Introduction: Printrbot Simple Metal E3D V6 Upgrade

What you need:

  • Printrbot Simple Metal w/ USB cable and power supply
  • PC
  • Wooden printrbot wrenches
  • 2.5mm allen wrench
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Wire crimpers/butt connector
  • Ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Multimeter(optional)
  • 2x Molex 0430310003 Male Crimp Pins (order 6 just in case. They're cheap, and you'll mess them up)
  • 2x Molex 0436400201 Connector
  • E3D All-metal v6 HotEnd Full Kit

Step 1: Remove the Ubis Hot End (Step 1 of 6)

Unplug the power supply and rotate z-axis coupling to move the hot end away from the print bed.

Step 2: Remove the Ubis Hot End (Step 2 of 6)

Remove bolts securing the fan (+manifold) w/ a 2.5mm allen wrench.

Step 3: Remove the Ubis Hot End (Step 3 of 6)

Remove clamp bolt w/ a 2.5mm allen wrench.

Step 4: Remove the Ubis Hot End (Step 4 of 6)

Keep your hardware organized.

Step 5: Remove the Ubis Hot End (Step 5 of 6)

Pull the old hot end out of the extruder.

Step 6: Remove the Ubis Hot End (Step 6 of 6)

Set the old Ubis Hot End aside. If it's still working, you may want to hang on to it as a backup.

Step 7: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 1 of 16)

Gather your kit. If you bought the assembled version, skip to "Install the E3D V6 Hot End".

Step 8: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 2 of 16)

Insert the nozzle until it's finger tight. Don't wrench on it.

Step 9: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 3 of 16)

Insert the heat break until it contacts the heat break, then stop.

Step 10: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 4 of 16)

Insert the thermistor as shown in the picture. Orientation is important.There is a small grub set screw that needs to be inserted to secure the thermistor. The kit should provide an allen wrench for it. Insert the grub screw until it contacts, then apply an extra 1/8 turn.

Step 11: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 5 of 16)

Inspect the etching on the heating element. Verify you've received a 12V 30W element.

Step 12: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 6 of 16)

Test the resistance of your heating element. Your reading should show ~4.8Ω.

Step 13: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 7 of 16)

Insert the heating element into the block and secure it with the provided allen bolt. Disclaimer: I ended up swapping my heater element to the other side later in the build.

Step 14: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 8 of 16)

Apply provided thermal paste to heat break threads.

Step 15: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 9 of 16)

Screw on heatsink as shown until finger tight.

Step 16: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 10 of 16)

Gather PTFE tubing and small plastic pieces.

Step 17: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 11 of 16)

Insert black grommet into extruder side of hotend.

Step 18: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 12 of 16)

Insert PTFE tube into grommet until it bottoms out. Trim tube with utility knife to where about 1/4" of tube is sticking out of the hotend.

Step 19: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 13 of 16)

Insert locking collar.

Step 20: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 14 of 16)

Partially insert screws into hotend fan.

Step 21: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 15 of 16)

Attach fan to the heatsink shroud.

Step 22: Assemble the E3D V6 Hot End (Step 16 of 16)

Attach fan assembly to hotend.

Step 23: Install the E3D V6 (Step 1 of 7)

Insert the clamp bolt (circled) back into the extruder. Insert the assembled hot end into the extruder until it contacts the clamp bolt. It may seem like there's not enough to clamp. Disclaimer: I ended up rotating the hot end assembly 90deg clockwise.

Step 24: Install the E3D V6 (Step 2 of 7)

Tighten the clamp bolt with a 2.5mm allen wrench.

Step 25: Install the E3D V6 (Step 3 of 7)

Connect the thermistor into the old thermistor connector. This connector was provided and already connected in the kit.

Step 26: Install the E3D V6 (Step 4 of 7)

Strip the heater element wires and add the male pins(Molex 0430310003). Slip the connector (Molex 0436400201) over the male pins. I added some tape for insulation from the zip tie that will secure it later.

Step 27: Install the E3D V6 (Step 5 of 7)

Reinstall and reconnect the original fan. Route the heatsink fan wires into the loom and down into the bottom of the printer.

Step 28: Install the E3D V6 (Step 6 of 7)

This may not sit well with some, but for time's sake, I cut the wires in between the board and the power jack, twisted the heatsink fan wires together with the board side of the power wire, and butted them all back together. This causes the fan to run at 100% anytime power is applied, but my heatsink will never overheat.

Step 29: Install the E3D V6 (Step 7 of 7)

Clean up the wiring loom with zipties and ensure no wires will be pinched/pulled when the y axis moves.

Step 30: Calibration/Firmware (Step 1 of 7)

Download a few things:

Step 31: Calibration/Firmware (Step 2 of 7)

Reconnect power and USB. We've got a few things we need to do in Arduino. Start up the Arduino IDE and open your source folder you downloaded earlier. Open the Configuration.h file.

  1. Navigate to the line that defines what motherboard you have. Since we're dealing with a Printrboard, make sure yours is set to 81.
  2. Navigate to the TEMP_SENSOR_0 line that defines what thermistor you have. You'll want to change that '1' to a '5'.
  3. Navigate to Tools -> Board -> and select TeensySlu.
  4. Compile it by clicking the arrow in the top left of the Arduino. If you get some kind of error that involves "fpos_t", Arduino is just pissed because they don't use that linker anymore. CTRL-F and find/replace all "fpos_t" with "filepos_t".
  5. Once compile is sucessfull, navigate to Sketch->Export compiled binary and give it a click. Go back to Sketch and navigate to -> Show sketch folder. Find the .hex file and take note of its location.
  6. DISCLAIMER: Use this as a bookmark later if you have issues. If your Y axis is moving the opposite way it should move, change the INVERT_Y_DIR line (line 295) to 'false'.

Step 32: Calibration/Firmware (Step 3 of 7)

Flip your printer up and install something to bridge the "BOOT" pins. I used a rig I made up from the heatsink fan connect I cut off, but you could use anything conductive (aluminum foil?). After it's installed, press the "reset" button, and you should hear your PC indicate that you disconnected/connected a USB device. Device manager should show that an Atmel device is plugged in.

Step 33: Calibration/Firmware (Step 4 of 7)

Set your printer back down and Navigate to the FLIP software you downloaded.

  1. Click the micro chip Icon
  2. Select AT90USB1286
  3. Click the USB Icon and click that you're connected via USB.
  4. Click the book Icon with an arrow pointing into and find the hex file you made earlier.
  5. Click Run

Once that's finished, disconnect power and USB. Flip the printer back up and take the BOOT jumper off.

Step 34: Calibration/Firmware (Step 5 of 7)

PID Tuning:

Open your printer software of choice (I like Cura and Repetier for different things) and type in the G code command M303 S200. This will use a temp of 200C. You'll get a huge string of info but wait until it says PID Autotune finished! I used this short time to give the nozzle the extra tightening it needs while it was hot. Do this or you'll have probs. You'll burn yourself pretty bad, so be careful.

Stay close to your printer while this is happening just to make sure you're not going to burn your house down or something. After it's finished doing PID autotuning, record the last numbers that are in the order. I used <value> as a place holder, you should get decimal numbers there.

  • Kp <pvalue>
  • Ki <ivalue>
  • Kd <dvalue>

Go back to your G code terminal and type in M301 P<pvalue> I<ivalue> D<dvalue>.

Alright T-Pain, you're autotuned.

Step 35: Calibration/Firmware (Step 6 of 7)

Open up your favorite software and home your x axis and y axis, NOT Z. Make sure they home to the right place.

Now, by hand, drop your z axis until it's almost touching the print bed. Use a piece of paper to run under the nozzle and continue to lower the z axis by hand until you feel resistance pulling the paper around under the nozzle. If you've used a feeler gauge, this is what you're doing. After that's pretty close, use your PB wrenches and loosen the nuts on your prox sensor. It needs to be 1mm off the bed, but I just stuck a dime (~1mm) under it and it worked fine. Tighten the nuts back up once you have that set.

Type M501 into your Gcode terminal to see your settings. With X and Y homed, and the above finished, type in M212 X0 Y0 Z-0.20 Pay attention to the decimal places. BE SURE YOU TYPE M500 TO SAVE YOUR SETTINGS. The -0.2 is just accounting for the paper. If you print later on and your material doesn't stick, come back and play with that Z offset.

Step 36: Calibration/Firmware (Step 7 of 7)

Do a few test prints and enjoy your 'new' printer!

Left is from the Ubis, right is the E3D hot end.