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How I'm air cooling the extruder motor

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All of my engines were pretty hot while printing, but I was only concerned about my extruder stepper motor, it was just barely possible to touch it.

Instead of reducing the current, I remembered having an old (small) PC fan laying around, and wanted to hook this up to the printer.

The fan is mounted to a bracket, which is in turn mounted on the ultimaker. The power is being sourced by the 19V LED output, but I'm using a LM317 to reduce that voltage to about 14 volts.

This setup has exceeded my expectations, even at long prints the motor only feels a little warm to the touch, WAY less than any of the other steppers.

As you can see, this is just a work in progress I just slapped together. If anyone has other ways of cooling their steppers, let me know!




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Cooling a stepper motor usually doesn't require more than a simple fan blowing at it...

I've done that with a lot larger motors and it was still sufficient. Just make sure the fan blows at the metal back plate of the motor...

If the motor gets really hot even with a fan, then there's probably too much friction on the axle -> lube the thang!

I like the LM317 mount :-P

Are there no spare fan outputs on the UM mainboard? (My UM is shipping... but still in NL atm...)


Also, if you supply the motor with too much current (which is easily possible) you will hear that. The motor makes strange noises when there's too little or too much current. If possible, I'll try making a video when I get my UM


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Great ideas.

Just wondering, how do you guys recommend I mount heat syncs to the x and y motors? Is there some sort of thermal-conductive adhesive I can apply?


Yes, there are some thermal conductive sheets that also have adhesive, but as you can see I have mounted the heatsinks just with wire and a nylon tie.

I will probably put heatsinks in the X and Y motors, but I can't mount the fan, because it interferes with the build platform


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I have a similar setup:


It uses a 24V fan directly on on of the power ports of the Ultimaker's board. Then it runs very quietly and is enough to keep the extruder motor cool.

The mount is made with a zip tie and 2 3mm holes on the back of the machine and some scotch mount tape to avoid vibrations.




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Are the steppers adversely affected by the heat?

The reason I ask is I haven't seen similar motors, in use on CNC machines, needing additional cooling.

Also, are any of you adding acrylic/lexan to the openings of the machine to keep heat inside the build area? I have read a few posts where heat is wanted to keep the build area warm, to prevent PLA from warping

Looking forward to receive and assemble my own machine soon


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The fans just looks cool :cool: the steppers don't need additional cooling at all... :mrgreen:

A motor should be able to run without much problem until either the cable insulation melts or the magnets loose their magnetization, both temperatures are much higher than the temperature the motor reaches.

I haven't measure the actual temperature, but I don't think is higher than 75ºC or so, and that should be completely fine :-P


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I think there's alot of over concern about the motors being hot. It is normal for stepper motors to be hot when running. If they are ran within the OE design parameters they should be OK. I trust that UM wouldn't design the system outside those duty limits. I haven't heard of any steppers burning up and lots of people are running their UM's without any special precaution.

Does anyone have some anecdotal info about UM steppers burning up?



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