the major parts within the structure that tied to the axis’s are adjustable so that they can be fine-tuned once I get the new parts. I always use a spare set of parts that are just used to mock up for builds. That way I can order the pieces once the frame and structure is complete.
This 3-D printer is turning out to be exactly how I imagined it before building. It has a large print area while still offering up great portability. It will definitely be strong enough to run as a small CNC mill. I’ve also been debating getting a laser attachment for laser etching.
Update: May 20th 2014
I’m working on an auto leveling setup for this build. Printrbot has already created an auto leveling setup. I was able to find some parts that cost about .50 cents that I’m using to build the probe. I will update with info as I go.
Update: May 22nd 2014
I’ve been working out a lot of the smaller details lately. Things like heatsinks on the extruder motor as well as the X axis motor. The z-axis already has integrated heat-sinks built into the spacers and when I mount the y-axis motor I will add a heat-sink at that time as well. While having heatsinks is not a requirement, it helps to keep the motors running cooler which makes them last longer and perform better. I’ve also been working out my probe set up which will allow for the software to compensate for the angle of the bed.
I finally got around to printing off all the end caps for the aluminum tubing. Next I plan to tackle the y-axis and print bed set up. Once it’s finished I will have to pull the whole thing apart, sand it down, etch and prep the aluminum tubing for paint.
Update: May 25th 2014
I decided to take some time today to figure out where I wanted to mount the spools. Some people integrate them into the design and others just assume the end-user can figure it out for themselves. Using a tabletop mounted spool was also an option but, for the most part I wanted this build to be self-contained. I wanted transports to be as easy as possible as well as keeping set up times to a minimum. After playing with different spool mounting options I came up with a three-point spool mounting system.
This setup allows you to mount a spool either horizontally or vertically depending on your needs. It also supports two spools at once for dual extruder printing. Realistically you could mount up to 3 spools at one time with two of them being mounted vertically and one mounted horizontally. No matter which mount you use. The transition is easy and only requires a couple easy to remove bolts.
Today I will also start to tackle the bed mount system. I will be using a three-point adjustment for the bed because it is a lot more reliable and easier to tune. Four-point systems work but, tend to be a lot more finicky and involved to tune correctly. I am also going back-and-forth whether or not to add to heated beds or just one. I have enough space to run two 8×8 beds stacked one after another. Doing this would give me about 8×16 inches of heated print surface.
Update: May 26th 2014
I started ordering some parts to replace the mockup pieces. Today the threaded rod arrived and it was surprisingly straight. The z axis threaded rods are about 20″ long on each side. I used a custom pair of matching Kysan motors for the z axis. I still need to order 3 more large Kysans for the x, y and extruder.
The z axis threaded rods are cut a little bit longer than required. I did this so I could add handles at the top of each rod. These handles make for quick and accurate manual adjustments. For anyone that is an avid user, this is must. I also finished up all the matching spool mounts.
Update: July 3rd 2014
I just got the parts in for the horizontally mounted spool roller. This will offer up a spool feed system that is mounted on the middle section on the top of the frame. Including the 2 side mounts, up to 5 spools can be mounted on the frame. I also installed quick release knobs for the spool mounts so that they can quickly be removed.
The horizontally mounted spool holder is adjustable to fit just about any size spool. The two vertically mounted spool holders will hold a large range of spool sizes.
Update: July 11th 2014
Recently a decent amount of time has been spent wiring the cooling system as well as the main power switch. The main power switch will take the xbox psu off of standby. The electronics bay has 3 fans. Two exhaust fans and one intake. I have carefully designed an airflow path to optimize cooling. I used quick disconnect plugs that lock for each fan which allows any of them to be moved or turned off.
I have also started working on the dual extruder setup that I will use for this build.
Update: July 3rd 2014
As you may of noticed, I haven’t updated this post in a little while. This has been due to lots of exciting things going on behind the scenes at RepRap Squad. I have however, recently had some free time to work on this beast.
I purchased some smaller spiral wrap for some of the cable sets that are located within the electronics bay. I spent some time today organizing those wires as well as making sure that all the fans are working. So far this setup has 3 fans to cool the electronics bay. Two of those fans are inlets and the one mounted on the lid is an outlet. I did this intentionally to create an efficient airflow pattern. Cold air from down low push in from both sides making the warm air exit upwards.
Luckily I had a few quick moments to take a couple pics of the progress.
Update: July 4th 2014
I had some free time so I started to design the cable management setup that will be mounted behind the left vertical frame riser. The cabling that will be held up will be for the two Bowden extruders that will be mounted right above each spool.
I plan on designing a bracket that will hold each Bowden setup. I may or may not move the side spools downwards to make room for the dual Bowden setup.
July 7th 2014
I was able to print a few test brackets that will go behind the vertical risers on the left. I will probably end up changing the design a little bit but these test pieces let me know where everything will go. I also had to keep in mind, a possible third extruder. Currently the plan is to use a dual Bowden extruder setup and each Bowden gear set will be mounted directly above its corresponding spool.
The cable management design will hold wiring for up to three Bowden extruders and top mounted task lights. With this specific build I am trying to keep in mind any future upgrades as well as possible mods. Everything is self-contained within the build.
Since I have made the recent decision to go with a dual extruder and possible triple extruder. I will need to add another mount for a second psu. I haven’t decided if I will add a second 203watt xbox psu or go with a laptop psu for my second supply.
Update: July 8th 2014
Testing out new filament from PushPlastic gave me an opportunity to print the laptop psu mounts. This printer will have two power supply’s. The largest one is enough to power an extruder and heated bed, while the laptop psu will power the 2nd extruder. Once I add a larger bed and a possible triple extruder setup, I will need to swap out the laptop psu for a 2nd 203 watt xbox psu that I have. With the 2 xbox psus I will be running about 400 watts @ approx 35 amps between the two. The laptop psu and the single xbox psu would offer up about 22 amps. I am a big fan of the xbox psus as they have lots of built in features, active cooling and a great shape that works with a lot of platforms.
So far I am very impressed with PushPlastics filament. Later this week I plan to test out other filaments from PushPlastic as well as some HIPS from Extrudables. I will do a separate post for the tests of those filaments. They will be done in multiple colors along with a few samples of MakerGeeks. If you would like to mod an xbox psu to work with your RepRap, I have a post on how to do it. Use the search bar to find the write up.
Update: July 12th 2014
I was able to get the laptop Psu mounted along side the larger Xbox Psu. It’s a perfect fit and doesn’t really take up any extra space. I also managed to put together the mount for handheld LCD/controller. I wanted to make sure that the mount was adjustable as well as being viewable when it’s set on a tabletop. I ended up coming up with a great mounting system that made both these options available.
We recently found the printable version of printrbots new aluminum extruder. I wanted to make an adapter plate for our dual extruder setup on our plus as it comes with 2 DDE. Soon Printrbot will be offering the aluminum extruder on the plus’s dual extruder kit. We wanted to test out the design before we spent almost $100 on 2 new aluminum DDE.
I think that the printed version may work great as I’ve heard of issues with the aluminum extruder acting as a heatsink causing jams. There are several reasons why I would like to use the aluminum extruders design. The main one is the orientation of the motors and the second is the convenience involved with the new design.
If I can get the new design to work properly than I will also need to custom design new fan mounts. I want to use the aluminum extruder mounts as they are an important part of the dual extruders design. They also allow for easy adjustments of hotend heights. I printed off the first of the two that I will need and tomorrow I plan on printing the second so I can start to mock up the adapter mount.
You can find the printable version of this DDE HERE
Update: March 26th 2014
I printed the first of the two required for my dual extruder setup. I was rather surprised to see how well the parts printed with out adding any support structures. The parts required a little bit of clean up to get everything to fit right. I tested them on the dual extruder plate because I was worried that they both wouldn’t fit correctly. After some mock up it looked as if it wouldn’t need much if any modifications other than a mount plate. I only have one position that I can mount these because I want to reuse the aluminum extruder mount. I plan on printing off the second extruder today ao that I can figure out mounting points on the carriage.
Now that I’ve printed out my two mock up versions and tested them on the dual extruder mounting plate. I can see that they are a little bit too wide to fit with the stock dual aluminum extruder mount. I will have to modify them a little bit in order to fit both of them correctly. I can either modify the model, modify it after its printed or design a new dual extruder setup.
The wood direct drive extruders work fine as they are now but, I like the accessibility of the design as well as the orientation of the stepper motors. I also want to see if my smaller nema 17 custom Kysan steppers will do the job. Since I’m running 1.75mm filament, the smaller Kysans should have enough torque to do the job. The only way to know for sure is tontest them out. I do know that I will at least need to add heatsinks to them as I do know with my current setup. The question is, will I have to run 40mm fans as well.
The two mock up versions pictured above were printed in PLA at 160mm p/s at 20% infill and .3 layer height. The final versions will be printed in ABS with much higher infill, slower print speeds to reduce any over shoot and more infill. I might change the layer height to .2 as well. The aluminum extruder mount works well to keep the heat away from the extruders.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
At RepRap Squad we like to try to give you the latest info from the inner workings of Printrbot. With the recent release of the 3 new Go V2s which are offered in small, huge and oooohhh myyyy sized. We figured that the newly revamped Plus 2.2 Dual Extruder release had to be right around the corner and we were right. We anticipate that Printrbot will be releasing the new option of having a dual extruder Plus without having to order a kit. That means you can buy it assembled now with dual extruders for the not so tech savvy.
At RepRap Squad, we have been a part of the dual extruder journey since its beta release. Us along with 10 others around the world had the honor of checking out the ups and downs of the dual E setup. When the beta came out it was definitely for the advanced user as Printrbot had just started to dip their toes into the multi-extruder field found within the 3D printing industry. Quite a bit of time has passed and I can now say that they have tamed the beast. We anticipate that Printrbot will offer the new dual E setups with their gorgeous aluminum extruder.
The main issue with the beta was being able to secure both hotends and still be able to adjust them fairly quickly. They came back at us with the production version which offered up an aluminum extruder mount that was easily adjusted. Brook as well as many others at Printrbot listened to every issue we encountered with beta no matter how big or small. I must say that I was truly impressed when we received the production version after the beta. Overall its a great setup and we think that dual heads will soon become the standard within the industry.
Dual extruder setups doesn’t just mean that you can print in two colors. It also means that you can print using two different types of materials. Companies like MakerGeeks.com have come out with tons of new types of filaments. They have filaments that can be used to support your print and when you want to remove that support. You can by using water out of your tap. The combination of new filaments and multi-head extrusion allows you to print parts that were originally thought to be impossible.
Slic3r, Repetier and other software companies have seen the use of multi-head extrusion grow recently. They responded by adding in controls and new features that allow you to set everything up easier as well as control your printer in ways that used to be quite difficult. This has made multi-head extrusion a lot more user friendly. We are excited to see the new possibilities explored with the new multi-head extrusion.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
We have done an entire post on Printrbot’s dual extruder beta and now we have received the production version that you can buy on Printrbot.com We will be detailing information on the production version as we get it installed within the next week or so. We took a look at the kit briefly before heading out of town to work on some of RepRap Squads other projects.
The new dual extruder kit has an all aluminum extruder mount with easy access to the adjustment screws. This is very important when operating and dual extruder setup. I’ve found that there are times when you want a small offset between the extruder height but, for the majority of printing you will want them to be exact. This is what printrbot did well. The aluminum extruder mount holds the extruders firmly and I’m not sure what kind of thermal effects the aluminum will have but, I’m sure it’s something that printrbot did intentionally. They also give you all the pieces required to update your v2 carriage to the new styling of the v2.1 – which we really like as it is a lot better design.
Update: January 14th 2014
Today I plan on digging as deep as I can into the dual extruder production version. One thing I had noticed by looking at the parts is that the x bridge rod spacing will be changed for those of you that have a plus or LC V2. The rods will be moved closer together to match the rod spacing of the V2.1. This is actually a verge simple conversion as Printrbot included the new x rod mounts. The only downside is that any parts or mods you had to fit the x axis on your V2 will now not fit. Essentially I now have a Printrbot Plus V2.2 without the fully widened x axis because the V2.1’s x axis was extended to accompany the extra space needed for the dual extruders. I guess that means we have some sort of hybrid between the Plus V2 and the V2.2. I had some parts made specifically for the V2 that will now have to be remade. I will update as I go today.
The Journey Has Begun:
I am most of the way through assembly with a little wiring left to go. I still need to flash my replacement board and install it as well. I added quick disconnect locking connections to the led task lights as well as the fans so that if they ever need to be replaced I can just unlock them and click on the new ones. I bought a pack of 40 on eBay for about $2, which was a really good price. Those connectors are very similar to the ones pb uses.
Printrbot did a great job of putting together this add-on kit. It probably took about 2 hours to assemble the new kit and disassemble the old one. Remember I had the dual extruder beta kit and then transformed into the production and the production version which is way better. You can really tell that Brook took into account all the issues us beta testers had with the beta version. Not only that but, they took it to next level. If you have a printrbot plus v2 and you buy this kit then you get a lot more than just dual extruders. This kit changes the rod spacing to make it match the v2.1 as well as aluminum bearing blocks for the x axis. It also changes the whole carriage to the new v2.2. So it blends a little of the old with the new.
The new rod spacing is about 10-12mm or so closer together than the stock v2. I still need to organize wiring as well as rebuild my cable carrier that runs on a rail system that uses two abec5 608 bearings it also doubles as a stabilizer for the x axis. I used aluminum tubing and steel L shaped brackets to build the x stabilizer. If you haven’t noticed by now, the majority of my mods serve more than one use. One thing that I did change due to the depth of my fans, was to move them on top of the fan plate instead of the stock location which would be under it. This allows for better clearances that would be an issue if mounted in the normal location. Printrbot did a great job of opening up the view of the extruders, the beta version had them enclosed which made it hard to see the prints during operation.
Today I finished up wiring the fans as well as the Printrboard controller. I also flashed the unified v2 firmware which is different from the firmware we used while beta testing. I took the opportunity to upgrade Repetier to the newest version as well as slic3r. I started having issues when I connected my printer to Repetier for the first time. After doing an M119 gcode command to check the status of the endstops or homing switches, I realized that it thought that they were triggered when they were not. After doing some troubleshooting I found that the old firmware required the endstops to be wired opposite of the new unified firmware. So I ended up pulling off all the endstops to rewire them to correct the issue. Tomorrow I plan on re-calibrating the entire bot to make sure everything is running how it should.
Update: January 23rd 2014
I fired up the plus today to make sure my endstop or homing switch rewire fixed the issues and it did. Everything moved correctly and I thought I may be ready to start with a few prints. Loading the filament for the first time was a learning experience. I’ve done it plenty of times but, the newly designed extruder leaves less room where the filament feeds in. The reason printrbot did this was to get rid of an old topper that helped with feeding but, didn’t always work correctly and came off rather often. The dual extruders face each other so there is no side access like you might find on the single extruder models. Looking for a way to find access to the hobbed gear I found that if you lift up both fans you get great access to the gears and insides of the extruders.
Everything looked to be functioning correctly so I thought I might throw a couple prints through it. After finally getting the filament fed into the extruder and priming it, I hit run the job. Everything looked to be functioning correctly but, I wasn’t getting any filament coming through the hotend. After a little trial and error I realized that I forgot to rotate the extruder motor plug on the Printrboard. The reason mine was running backwards was due to the beta firmware having backwards motor setup that had to be fixed by flipping the plug. So I flipped the extruder motor plug back to its stock orientation as required by the unified v2 firmware. Tomorrow I will start calibration as well as setup the correct extruder height.
Update: January 26th 2014
My first few prints started out good but, later failed due to the filament slipping off of the hobbed gear. Printrbot recently changed the wood DDE designs which got rid of the top support that keeps the filament in line with the hobbed gear. They made an attempt to close up more of the top of the extruder but, it wasn’t enough to keep the filament where it should be. I’ve found a couple printable options, the first place one on thingiverse requires a longer print as well as drilling into the top of your extruders. This is an issue especially if you can’t get your extruder to work very long. The 2nd option is a short print and it is held in by pushing it into the top gap. I will be experimenting with non printable options due to the lack of function I currently have on my extruders.
After spending part of the day attempting to fix the guide issue, I was finally able to find some 4mm ID tubing that I was able to wedge into the top of the extruder. So far it has held in place and is working great. I started printing out a slew of back logged items that needed to be finished. I’ve ran the machine about 3 hours total with each print about an hour each. I will probably run it for another hour or two before I call it a night. Hopefully I can pick right where I left off to make a dent in the back log.
Update: February 9th 2014
I’ve had no issues for the last week or two of almost non stop printing. Since the installation of the new dual extruder I have also installed an extended y axis. The new extended bed is very stable and thanks to the new upgraded 17.5″ chromed rods it has also proven to be more accurate. I am very impressed with the quality and repeatable great prints. A few more upgrades are planned and will be reported here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ