When I started down the route of converting my custom built and badly aging coreXY into the RatRig VCore3 I aimed to re-use as much as possible from the original build. One of those parts was the extruder. I had a Mellow BMG wind which was giving me zero issues on the old printer and therefore I figured I’d save £130 (It is both hot end and extruder) by keeping it rather than getting something new. And honestly it performed well. However it’s bulky shape and short length from extruder motors to nozzle tip meant it had to be mounted sideways onto the EVA carriage and cost me around 50mm of X travel and 40mm of Y travel. On top of this it was quite heavy but more importantly it had quite a lot of the mass quite far from the bearing carriage. This causes ringing to start at much lower speeds and now I had enough hands on time with the VCore3 to know it was well worth putting a bit more cash into I decided it was time to for the lightweight option!
Enter the Orbiter V1.5. I chose the Triangle labs version as my source because I’ve historically got good quality parts from there and because I was ordering a few other bits from there at the same time. First impression when opening the box is that the extruder is well packaged in protective foam and comes with a few allen keys, some bolts and most usefully a connector and some spare crimp terminals for if you need to shorten the wire. Looking at the gears and internals they looked cleanly machined and showed no obvious burrs etc. which are the normal signs of cheap machined parts. The injection moulded body feels robust. Most importantly it feels small and light!
The triangle lab orbiter v1.5 can be purchased from their AliExpress store
- Weight: 150g
- Gear ratio: 7.5:1
- Moons motor (20mm higher torque and current variant)
Selecting the parts required to use the orbiter should be straight forward but I’d spotted a few issues on discord where people were complaining the current released standard of the EVA mount for the orbiter had a bit too much flex in it. As such I opted to head over to the EVA CAD on OnShape and download the bleeding-edge variant. This kindly comes with a warning that it’s not released and as such it is up to the user to determine if it will actually fit/work. The good news is the EVA top for the orbiter from the bleeding-edge cad works lovely but it does require a change to the EVA front plate – Something I didn’t notice until I tried to assemble it. So it’s worth stating here please do take the time to compared closely the CAD to the currently released versions if you are doing an upgrade as you may actually need to change more parts than expected! I prefer to export all the STEP files of the parts I would like to use to Fusion 360 (where I have the most experience and do the rest of my 3d modelling work) to check the assembly with my configuration.
The firmware configuration is nicely documented on the orbiter 1.5 thingiverse page so setting up the values in RRF on my duet was straight forward. Although the Moons motor is not listed here the peak ampage from it’s datasheet aligns to the Wantai one listed in the documentation so I followed that to start with.
- Stepps: 655 stepps / mm @ 16 micro-stepping (for the 7.5:1 gearing ratio)
- Acceleration: 600 mm/s^2
- Maximum instantaneous speed change (jerk): 300 mm/min(RRF), 5 (Marlin)
- Maximum speed: 3600 mm/min
- Pressure advance: 0.03s
- Retraction: 1.2mm (for the volcano V6 hotend)
- Retraction speed: 60mm/s(24V power supply), 30mm/s (12V power supply)
- Motor current:
- 0.5A Peak or 0.35A RMS(LDO-36STH17-1004AHG & LDO-36STH20-0504AHG)
- 0.9A Peak or 0.63 RMS(Wantai 36BYGH218)#
I then took apart the old carriage assembly and popped in the new one and I have got to say the black casing perfectly matches my colour scheme.
I performed the usual extrusion calibration check. I.e marked the filament at 100mm from the top of the bowden coupling and extruded 100mm then checked where the mark was relative to that point. It was bang on – This is to be expected these days, if your extruder values are way off the theoretical values during a basic extruder test then check your maths and the assembly to make sure nothing is obviously wrong. Fine tuning the extrusion multiple can be done later but should be be outside of the range of 0.95 to 1.05 and should really be accounting for variation in filament diameter not your extruder steps.
The first print came out very nicely. I got zero slips or jams and the added bonus that my whole printer moved a bit more dynamically due to the high jerk value you can run this extruder at (as specified by the designer) meaning my extruder was not a limiting factor any more. I did have a small amount of over-extrusion but my previous experience with this filament brand and material (PETG) tells me I will want to dial that back to around 0.97 in the future anyway. I didn’t see any telltale signs of badly machined gears manifesting themselves in the parts and due to the whole assembly being lighter I got a bit less ringing (with all resonance compensation/input shaping disabled) compared to my previous setup.
Loading and unloading the printer is quite nice. I generally didn’t find that the filament got caught up on bits as it passes into the extruder which is an annoying trait of many other extruders I’ve used. I would of liked to have seem a toggled release rather than requiring the user to fully unscrew or manually compress the tensioner to load the filament but this is a rather minor critisism. The bowden coupling works nicely, It is relatively easy to release the tube from it (a major gripe of mine often leading me to removing it and replacing it with a printed guide on other extruders) however I may remove it entirely at a later date as it really isn’t required on a direct drive setup as there is very little force pulling the filament feed tube away from the extruder.
I tested the extruder on PLA, ABS and PETG without a problem. I have not tested in on any flexible filaments just yet as I don’t typically print them and therefore don’t have any in stock right now. The constrained filament path should be promising for using with flexibles however the EVA design undoes a bit of this due to the 40mm or so bowden tube between the extruder and hot end. I tested up to speeds of 180mm/s (infil) and 120mm/s (external) with a 0.4mm nozzle and the extruder had no issues keeping up.
In conclusion I’d say the orbiter v1.5 is a good all round extruder. If you are looking to reduce weight for a cost effective package then I would definitely recommend it. The fact it comes with nice moulded parts gives confidence that the quality should be repeatable when ordering from Trianglabs. Only time will tell if the hardened gears can last but visual inspection gives a positive feeling that they will.
(Note this is not a sponsored post, the part was purchased from aliexpress store using my own money based on my research which determined it to be the best value to peformance option for the EVA system)