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Direct drive extrusion hot end for flexible materials

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This OSAT has been designed but not yet tested - use at own risk.
This OSAT has been modeled.

MOST Delta filament as guide.JPG This page was part of an MTU course MSE4777 OA and MSE4777 OB/MSE5777/EE4777/EE5777: Open-source 3-D printing

Please leave comments using the discussion tab. The course runs in the Fall semester. It is not open edit.

Direct drive extrusion hot end for flexible materials[edit]

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.

Direct drive.jpg

Original Author: User:Molson

Design and Printing[edit]


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.


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



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 $0.60 1
M3 x 10 screws for motor Local hardware store $0.25 4
Witbot MK7 Stainless Steel Extruder Drive Gear Wheel 5mm Bore for 3D Printer(Pack of 5pcs) $6.99 1
E3D Lite6 Full Kit - 1.75mm Universal (Direct) (12v) $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
  1. Step by step
  2. instructions
  3. go here


  1. Again list goes here
  2. as long as it needs to be...

additional title?[edit]

Direct Drive extrusion hot end Example[edit]

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

Direct Drive in Motion