Sunday, March 1, 2015

Printing your E3D v6 Adapter for Printrbot Simple Metal

Part of a series on installing the hotend.

Download the Adapter

Jimmy Hartanto (aka Aistaca) designed a simple perfect adapter for getting your new hotend to mate with your classic extruder. So hop on Thingiverse and download the E3D v6 Adapter for Printrbot Simple Metal by Aistaca now. Yes Thingiverse is run by Takerbot, but the piece we want is Creative Commons because Aistaca is a good and generous human person.

Print it Several Times

Precision is key to this piece. I've you got the time and patience you'll want to try printing this piece until you get a perfect fit. Aistaca suggests just permanently gluing the adapter in place if you don't get a good fit, but I'm hoping to avoid that. I printed these adapters while I was waiting for the hotend to arrive.
Did you print enough extras?
Every printer and ever slicer seems to interact differently but I have found that Cura with a flow multiplier of 90% produces perfectly measured pieces for me so I printed 3 variations from Cura generated code. For me Slic3r seems to print everything just a little too fat. Pieces are a little too big and holes are a little too small so I printed 2 variations from Slic3r generated code just in case.

Glue It?

Like I said, I wanted to avoid gluing, but if you want to that's your choice. Maybe you only can manage to get one adapter printed and you need to make it work. It shouldn't be an issue. The hotend should stay super cool at the top so the glued contact isn't any different than unglued. Additionally, you are only gluing it to the heat sink so you could replace that cheaply if you wanted to upcycle your hotend for a different printer.

Test Fitting

At this point you should have your hotend. Not much you can do beyond here without it. You see the little black plastic nozzle thing at the top of your hotend? Your adapter is going to sit around it. It doesn't need a tight fitting there because it is not a support structure, but it'll help keep your adapter centered so it is important that it fits and is properly sized.

Yes, four adapters in this photo.
You should have also got a length of PTFE tube with your shipment (it looks like a cheap straw). This will fit in the black plastic nozzle as well as your newly printed adapter. Try it in your adapter now and see if it fits. It should slide in and out cleanly without any hassle. Again this isn't a support structure, but it needs to stay centered. If the adapter fits over the black nozzle and the PTFE tube fits cleanly your print is good. If it doesn't, try again.

Fit in Your Printrbot

Make sure you hotend is cool, remove your Ubis hotend. and fit in the adapter. You might have to detach your extruder to get to all the pieces but it'll probably fit well. When your adapter is in the extruder there is a good amount of room for the E3D hotend to still make contact. It isn't a lot, but it is plenty.
Loosen up this screw and the Ubis hot end should fall out.
You can see here that the space below the adapter.

From here you can reattach your extruder, attach the hotend, and make sure the hotend is securely in place. If the hotend doesn't seem secure you can go one of three routes:
  1. Print a new smaller adapter.
  2. File some bits off your printed adapter to make it smaller.
  3. Glue the adapter to your hotend (see above).
Looking good in position.

Adapter Done

Cool, now continue to assemble the E3D v6.


  1. Hi, this is really a great document. Thank you so much for putting this together with such care. I bought a E3D lite because the super fragile nichrome wire in my Ubis snapped while I was cleaning the nozzle. This means I don't have a printer to make an adaptor. So I'm wondering ... since you printed a bunch of the adaptors I suppose that you have some that you don't need. Would you be willing to send one to me? I would cover shipping and a reasonable fee for your time. --Adam