March 7, 2013 AT 7:00 am

Official MakerBot Replicator 2 Extruder Alternative Builds Upon Community Mods #3dthursday

SpringTensioner

Here’s a great story from the Thingiverse world. Whosawhatsis’ Minimalist MK7 Replacement mod has been a favorite for almost three years on Thingiverse given the widespread use of the MK7 toolhead for the still active MakerBot Cupcake, Thing-O-Matics, and in custom desktop 3D printers. His mod uses minimal additional “vitamin” hardware and printed parts to replace the delrin filament plunger with a spring tensioner, an approach which helps for printing a range of slightly fluctuating filament diameters among other things, opening up users to more filament vendors.

Emmett’s popular MK8 edition, based on Whosawhatsis’ mod, is in extensive use throughout the Replicator 1 community. And now whpthomas, “Wingcommander,” has a great version of the mod for the Rep2/2x community.

Sharing and improving on each others’ design is in the spirit of the desktop 3D printing community — and now MakerBot has taken note of these techniques and designed a derivative “official” version themselves that pays tribute to the hard work of the community. A great community story from the MakerBot Blog:

There are certain issues that the wrong amount of plunger tension can cause. For example, too much tension can cause a clicking sound when the end of the filament isn’t able to move past the drive gear. Too little tension can cause the filament to stop feeding altogether.

There should be a design that makes the process much easier.

Enter Thingiverse user whpthomas who came up with an improvement that has really seen some traction. It’s a great mod that makes the machine more reliable over the long haul.

Genius. We love this.

Thing #42250 “Replicator 2 Extruder Upgrade” by whpthomas, is one of these very useful designs. It’s based on an extruder mod from Thingiverse superstar emmett, who based his design on one from another star user, whosawhatsis. The basic idea of this series of designs is to use a spring-loaded arm to squeeze the filament between the drive gear and a bearing.

After extensive testing, we’ve decided that this approach is too good to ignore. We’ve modified this design to reuse the spring we already use for the build plate. We also added in a little bit of extra guidance for the filament where it enters the hot end of the extruder. Take a look on our Thingiverse page to see our adaptation of whpthomas’ great design.

Read more.


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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!

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