Upgrades and Improvements
If you ever want to print in ABS you need an enclosure. I occasionally print ABS and wanted to build an enclosure for my printer. Enclosures help trap warmth to allow the printer to print ABS with minimal warping and splitting. The enclosure also helps reduce noise and keeps dust off the printer. The enclosure I built was nothing fancy, just an MDF box with some noise dampening pinboard material lining the inside. I am not sharing how it was built because I don’t think it is worth sharing. There are many better designs out there. I would have a look at some good designs and then adapt it to suit your needs.
Flexible Build Plate
The “Wham Bam flex plate system” is by far the best upgrade I have done to a printer in a long time (almost as good as auto bed levelling). The Wham Bam system works well even up to 100C and is really durable. I previously use Build Tak and went through sheets really quickly. The Wham Bam system works great for ABS, PLA and PETG. I have used my sheet regularly for a few months now and it hasn’t shown any signs of wear or damage.
I added a hotend sock to my clone E3D hotend. I would recommend trying one. They are fairly cheap and keep hotend temperatures really stable, even with high fan speeds. Previously I had problems with the powerful part cooling fans cooling the hotend. The sock completely fixed that. The only small downside is that I did notice a slight increase in stringing.
If you want a sock for a clone E3D you may struggle to find one that fits nicely. I made my own silicone sock to fit the hotend perfectly. I may post details in a following project. In the meantime, check out CNC Kitchen’s video on how to make your own hotend socks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5UiXky85hA).
Extruder Motor Heatsink
I found that my hotend was running quite hot. I adjusted the motor current to provide smooth and consistent extrusion at the lowest current possible. Despite this tuning, the motor was still getting hotter than I liked. I decided to add a heatsink to the motor. I don’t know if this is a good idea or if it even helps at all. All I did was use some thermal glue to stick 3 small heatsinks to the motor. It did significantly reduce the temperature of the motor. I have not had any problems with the motor since building the printer over 6 months ago.
I am planning on adding a smoke alarm to the printer’s enclosure in the near future. It’s a small addition that can improve the safety of the printer. Mistakes happen, its good to be prepared.
Fan Shroud Optimisation
The fan shroud I designed for the part cooling fans could be improved. The airflow direction and restriction aren’t tuned as nicely as they could be. A bit of testing and iteration could greatly improve part cooling performance.
The extruder I designed for this printer is not the greatest. I dread the day I get a bad jam and must disassemble the whole extruder. Thankfully, I have not had any bad jams in the life of the printer. If you plan on making the printer, I would consider making the extruder easier to pull apart. I have included Fusion 360 and step files in the design files.