No Lathe – Hybrid Thermal Insulator

Shortly after announcing his initial design Adrian updated his Extruder Nozzle Design. The top-hat and steel plate had been combined into a PEEK block instead. I had a few thoughts about the implications of this improvement. The first thing I realised was that getting the required materials would be expensive. Adrian suggests a crowd sourcing solution to this which is a good idea in theory, but I figured that the design could be made cheaper if we went back round PEEK bar. Also after showing my design to a few people on the reprap IRC channel one argued that my Best compromise nozzle offers no real advantage over existing hybrid thermal barriers. I decided to sketch out a few alternative approaches.

Eventually I came up with something that you are probably all quite familiar with. Its a PEEK insulator with a PTFE insert, however I came up with a slight twist on existing designs. Instead of having an insert that slides into place, my insert is M10 threaded PTFE rod, which screws into an M10 internal thread in 16mm dia PEEK. The brass barrel screws into the PEEK only, and since PEEK is much tougher than PTFE there is little chance of the barrel coming out. The PTFE basically just acts as a nice slippery surface for the filament.

I came up with a drilling methodology that I think keeps things as concentric and true as possible when using a drill stand. The first step is to drill a 16mm hole into a piece of wood, which acts as a work piece clamp. The PEEK was a tight fit in the piece of wood, since it was slightly over 16mm, I tapped into place with a hammer. Next I drilled a blind 8.5mm dia hole to a depth of 25mm. I found it was better not to drill a pilot hole as then the piece would turn in the holding jig. I tapped the hole to M10 using a taper tap followed by a plug tap, as I wanted to get the thread as close as possible to the bottom. I had already prepared a length of M10 threaded PTFE which I cut longer than needed so that I could screw it in and use the protruding part to screw it in extra tight. I cut the PTFE flush and drilled a 3.5mm hole all the way through the assembled insulator. This 3.5mm hole then acted as a centre so that when I turned the PEEK over I could drill the 5.0mm and Tap to M6.

Here is the result, I was quite pleased how central the hole turned out, before I bought a drill stand I had had a lot of difficulty getting a hole to be consentric over this length.

Best compromise extruder nozzle

I haven’t posted for a while. Firstly because I took a three week holiday in Brazil and secondly because I have been very busy. Anyway before I left I had been looking at simpler way of making Adrian’s new extruder nozzle. Adrian’s design requires that you tap an M7 internal thread inside an 8mm brass bar, not only does M7 seem to be an non-standard size it also seems that you need quite good tolerances to get that right. Of course you also have the problem of getting an 0.5mm orifice in the end of the brass nozzle, and I had already decided that its near impossible to do this in any DIY setup. What I came up with initially was this design:

Instead of a one piece nozzle like Adrian’s design this design uses nozzles and barrels that can be readily bought from places like Makerbots, ReprapSource, and RepRapStores. I asked my Dad to turn the other parts on his lathe which he kindly did for me while I was on holiday.

And here is a photo of the assembled nozzle, the retaining plate is not shown in this photo.

Unfortunately when my Dad made the PTFE insulator he mis-interpreted my drawing and tapped an M6 thread down the centre instead of a 3.5mm hole. When I got back from Holiday, my Dad was on his Holiday for three weeks, and so impatience prompted me to try to re-make it without using a lathe. What I did was buy some 10mm dia PTFE and put an external M10 thread on it

Then I drilled and tapped an internal M10 thread into a short piece of 16mm PTFE. I used a drill stand to do this, and I had to support the PTFE in a block of wood with an 16mm hole drilled into it. I screwed the 10mm PTFE into the 16mm PTFE and got my desired shape ready for drillng the 3.5mm hole down the centre.

This technique could be used as a simple method for making the same part in Adrian’s extruder nozzle, just use M7 instead. At this point I wondered (as you might be), why not just use the M10 threaded PTFE as the barrel instead of the above. Well I am not entirely sure how to answer that question, because that would of course be simpler, although I can say that the 16mm PTFE does have more structural rigidity than M10.

Update: I have since made some further improvements to this design which are documented here amongst other ideas.