My Robot lives in the garage. An unheated garage in Seattle. This is the first winter where I’ve kept the robot in the Garage, and man, is it a painful thing! Once the temperature drops below 50F ( say 12C or so ), the printer is pretty much useless.
Problem — The filament can no longer be fed through the hot end. The filament becomes cold and brittle, and the Wade’s hobbed bolt just strips it when trying to feed it. It also has much higher friction characteristics — it needs a lot more pressure and heat to flow and output anything. I have a Ron’s extruder as well — the Ron is a direct-drive extruder, using a planetary gear for torque. It doesn’t work in these conditions, either. While the MakerBot style spur gear does a much better job of gripping filament, and provides the needed grip to feed without stripping, the motor isn’t powerful enough to feed in those conditions. So, the Wade’s doesn’t have the grip, and the Ron’s doesn’t have the power.
So, what to do? I can either move it back in the house ( something the wife hates ), or I can design a new extruder ( which is a waste of time — I’m not selling EasyMaker, so designing new parts for EasyMaker won’t yield a return. ). If I must design a new extruder, then I’ll have to make it compatible with the next design ( I’m not going to do the work, only to have a design I can’t run ). I’m leaning towards a design that hybrids Ron’s and Wade’s design, and is meant for vertical mounting. This would allow all three extruders ( yes, three. I want a triple extruder system ) to fit in the same line. Mass will become a problem with three motors mounted on a moving carriage. I think a Bowden may be required at this point, if I want a triple-extruder design — regardless of how much power I put behind it.