Upgrading Mendel 90 to E3D hotend

After a few months of frustration with the Magma hotend, which can print ABS and nylon but not PLA, I decided to try the E3D hotend.

That's a big heatsink

That’s a big heatsink

Unfortunately, it didn’t just drop in. The heatsink on the E3D hotend doesn’t have the same groove as the Magma (the magma groove matches a J-Head). The lip on the top is thinner and the groove is larger. With the Mendel 90 wades extruder, the groove thickness isn’t important but the lip being thinner means that the E3D hot end isn’t fully secured with the narrower lip. I modified and printed a new wades extruder by changing to “function jhead_groove_offset() = 3.8;” in scad/vitamins/hot_ends.scad

Shallower indent on new wades extruder (red)

Shallower indent on new wades extruder (red)

The included 30mm fan duct also doesn’t fit on the Mendel 90 right next to the wingnuts. I redesigned the X carriage in the same vein as this modified one on thingiverse. My X-Carriage uses LM10UU so I couldn’t go with that x-carriage.

Fan mounted on new X carriage.

Fan mounted on new X carriage.

Fan and hot end. The wingnuts were replaced with M4 nuts later.

Fan and hot end. The wingnuts were replaced with M4 nuts later.

I created a new fan duct in OpenSCAD inspired by the used with the X-carriage above, except mine ducts the fan directly to the E3D fan heatsink. It took a few iterations to get the shape correct and fitting, and with reasonable support material. The Cura auto-generated support material was fine for the print, but I broke the duct in half trying to remove it.

Fan duct with support material.

Fan duct with support material.

Fan duct assembled on printer.

Fan duct assembled on printer.

My first print was ABS because it’s what I had on the printer. PLA also prints well. I figured I’d test my 2nd PLA print with this hotend by printing at 60 microns (0.06mm layer height).


Head from “Black Dynamite Bust” on thingaverse printed at 0.06mm layer height

This was printed at 50mm/sec using a fan off to the side of the printer. I need to get a fan duct if I’m going to do PLA much more.

So far this hot end has been working well for me. I perhaps have too much cooling on it with the high-airflow 40mm fan. The increased length has reduced my Z height by about 12mm though.


My Mendel90 modifications for E3D hotend and LM10UU are now on thingiverse.

  1. #1 by nilshesseils Hesse on March 17, 2014 - 5:22 pm

    Nice work!
    Is there any chance to get the STLs or source files for the fan duct? Is the distance from the fan to the hotend on your carriage the same as the distance on the thingyverse-linked-carriage?


    • #2 by sphereinabox on March 18, 2014 - 7:01 am

      My fan duct is specific to the dimensions on my modified X carriage. The openscad file could be modified to match if you knew where the fan was on theirs.

      I might post them to thingiverse this weekend, but it’s an oddly specific set of files so I’m not sure the appeal. My files would be for a Mendel 90 with LM10UU carrriage and modified wades extruder for shorter hot end groove and a custom fan duct. The openscad file for the carriage crashes openscad and pulling apart the includes in the nophead source so someone from thingiverse could find them useful will take some effort.

    • #3 by sphereinabox on April 20, 2014 - 5:42 pm

      I’ve uploaded my fan duct, X carriage, and sligntlly modified wades extruder to thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:304863

      I’ve also uploaded the openscad file for the duct so you can tweak it if needed.

  2. #4 by Jeremy on April 1, 2014 - 4:34 pm

    Hi ,

    I’m building a mendel90 with an E3D hotend, just wondering how you wire the fan for the hotend ? Do you use the spare wire on the ribbon cable ?

    Thanks heaps

  3. #5 by Jeremy Krieg on April 1, 2014 - 5:01 pm

    Hi, the duct looks heaps cool !

    I’m building a mendel90 with an E3D, I’m just wondering where you connected the fan wires (did you use the spare wire on the ribbon cable), are you using a bed fan (that is attached onto the x- carriage ) ?

    thanks heaps – im a complete noob

    • #6 by sphereinabox on April 14, 2014 - 7:01 am

      I only have one fan on the x carriage pointed at the heatsink, which is wired directly to 12V so it’s always on. I didn’t get the ribbon cable wired because I didn’t find a way to make the PCB, so I’m not using the ribbon cable.

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