Monthly Archives: March 2012

3D Printer Surgery #2 Extruder Upgrade Part 1

In the second post of the 3D Printer Surgery Series I’ll be looking at upgrading the SUMPOD 3D Printer extruder, or filament pusher. I’ll be posting the upgrade process from start to finish so that anybody who is new to 3D printing can get an idea on the development process. In part one I’ll be focusing on getting the non printable hardware side of things together for the filament pusher, and then create the hardware in OpenSCAD – The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller. By the End of the post, I will have a virtual stepper motor assembly to model the 3D printable part around.

SUMPOD 3D Printer 1.75mm filament exruder Inside the SUMPOD 3D Printer 1.75mm filament exruder

I had planned to do a post about adding a dimmable lighting feature to the SUMPOD 3D Printer but had difficulties in extruding some of the 1.75mm filament I was using to print the lighting fixtures. I opted to buy the cheaper filament that was available around Europe which in most cases, can be less than half the price of the filament that can be sourced in the UK or America. As far as I can tell, the SUMPOD community appears to be getting better 3D printing performance out of using the more expensive filament. However, I’m not ready to give up on the cheaper filament just yet. I’m going to do some upgrading, starting with the extruder, and hopefully be able to continue using the cheaper filament with more reliability. I should point out that the SUMPOD extruder plunger modding I installed was a replacement for the plunger I lost that was delivered in the SUMPOD kit. The original plunger may have worked much better than my modded version.

New 3D Printer Filament Extruder HardwareInstead of just downloading a design from, I decided to have a go at designing my own 3D printer extruder. For my first extruder upgrade, I’m just going to keep it as simple as possible and go for the Stepstruder style design. This design will offer improvements such as the use of a bearing instead of a plunger to reduce filament friction. Another welcome improvement will be for easier filament loading. So, without further ado, lets get started on the new 3D printer extruder.

New 3D Printer Filament Extruder Hardware in 3DTo make it easier to design the 3D printable components of the extruder, I’m going to also include the non printable components of the extruder in to the design. This includes the stepper motor, bearings, screws and insert¬† which are created easily using primitive solids. Each of these non printable components will be created separately, and then added together to produce a partly completed 3D printer extruder. In part 2 of the Extruder Upgrade I will be going over the process of designing the printable component to complete the 3D printer extruder. Continue reading to learn more about the design process of the individual components and how the components are put together.

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