Machsupport Forum

Mach Discussion => General Mach Discussion => Topic started by: Bertho on January 26, 2010, 06:22:31 AM

Title: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: Bertho on January 26, 2010, 06:22:31 AM
I am very interested in building an extruder type 3D printer using my existing CNC mill. There are basically only two items missing:
1: A heater with temperature control.  The heater is typically controlled to hold the temperature around 240C.  Either one of the available extruder head controller boards can be used or an off the shelf PID heater controller (about $30 on eBay).  It might also be directly controlled by the pulse width function similarly to how laser cutters are controlled.  It would be very simple to have a temperature feedback using a voltage to frequency converter that produces “index” pulses to show temperature: 240RPM= 240C temperature.

2: A motor to feed the filament into the heater.  I think the head can be greatly simplified by using a simple machined bracket and a very small stepper motor.  In our case the stepper could be directly driven by existing electronics and the A axis function in Mach3.

Here are examples of the extruder heads.  They are all open source with full documentation.  Typically the mechanics are unnecessarily big or too many pieces since they are usually designed to be easily duplicated by hobbyists with limited tooling. ( ( ( (
It is a big PDF file.

It should be very easy for us in this group to do it. Typically we have the CNC experience and we have good equipment to make any custom required parts.
The typical 3D printer hobbyist does not have the mechanical equipment or CNC experience. Most of them are starting from scratch.

Here is some info on conversions done with EMC instead of Mach3: (

Is there any information on a conversion like that using Mach3? I do not want to start from scratch if not needed.

Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: Tweakie.CNC on January 27, 2010, 09:04:07 AM
I think you may have to be the pioneer on this one Bertho.

Looks like you have all the info on the heater heads and 4th axis feed - go on and give it a try.  ;)

Please keep us informed with your progress - I, for one, am anxious to see the results.

Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: Ron Ginger on January 29, 2010, 09:43:33 PM
I started to do some work with this. I bought the extruder control board from makerbot and did some reading about hooking it up to my mill.

I got turned off after looking at all the parts beng made- they are really rather crude. Its neat to be able to make something this way, But Id like to be able to print parts that could become patterns for casting and everything Ive seen is much to coarse to be usable.

There was one of the thingvers units running at Cabin fever and I got to handle some of the parts it made and they were not very impressive.

I think if you make the extruded filament fine enough to make smooth parts it will require days of run time to build up anything interesting.

I may still move ahead on this, but for now Im kind of put off by it.
Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: piv on February 03, 2010, 08:00:49 AM
I think these could be OK if they extruded coarse and then machined the finish.
Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: Fastest1 on April 11, 2011, 03:50:52 PM
I know this is an old thread but dont be put off by first or second impressions. I have been fortunate to have gone to an open house here in Houston of a robotics/electronics/chemistry/experimenters group. To say that the extrusions are crude is too general. I have seen both extremes and in fact I was astonished at how fast things were being produced in relation to my perception thru YouTube videos. I watched 1 individual extrude a 2 piece plastic case that let him combine his key and alarm into 1 unit (for a Lotus Elise) took maybe 5-8 minutes. I dont now how long he had in the drawing or CAD end but it was his first printing after about 6-8 months of research and study. He was not a machinist or had he any experience in CAD. I do believe he was very computer literate. Then I watched a person create an encoder housing for a robotic arm that was broken, again in minutes. I dont see why this cant be adapted to a Sherline or similar. The group is called TX/RX Labs. Here is a link to their group
This was the video I took while visiting of that key fob. Thanks to the Iphone.
Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: artrutledge on February 13, 2012, 10:02:12 PM

I too am interested in this idea. I have a couple of CNC mill and router setups one of which would be very suitable for this. Has anyone out there made any progress on this. The extruder heads out there seem to avoid the very type of machining a good cnc setup could do in a snap. I just don't feel like reinventing the wheel.

Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: olf20 on February 14, 2012, 07:17:20 AM
Art and some of the guys are working on this project
over at
olf20 / Bob
Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: JohnHaine on February 15, 2012, 04:54:48 PM
Have a look at and scroll down to the Up! 3D printer.  Denford of course well known for educational CNC - I have one of their Novamills and it's excellent.  Click to see the video - printing a salt shaker, two parts, base and top, at the end they screw the top onto the base, the threads are printed.  Impressive I thought.
Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: Ron Ginger on February 15, 2012, 06:49:39 PM
That looks a lot like the Cube at

Also see the SeeMeCNC at This is a reprap derivative, but it uses Mach for control instead of teh arduino boards.

A lot of interesting development in this area. I still have not done anything but think about it, but I think its time to get started.
Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: robotmar on February 16, 2012, 09:00:29 AM

This is the first img of my 3D-ONE....

What do you think?

The first prints are very encouraging.

Very soon I publish some videos.

Naturally all works with Mach3....

Title: Re: 3D Printer: Extruder
Post by: Fastest1 on February 18, 2012, 10:09:43 PM
Andrea, let see some video. Looks to be a nice machine. Surely more rigid than what I see the reprap/maker machines use.