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Ender3 All Metal Direct Drive Upgrade

A few people have asked me about direct drive extruder upgrade, so I decided to create a separate thread for it. I have posted about this on the other forum before.

I am a cheapsk8. But, always try to tread the borderline between reliability and cost. Basically the value for money line and so far I have been lucky. Ender 3 is one of the examples. It was sufficient to get nice prints in PLA/PETG but to move to materials like ABS/TPU/Nylon you have to upgrade. So I did with $50(1.2+2.2+3.1) worth of parts to make it an all metal direct drive printer. Make sure to select 24Volts parts. Let me know if you need any more details.

Parts needed

You need just 3 things for making a direct drive all metal upgrade.

  1. Extruder
    This is one of the best extruders you can find. It drive the filament using tooth from both the sides and hence can push with double the force.
    option1(original) $80
    option2(cloned)$31
    option3(cloned)$16
  2. All metal hotend
    All metal hotend is critical when you are trying to go for temperatures beyond 250C(nylon, ABS and some PETG), otherwise your PTFE starts melting and producing very toxic fumes.
    option1(original) $55
    option2(cloned)$16
    option3(clone)$7
  3. pancake stepper motor
    You can use your existing motor but since you will be using in direct drive setup you want the whole assembly to be as light as possible. Otherwise when printing and stopping at high speeds you have some ringing(maybe?) effect on your print.
    option1 $8

I also found that they have a combined cloned package for $37 here and for $47 here

Bracket to assemble it all together

  1. My own design. You have the option of using with/without a cooling fan. The bracket keeps the nozzle almost at the old position. I also put holes to mount the ABL sensor at the correct height specified in ABL documentation.
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Wqe5cSN0YP_VJ9aq2AHLdbNeF_549EJE?usp=sharing
  2. What @Friskies uses. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3241793
    imageimageimage
  3. @VykkuF’s design: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3747412
    imageimageimage

Bondtech+ E3DV6 assembly instruction

All metal hotends are prone to clogs…

… when the retractions are more than 2mm. Improper cooling and defects in manufacturing(in clones ones, especially) are the main reasons. Solved pretty easily:

  1. Reduce retractions drastically. The good thing with direct drive is that you need about 0.4mm of retraction as compared to 4mm in bowden. So no problem here as long as you set a small value in slicer to begin with.
  2. You can also get clogs by pulling the filament back while changing the filament. DO NOT do it. Instead cut the old filament just at the entrance of the bondtech extruder and have the new filament inline with the end of old filament, ready to follow it, inside the extruder. Go to control -> motion->1mm->extruder to extrude about 100mm of filament. As the old filament gets sucked in, push the new filament in with it until it gets grabbed by the extruder gears. Done! Pretty Simple.

Firmware to use

If you are already familiar with installing custom firmware on your printer, then this part is not for you. If not, then TH3D’s package is pretty straight forward. Follow this video and don’t be scared. You are not going to mess anything up.

Before you watch the video, just know that you have to uncomment these lines(in configuration.h) and edit them so that they look like this:
#define CUSTOM_ESTEPS
#define CUSTOM_ESTEPS_VALUE 415
#define V6_HOTEND

If using BLTouch
#define AUTO_BED_LEVELING_BILINEAR
#define BLTOUCH
#define SERVO0_PIN 11 //for CR10S
#define SERVO0_PIN 27 //for CR10/ender3

For CR10S, @rey8801 provides more details here of the BLTouch connections to the PCB.


Renders of my setup

Assembled with files directly from Creality’s github page.



20 Likes

Trianglelabs make quality clone stuff, good link it’s an important distinction

The Bondtech extruder in you img is also clonable, the metal rollers are available on AliExpress, the STLs are on thingiverse. Widely regarded as one of the best extruders money can buy.

2 Likes

Yep, I have the triangle labs one. I never had any extrusion issues after that.

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What version of it? Thx

Thx for the links. I guess you also flashed a custom firmware to be able to use ABL sensor.

Yup would be great to know what FW modifications are needed in merlin and what profiles are you using?

Oh I am still using the default firmware. I just changed the esteps value on the console to whatever bondtech recommends. I didn’t even do an Esteps calibration.

As for the profiles everything is exactly same except the retraction numbers. They went from 4mm to 0.2 mm. Even 0 retractions work. Magic of direct drive baby.

BTW, you can’t pull out the filament to change anymore. You just have to let’s it out by just cutting and changing the filament on top. So the new filament pushes the old one out.

2 Likes

V6 24 volts.

1 Like

I have creality cr10s and not sure it has 24V for hotend but probably this is the case too have fast higher temp. Thx for the advices. I have a nylon roll that I never dare to try with bowden tube extruder. I replace the tube with a capricorn high temperature but still is a bit at its limit.

Seems like CR10 it’s 12Volts, but ender 3 is confirmed 24V. Please confirm from manufacturer’s website. Also you can look at the regulator sticker.

2 Likes

I thought so. they change to 24V only for the latest models.

Ahhh okay. Here’s the USA Amazon link

CHPOWER CR10 Hotend, Assembled MK8 Extruder Kit for CR-10S/ CR-10S400/ CR-10S500-12V) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B6HSYR8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_bvQeDb1FPZ9JD

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@Friskies, would love to know about your direct drive setup.

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I run this kit with a pancake stepper motor, and all metal hotend and this mount and blower. It gives a massive increase in print versatility without adding too much weight. Trianglelabs do a fantastic copy of the bondtech kit. I would highly recommend it, especially for printing TPU. Oh and the fillament spool is awesome too but you should put a metal plate underneath to support it or design a bracket for it to help with the screws.

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At the end I got all the parts from Trianglelab. I read really good reviews about their bmg and V6 kit.
Looking forward to print Nylon as a champ. Did you also got a stain steel nozzle or similar? Otherwise nylon will just destroy the brass nozzle

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Hardened steel nozzle is also available, that is the best one, better than stainless imo

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I’m just using the brass nozzle atm. I’m printing a lot of TPU at the moment for my race drones. Will probably try some PETG when I get around to buying some.

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do you never check the tip of the nozzle lately? I think also TPU is rather abrasive.

ok I will search for it.

Found this one that has a good price compare to the other and it’s from a known company https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32959990000.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.38153c00Jok64Y
I will give it a try

1 Like

Do you guy have found the final bed surface to adhere PLA, PETG, ABS and Nylon? I am using PEI sheet that you stick on glass and work great but at high temp the glue that keeps them in place loose a bit a nd I always have to flat down bubbles afterwards. I would like some final bed surface, even one that comes with the glass that solves all the problem.
I have read about the silicon carbon ones or also this one https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32917833861.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.38153c00Jok64Y

this one the carbon silicon from Creality