Direct drive extrusion hot end for flexible materials

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Direct drive extrusion hot end for flexible materials
Direct drive.jpg
Description The current setup on the Athena II printer is not suited for flexible materials like ninja flex. Due to the bowndeth sheath setup we mostly use stiff filaments such as PLA. The new design was based off of the desire to remove the bowden sheath from the printer and to get the same impact as a direct drive printer.
Uses industry, education, academic research
Keywords 3D printing, 3D printer modification, flexible material, hot end, Athena II
Authors Matthew Olson
Status prototype
Made? Yes
Replicated? Was this project made independently by someone other than the authors and without their guidance? No
Countries of design United States
Affiliations Category:MTU
Category:MOST
Materials Plastic
Sustainable Development Goals SDG09 Industry innovation and infrastructure
Documentation data
Language English
Manifest data
Language English
Updated 2020-06-04
Author Kathy Nativi
Author affiliation Appropedia

This page lays out the steps required to convert your current Delta Athena II printer to have a newly designed flexible driveshaft printer, which makes printing in flexible materials a reality.

Design[edit | edit source]

The current setup on the Athena II printer is not suited for flexible materials like ninja flex. Due to the bowndeth sheath setup we mostly use stiff filaments such as PLA. The new design was based off of the desire to remove the bowden sheath from the printer and to get the same impact as a direct drive printer. Using a flexible shaft I was able to mount the motor to the Athena II's frame and still have the extruder feed directly above the print nozzle, removing the need for a long bowden sheath.

Printing[edit | edit source]

The design required that I modify the hotend, and extruder stepper motor bracket. So after some research on direct drive designs I was able to complete my new design with as little mass as possible. In the picture below is a screen shot of cura with all the parts needed for the mod fitting in one print. A total of 40g of PLA is needed to complete the print. Files can be found here, Thingiverse Link to Files

Parts for new Hot end.JPG

Installation[edit | edit source]

Below you will find a list of new materials required to modify the printer, followed by a list of re-purposed components from your Athena II

Description Link Price Count
Hot end bearing shaft spacer Print it! $0.01 1
Hot end bearing shaft Print it! $0.02 1
Flexible shaft sheath holder Print it! $0.10 1
Left clip Print it! $0.10 1
right clip Print it! $0.08 1
Motor Bracket Print it! $0.14 1
Hot end small plat Print it! $0.01 1
End effector Print it! $0.36 1
5mm to 8mm 3/4 long aluminum spacer Link $0.60 1
M3 x 10 screws for motor Local hardware store $0.25 4
FOREDOM FLEXSHAFT SET MOTOR MAINTENANCE KIT S-93 INNER SHAFT & S-77 OUTER SHEATH (E 12) NOVELTOOLS Link $25.75 1
Witbot MK7 Stainless Steel Extruder Drive Gear Wheel 5mm Bore for 3D Printer(Pack of 5pcs) Link $6.99 1
E3D Lite6 Full Kit - 1.75mm Universal (Direct) (12v) Link $36.99 1
Re-purposed parts from Athena II
Description Count
Nema Extruder stepper Motor 1
Bolts... 2
nuts... 2
Washers... 2
Bearing 1
RepRap Athena 1
Ethernet Cable 1

Direct Drive extrusion hot end Example[edit | edit source]

This video shows a simple snowflake from Thingiverse printing flamingo ninjaflex at 40mm/s