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Using thinner than 2.85mm material on Ultimaker 2

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Short answer: NO.

Long answer: It is possible to buy some new 3rd party parts made for 1.75mm and rebuild the printer to use exclusively 1.75mm filament if you have very specific reason for doing it. It will cost you <200€ but you will be unable to use 2.85mm filaments after the conversion.

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I've thought a lot about conversions before, and I think it's easiest to grab a 1.75 mm 24V E3D V6 (with bowden add-on) and a new extruder.

There are a lot of options for extruders out there, but here's what I would recommend:

Very expensive: Bondtech QR (1.75 mm) (remember to select "Ultimaker 1 & 2" for "cable" and pick up a bowden adapter)

Medium range: E3D Titan (remember to tick "1.75mm bowden adapter)

Cheap: @neotko's DIY extruder using bondtech drive gears (UMO/UMO+ or UM2+/UM3 version)

All three are extremely high-performance extruders, and honestly, I would probably go for @neotko's design because it is so much cheaper.

Alternatively, you could wait for E3D to release their 1.75mm Ultimaker extrusion upgrade kit (they already have a 2.85mm version):

1.75mmextrusionupgradekit.PNG.8bf04194548a9fecbd71a7867edbcebf.PNG

1.75mmextrusionupgradekit.PNG.8bf04194548a9fecbd71a7867edbcebf.PNG

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Also, regarding @meduza's very valid point of not being able to use 2.85mm filament again:

If you do it the way I described above, you would (theoretically) be able to swap between printheads (E3D V6 one by Rai here), assuming you having something like the Twisterblocks that allow for calibration-free printhead changes.

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I've thought a lot about conversions before, and I think it's easiest to grab a 1.75 mm 24V E3D V6 (with bowden add-on) and a new extruder.

There are a lot of options for extruders out there, but here's what I would recommend:

Very expensive: Bondtech QR (1.75 mm) (remember to select "Ultimaker 1 & 2" for "cable" and pick up a bowden adapter)

Medium range: E3D Titan (remember to tick "1.75mm bowden adapter)

Cheap: @neotko's DIY extruder using bondtech drive gears (UMO/UMO+ or UM2+/UM3 version)

All three are extremely high-performance extruders, and honestly, I would probably go for @neotko's design because it is so much cheaper.

Alternatively, you could wait for E3D to release their 1.75mm Ultimaker extrusion upgrade kit (they already have a 2.85mm version):

1.75mmextrusionupgradekit.PNG.8bf04194548a9fecbd71a7867edbcebf.PNG

 

Interesting. I saw Bondtech 1.75 adapter, and while I bet it works, I think with third partys, there's always the issue of differencing between 'being able to print' and 'being able to print anything'.

For example, I think noone would be surprised that I dislike very very very much the Adafruit post and claim that 1.75 works on UM2 and UM3. I was thinking about making a post about the why is important to do the things right when modding a printer, but... Dunno I would need more time than what I have lately (christmas!).

But umm let's do a brief resume of what I think why people always confuse 'print' and 'printing UM quality' (to handle a name).

First Adafruit simple change, is crap. Sorry is just what it is. You can't control extrusion to the point of making 'anything' with your printer if your hotend, nozzle, coupler, ALL the system, is adapter to 1.75mm. Why? Well, first of all one of the advantages of 1.75mm is that you can retract less and you can print at lower prints because the amount of the material on the hotzone is always less vs a 2.85 setup. BUT if you don't change the hotzone (nozzle, heater, coupler) then the amount of plastic on the 'critical' zone would be just the same of 2.85. So you end with a fluid that can go up and clog (because hotfluids even when they ain't totally fluid tend to occupy all the room available). This means that you can't control the pressure, you can't control the amount of retraction and you can't control your printer. Ofc it will print, it will print without any control, and if you don't mind printing VERY FREAKING slow, it will print perfectly. Ok... Second problem of Adafruit claims. The bowden. If you don't change the bowden, the 1.75 filament will have room to flex over itself and distribute the pressure from the bowden, that can be high if you want to print as cool as possible and as fast as possible (because when you pass the first 6 months of printing stuff of thingyverse you learn to print and make more usefull and complex prints and you might want to get the best possible print quality not just 'print' boxes. So.. Back to the point. The filament will flex on itself, curving and snapping inside the bowden, of just twisting. This phenomena is called hysteresis (Adafruit please google it).

So.. Extruder. That's another key part in all this. UM2 diamond bolt is made exclusively for 2.85mm filament. And while I don't like how little retractions it can handle on a short period of time (many on the same place) I acknowledge that is an 'ok' feeder (specially with default Cura settings that are made using this). For me 1.75mm filament needs a MK7, E3D hobb-goblin or, afaik, the best a Bondtech Drivegear. I used for 8 months on 2 machines (and on a third for 2 months) MK7. It did work? yea, but I want to print more and more complex prints (normal evolution of a printer) so I wanted to have more control over my printer, ergo, bondtech drivegears (thanks for posting my mods @nerdwarrior).

But... now @Bondtech shows this on their 1.75 filament install manual:

5a33253480e61_Capturadepantalla2016-12-18alas12_31_39.thumb.png.bcb11aaba973a05eb3fd7e0bb87021ea.png

And you think, HEY! I can use the same hotend 2.85 to print 1.75!? F... Yea, ofc, why no? Well, the answer is clear. If you want to print without the advantages 1.75 has, and you want to just print boxes and not have any advantage over using 1.75mm filament, yes, you can. You will have horrible print control, as much dripping as 2.85 and you will need to take it out to do a proper atomic pull everytime you change of material, (because 1.75mm filament will expand to the room available '2.85 hotzone' and you wont be able to push out the filament through the 4-2mm bowden they sell). OFC you could just push and push new filament until all cleans, but, don't be surprised if on the 7cm of 6-3mm bowden the filament snaps due hysteriesis and you need to disassemble everything to keep printing.

To resume...

You can print with anything, but to print PERFECT, you need to control every single aspect of your printer, you neglect one and you end printing boxes... like adafruit. If you want to push your printer to it's limit on the future, you need to have the setup made and tailor for the filament you will use. Anything else will leave parts without control that will sooner or later not allow you to print wherever you want to print.

OFC you can be happy printing really slow, but did you pay 2k to print without any control? A new user will be very happy with the basic profiles, but as soon you need to do something slightly more complex, or you need to tune your settings, there's where you will find the wall of a bad setup.

About E3D, is a good hotend, but only the 1.75mm version has a ptfe liner, and like old PTFE couplers, that part will need replacement fast. I moved all my umo+ printers to UM2+ hotend just because TFM/TFT couplers can last 500-2000h print hours without any issue and with the bondtech gears I can do an almost insane amount of retractions without any issue or mark on my filament.

But... Ofc.. It highly depends on how far you want to go with your printer. Any 800€ printer can print boxes, but not all printers can print fine detail or fast prints without looking horrible. I print everyday 1.75mm on 3 printers, and it took me almost a full year to finish a good working setup and another half year to fine tune everything from gcode to final mods to have them working non stop. Right now I don't even need to touch the printer, just print print print.

And now I need to go back to work, happy printing!

5a33253480e61_Capturadepantalla2016-12-18alas12_31_39.thumb.png.bcb11aaba973a05eb3fd7e0bb87021ea.png

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Impressive post, @neotko. Makes me rethink some things......

Also, this is kind of off-topic, but about the ptfe in the E3D V6: since it only goes down into the heat sink, with the fan blowing on it at all times, shouldn't it have no impact whatsoever (except maybe a smoother bore)? I don't really see why it would need replacing (or am I missing something here?).

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I would personally not downgrade my printer to a E3D V6 hotend (all-metal construction gives worse PLA performance and the nozzle swap is a huge hassle...)

I would rather get a 3rd party 1.75mm Olsson block and coupler, like the ones @gr5 sells, swap the feeder to the 1.75mm version of @neotko's FatIRobertI feeder (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/neotko-fatiroberti-bondtech-feeder-for-um2-um3) and use my printed printhead top piece (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/um2-print-head-top-for-1-75-filament) and a piece of 2-4mm bowden.

That is as close as you can get to a Ultimaker made for 1.75mm filament.

If you do not like to print your own feeders, the E3D titan is a ok budget choice, and the 1.75mm Bondtech QR would probably be the best, but the FatIRobertI gives incredible value for the money.

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Well the tip of the bowden, specially since is just ptfe, will degrade overtime. Just erosion and filament will slowly erode it, but also even with a heat break, heat still can go up, from the filament push/retract (that's why ptfe liner helps avoid clogging a full metal). This means that the liner will get in some or less degree some of that heat. And normal ptfe can degrade over 240+C and some bad ptfe even 200C continued use. The best example is the new um3 cores. They have a very precise small steel heat break followed of a tfm liner, and they have a X amount of life. Ofc a heat break will all last longer but also, heat / erosion/ use. I never used a e3d except on a bad printer long ago for just a month so my experience is very very little. But afaik the only plastic that is almost as slippery as teflon and can resist 300C continuously is PIB (@gudo has a lot of experience on this material and made me a coupler that so far still works).

So, stuff breaks, e3d would just tell you is time for a new hotend, on a um2 you just get a coupler and replace it quite fast. Also changing nozzles (for what @ultiarjan and other say) is as pain in the ass as changing a nozzle on umo). So all depends on how much versatile you want your printer to be (or for what you will use it daily).

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I've thought a lot about conversions before, and I think it's easiest to grab a 1.75 mm 24V E3D V6 (with bowden add-on) and a new extruder.

There are a lot of options for extruders out there, but here's what I would recommend:

Very expensive: Bondtech QR (1.75 mm) (remember to select "Ultimaker 1 & 2" for "cable" and pick up a bowden adapter)

Medium range: E3D Titan (remember to tick "1.75mm bowden adapter)

Cheap: @neotko's DIY extruder using bondtech drive gears (UMO/UMO+ or UM2+/UM3 version)

All three are extremely high-performance extruders, and honestly, I would probably go for @neotko's design because it is so much cheaper.

Alternatively, you could wait for E3D to release their 1.75mm Ultimaker extrusion upgrade kit (they already have a 2.85mm version):

1.75mmextrusionupgradekit.PNG.8bf04194548a9fecbd71a7867edbcebf.PNG

 

Interesting. I saw Bondtech 1.75 adapter, and while I bet it works, I think with third partys, there's always the issue of differencing between 'being able to print' and 'being able to print anything'.

For example, I think noone would be surprised that I dislike very very very much the Adafruit post and claim that 1.75 works on UM2 and UM3. I was thinking about making a post about the why is important to do the things right when modding a printer, but... Dunno I would need more time than what I have lately (christmas!).

But umm let's do a brief resume of what I think why people always confuse 'print' and 'printing UM quality' (to handle a name).

First Adafruit simple change, is crap. Sorry is just what it is. You can't control extrusion to the point of making 'anything' with your printer if your hotend, nozzle, coupler, ALL the system, is adapter to 1.75mm. Why? Well, first of all one of the advantages of 1.75mm is that you can retract less and you can print at lower prints because the amount of the material on the hotzone is always less vs a 2.85 setup. BUT if you don't change the hotzone (nozzle, heater, coupler) then the amount of plastic on the 'critical' zone would be just the same of 2.85. So you end with a fluid that can go up and clog (because hotfluids even when they ain't totally fluid tend to occupy all the room available). This means that you can't control the pressure, you can't control the amount of retraction and you can't control your printer. Ofc it will print, it will print without any control, and if you don't mind printing VERY FREAKING slow, it will print perfectly. Ok... Second problem of Adafruit claims. The bowden. If you don't change the bowden, the 1.75 filament will have room to flex over itself and distribute the pressure from the bowden, that can be high if you want to print as cool as possible and as fast as possible (because when you pass the first 6 months of printing stuff of thingyverse you learn to print and make more usefull and complex prints and you might want to get the best possible print quality not just 'print' boxes. So.. Back to the point. The filament will flex on itself, curving and snapping inside the bowden, of just twisting. This phenomena is called hysteresis (Adafruit please google it).

So.. Extruder. That's another key part in all this. UM2 diamond bolt is made exclusively for 2.85mm filament. And while I don't like how little retractions it can handle on a short period of time (many on the same place) I acknowledge that is an 'ok' feeder (specially with default Cura settings that are made using this). For me 1.75mm filament needs a MK7, E3D hobb-goblin or, afaik, the best a Bondtech Drivegear. I used for 8 months on 2 machines (and on a third for 2 months) MK7. It did work? yea, but I want to print more and more complex prints (normal evolution of a printer) so I wanted to have more control over my printer, ergo, bondtech drivegears (thanks for posting my mods @nerdwarrior).

But... now @Bondtech shows this on their 1.75 filament install manual:

5a33253480e61_Capturadepantalla2016-12-18alas12_31_39.thumb.png.bcb11aaba973a05eb3fd7e0bb87021ea.png

And you think, HEY! I can use the same hotend 2.85 to print 1.75!? F... Yea, ofc, why no? Well, the answer is clear. If you want to print without the advantages 1.75 has, and you want to just print boxes and not have any advantage over using 1.75mm filament, yes, you can. You will have horrible print control, as much dripping as 2.85 and you will need to take it out to do a proper atomic pull everytime you change of material, (because 1.75mm filament will expand to the room available '2.85 hotzone' and you wont be able to push out the filament through the 4-2mm bowden they sell). OFC you could just push and push new filament until all cleans, but, don't be surprised if on the 7cm of 6-3mm bowden the filament snaps due hysteriesis and you need to disassemble everything to keep printing.

To resume...

You can print with anything, but to print PERFECT, you need to control every single aspect of your printer, you neglect one and you end printing boxes... like adafruit. If you want to push your printer to it's limit on the future, you need to have the setup made and tailor for the filament you will use. Anything else will leave parts without control that will sooner or later not allow you to print wherever you want to print.

OFC you can be happy printing really slow, but did you pay 2k to print without any control? A new user will be very happy with the basic profiles, but as soon you need to do something slightly more complex, or you need to tune your settings, there's where you will find the wall of a bad setup.

About E3D, is a good hotend, but only the 1.75mm version has a ptfe liner, and like old PTFE couplers, that part will need replacement fast. I moved all my umo+ printers to UM2+ hotend just because TFM/TFT couplers can last 500-2000h print hours without any issue and with the bondtech gears I can do an almost insane amount of retractions without any issue or mark on my filament.

But... Ofc.. It highly depends on how far you want to go with your printer. Any 800€ printer can print boxes, but not all printers can print fine detail or fast prints without looking horrible. I print everyday 1.75mm on 3 printers, and it took me almost a full year to finish a good working setup and another half year to fine tune everything from gcode to final mods to have them working non stop. Right now I don't even need to touch the printer, just print print print.

And now I need to go back to work, happy printing!

 

Thanks for the heads up @Neotko, our intention was never to say that there is no need to change the other parts in the printhead, of course this must also be done in order to get the desired effect. We will add this to the description in order to make it clearer!

/Martin

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