Assembling the Dual extruder on the Ultimaker

Here we are, ready to start assembling the dual extruder, Luckily the wikilooks as good as the original one, and we are optimistically following it ;-)

Part 1:Disassembling

For the assembly of the complete ultimaker we almost only had to use a single hex driver, while disassembling the extruder needs a wider set of tools. I thought breaking things was easier? ;)

Step 1:the first step is quite easy, you need to disassemble the extruder, and while this made us a little disappointed (it’s never nice to destroy what you very tediously had to built) it was not difficult. We only had problems with the bowden tube that never behaves when trying to unplug it and the pictures were probably of the newer version so it was slightly different (no black injection molded clip for us, just the grey original clip).

The instructions are very clear on labeling every part to ease things out afterwards, be careful when choosing a marker to label the cables of the cartridge heater as it tends to rub off easily (ours did, we had to guess afterwards!)

Now you have the hot end disassembled, and there are some wires to move to make place for the new hot end. And finally it’s time to BUILD something! What a relief ;-)

Part 2: Assemble printhead

The first thing that strikes us is the new shiny hot end near our old one…yuck

Dear old hot end, you bravely show the signs of a long and hard life. Don’t fret, there will still be many adventures in your future…

Just a picture of the hot end in the aluminum block, in the original is taken from a point of view that makes difficult understand ho the block is really oriented.

IMG 2095


The new hot end is fairly easy to assemble, and you only have to pay attention to the position of the wires and how to make all the pieces fit (tightly) under the wooden plate. I’m concerned about all those wires touching the alluminum block, but the original picture is identical so I guess I’m just too nervous…

Step 2: now we have to assemble the circuit boards on the wooden plate, and very kindly we are given clear instructions on how to distinguish the wooden plates that form the new head. By coincidence, we now are the proud owners of an “italian-flag-print-head”

IMG 2098

The small wooden house is different from the other, so no possibility of recycling the old one as we hoped. The shape is roughly the same but the various pieces have been inverted.

In 10 minutes we managed to dirty our hands, a small rag and the wooden plates with the grease that had build on the linear bearings. Yuck. Luckily Jonathan had a black t-shirt so the grease marks don’t show, I had a nice lavander dress and payed attention to stay far away during this part ;)

IMG 2102
Step 3: putting it all together!

This part is tricky, mostly because of the tight space you have to manouvre the cables while pressing the pieces of wood together (after taking them apart in the previous step, sigh).

The problems come when you finally tighten the long screws to make everything come together, but the middle wooden plate bends and everything looks crooked…

The instructions clearly state that the bowden tubes must stick out of the middle plate by aproximately 10mm. We used the ruler to measure exactly and the plates would not screw back together, there was simply too much space between the middle and bottom plate so the screws could not reach. We tried several times and finally adjusted the length of the bowden tubes sticking from to middle plate to just 3-4mm, just like the pictures in the wiki showed (and not how the text told us!)

Step 4: the axis…

Fairly nice, just some “twister” game with the various axes, the “C” parts and the sliding head.

Part 3: Assemble material feeder

I was surprised to see some manicured lady nails in the wiki, in step 1.2 you clearly see pink nails pushing the bearings in the corresponding holes. While I’m always happy to see some girls doing 3d printing (and some pink!) this lady is much wiser and I’d learned from the past that pushing bearings with your fingers is never a good idea. First you hurt your fingers (and possibly the manicured nails) and second you always end up with a crooked bearing because it’s impossible to slide it in horizontally. So, thanks for including a lady in your wiki dear Ultimaker, but you could have done it in another step or at least showed a wise lady that uses a bench vise ;) (and BTW gold nails are much more fashionable)

As in the general instructions the drive bolt assembly is very well documented, with clear diagrams on how to fit the various washers.


Everything went fine in this part, with the exception of one point (step 3.4) where an old reference to a wooden part (when now all of the feeding mechanisms is plastic) confused us a bit. The choice of having an extruder completely made of plastic made us very happy, the wooden one was easily ruined.

Mounting the new extruder was easy for us because we already had the slot, but the wiki shows a mounting plate you should 3D print if your machine is older and does not have the slots. Unluckily they don’t give a clear link from where to download this file. I wonder if this is because it’s on thingiverse and now Ultimaker wants to migrate to Youmagine…

The new extruder looks awesome, and the machine is strange with two different extruders.

Time to reconnect the cables, wrapping all up in the spiral thing and pushing everything in place.


There is a stepper driver to push in place in the main circuit board (no soldering needed, yeah!!) and the heater cartridges cables must be screwed in the right place. This is when you find out that the pen marking you have done previously have completely rubbed off and there is no way to trace back where the cables come from…
Luckily the older cables are twisted so we had a good guess at which was which, but please, use a better marker ;)

Almost there!! Just the fan origami plastic to cut (we must upgrade to a 3d printed one like I’ve seen on thingiverse) and you are ready to put the ultimaker back on it’s feet!

And you are done!! The last step is the calibration, and it’s pretty straight forward. The ulticontroller upgrade and the rest of that part is not well described, but it will be part of another post.


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