This tutorial shows how to assemble an experimental adjustable drive block for the Replicator 2X extruder. The purpose of this design is to allow the operator to fine-tune the pressure applied to the filament by the idler ball bearing.
Note: This is not intended to be a replacement for MakerBot's original extruder block! Since the Replicator 2X Desktop 3D printer is suited for power-users who like to experiment, this adjustable extruder block offers an alternative way of gripping the filament and pressure fine-tuning. Please do not attempt to replace your original block if you are not comfortable disassembling your current extruder and fix any issues. If you try this design, make sure to save the original parts and follow the instructions below carefully.
- All parts can be 3D printed!
- Offers step-less filament grip pressure adjustment
- Built-in filament dust filter with sponge
- Cover plate to protect stepper motor cables and connectors
- Fasteners and ball bearing can be re-used from the original
- Sturdy design
- Base left (3D-printed part)
- Base right (3D-printed part)
- Lever left (3D-printed part)
- Lever right (3D-printed part)
- Bearing cover left (3D-printed part)
- Bearing cover right (3D-printed part)
- Stepper motor cable cover (3D-printed part)
- Knob bottom part (3D-printed part)
- Knob top part (3D-printed part)
- M3 Nylock nut (2 pcs)
- M3 countersunk screw - 23 mm (2 pcs)
- M3 countersunk screw - 6 mm (2 pcs)
- M3 hexagon screw - 35 mm (2 pcs)
Tools and materials
- 2 mm hex key
- Water pump pliers
- Beak pliers
- A few drops of super glue
This design is a variation of current Adjustable Drive Block Upgrade for Replicator 2 and 1, which in turn is a variation of Spring-loaded Replicator 2 Drive Block, which also derived from three other previous designs.
The MakerBot Replicator 2X Desktop 3D printer is best suited to 3D print models made of ABS plastic filament. In contrast to 3D printing with PLA plastic, ABS requires that the process occurs in temperature-regulated and stable conditions. Therefore the 2X has a heated build plate and enclosure to keep the inside of the machine warm.
Being an experimental 3D printer, the 2X requires that the operator understands its capabilities and functions. For instance what temperatures and print speeds are best suited for different shapes and sizes of models.
A simple rule of thumb is that the top hood is only needed when larger 3D prints are made. By adding or removing the hood in conjunction with leaving the front cover open or closed, you can regulate the temperature in which the 3D printed model is made. The temperature and flow of the air in the room where the 2X resides is also a factor to take into account.
It is notable that temperatures around the extruder mechanism can raise significantly when the enclosure is fully closed. During 3D printing the air around the printer reaches typically 50 °C to 60 °C.
It is important that the plastic parts of this adjustable extruder block are 3D printed in ABS plastic (not PLA) at 100% infill to give them the best strength and heat resistance. Please note that this is an experimental design and is not intended to be foolproof and work perfectly in every situation. If you try it, learn from your experience using it. :)
We designed the parts to be as sturdy and strong as possible to be able to cope with 3D printing temperatures for ABS.