Happy New Year!

Hi All,

Happy 2013 to everyone!  I managed to get some time over the christmas break, and have made some progress on new toolheads for the next robot.  I now have a new extruder designed, meant for vertical mounting, a MakerBot Mk7 drive gear, and a standard groove mount for J-HEad/MakerGear hot ends.  I’ve got some fit/finish changes to make, then off to print it and test it.  A vertical extruder has the motor on top of the hot end, instead of to the side, and mounts to a vertical plate instead of a horizontal one.  This particular one is designed to mount to a 2020 metric face of an extrusion.  It is compatible with EasyMaker, ShapeOko, and any other design that uses vertical plates.

Benefits of a vertical mount extruder:

  1. 100% z efficient on certain mill/printer designs.  ( EasyMaker/ShapeOko/most CNC mills ).
  2. Power — full size motors and gearing allows large filament pushing power  ( useful for unheated garage printing in Winter time ).
  3. Maintenance — Mk7 gear can be cleaned “live” — disassembly should never be needed to clean in this design.

It’s 100% z efficient on an EasyMaker/Shapeoko.  That is, it can print all the Z height.  I felt this important, since it allows CNC mills to function as printers without modification.  Most Horizontal extruders take about 40mm ( 1.5 inches ) of Z height.  If you’re using a CNC mill, which may have only 3″ to begin with, you can lose a lot of printable height with a horizontal mount extruder.  With this extruder, you get it all.  This efficiency does have a cost — this extruder requires support to print, and the cheapest service provider I could find would charge $100 to make one.  It would be at least 3 setups to mill — and the geometry is pretty complex, so molding is out.  That means I have to produce each one, since it isn’t affordable to make it any other way.

I hope to have pictures/videos of the new extruder in action sometime this month or so.