Unique Prototyping Extruder
The Unique Prototyping extruder was designed to be a drop-in replacement for the popular Wade's extruder, for those who are interested in upgrading to a geared stepper motor. It is also great for new machines, including the beginner who doesn't want to deal with the headaches and challenges associated with the extruders that are less forgiving. The extruder is designed to fit the J-Head nozzle and the J-Head mounting plate. Using the optional flush-mount spacer, the extruder can also mount atop a flush-mount style hot end, such as the Budaschnozzle. An open slot on the side of the extruder allows visibility of the hobbed pulley as it feeds the filament. The heavy duty design allows the geared stepper motor to rigidly attach to the main extruder housing with three screws, preventing any unwanted movement of the motor while extruding.
The quick-change filament feature allows you to quickly change out filament with just a few turns of a single thumbscrew. You do not have to adjust the spring tension each time you change out filament. The springs are separate from the thumbscrew, so the spring tension will be retained. To change out filament, simply back off the thumbscrew by turning it a few times and the pressure on the filament will be relieved. You do not need to completely remove the thumbscrew like the picture shows unless you want full access to the hobbed pulley. Remove filament, insert new filament, then tighten the thumbscrew back up and you are done!
The extruder mounting holes are slotted to accept a wide variety of hot ends and mounting configurations. Note that the blue printed parts in the photo were all printed using this exact style geared stepper extruder. With its incredible 14:1 gearing, the extruder provides tremendous torque and filament grip for both 1.75mm and 3mm filament, such as PLA or ABS. The precision-machined internal gearing of the geared stepper motor eliminates those gear meshing and backlash issues associated with bulkier printed gears that have large, non-precision plastic teeth. The 14:1 gear ratio allows a much lower current draw from the stepper driver while extruding and allows a wider range of acceptable current from the stepper driver potentiometers. This means no more struggling to find the perfect trimpot setting to avoid skipped extruder steps due to underpowering or overpowering the extruder motor. The massive amount of torque allows you to tighten the idler down firmly against the filament, without having to worry about overheating the motor - the motor typically runs super cool.