LABS Experimental Extruder
How much is the MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder?
$299 Purchase here
What comes with the MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder?
1 LABS Extruder with the Modified Thermal Core
1 Spare Nozzle Tube Assembly
1 Spare Extruder PTFE Tube
1 L-Key for Nozzle Set Screw Removal
1 Nozzle Removal Tool
1 Aux Port PTFE Tube
How do I install the MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder?
Please make sure your METHOD is running the latest firmware.
Take out the extruder that you currently have in extruder slot 1 and insert the LABS extruder instead.
Your METHOD will ask you to calibrate the extruders. Please make sure both extruder nozzles are 100% clean to ensure accurate calibration.
How can I change the nozzle of the MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder?
The MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder is designed so the nozzle is easily swappable. This allows you to try other nozzle types in the future and it also allows for easy swapping of damaged nozzles. There are a few simple steps to replacing the nozzle
The experimental extruder is designed so the PTFE tube and nozzle are easily swappable if problems arise from wear or trying new materials. There are a few simple steps to replacing them.
It is much easier to remove the nozzle when the extruder is still hot, this prevents any excess plastic from acting as a glue between the extruder core and the nozzle. Take care when handling the hot extruder, the plastic is safe to touch but the aluminum core and nozzle can burn. Using a pair of cloth work gloves is recommended.
Loosen the set screw.
Loosen the set screw that holds the nozzle in place. It only needs to be turned about 5 full rotations to release it. The screw should not be completely backed out of the hole.
Loosen and remove the nozzle.
Slide the nozzle removal tool into the grooves below the nozzle. After it is slid in, use the tool to pry the nozzle free. The nozzle can then be pulled out of the extruder.
Remove the Nozzle PTFE tube.
After the nozzle has been removed, allow the extruder to cool to the touch. You can use the thin end of the removal tool to get access to the PTFE tube, pull this out the back of the extruder.
Bend back the new PTFE tube and slide it into the extruder.
Bend back the new PTFE tube and slide it into the extruder.
When the PTFE tube is inside the extruder the new nozzle can be slid into the extruder. Be sure the PTFE tube flowers outward as this helps create the seal of the extruder. Use the small end of the nozzle removal tool to help bend back the parts of the tube. Once all are bent outward, push the extruder nozzle back into the extruder.
Be sure the nozzle is pressed all the way into the extruder.
A flat surface can be used to press down on to make sure the nozzle is seated. Do not use steel, stone, formica, or any other hard surface to press the nozzle in or you may damage it. Wood or plastic is perfect.
Hand tighten the screw to ensure the nozzle is locked in place.
The set screw is a M3, it does not take a lot of torque to tighten it sufficiently. Excessive torque can easily strip the aluminum threads.
The nozzle is now replaced but does require you to initiate a calibration routine via the Method Touch screen.
How do I slice for the MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder?
To slice for the LABS Extruder, you will need MakerBot Print 4.5 or higher.
Select “LABS Extruder” under “Extruder Slot 1” in MakerBot Print.
When the LABS extruder is selected, you will have access to a wider range of print settings. We highly recommend using filaments that have been qualified by our partners. You will find a list with all qualified materials and print settings in this Thingiverse Group.
If you plan to slice frequently for a certain material, we recommend saving a custom print profile for it (instructions here).
Are there print modes in MakerBot Print for the LABS materials?
There are currently no print modes for LABS materials in makerBot Print. Most materials work well with one of our default material modes with just a few settings adjustments. We publish these settings in our Thingiverse Group for MakerBot LABS. Soon, we will also be offering a downloadable guide that will list all the materials that have been qualified for MakerBot LABS as well as the print settings.
What kind of filaments can I print with the MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder?
MakerBot is working with several leading filament companies to qualify materials for the MakerBot LABS extruder. An up-to-date list with qualified materials and print settings can be found in this Thingiverse Group.
How do I load third-party filament into the MakerBot LABS Experimental Extruder?
Filament from our partners can be loaded into METHOD through the aux port on the top left side of the machine.
You can download and print a special filament mount that will allow you to hang the spool on the side of the printer (files ABS and Tough). The LABS extruder comes with a short PTFE tube that attaches to the aux port and the mount. The purpose of this tube is to reduce routing friction and protect the printer finish (instructions here).
For materials that are hydroscopic (absorb moisture from the air) like the Jabil PETG ESD, for example, we recommend buying the Polymaker PolyBox. A longer PTFE tube to connect the PolyBox to your METHOD is available here.
What do I need to do when switching between different filaments?
If you switch between filaments, we recommend that you always run some MakerBot material through the extruder in between. This will clear the extruder from any left over filament and avoid getting jams. You should always choose a MakerBot filament that is close to the last filament you printed with. For example, if you printed with ABS ESD and you want to switch to PETG Carbon, just run some MakerBot ABS through the extruder before you load the PETG CARBON.
What is the difference between MakerBot materials and the materials from your LABS partners?
MakerBot materials for METHOD have been tested for several thousand hours to achieve a very high standard of reliability and print quality. For our precision materials, we guarantee a finished part dimensional accuracy of 0.02mm.
MakerBot LABS materials are qualified by our partners. While we maintain a high standard for the approval of these materials, the testing is a little more limited than for our MakerBot materials. We mainly focus on print quality with MakerBot LABS materials, but do not perform the more extensive lifetime and dimensional accuracy testing that we perform with our MakerBot branded materials.
Where can I find out about new materials that have been qualified for the MakerBot LABS Extruder?
We post new materials and print settings in the MakerBot LABS Thingiverse Group. Very soon we will also be offerings downloadable materials guide.
Can I only print materials from your partners?
No, the MakerBot LABS extruder turns your METHOD into an open materials platform, which means that you can print with any material. We do, however, recommend that you use materials from our partners, since these materials have gone through testing and we publish print settings for them to make sure you will have a good experience.
Where can I buy the materials from your partners?
We currently don’t resell any of the materials from our partners, but you can find all of them at Matterhackers.com or at the reseller of your choice.
Why does the MakerBot LABS Extruder not come with a warranty?
We conduct extensive lifetime testing with our MakerBot materials in order to meet our warranty requirements for the METHOD extruder. Since the LABS extruder allows you to print with any material, we do not know what you are printing with and therefore can’t guarantee a certain lifetime. Since we know that in the majority of cases failure will be caused by the PTFE tube or nozzle, we made it easier to remove both on the LABS extruder and even include a spare nozzle and PTFE tube, so you can easily swap both. This design change can significantly extend the lifetime of your extruder when printing with exotic materials.