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Flexible Filament Extruder Upgrade for Creality CR-7, CR-10, Ender 2, Ender 3

by joshvv Mar 1, 2017
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Does this work on an Ender 3 Pro? If not, is there a model that does?

Before i'm going to try this..
Do i need to calibrate e-steps and such again after installing this mod?

What outer diameter should the ptfe tube be

Hi. I have made this and it works very well. So, thank you very much! First (and currently, only) print with flexible filament worked a treat! One question though, when switching back to say PLA, should I swap this back to the stock one every time, or would this work with both types of filament?

Edit: I tried the recommended remix with the threaded holes. Not sure if I'll try again with this piece given all the time it took with the remix.

Unfortunately this didn't work for me. Thankful I'm in the minority since it seems to work so well. It printed fine, installed fine, but the extruder gear would not make enough contact and kept slipping, therefore I was getting under/no extrusion. Already have filament guidewheels and arms, and filament inserts, so the filament being too tight was not an issue. Even tried using spring wedges to increase the gear tension, but it was just not having it. Ender 3 Pro

Can this work to print pla and non flexible filaments?

This worked great! Thanks for offering it!

This thing is a game changer. Running my first TPU print with it as we speak and have had no jams. Thanks!

Excellent design many thanks!

Thanks my dude, helped a bunch

Great job thanks i have been trying to print flex for a long time. great job!!!

I bought a metall extruder for the Ender-2...problem solved! Highly recommented.

Would it be possible just to drill out the stock part?

I have Cr-10 and have unsuccessfully printed with TPU. I have tried manipulating the machine using Cura to no avail. Does anyone have any advice on printing this type of filament on this machine? It will start, but eventually stops somewhere.

Do the problems occur before or while printing?

Im starting on this 3d print craze, and I will be ordering a cr-10 Mini. Does this mod, works on it? Any info if I should do this mod on it ? Thanks a lot, wait for an answer.

Comments deleted.

It looks like my CR-10 (bought/delivered in January 2018) came with this mod from the manufacturer.

Thanks for sharing this; fits perfectly and works perfectly!
With the stock part on my CR-10S4 I battled to get eSun elastic filament to print, kept bunching before the bowden fitting. Printed this part this morning and it works beautifully now. Will be using some PLA later and it should pass through without issues.

Will this work with regular filaments? (ABS,PLA,PETG)

It will be fine with filaments that are more rigid than TPU. What this part is doing is eliminating the opening after the extruder gear and idler pulley. TPU will find any direction it can to flex and once it does it will just make spaghetti out of the extruder. PLA/PETG/ABS don't act like that and they won't care that there's a guide into the bowden coupler.

did you manage to see if this adapter for TPU will still allow you to print other filaments? PLA/PETG?

Great design, works great! Thanks!

Great design and thanks for making the video on installation. I ended up doing this upgrade because I was having a hard time printing some super soft TPU, from Push Plastics. It is the softest filament I have, much softer than Sainsmart TPU. After doing the upgrade, I was able to successfully print it at 30 mm/sec, 2 mm/sec retraction. I am also using Capricorn tubing, an e3d v6, and collet lock. I was never able to print this filament on my other printers, even one with a Titan Aero. Thanks again!

Thank you for making this design. I didn't print it, but it inspired me to mod my existing plastic extruder. I used a 4mm drill bit on the section of plastic between the drive gear and the bowden coupler on my stock extruder. Then I cut a piece of capricorn bowden tubing to fit behind the drive gear. My added piece of tubing sits flush against the inner end of the bowden coupling.Thank you for this idea! I am now printing TPU successfully at double my normal speed.

Brilliant idea. Would you mind taking a picture and posting it to imgur? I might do the same thing, your approach seems super easy and low effort. Also please let me know what speeds you are printing.

would be possible for someone to mix this extruder upgrade with extruder from tevo https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2668711 ?
I tried, but this is above my 3d design skils.

Tevo Flexible Filament Extruder Upgrade Extra-tight

Totally new here and to 3D printing. Just got a CR10s. What would be the best filament to use thats fairly easy to print?

Don't use the glass that comes with the printer. Instead go to Lowe's or Home Depot and buy a set of 6 glass mirrors for $10. Then order a 12"x12" (this won't fit perfectly, the CR10's build plate is actually 12.25 inches on a side, I believe) sheet of PEI from amazon and clamp it down to your mirrors when you print. As long as you keep your bed properly leveled you'll never have any issues with bed adhesion. Also when it's done you can unclamp the PEI and just barely twist it to have everything practically fly off the sheet.

Start printing with PLA, then buy an all metal hot end (the stock hot end has a teflon coated tube inside which can't handle heats high enough for anything above 240C) and move on to PETG. Once you have those down you should be ready to choose and use more exotic filaments. If you want to use filaments with abrasives (carbon fiber, "metal" filaments, etc...) you need to get a different nozzle. Brass isn't hard enough and you will very quickly wear it away to a bigger size.

Just don't use PEI with PETG or you'll never get it off.

Why should we not use the glass that it comes with? Is it an issue with filament sticking?

My glass bed is perfectly fine. For adhesion I found this video a while ago and have NEVER LOOKED BACK to any of the many many sticking techniques people use https://youtu.be/Kj4Xz3DwGSQ . I do use a brim for prints with small first layer pieces.

The glass that comes with the CR10 is usually bowed in some way or another. Quality replacement glass is like $10 for 6 pieces at any hardware store so there's not really a reason to not replace it

Yes I did get those mirror tiles from Home Depot for both my Cr10s printers. I bought the special surface for the plate but once I printed the dial indicator holder for these I never turned back. I only use magigoo on the glass. Tramming with the dial indicator is the bomb. No other thing needed and everything so far sticks great. I have not tried anything but PLA but I have ABS, CF, Wood, metals but never tried them yet. Having too much trouble keeping the printers running. Looks like I have bad mainboards in both. Gearbest has agree to send me one but are saying they are going to their tech team for the trouble with my second CR10s.
I was reading posts about the hotend which would you recommend?
I did buy a selection of bronze, brass and stainless steel nozzles so I should be ready to print other types when I get these things up to 100% shape again. They are only 6 weeks and 3 weeks old. I already fixed a boatload on them. Now its serious.

I use the microswiss hot end, personally. But I've heard good things about the E3D hot ends as well

Just got my CR-10 S5 as well. I think PLA is your best bet. Mine actually came with a few rolls. Just make sure your setup is good.

  • Make sure your bed is level
  • Use something to help the filament stick to the bed (I'm using yellow wide scotch tape which has a rough texture that the filament sticks well to)
  • Heat your bed to 60 degrees for PLA (might need to be bit hotter if you're using glass from my testing)
  • Set the nozzle temp to the temperate recommended by the filament you use. (I'm doing 210 deg for my PLA filament)

Thanks for your help. I have spent hours on youtube and Google. I am learning as I go. I guess I should have asked my question better. I was hoping to see what filament was best to print this part. I see some talk about ABS and cArbon Fibre PLA so I wanted to see what others feel is the best.

Have you had problems with your CR10s I have several common issues like my bed is warped not the glass the aluminum plate. Also my control box reboots itself when I am manually moving the Z axis. That is worrisome. Also if I have to cancel a print the heaters stay on and I am forced to reboot the box to get it working again. I read others saying we should not expect a working 3D printer for $500 but if the company sells them new and says its great and works better than many I feel we should get a working printer. I got mine from GB and I have no clue how to get them to help.

I have an idea, can you add an inch to the platform an shift it all back . Still leave the screw holes on place , but this would move the filament away from the z rod. What do you think?

I have a Creality CR-10 and I printet your file. Now my PTFE ist to thin for this hole. Also my Fitting is too small.
I've made a Video, so you can see on Youtube

Ok, I find a solution in a Remix here
No its function :-)

Extruder upgrade flexible filament for Creality CR-7 CR-10 Afinibot A5 - A31
by danid87

This worked perfectly. I can basically set and forget a flex print now. Thank you so much!

so far so good! thanks. just started a print with sain smart flexible. will see how the mod works to the end but right now its looking good!!!

Excellent design. Saved me lots of problems and loads of TPU :) Thanks Josh!

Edit: I found my answer, that the printer comes with some extra tubing that can be clipped off, from the YouTube video.

My CR-10S will be delivered in two days, so I'm trying to prepare as much as possible before hand. Does any PTFE Tubing come with the printer that can be used or do I need to pick some up at the hardware store?

Thanks for the mod!

Why is this STL producing all kinds of weird things when imported into fusion360?
It appears ten time bigger and it has various mesh problems.
I made a remix and i think i corrected those things but im not yet completely sure because its really weird.

Additionally, is it dimensionally the same as the original part? Has anything been changed on the model except adding an idea to put a piece of bowden tube in it? Anything at all?

My PTFE tube is not snug inside the hole. It moves

That shouldn't matter once it is installed.

I tried printing with both tpe and tpu filaments, but to no avail. The filament gets stuck in the hotend. Am I doing something wrong?

This only addresses the feeder gear. It should have no effect on the hot end besides providing a steady supply of filament.

Will I still be able to print normal PLA after the upgrade?
sorry for noob question. :-)

Has anyone managed to print ninja flex with this upgrade , cos i have tried and failed . Could anyone help with what settings can be changed or that are best suited to print this material with this printer . Thank you

Why dont just push the long PTFE tube straight through the pushfit? I dont really understand why you would take a 13mm piece of PTFE tube instead of taking the allready existing one. You can just drill out the pushit and make it to a push-through fitting. Or you can just buy a push-trough fitting like the one on the hotend.

The idea is to make a part that requires as little modification to the original equipment as possible. Why drill or replace parts when you don't have to? Every printer comes with extra tubing.

Works great, been using it for about a month now, at first i had issues getting the tube in without mangling the tube... i found an easy way to push in the PTFE tube was to use the same small Allen key used to re mold the tube after cutting it, take the same key and insert into the PTFE tube, line up the hole and you can grab the key from the other side of the hole while pushing the PTFE tube into the hole with the key's 90 degree arm, that usually gets the tube right into where it needs to be but to be sure sometimes i remove the key, cut the tube leaving at least 1 cm or so of extra tube, reinsert key and then i can grab the tube at the extra 1 cm portion with pliers and really crank it into body without having to worry about damaging the part of the tube that matters, once its in place, remove allen key, cut off extra portion and cut the V shape. Hope it helps someone and thanks for the design!!

Great tip! Wish I thought of it.

This is a critical upgrade if you plan on using flexible filaments. I could not use flexible filaments until I installed this upgrade.

Hmm I just tried to print and it jammed twice on me right at the feeder. Guess I'll give this a shot. Can't hurt right?

Glad it works for you!

Is that a metal version of the Extruder arm you have fitted (Yellow part) or a very smooth shiny PLA version. If metal did it come with the printer by default or can it be purchased elsewhere.

The arm came from a different printer. I have not found a source for a similar part.

Thank you for designing this. I've been using it successfully for some time now, but I wanted to share something I recently started experiencing. I originally printed two of these. One carbon fiber PLA and one ABS. I used the carbon fiber PLA version because it felt more rigid. I started to have under extrusion problems this weekend. Pilloying, missing layers, etc... I looked for all the normal things, but what I failed to notice until today was the printed part had started bowing. The vertical portion containing the feed hole had angled slightly. I guess the heat from the stepper motor and the spring pushing onto it eventually caused a failure. I swapped it out with the ABS printed copy and so far so good. Hopefully ABS will be heat tolerant enough to withstand bowing.

Of you are using an enclosure, PLA is a bad idea. ABS should do the trick.

Why is the opening for the ptfe tube 4.5mm? Isn't most ptfe tubing used for printing 4mm OD and 2mm ID?

Because not all PTFE was manufactured equal. Better loose than too tight to fit.

ever think to make one that can take the black bowden connectors the 4mm ones that the PTFE tube can pass through? that way its all one piece and you can just cut the end of the tube in the V shape and get it in the right position by pulling the other end if its too long

Never considered it. I wanted it to be compatible with the stock connection. Feel free to remix at will.

Just installed on my printer and it works perfectly. Thank you for the design.

Glad you like it! Happy printing!

This is a very dumb question, but I'm new to 3D printing. Does this work with the NinjaFlex filament?

It should.

might be a stupid question but gotta ask why not just print the ptfe tube part in the model so we did not need a ptfe tube? or you thought the filament would not hold up?

Yes, the PTFE is more durable and it's easier to clip it to the right shape.

what bed are you using, where did you get it (cr-10 owner)

It's a 12x12 LokBuild sheet. We sell them at nwa3d.com.

I was using blue painter's tape in the video. I have since moved on to using LokBuild. It works awesome: https://www.nwa3d.com/steelmans-3d-lokbuild-sheet.html?id=10483522&quantity=1

Flexible Filament Extruder Upgrade for Creality CR-7, CR-10, Afinibot A5, A31 w/Cable Manager Clip

pretty cool but if the point was on both sides it would rock.

What do you mean? It's a clipped tube insert. There are two points.

I found something like i was thinking but it requires a different size gear than stock
By any chance do you know if there is a slicer setting for the size of the extruder gear?

flexible filament extruder
by techwit

This looks exactly like this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1920987

Did you change it? Did you give credit?

Direct drive for flexible filament
by valpap

Mine uses a PTFE insert. It's different. Check out the attached video and you'll see my reasoning.

No problem! Hope it works as good for you as it does for me.

I print one and wait until the old gives somme trouble !

It's open for use however. I just punched a bigger hole in a freely available model from China.