Hack Your MakerBot with an E3D All-Metal Hot End
Posted on Jan. 25, 2016 by Matt Moening
Finally take the leap away from your stock Makerbot extruder and indulge in the precision printing that only an E3D All-Metal HotEnd can provide. Check out our step by step guide to get your Makerbot up and running with an E3D HotEnd.

At MatterHackers we are constantly tinkering with our machines. In the back of the office we discovered a discarded Makerbot Replicator 2 just itching for a face lift. Since we have gotten quite a few requests to make this upgrade available for you makers, we thought we'd give it a shot. As it turns out, with just a few tools it is an easy modification, and (more importantly) the results are fantastic.

Note: This guide will work for any machine with a Mark8 (MK8) Extruder. For example: MakerBot Replicator 2, Makerbot Replicator 2X (dual extrusion), Flashforge Creator X, Flashforge Creator Pro, Powerspec PRO, Monoprice Maker Architect, CTC Bizer, Wanhao Duplicator 4 and a few other equivalent machines. 

What You'll Need

E3D V6 All-Metal HotEnd - 1.75mm Bowden - 24V 

EZStruder - Cold end extruder

- M3x10 screws(9)

- M3 Nuts (2)

- M3x14 screw (1)

- M3x16 (1)

- 2.5mm Allen wrench

- 2.0mm Allen wrench (provided in E3D kit)

- Phillips screwdriver #11.5mm

- Allen Wrench (provided in EZStruder kit)

- Printed Parts: Makerbot E3D Hotend Swap Kit Digital Design (includes files for single or dual extrusion conversion)

- Mount Hole Template


1. Print out required parts: E3D Mount, E3D Lock, and the EzStruder Mount (E3D Mount - dual, if appropriate)

2. Remove and disassemble the Makerbot hotend(s)


Assembling the E3D V6

1. Screw nozzle into heating block, heating block into heat sink, attach the cooling fan, and E3D Mount Lock to the top of the heat sink.

2. Insert the heater cartridge into heat block of the E3D hotend. Secure the cartridge using provided screw and 2mm allen wrench.

Note: The MakerBot uses a 24 volt heater cartridge. Use the original cartridge, but in the event that the part needs to be replaced be sure a 24 volt heater cartridge is used. 

3. Insert stock thermocouple into E3D (MightBoard RevG does not support the E3D’s thermistor). Secure with the E3D thermistor screw and washer using 2mm allen wrench.

4. Place E3D Mount on the printer's carriage with the E3D hotend placed so that the wires are below the carriage. Secure with M3x10  screws and nuts.

5. Attach the E3D Mount Lock to E3D Mount using M3 x 10mm screws as pictured.

Important Safety Note - be sure that the heater block is clear from touching any part of the bracket. The heat will melt any plastic that comes into contact with the heater block.

Wiring for E3D

1. Remove the covering from the bottom of the Makerbot. Find and unplug Extruder A (and B if you are working on a dual and want to replace both).

2. Snip the black/white wires and the red/black wires to 12cm (Do not cut the green/black or yellow/black wires).

3. Strip heat sink fan and heating cartridge wires to prepare for splicing.

4. Solder or crimp wires together (match wire colors for fan, colors do not matter for heater cartridge).

5. Plug extruder(s) back into the board.

6. Use the 'Preheat' utility to test heat the new block.

Important Safety Note - DO NOT walk away when executing this test. In fact, keep your finger on the power and be sure the heating is performing as expected.

7. While the hot end is warm, tighten down the nozzle to make sure the heat break and the nozzle are snug and no oozing can occur.

Assemble the EzStruder

1. Remove the hobbed gear from the old extruder motor using the 1.5mm Allen wrench (skip this step if you are replacing this motor with a new Nema17 motor).

2. Attach the hobbed gear that came with your EzStruder with the hobbed part towards the motor.

3. Attach the red lever over the hobbed gear with the red lever rotated 90° clockwise from the motor’s plug (see image below).

4. Attach the black part so the metal piece is facing away from the motor.

5. Attach bowden fitting into the aluminum bracket. 

6. Attach the EzStruder Mount Template to the back of the machine making sure that it lines up above where the filament will be located and is clear of the motors on the inside.

7. Drill holes for each screw using the template as a guide. 

8. Screw the mount into place from the inside of the machine (M3x10 [4]).

9. Place the EzStruder into the mount and screw it in place using the M3x14 and M3x16 (2.5mm Allen wrench).

10. Attach the bowden tube to both the extruder and hotend; plug in motor and wrap wires back up in wire sheath.

There you have it! You just upgraded your printer.

You will next want to calibrate your extruder. Here is a guide to do so. 

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