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MADhorseKD
(@madhorsekd)
Active Member
Quick swapping out extruders/hotends

Hi gang,
Owner of an i3 MK2S and the newest MK3S.

I don't know about you, but id love to be able to swap out my extruder block or better yet, the thermistor and its hot end bits on the fly so i can quickly swap nozzles for different clients varying demands. Currently, the whole disassembly procedure is still a massive pain and time sink.
Quick swapping would not only save time in assembly, but also clean up, setup and tuning.

I was thinking something along the lines of the following : https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1246951
(the video should give a good example of what i had in mind.)

I would gladly pay for an (offcicial) improvement like that and it's easily at the very top of my list of wanted improvements.
Second being a bigger build volume and third some quality of life improvements for the Slic3r (which we largely just got, so... yay!!)

I would love to know your thoughts on this!
And if possible, some support 🙂

Kind regards,
Kevin

Posted : 25/09/2019 9:15 pm
marko.h6 liked
rmm200
(@rmm200)
Noble Member
RE: Quick swapping out extruders/hotends

Look at the Bear Extruder.  X-Axis tensioner is a side benefit. As it happens, we have experts on this forum.

Posted : 25/09/2019 11:46 pm
MADhorseKD
(@madhorsekd)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Quick swapping out extruders/hotends

Hi Robert,

Interesting project 🙂 
Though the only thing i find about the MK3S fullupgrade is that its made so that the cables can disconnect for easier disassembly. 
Which i also hoped to avoid. Being able to pull out the whole block with a latch for example (or even better, just the entire Hot end, like a cartridge), is really what i'm after. I could just buy two, set them both up and immediately get back to printing without all the hassle.

As i run about 4 different nozzles on 2 printers, you can imagine the amount of time i spend on this. :p
Hope that sounds like a good suggestion at least.

Kind regards,

Kevin

Posted : 26/09/2019 9:32 am
jbash
(@jbash)
Active Member
RE: Quick swapping out extruders/hotends

I just bought the MK3S kit a few weeks ago; it's the first FDM printer I've had since a Makerbot Cupcake back in the mists of time.

On the whole, the printer is amazingly good. It's hard to believe that the whole process can be so reliable. The XYZ seems to be invincible, and the extrusion seems more precise than should even be possible with that kind of system. Surfaces are excellent and everything is right where it belongs. I've had perfect fits on stuff I was sure I would have to file a bit. I barely get a crack at the printer now because the rest of the family is always on it. 

... but I was actually a bit disappointed at the whole way the extruder was attached. Not only is it obviously a big pain to change extruders, but there are so. many. cables. And if you want to do anything to any one of them, or want to get the extruder off, then, you have to pull the whole harness apart all the way back to the inside of the control electronics case, not only taking time but generating fear of misconnections or pinched wires or whatever. Oh, and there's the belt, too. My thermistor cable caught on a print, and if that happens again, I expect I'm going to have to rip way too much apart to change it.

What I would have *thought* I'd see in 2019 would have been a one-to-four-screw lock between an extruder and a clearly separate X carriage, and a single RepRap-community-standard connector on the extruder cable. with all of the sensors, the fans, and maybe even the heater and stepper, controlled over I2C or something. You could do it all in 4 pins with on-extruder heater and stepper drive, 10 if you kept those centralized. Say a 16-pin connector to allow for weird power hungry expansions or accessories-unknown-to-the-extruder-electronics.

On a related note, it's even hard to just change the nozzle, let alone the whole extruder, because the hotend wants to rotate with it. Especially if it's got PLA all over it from a failed print that happened because your thermistor cable got caught. Turns out that a round hotend turns pretty easily in a round hole, and it's hard to get a wrench on the block because of the cables. I bought a "nozzle fun kit" from E3D, but having tried to actually remove the nozzle, I get the feeling I'm not going to get a lot of use out of it.

 

Posted : 26/11/2019 4:27 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: Quick swapping out extruders/hotends
Posted by: @jbash

[...] ... but I was actually a bit disappointed at the whole way the extruder was attached. Not only is it obviously a big pain to change extruders, but there are so. many. cables. And if you want to do anything to any one of them, or want to get the extruder off, then, you have to pull the whole harness apart all the way back to the inside of the control electronics case, not only taking time but generating fear of misconnections or pinched wires or whatever. [...] What I would have *thought* I'd see in 2019 would have been a one-to-four-screw lock between an extruder and a clearly separate X carriage, and a single RepRap-community-standard connector on the extruder cable. 

I went through this just recently and agree whole-heartedly. The original E3D parts provide modular connectors, so an easy(ish) option would be to wire up mating connectors for the hotend connections. I may give this a go at some point. I think someone here has already done this, so can probably chime in with some sage advice and cautionary tales.

On a related note, it's even hard to just change the nozzle, let alone the whole extruder, because the hotend wants to rotate with it. Especially if it's got PLA all over it from a failed print that happened because your thermistor cable got caught. Turns out that a round hotend turns pretty easily in a round hole, and it's hard to get a wrench on the block because of the cables. I bought a "nozzle fun kit" from E3D, but having tried to actually remove the nozzle, I get the feeling I'm not going to get a lot of use out of it.

Brace the heater block with a 16mm open wrench/spanner when changing nozzles. I ordered this set of craptastic nozzles for the included tools which work well. The open wrench braces the block and the socket keeps hot nozzles from bouncing into interesting places. If you want something a bit more elegant, PrintedSolid sells the metal parts for a printable block holder and provide a link to the printed parts.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing

and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

Posted : 26/11/2019 4:44 pm
rmm200
(@rmm200)
Noble Member
RE: Quick swapping out extruders/hotends

When someone I respect recommends something - I find I tend to buy it...

PrintedSolid has my order. I like them anyway...

Posted : 26/11/2019 6:15 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: Quick swapping out extruders/hotends
Posted by: @robert-rmm200

When someone I respect recommends something - I find I tend to buy it...

PrintedSolid has my order. I like them anyway...

Why thanks. The V6 block wrench parts are on my list as well. PrintedSolid is becoming my go-to place for Prusa parts in the US. They manage to keep a good stock of even the smaller parts.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing

and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

Posted : 26/11/2019 6:41 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
RE: Quick swapping out extruders/hotends
Posted by: @bobstro
Posted by: @robert-rmm200

When someone I respect recommends something - I find I tend to buy it...

PrintedSolid has my order. I like them anyway...

Why thanks. The V6 block wrench parts are on my list as well. PrintedSolid is becoming my go-to place for Prusa parts in the US. They manage to keep a good stock of even the smaller parts.

Printed Solid is Awesome.  I buy from them and Amazon.  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog

Posted : 26/05/2020 4:14 pm
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