Stepstruder MK6 Assembly

The Stepstruder MK6 comes with one major decision you need to make: Do you want to extrude with 3mm filament or 1.75mm filament? Your kit contains all the parts to build one of them, and you can only have one of them on your machine at a time. Let's examine each, and you can decide which one you want to start with.

Stepstruder MK6 3mm Filament Setup

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The 3mm filament setup is very similar to the Plastruder MK5 in that it uses the "Paxtruder" thumbscrew method to compress the filament against the drive gear. The major MK6 improvement to this design is the replacement of the troublesome DC motors with an extremely reliable and more precise stepper motor. A stepper motor extruder allows control over flowrate as well as the ability to retract filament during a build to virtually eliminate unwanted ooze and strings. The MK6 stepper motor measures in at a whopping 100 oz-in of torque enabling the use of a direct drive setup. Direct drive extrusion means there is no gearbox on the motor so there is no need to account for backlash (extra play in the system when reversing directions), and it also enables very fast filament retraction speeds at an instant.

Next Step: continue to the 3 mm filament configuration assembly

Stepstruder MK6 1.75mm Filament Setup

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The 1.75mm filament setup is a step forward in the endless process of simplifying plastruders. From a scientific standpoint, smaller filament extrusion has benefits in nearly every category: It requires less torque to operate, has a much smaller bend radius, is easier to spool, and best of all it produces a smaller amount of unwanted ooze. Another significant advantage is that it's far easier to extrude through smaller diameter nozzles which translates to better resolution in prints. At this time, Makerbot does not yet offer the tools for achieving better resolution using the smaller filament, but it is the clear path into the future of maximizing print quality. The most significant difference between the two Stepstruder MK6 setups in terms of hardware is the new Delrin plates. The 1.75mm setup uses a laser cut Delrin plate with a built-in "bumper" to apply a consistent force against the drive gear and eliminating the need for the thumbscrew and plunger.

Next Step: continue to the 1.75 mm filament configuration assembly

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