3Drag K8200: the most amazing Mods and Hacks

By on April 17, 2014
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Some weeks ago we launched our contest to see what you can do with a 3Drag printer and some results to achieve. With this post, we are showcasing you some cool stuff made by 3Drag fans: you can already find much hacks and mods for this 3D printer across the Internet, and some of these deserve much attention for two main reasons: the first, it is simple to replicate the result of these operations; the second, you can hack a printer this way with things that you can find at home, in your toolbox.

You can look at these hacks to inspire yourself, or just to check if hacking a 3D printer (a 3Drag!) is somewhat as easy as eating a slice of cake. And, well, if you are brave enough to try all by yourself and send us your personal result, you can even win our competition about hacking a 3Drag.

An extruder for liquid materials

If you have to print some unusual stuff, you’ll need some unusual material, right? And to print with this unusual material, in this specific case (a K8200 3D printer) you’ll need a special extruder. +Lab is the technical 3D printing lab of the Polytechnic of Milan, and they crafted a thing that astonished me so much: they made an extruder for liquid materials. Maybe someone already dsubid it, and with better results, but the fact that this is entirely made by italian people (my country!), and that I could know them, really makes me proud of this completely hand and “fan” made product.3Drag liquid materials extruder

The concept of this component is simple: we have a stepper motor, a stepper connection and a syringe that can carry up to 100ml of extrudable material. Clearly, if we zoom in our point of view we can see a complicated implementation that ensures you can exchange syringes and much more. To see a demo, you can look at the photos made by +Lab (they made an whole Flickr album): the syringe can extrude viscous substances and as we can see the result is very nice, as all of these tracks are correctly (well, sort of) stackable.

Clearly, we don’t know if we will see this on our 3D printers soon, but however this is such amazing (and opens a new world of possibilities), huh? :D

K8200 / 3DRAG Parallel Z-Axis Spindle Gear

I noticed it when I built a RepRap in my office: 3D printers need to be set up in a very specific way in order to avoid wobbly movements and errors in the printing process. For this purpose, we modded our printer with some screws and some reinforcements in order to make it more heavy, strong and difficult to move. This 3Drag user built a Z-axis spindle gear keeping a philosophy in mind: he wanted to bring changes to the printer as less as possible, to keep it close to the original model keeping the hardware upgradable in an “official” way.

When I had noticed that the extension-arm extremly wobbles when the printer quickly changes directions, i realized that the missing Z-guidance on right site is responsible for that. So, the main target is to reduce/eliminate this wobbling.

Amazing: if you apply this tiny hack, you won’t have to complain about a wobbly result anymore (and you printer will remain “uninvaded”).

K8200 3Drag Gear Cover

If there’s an annoying thing about having a 3D printer, that is the maintainance phase: you need to keep things in order, and to clean periodically the gears and the plate. Fortunately, you can spend less energies on these tasks while cleaning your 3Drag thanks to Tomas Kruger: this guy build a simple cover for the extruder gears of the 3Drag, so you can sleep soundly while your printer is in function, because the dirt on the plate and in the extruder will be much less.

The extruder gears of the K8200 / 3Drag requires lubrication, which unfortunately causes debris to fall down on to the printing plate. This gear cover is intended to keep things cleaner.

So, in this way you can print whatever you want and stop worrying about your printer that usually throws things through all the room (and eventually on the plate, while printing… that’s a bad thing, baaad thing): with the Gear Cover all the dirt from the extruder gears will be saved in one place, ready to be thrown away. Surely, in my office, people of cleaning service will stop complaining about the dirt that we bring ourselves all along the room, when we print something.

New z-Motor-Holder for the Velleman K8200 or 3Drag

In terms of huge hacks to the printer, a 3Drag can be modified widely and deeply. Matthias Stolt has developed a motor holder for the Z-axis, similar to the spindle gear we saw above, but with a different technique. We can read better from the official description of the files:

The original holder for the z-Axis-Stepper-Motor is a plain aluminium bracket. This bracket let the motor move a bit in z-Axis direction. This movement causes wiggles on the z-Axis of printed objects, because some layers gets compressed and others expanded a bit. With the new motor holder these wiggles are gone :) The original inspiration came from a post from “edirol” in the Velleman support forum. Thanks to him. I redesigned it in openSCAD because i wanted to use M3 nuts and bolts to assemble to two parts.

3Drag z-axis motor holder

Exactly as the other, this hack is meant to reduce inertial motions that would impact on the extrusion process, and to achieve , clearly, through this, a better overall quality of the final printed object. You can find all the details on how to stop your printer to wiggle that way: this is something I could definitely apply to mine too.

K8200 Enclosure Parts

If you need to keep things cleaner, probably you will want to build an enclosure for your 3Drag: this will allow you to avoid pieces of PLA through the whole room, but it will be an amazing chance to build something that makes the printer beautiful to look at. Rini Mommers designed the basic structure to build one of these cabinets, and you can download all the files to print your own.

I thought this was a relatively practical aspect to help keeping things cleaner, but I realised thinking about the cabinet that this can take us to a new scope for printer’s modding: once you have build the cabinet yourself, indeed you can decorate the glass with neons and other nice lights. Do you remember the modding aspect about computer cases? Well, if you were loving your sparkling case some years ago, you’ll be loving your sparkling 3D-printing enclosure now.

Please note, however, this is still a work in progress: files and other stuff might change through time, and you are encouraged to check the original page to periodically see if there are better components uploaded.

Have you got inspiration for your new 3Drag-based hack? Please, send us all: we’ll be glad to review it ;-)

About Alessio Biancalana

A nerd that likes very much to tinker and solve problems.