Make Lehigh Valley Make Hardware, Make Software, Make Art


Member Project Update: Filament Extruder Project Update

Hi All, the following is an update the Make Lehigh Valley Filament Extruder Project. This update is dedicated Matt Schwarz who recently passed away and who was a co-organizer of Make Lehigh Valley makerspace. Matt was an early proponent DIY 3D printing, filament extrusion and completed prior work at the space in the extrusion of filaments, building of the the space's first 3D printer and other initiatives. Matt's presence at the space will be missed by all.



Current activities in the filament extruder have focused on the refinement of the heating element and the motor. The oven element heater has been replaced by fiberglass covered nichrome wire powered by a repurposed inverter transformer. The output of the transformer is 6 vac which powers parallel strands of nichrome wire.

A 'slo-sync' 72 rpm motor has been installed to power the extruder. Testing has indicated that this is a little slow and work is underway to either speed up the motor via a variable frequency drive or replace the motor with another type.

Extruder screw modification (3) (Large)

Nichrome heater element with insulation removed

Extruder screw modification (4) (Large)

Overall view of extruder including 'slo-sync' motor

View of extruder auger with housing removed

View of extruder auger with housing removed

Extruding filament at the space testing temperatures and feedrates

Extruding filament at the space testing temperatures and feedrates

Next steps including installation of thermocouples at several locations on the extruder body and building an Arduino circuit to read and display the temperatures. Additional testing will done to refine location of nichrome heating elements and assess whether multi-stage heating of the extruder assembly is warranted. The motor drive is also being redesigned to achieve higher extruder speeds.

Frank Lyter


Member Project Update: Frank’s Filament Extruder (WIP)

Hi All, the following is an update the Make Lehigh Valley Filament Extruder Project.  Thus far, the concept has been demonstrated successfully with production of several meters of ABS filament!!!

The emphasis on the project at this stage is determining fundamental parameters for operation of key sections of the design.  Key sections of the project include; nozzle design (nozzle diameter, length, inlet & outlet shape), material heater body design (single stage vs. multistage heating, heater element design including material, voltage, current, insulation), extruder design (length of extruder, hopper geometry) and drive mechanism (gear reduction, clutch, drive motor options).

Safety is a key design consideration for the project.  For example, low voltages are planned for powering of the heater element along with interlocks to protect against extruder or motor overload.

Next steps include; refinement of the heater element, incorporation of automatic heater control and testing of motor drive options. Once these items are tested satisfactorily, more sophisticated automation is planned.  The automation is expected to include an integrated control scheme incorporating heater controls, clutch slippage detection, drive motor controls and hopper feed sensing and controls.  Control platform and sensor options are still under review with the emphasis on safety, open source, simplicity, availability, cost and reliability.

Additional project details are provided in previous posts.

Comments and suggestions welcomed!

Frank Lyter

Prototype heater used to refine heater design requirements

Repurposed oven heater element - prototype heater used to refine heater design requirements

Final over heater fit up to nozzle

Heater fit up to nozzle - one of several bend configuration under consideration

Extruder heater test to evaluate operating voltages and currents

Extruder heater test to evaluate operating voltages and currents

Extruder heater testing for voltage and amp evaluation

Autotransformer used for voltage and amp evaluation

Heater element attached to extruder - subsequently covered in fiberglass insulation.

Heater element attached to extruder - subsequently covered in fiberglass insulation.

First filament production!!!  Evaluating various temperatures and pressures - sections with bubbles are when temperature was too high

First filament production!!! Evaluation ongoing for optimum temperatures and pressures - sections with bubbles are when temperature was too high


Lehigh Valley Science Festival


Saturday, March 22, 2014 (Rain or Shine) 9:30 am - 5 pm at Coca-Cola park, Allentown, PA

It a free family event for with fun for all ages!  There will be a Text and Drive Simulator by AT&T, Gummy Worms and Fingerprints by the Cedar Crest College Chemistry Department, Hands-on Lego Building and Robotics by Igutech, Robotics, 3D Printers, Music, and More by Da Vinci Science Center's SPOT Program, and SO many more activities!

Event Details | ActivitiesGeneral Description


3D printer mini-festival

We had a mini 3D printer fest at Make Lehigh Valley last night along with our postponed Build Night with Sugru. (Sugru update to come, I'm gathering pictures.) The Ord Bot received some sugru to the handle to make it more comfy to lug.

My real joy was sharing the epic fail of printing a twisted ball cage. I made it as far in the print as I have yet. I still can't get the top to print because of the flex of the arms. All the interaction from crowd of makers was great. Jared got his RepRap printing a much improved cube and Jeff made some progress on the space's RepRap 3D printer. He's been polishing the smooth rods that the carriage for the heated build platform rides on for awhile to make sure it runs smoothly.

Space RepRap 3D printer

After much polishing, Jeff has installed the rods that the heated build platform will ride on

Our impromptu mini 3D printer festival

Our impromptu mini 3D print festival, note the blue sugru on the handle of the OrdBot.


Josiah’s Ord Bot Hadron Project

Ord Bot 3D Printer

The Ord Bot 3D Printer Mechanical Platform
by Bart Dring of Pumping Station One

Besides the RepRap Mendel that the space is putting together, I'm putting together an ORD Bot Hadron, the larger brother of the ORD Bot Quantum. It took me a long time to decide between this and SeeMeCNC's RostockMax. The first beta tester, Jeremy, brought an ORD Bot Quantum to Make Lehigh Valley quite awhile and showed off its impressive qualities.

In many basic ways, this is a simplified version of the RepRap based on MakerSlide and without the interest in being able to print as much of the printer as possible. I'm interested in comparing the time of assembly and results with the RepRap. It seems generally agreed that both printers are capable of equal quality. The typical Mendel may require more regular maintenance than an Ord Bot and require more effort to get well calibrated. The rigidity of the MakerSlide makes for a more stable platform.

The Ord Bot design is strictly a mechanical platform. Most kits only include the mechanical platform and steppers to get it moving. The come in various stages of assembly. The kit I purchased was from Automation Technologies, Inc.

Once I had the platform I had to decide what electronics and extruder I wanted to use. I'm going with Panucatt's X3 and heated bed for the electronics. My extruder choice is the brand new SeeMeCNC EZstruder extruder. (I'm sure to regret going with the bleeding edge, but its just so flexible.) I still need to pick up a hot end. I'll probably go with the J-Head when they come back in stock. I understand they usually are stocked at on Friday afternoons at noon and are gone over the weekend.

I'm rather partial to the aesthetics of the Ord Bot over the RepRap also. The nice blue anodized aluminum and sleek smooth lines are nice. The ability to hide the cables inside the MakerSlide is also a great plus and the ability to expand it rather simply with just bigger or smaller pieces of makerslide is another notable feature.

My daughter and I will be chronicling our build in a Build Log and with a picture album on Google+ and more static documentation in a wiki page at MakeLV's wiki.


Help the Reprap Project!

190px-Assembled-prusa-mendelMake Lehigh Valley is hoping to raise $250 in donations to match another $250 to build a Reprap Prusa Mendel i2 3D Printer!  We're hoping to be resourceful and keep the necessary cash around that $500 mark.  Need for printed parts around the space abounds, and this will fill a huge gap in our ability to enable our minds.  If you were at our first Town Meeting tonight, you probably heard about the 3D scanner - and the statue we scanned, and how it worked.  Go donate!