One choice that looked interesting was Terawatt Industries' 00str00der belt-driven extruder kit. It was a drop-in replacement for my Wade's gear drive extruder, and their kit seemed to include everything for an easy build. I considered printing the parts myself, (models found on thingiverse here) and sourcing all of the parts from the various sources. But, after taking into account parts costs and shipping, it wasn't a bad deal to buy the complete kit directly from Terawatt Industries. I also upgraded the motor at the same time- replacing my original small Nema 17 stepper I bought from the industrial surplus house and moved to a larger "standard" size Nema 17 stepper.
Unfortunately, the kit didn't come with any instructions, and those found online either on reprap.org or Terawatt's site were not very complete. I took photos and notes during assembly of my kit, hopefully they'll be helpful to someone.
|Kit, as received from Terawatt Industries|
|Kit Printed Parts|
|Extruder Belt Drive Kit "Vitamins"|
|Cleaning out filament hole|
|Stepper Bolted on|
|Pulley in place|
|Hobbed Bolt in position- note hobbing is directly aligned with filament path|
Step 6: Attach belt. To get the belt on, I removed the small pulley, put the belt on the large pulley, and carefully slid the small pulley back into position with the belt in place.
Step 8: Assembly Idler. Insert 8mm threaded stud into remaining 608 bearing, and press into idler. The idler required some cleanup with a x-acto knife for the 8mm threaded stud to fit. Press captive nut into idler body.
|Other hardware for idler|
|Captive nut in place|
|Cleaning out nut traps|
|M4 nuts in nut traps|
Step 11: Install 4mm tensioner screws, washers, and rubber "springs"
|Idler tension screws installed|
|Extruder body attached to mounting plate|
|M4 screw detail|
|Old extruder removed, tail end of hot-end visible|
|New extruder bolted into position with stepper installed|
|Mounting bolt detail|
|Idler & hobbed bolt install|
|Pulleys and belt re-installed|
|Extruder backside detail|
Overall, the belt-drive 00str00der was an easy build and upgrade. My initial prints have looked pretty good, but I don't have enough data to say whether it improves part quality in a big way. At the very least it should be a more durable option, eliminating the need for extruder gear replacements. More details and a final opinion to follow.