RepRap pinch wheel extruder

pinchwheel

What you see above is the culmination of [Zach Smith]‘s work building a pinch wheel style extruder for the RepRap. The current RepRap 3D printer uses a screw mechanism to push 3mm polymer filament into a heating barrel where it is melted and then extruded through a fine nozzle. [Zach]‘s new version uses a drive gear from SDP/SI mounted directly to the DC motor we saw him teardown earlier. He’s redesigned the carrier for the extruder as well. It’s now much lighter and has provisions for mounting current and future controller electronics along with a magnetic rotary encoder. In the last two days, he’s been doing real world testing. It’s been doing well, but he’s learning to do things like always using a full spool and not trying to run short lengths back to back.

DC gearmotor teardown

dcmotor

The RepRap project has made heavy use of the Solarbotics GM3 Gearmotor as part of their extruders. Unfortunately they’ve proven to be underpowered for the task and the plastic gears could cause future problems. [Zach] decided to investigate some other options. He bought a pile of motors from Kysan to try out. He posted a teardown of one of the motors on Flickr. He found it not only easy to disassemble, but the metal gears were also easy to put back together. Next up is testing it on the machine.

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