I tried making a water block for water cooling my MakerGear hot end this weekend.
I failed. kinda…
A bit of background as to WHY I would want to do such a project can be found at http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/01/watercooling-my-makergear-prusa-reprap.html I wanted to improve over the coil of copper being that I am about to re-install my 1.75mm hot end for a few lbs of plastic. Going to try ABS for the first time at this size. Not sure if I am going to have problems with that or not.
My fail is I was too lazy to go out into the cold to drill a hole on the drill press. I managed to salvage my stupid hole with a bit of tubing. Hopefully it doesn't cost me too much in efficiency.
I really have no idea what I am doing when it comes to using a lathe. Learning from YouTube is difficult as many of the videos posted are by people with as much experience as me (about 3 hours at this point).
Well, the next iteration should be better, right? I enjoyed making this enough I wouldn't mind making it again. But with a drill press. I think I will drill that hole first so I know it's right.
Using my UNiMAT lathe to fix my lousy hack saw cut and bring the aluminum block down to the right dimensions.
I turned down the black insulator a bit as I don’t have metric drill bits. The bigger tube is to couple airline tubing together on the OUTSIDE so I don’t get even more restrictions of water flow.
THERE I FIXED IT. I ran a bit of aquarium air hose through the buggered up hole. I am going to lose a lot of heat removal capability, but it lets me temporarily salvage this part. The water going through is in it’s mid 60s, so there is going to be a big difference, so it should pull heat well.
Until I make a new one.
I cut a piece of aluminium in half with a hack saw. The tray did a decent job of collecting the aluminum dust. Terrible surface finish on the cut. I did not do a good job of making the cut straight.
I tried drilling the hole using a hand drill because it’s COLD out in the garage where my drill press is.
I FAILED. I totally didn’t get things where they wanted to go. I’ve a hole on the inside, and a double hole on one end.
I can JUST snap the wooden clip in place with the water block installed. It’s going to be a royal pain to un-clip it.
The water block is small and light. It should work well I hope.
The mirror print bed broke when I tried to heat the bed up to ABS temps. It looks like a 2nd temp sensor is just a touch high and created a stress point. PLA temps didn't cause any problems with it.
One thing I noticed is when I used just the shard of mirror, the temperature quickly climbed that last 10 degrees. The temperature sensor was no longer under the mirror. The mirror must be radiating heat faster than the plain PCB board? Anybody have any science on this?
I put 2 pieces of tape down to hold some heat around the part as the printer is out in the open in my cold basement. I got a lot less lifting printing straight to glass with a bit of hairspray than I expected.
Broken bits of my print surface laying on the edge of the aquarium next to my printer. It’s a cheap IKEA mirror tile, so I will cut another and edge it this time. I also will adjust the sensor that the glass broke over.
Printing on a shard of my broken bed. The blue tape is to create a warm pocket of air to reduce ABS curl.
This part lifted surprisingly little for it’s shape & printing in an open basement. Less than a mm lift that worked back less than a cm. First print with the ABS after switching from PLA, so I am sure the first few layers where contaminated with PLA and I didn’t have the temps tuned right for clean printing.
A laminar flow pipe reducer for a pump housing. At least, a little bit of Google searching hasn't shown me another.
I am trying to find a cheaper way to heat the 75 gallon aquaponics system in the basement. It's really running closer to 125 gallons of water with a LOT of surface area. This bleeds heat quite quickly, so the electric submersion heaters are expensive to run and I simply don't have enough to keep up with the cold basement sucking the heat out of my tanks.
So, I did something stupid. I rigged up a water line to the furnace and water heater flue. This involved running about 25 feet of 1/4 inch tubing because that's all I had on hand that would go the distance. There are issues with copper being toxic to fish, and cooling the flue, causing Carbon Monoxide to fill the house. So this is not something you want to do yourself.
I needed more water flow. A 3/4 inch pond pump forced down to 1/4 hose just doesn't work very well. Too much restriction to get good flow.
I had to make a water tipper to help my grow bed siphon start and stop. This just fills up with water slowly and then dumps the water at once into the bed. The small water pulse surge is often enough to trigger a slow siphon.
This is fine and dandy, but I have a 3d printer. So I spent some time with a Fluid Dynamics textbook and openscad and came up with an adapter for running multiple hoses out of my pump – http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:54029
I think it's a first. I haven't found anybody else who made a laminar flow reducer for a pond pump. This thing induces laminar water flow through a series of small honeycomb shaped features inside the adapter.
It was very challenging for me to make, as my math skills aren't up to par. I kinda had to trial and error it instead of solving the problem with math.
In the end, it's designed to be printed, with a center support column running up the center to make the upper section easy to print.
The best part is that the goofy thing works!. I get the same water flow out of the heater line as before PLUS I get 2 additional water lines that are providing a significant additional water flow. I'd expect it to work poorly do to all the plastic that's in the water flow, but it seems to be efficient enough to overcome all the extra gunk in the way.
I’ve been fighting with printing 1.75mm PLA. The thicker brass in the hot end causes the heat to creep up more and make the ‘melt zone’ so long and sticky that the printer jams up. The normal ‘fix’ is to have a small fan blow up into the hot end insulator – the black plastic bit.
This sucks for me. The fans fail – stop spinning, fall apart, etc. The wires pop loose, touch each other, and short out the power mosfet on the RAMPS board. The fan falls down, hits the part, knocks it loose or causes the carriage to skip.
The irritating part is, the printer will eat 3mm PLA all day long without a problem without the need for this fan.
(Stereoscopic images, look at them cross-eyed if you want to see them in 3d)
The task of installing all of this was almost challenging. There was just enough room to be able to slide the hot end up through the carriage, slip on the groove mount, and get it all positioned. The one bolt hole was kinda hiding above the copper tube, but the tube can be spun around a bit so everything can be bolted up snug.
The whole assembly was pretty quick and easy. When I installed the water cooling, I also incorporated the temperature monitoring and soldered the USB cable to the arduino board as the USB-B port got sloppy and would disconnect on me mid-print.
As for some numbers as to how well this works. With no water running through the copper tubing, I am seeing temperatures over 135f after 10 minutes. Yeah, Yeah, I know, RepRaps are metric, but it’s an easy value to convert, go too it. With water running, the top temp I’ve seen is 115f. It likes to run closer to 100-110f. My longest print so far is close to 4 hours without any problems. Without any cooling (and the copper not installed) I’d start to see jamming problems around 1 hour at .1mm layer height. .3mm layer heights would go much longer without problems. I am guessing that the plastic flow volume keeps pushing the heat down the barrel and doesn’t let the transition zone get too long.
I’ve not weighed the copper, tubing and water to see how much extra this weighs over the fan and mounting hardware.
I may run the water around the extruder, X and Y motors to help cool those. Not that they get hot really.
I think I want to mount some SMD LEDs against the tubing for some neat lighting effects. Just so it looks cool.