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Replace the Extruder (Hot End)
#1
This thread is intended to give us place to discuss how and why we should replace the standard Extruder with an after market one.

WHY: Simple. The standard extruder is poorly designed. It suffers from Heat creep that causes filaments of most types to jam. ABS is about the only thing that can work reliably.

HOW: Now that is the question isn't it. In this thread I will work with some other people to try to figure that out. I have a Da Vinci 2. I will be attempting to replace the extruder with an E3D version 6. Someone else has already done this with a Da Vinci 1.0. Here are links to his forum and thingiverse files.
Forum: http://www.soliforum.com/topic/7614/e3d-on-da-vinci/
Thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:473038
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#2
These Instructions will be updated as I tweak final things.

Here is another thread that discusses the same project for the Da Vinci 1.0. There is a lot of useful info.

In order to do this same mod you will need the following.
Dremel (or a drill and something else to cut hard plastic away with)
4x screws Diameter M3 (3mm) Pitch .50 (that's how far apart the threads are.) and 30mm long.
a few zip ties
2x E3D v6 Extruders.
These files from Thingiverse

Print two sets of the clamps (Head A & B). One set for each extruder. The drill template is used to line up where to drill your holes. You will need to line up the template on one side then the other so you are drilling holes for the first extruder then the second. I did not drill out the large hols around the stepper motor shaft. Instead I lightly scored that large circle with my dremel as you can see in the pictures.

Rather than cut and splice wires for the heaters I just reused my old heaters from the original Da Vinci hot ends. They work just fine. I will keep the new ones around as spare parts.

You cannot do the same thing with the original thermal couple though. The stock one is too large to fit into the E3D Hot end block. However, the 2pin wire connectors that come with the E3D hot ends for the thermal couples can be used on the circuit board that comes with the Da Vinci 2. All you have to do is slide the white plastic connector off the pins to make room for the new black connector. As shown in the pictures.

I used zip ties to attach the circuit board to the top where it will be out of the way. I have heard that you can remove this board completely if you want to. Just figure out how to reconnect all your wires for the fans and thermal couples. If I eventually try this mod I will type the results here.

I ran into a small problem. The two Hot ends where not level with each other at first. I had to loosen the screws that hold them in place. Then rock the entire assembly back and forth until they were level. Then I was able to tighten the screws. Now the two heads are level with each other.

I ordered two 30mm 5v fans to replace the 12v ones that came with the E3Ds. I had tried to power the 12 volt fans but I accidently wired them backwards and fried one. The other I physically broke. Oops. I have the two new fans but I have not put them in place yet because I am worried they will get in the way and make the two heads unlevel again. I will eventually try it and let you know how it goes.

Now for my attempts to change out one of the hot ends for a 3mm head. It failed. The motor is too weak to apply that much pressure without a Wade gear configuration.

Here is a video showing that It all works.

[video width=425 height=344 type=youtube]JKgc87n_eUM[/video]
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#3
I have started by ordering three E3D v6 Extruders. Two are 1.75mm Universal and one is 3.0mm Universal. I ordered from this site and used the discount code "reprap" for 5% off. I fully encourage you to shop around first before you blindly follow my example. There are many places to shop for this kind of thing.

Here are my goals for this Mod.
I want it to be easy to repeat.
Limited number of extra parts that you have to purchase to make it work. (Vitamins. I think is the term)
Limited number of printed parts.
I want to be able to swap out the extruders relatively easily. That is why I bought a third extruder that is 3.0 mm. I want to be able to switch back and forth easily.
Most important I want this mod to work reliably. I want to be able to print using most any type of filament.

Here are a few of the challenges that I can know I/we will need to solve.
How to physically attach the new Extruders.
How to solve the new height problems. These E3D Extruders are about 2cm longer than the standard ones.
How to wire up the new heaters.
How to wire up the new Thermistors.
How to change the firmware to use the new thermistor values.


Here are my plans. I am open to suggestions and debates.
Physically attaching the new extruders. I would like to reuse as much of the original tool head as possible. So I want to replace as little as possible. I want to keep the detachable unit that snaps into place in the tool head. I want to just remove the aluminum block with the two extruders. I have started designing a new piece that will screw into place where that aluminum block originally was. This new piece will hold the new extruders as close as possible to the Drive gears. It will firmly hold the extruders in place. It will also bridge the gap so soft filaments can't escape out the sides by the drive gears. This new piece will have some easy way to snap out one extruder for another. I am an amateur at 3D modeling but I think I can do this. I use blender to create my 3D models. I have already created 3D models for most of the parts of the tool head. If anyone wants a copy please let me know.

I will take a moment to explain why I am going this direction. I don't like how the other guy replaced almost the entire tool head on his Da Vinci 1 to get this new extruder installed. He cut out and replaced the structure that held the drive motor and the circuit board with all the little sensors. I don't want to have to do all of that. His design requires replacement bearings, nuts, bolts, wire connectors, a new circuit board etc. I want to avoid as much of that extra work as possible.

How to deal with the longer Extruders. The easiest way would be to sacrifice some of the printable z height. That can be easily accomplished by extending the metal plate in the back of the bed that is used when homing the Z axis. I have already designed a plastic replacement that can do this. However I would like to find a way to keep and possibly expand the z printing height. I have two ideas for that. One idea is to replace the two black plastic frames on either side. The ones that hold the X Axis motor and X Axis rods. There is no reason we can print new ones that are about 3 cm shorter. That would raise the tool head up about 3 cm. But this idea can only work if the z homing sensor is also moved up about another 1 cm somehow. The other idea I had was to replace the black plastic frame that the tool head sits in. I don't know how much work that would be. These are just my thoughts. I will not work on solving this problem until the very end. So if someone else wants to take one of these ideas and run with it that would be great.

Wiring up the new stuff. I don't know about that yet. When I get my new extruders in I will look at what they come with and figure something out.

Firmware. I think I can do that as well. I have worked with the thermistor tables in the firmware and they shouldn't be too hard to adjust.

With all that said. This will not be a fast moving project for me. Soon I will be taking some time to welcome my new baby girl into this world. So if I don't respond for a few weeks you will know why.
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#4
Dirk wrote...
Quote:]I take it you will replace both hot ends on your 2.0? With the E3Dv6?
I will replace the left extruder with an E3D and keep the stock extruder for ABS/HIPS support.

I was going to use the above, and model half of the the stock Davinci extruder bed and basically merge them together.
The thing I am not happy about with the above parts is you will loose a few cms at the top. I've already used the full Z space a few times within a month of my new purchase, so I will not want to loose it if can be helped.

I wish I had another printer so I can easily print prototypes to fit quickly. Since I don't I'll have to reassemble the stock printer, print a prototype, strip it down again, fit the part, and wash and repeat. Ideally this would be one iteration only, but since I'm new to all this, realistically it won't.
Not looking forward to this process - this is probably why I've been dragging my a$$.
Maybe there's some collaboration and synergeries that can be leveraged between us.

Hello Dirk
Very interesting idea about using one of each extruder. The design I came up with in my head to make that work just sparked another idea all together. What If I replaced the aluminum block that holds the existing extruders in place with a new 3D printed part that only holds the extruder from the very top. That would expose a few more centimeters of the extruder. If I can then find something to use as cooling fins and reposition the fans. Then I might be able to keep the stock extruder cool enough to use other types of filament. It is worth trying to make that work first. Then I wouldn't have to solve all the other problems I mentioned. I admit I have low hopes that this will work.

Back to your idea of using both extruder types. That would be a difficult design to make and keep strong. It would also be very hard to solve the problem with the extruders being different lengths. Can you create some sort of a quick sketch to show me what you had in mind? What do you use to 3D model? Do you want a copy of the blender file I have with a lot of the tool head designed?

I understand your complaint about having just one 3D printer that you want to create new prototype parts for. A few tricks I used to use was the local library. They had a printer that I would occasionally use to print a new part while I was at work. I am lucky now though. I don't own my own printer. But I have two of them in my office at work. So Now I get to use one to prototype parts for the other. My big issue is time. As I mentioned these are at my office. So I only get a little bit of time to play with them between work projects. Then at home I am a busy guy so I don't have a lot of time to design new parts. But I find little pockets of time here and there.

I would love to work with you on this project. Please let me know what I can do to help. Also please let me know what you think you can do to help me. I have tried to explain where I am and where I am going in the previous posts.

Thank You
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#5
I am also doing this upgrade. I'll post updates and my experiences and observations as I go.
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#6
I printed these two sets:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:473038
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:15718

I tested them structurally and found a design weakness in the v3.5 E3D housing. It's enough to cause possible damage to the printer in certain failure modes - that is to say that if something else breaks like an X or Y axis bearing housing, it can put enough torsional pressure on the housing to break it in a specific weak spot. I have contacted the designer with my recommendation for modifying the part.

That said, it works in partnership with the Mk7 replacement feed assembly, and I can see room for improvement there too. One part of that set, which mounts to the stepper motor, needs to be incorporated into a part of the E3D adaptor. This would provide a more rigid and structural mount for the stepper, and improve feed control and thermal control of the upper area.

I'll work with whoever I can to help improve or modify their designs if it's found to be necessary. For background, my degree is in structural engineering.
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#7
Hello Dave and Dirk

Thank you in advance for your help.

Do you have a Da Vinci 1 or 2? I assume you have a Da Vinci 2. Were you planning on doing any 3D modeling of any prototype parts? If I provide you with models I Design would you be able to make changes to them? I am mostly trying to figure out if we will be collaborating on the same actual files or not.

Do you have the new extruder(s) already? Would you be able to test prototyped models on your printer?

If either of you are good at 3D modeling then I am willing to print and test your models. If not then I will try to design my own. I am not the best at 3D modeling but I can do it.

Dave. You mentioned that you were printing parts for the Da Vinci 1. Those parts are a complete replacement of the tool head. It sounds like that is the direction you want to go. As I mentioned in my previous posts I would like to keep the physical structure simple and reuse as much the original print head. I see advantages both ways. A complete replacement of the tool head would simplify the Z height issue, make it easier to use 1.75 mm or 3.0 mm filaments. However it would involve more custom parts to design, print, and possibly buy. I am not trying to say that what you are doing is a bad idea. In fact it might be a great idea. If I work on my design and you work on modifying the Da Vinci 1.0 mods then we have two possible tracks that could work. It is possible that my idea will never work. I do have a limited amount of space to work with. If I can't get my design to work then I will end up starting over and attempting to replace the main tool head frame anyway.
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#8
Hi Aaryn,

I have a Davinci 2, yes. I am happy to lend my beginner skills to helping the cause. I may be new, but given time I can get done whatever is needed.
The problem is I only have one machine, so my patience to print, disassemble, try new prototype, then reassemble, rinse and repeat will wear thin on me.
Alternatively, I will find someone in the area to print the prototypes so I dont need to go through the above.
I am happy to try to model the current sled, and try to modify the left side to accomodate the e3d.
If you are considering to use dual e3d extruders, then i'm not sure if our efforts will coincide.

I can't comment on your earlier questions since I have not disassembled the head yet so I don't really have much of an idea how it's constructed. I plan to print a few things today and tomorrow, then finally take apart and measure and model the current sled.
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#9
Hi,

with the new Extruder (see picture for details - on the left is the new one) you can print PLA and Soft PLA !!!!![Image: IMG_2065.jpg]
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#10
Did you buy this from XYZ? Why is there a difference? They look very similar. My understanding is that the stock hot end suffers from heat creep. How is this one different?
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#11
I have no idea, but it works.
The extruder from the german distributer and is also incorporated in the AIO.
At the Euromold in Frankfurt today, some changes have been announced.
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#12
Is the distributor selling these? How much did you buy it for?
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#13
no, the new extruder is automatically installed in the new Davinci 1.0 and aio series in AIO.
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#14
Ok, I couldnt resist. I bought a 1.0 for $399.
I'll use that one to model my new extruder sled while my 2.0 is apart.

Probably will go ahead and sell the 1.0 once the 2.0 proves to be 100%.
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#15
All of that is Really cool. I am glad that they have a new extruder design. I bought my Da Vinci 2 Duos 2 maybe 3 months ago and they both have the older extruders.

Dirk, I am glad you got the Dav1 for prototyping. I was going to offer to help with that. Since I have two machines I could have printed with one and tested with the other. However My wife went into labor a month early and all my plans are shot. I won't be back into the office where my printers are until early January. So this will probably be my last post in here until then. Good luck to everyone. I have attached my blender file with most of the tool head recreated in 3D. I hope it helps. Not all of these designs are 100% accurate. I was starting to work on a new block that would replace the aluminum block. That will be the one main visible item. All the other items are invisible right now. I tried to name them in a way that it was easy to know what everything was.
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#16
Congrats for the baby ^_^
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#17
I have picked this project back up again. Here is an update on what I have so far.

I tried the idea I mentioned earlier. Where I was going to attempt to reuse the stock extruders and give them a better heat sink. You can read about my progress here. In any case I have given up on that idea and am back to working on getting the E3D v6 Extruders to work on my Da Vinci 2. I have discovered that I do need to replace the entire Cradle. The black plastic cradle that holds the Stock Extruders just doesn't offer enough room to connect the Extruders and have a fan blowing across the cooling fins. So I will evaluate my options from here. Do I start with the amazing work that someone else has already done that replaced the entire cradle for the Da Vinci 1? I could just modify that one to hold two Extruders. Or do I Start from Scratch so I can attempt to reuse as many of the original parts as possible. I am not sure just yet.
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#18
Way cool. I just found this mod for the Da Vinci 1. I really like it because it does what I wanted to do by reusing many of the original parts. So I am going to attempt to adapt this idea to the Da Vinci 2.
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#19
I am 90% done with this. All I need is some new screws and then I can test it to make sure it works. Soon I will go back to the top of this thread and update post where I am planning on listing all the instructions. Here is a link to Thingiverse for the printable parts and the instructions I have written so far.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:744356
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#20
no issue to put the 2 extruders nozzle in same height ? because if one is lower than the second, it can ruin the print
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