So we had a chance to test the powerful little extruder from Bondtech and opted for the Ultimaker 2 upgrade. This is the newer version with a spring loaded quick release system, hence the “QR”. As some readers have experienced with the Ultimaker 2, it sometimes comes with an under powered extruder. If your not up to buying the new upgrade kit of the Ultimaker 2, Bondtech could be a practical fix. The Bondtech upgrade for Ultimaker 2 comes in two flavours, 1.75mm and 2.85mm. I opted for the 1.75mm since I only want to carry one size filament for all my printers anyway.
Upon opening the box you’ll notice the extruder itself is SLS 3D printed very sturdy with a good build quality and aesthetically pleasing. All the parts you need are included and instructions can be found online at the bottom of the shop page.
It’s a very straight forward setup process and people with limited/no electronic experience should also have no trouble. That being said, the only problem with the setup tutorial was the Cura integration. The online instructions prompt you to use the provided Cura setup files but the newer versions of Cura do not allow this. This isn’t much of a problem, just be sure to adjust your new extruder’s current(electrical) settings, print speed and extrusion multiplier settings.
I used simplify3D for the test and found 100mm/s print speed to work well with 1.38 extrusion multiplier and modify your G-code settings so the first line looks like this <M907 E1200> which alters the current output to your stepper. All that being said even though I’m running the printer at a comfortable 100mm/s which works fine, the extruder itself is more then capable of doing more. It will extrude beyond what the Ultimaker can keep up with, I’ll explain more down below.
The Ugly! Not much to say here as the extruder over all works very well but I notice the extruders teeth in which it grabs the filament gets clogged up and slips sometimes. The tooth cuts are not that aggressive and the extruder does heat up quite a bit. I suspect that heat conducts through the shaft of the stepper motor to the feeder gear and softens the plastic a bit, enabling it to strip small amounts of material clogging the teeth.
I ended up putting some heat sinks on mine but a better cooling solution might help. Just keep an eye on it when changing filament and you use a small brass brush to clean the gears once a while and you should be fine. Another then that it’s an expensive piece of kit and I get it! Good build quality, attention to detail and well engineered but should come with a bit better presentation in packaging for the price range.
As previously mentioned the stock Ultimaker stepper motor that drove the extruder would often click back while extruding which leads to under-extruded prints and definitely not a desirable outcome.
Bondtech does a fantastic job of addressing this with great extruding results and improved the prints over the stock Ultimaker. It can greatly improve print speeds due to consistent and excellent extrusion force and none of that back stepping. The force of the Bondtech extruder is so great that while experimenting with the product I broke several bowden tubes, striped them right out of the adapters.
You can really see the power difference if you go too far with settings, this extruder mod has quite a bit of torque for future upgrades to your printer. I’m curious to try this as a direct drive extruder as feel with the right setup could hit some pretty extreme speeds.
They also make extruder upgrades for a large variety of other printers and I can see them taking the lead as far as aftermarket extruders go. Even the price being as it is if it’s in your budget it’s well worth it.
You can find BondTech on Amazon.