Saturday, April 5, 2014

Just going to fix up the left extruder... and now it's broken

It's been a slow week because winter's last gasp prevented me from getting good prints. Then the left extruder suddenly stopped gripping it's filament. When I took the extruder apart I discovered that the spring loaded arm that keeps pressure on the filament is well and truly broken.
Which wasn't actually a big deal because I had already printed a replacement and upgrade so that I could experiment with some flexable filament I bought.

But before I could get it back on another print failed because of the cold, damaging the tape around the right heaterblock. So I took it apart, patched the tape up, and put it back together. Only when I put it back together the right nozzle was significantly higher than the left one, so I decided to give the left one an extra turn, making sure to close the gap that was probably filled with plastic. So I heated the block up, removed the heater element and temp sensor, and gave it a mighty crank with ratchet, using the nozzle as my connection point... and stripped the threads on the heater block, damaging the nozzle's teeth as well.
Fortunately I've got 2 extruders and the right one is printing well, so I'm going to go bring the bot inside for a week and do some printing while I order a new heater block for the left side.

Short version of this story is I broke my left extruder while doing maintance on my bot, but I'll probably be able to still make some cool stuff this week. Which is good. It's been too long since I made cool stuff.

EDIT: It got worse. The right extruder's spring arm cracked. I thought that would be okay, because I had the left hand replacement. It wasn't perfect yet, but at least I could get printing. Only as I was switching my one good heater block over the thermosensor wire on the right broke off. Frayed and brittle it finally just... snapped off.
I've managed to get the left extruder working, but I'm going to be very... judicious about my first couple prints. And, hey, it's International TableTop day and I got to play Krosmasters Arena for the first time, so I've got that going for me.


  1. Hey Joe, I'm pretty sure you can still order replacement parts from Makerbot Support, I just ordered a dual aluminum bar and additional print head to convert my single replicator 1 to a dual system. Their number is: 347-334-6800 option 2. Give it a shot!

  2. Joe, I feel your pain, I did pretty much the same thing in terms of stripping out the block, killing a nozzle and messing up the thermocouple line. My solution was to buy a whole new dual head assembly (I have the Duplicator 4, which used the MK7 head) from It cost $149 and all my problems went away. Very easy install and it upgraded me to the MK9. I've been printing for a month now with no serious problems. Best $$ I've spent in a while.


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