Extruder Mounting System

29 04 2010

So when I posted about using aerogel as an insulator, I came up with an idea for an extruder that would allow you to use pretty much any type of insulation. The basic idea is to change the mounting system so that no pressure is put on the insulator. This new design also improves on the old design in other ways too.

The design is pretty self explanatory. Its the same as the standard system except for the mounting system, the HeatCore, and the different insulator. Keep in mind that this design isn’t drawn to scale.

The mounting system works by the PEEK holding onto the barrel and the bolts holding onto the PEEK. The bolts go directly into the extruder body.

This would solve problems such as heat dispersion from the washer, clogged insulators, difficulty of disassembly, and inadequate insulation.

This was just a quick idea, but I think it could really work well. I plan to try building this at some point. I’ll post if and when I do.


Idea of a Insulator Replacement

21 04 2010

I just had an idea about a replacement for the PTFE (teflon) insulator in the Makerbot extruder. This would solve some problems with the Makerbot extruder.

The problem with the teflon insulator is that, despite its great insulating capabilities, it cannot insulate all the heat from the barrel. It slowly heats up and causes some problems.

I recently had the idea of using a new space-age material called aerogel. This is an awesome material in a bunch of ways, and it would be great as an insulator for a bunch of reasons.

First of all, its pretty much the world’s best insulator. In fact it is the world’s best insulator, according to Guinness world records. This means that it would insulate heat really well from the heater area. No more jams because of the insulator heating up too much!

Secondly, it is an extremely good desiccant.  This means that as the filament passes through the insulator, the insulator itself picks up any moisture in the filament. Moisture can cause problems, as you might imagine. Any steam created would create uneven extrusion.

And finally, it looks awesome! This isn’t really a good reason, but its true. It looks like solid air.

There are 2 problems with this idea though. First, it is extremely expensive in block form. In fact, its $100 on ebay for a 1″x 1″x 1″ cube. Its cheap if you buy it in pellet form (http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=16_17_69&products_id=89), but that’s fairly useless for this application. The price and availability alone rules this out as a good insulator for the Makerbot, but its the idea that counts.

The other problem is how it would be implemented into a design. It may be the strongest material by weight, but that’s saying much considering its 99.8% air! It wouldn’t be able to be threaded also, so you can’t just have a drop in replacement. I’m sure a way could be created for implementation, but it wouldn’t be pretty.

So that’s my idea. I would like to play around with it, but I doubt I’ll be able to find a cheap source for it. And I don’t have an unlimited budget like NASA does.

For more information on aerogel, see the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerogel

Insulator Retainer Breakage

16 03 2010

For those of you who have a broken insulator retainer, superglue seems to work well to fix it temporarily (or forever). Some sanding might be necessary to make stuff fit in holes. Then to make sure it doesn’t break again, put the screws holding the extruder upside down and screw those long screws into the extruder body directly. Much stronger and robust. See here for more details on this configuration: http://blog.makerbot.com/2009/11/29/nate-trues-extruder-hacks/

Welcome to a new Makerbot blog!

16 01 2010

I would like to have a place to post stuff I learn about my Makerbot for others to benefit from. This is that place, so basically if I learn anything about Makerbot or Skeinforge then I’ll try to post about it here.