PSA: E3D Clone Upgrade

Talk about modifications to the printer

PSA: E3D Clone Upgrade

Postby wd5gnr » 2017-Nov-Tue-10-Nov

I don't know if this will help anyone or not because I have a funky PB+. It isn't a one -- it started out as a one, but with some upgrade kits and a little cajoling of Brook, it is more like a 2, but not quite. The business end is the deck with the ALU extruder on top, an Ubis underneath, and the funky fan bracket that has the duct that points down.

Well, a little over a year ago I decided to move closer to work and also decided not to invite my wife to join me. So the printer was a hostage at "her" house for a while. Then I finally got it back (lucky she didn't give it to Goodwill like she did all my clothes). It has been in a box for several months. Doesn't mean I haven't been printing. I bought a Monoprice Mini Select v1 which is actually quite nice, but a little small.

Anyway, over the holiday I fished all the PB parts out of the boxes and put it together. I started doing a PETG print and was pleased it was doing OK when I noticed the Ubis was leaking again. I had no trouble with the old 3mm Ubis but when I switched to 1.75 it has been a lot of issues. I took it all apart to clean and decided to get a new tip for it. I probably have some but who knows where so I went online. Guess what. No more Ubis tips from Printerbot. They have a few large sizes left for a dollar (I ordered a few which will turn out to be a mistake) and Microswiss makes some that are overpriced. Plus I was tired of it leaking.

Over the years, I had got several cheap E3D clones. In fact, one had been mounted in the past and had a bad heater cartridge. The seller offered to replace it and that was about the time I was moving so I dropped the ball. I dug around and out of the 3 clones I had, I put pieces together to get one. Now there are a few problems. First, the thing's too short. The fan bracket and the back of the X carriage will hit the bed before the nozzle. In addition, the firmware isn't set up for the E3D thermistor.


I started with this:

I linked the remixes because I wish I had noticed the 7mm shorter version, but that's history now. I printed it on the Monoprice using PLA on the theory it wasn't going to get hot up there. Works great but very tight fit for the ALU extruder. I had to take the clamping bolt completely out, spread the aluminum a bit, and lightly file the adapter (very lightly). Once it was all the way up, I put the clamping bolt back in and it has held well.

For the connectors, I didn't have any of the Molex minis nor do I have the pin extraction tool and the crimper. So I cut the wires off the Ubis and spiced them on the E3D using heat shrink and solder. I have thermal strippers but was too lazy to get them so I managed to partially pull one of the thermcouple wires. So pushed the wire back down (it was still in the pin barrel) and sealed it with some Blu Tack putty. Then I put a dot of superglue to stabilize it Not great, but workable.

The problem now is it is too low for the fan. For now I just removed the fan and most of the fan bracket and will print some E3D multifan piece soon. Speaking of fans, I used a PC molex Y cable that has one side of the Y as a molex and one side as a fan connector to power the extruder fan.

Now the firmware. This was a huge hassle. The Unified firmware hasn't been touched in awhile and the versions of the Arduino software it will work with is old. I decided to put Repetier Firmware on it since I use server (very nice) and host (also very nice, except lately some strange mono crash at random). If you haven't tried it, they have an excellent configuration tool online:

Next problem is you have to patch Arduino for the Printrboard. The Teensyduino stuff has been updated to work, but Lincoln's Printrboard changes have not been workable. That cost me nearly a day of cursing trying to get that to work. Then I found this: ... DE-Support -- Problem solved.

Sort of. I generated the hex file downstairs and moved it to a Windows 10 laptop. Everyone says to use Flip to do Windows flashing. That took some doing to install it on Win10, but other people have had the same issues and it is well documented. But... after I was able to hook up, doing a file open would cause the program to disappear! Google search showed me that several .NET programs had that problem and no one seemed to know why. There were some random "fixes" that worked for some people but none of them worked for me. However, I think getting Flip to open the USB helped with the next step.

I decided to pretend I was on Linux and got dfu-programmer for Windows.

That did the trick. You can follow my Linux flashing guide on the Wiki if you need help with that step. My first configuration wasn't bad, but I had two problems. I needed to reverse XY and Z (yes, I could have flipped the connectors). The other issue was I had told it that an extruder temp of 0 was a fault. It immediately faulted. Apparently, motor noise can cause 0 degree readings that don't persist but it was enough for the firmware to mark me as bad. I put it back to -- I think -- -50 degrees.

So that was 3 flashes. If you want my final configuration.h, just ask me for it.

Prints look good and no leaking!

If I had to do it over again, I would do a few things.

1) Try the 7mm shorter version of the adapter.
2) I have the printer connected to a Raspberry Pi with Repetier Server on it. I should have just put dfu-programmer on the Pi and been done with it.
3) I would have cut the E3D wires shorter.
4) I would have gotten the thermal strippers before messing up the PTFE-jacketed thermistor wire.
5) I would have gotten rid of the Ubis a lot sooner.

I still need to dress cables and possibly replace the thermistor connector ( have some connector parts on order).

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Al Williams
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PSA: E3D Clone Upgrade



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