Bondtech QR Extruder Review
Bondtech QR Extruder
The common problem with extruders today is slippage, and skipping when extruding high speed and high volume, minor clogs can also cause some skipping even if it self-clears.
Bondtech’s QR extruder deals with this by utilizing a dual drive system. A pair of grooved gears counters rotates against either side of the filament providing buckets (the official term for “a lot”) of force. This is further bolstered by a reduction gearbox providing a 1:5 (approx) ratio – more about that later.
- Extruder body with gearbox and stepper
- Tension spring loaded bolt
- Control cable
The spring-loaded bolt that holds the load arm in place is not screwed in place but packaged in a hole next to the extruder body.
The extruder body has a very distinctive feel and a little reading gave a good indication as to why. The main body is SLS 3D printed in nylon, and I must say to a very very high standard.
The drive gears are CNC machined to an equally high precision and the drive teeth are just sharp enough to grip the filament and hold it firm but not so much as to shred your materials.
The second drive gear is built on to the compression assembly and can be removed for easy removal and cleaning.
The extruder can run in either direction as the primary feed path with one side of the feed provided with a factory fitted push fitting and the other side left blank for a groove mount hot end such as an E3D V6, though you can purchase or print adapters for a second push fitting or for a simple guide cone.
Set up, Testing and Thoughts
After removing my usual extruder and prepping to fit the BondtechQR I noticed that I had completely forgotten to print a mount (Yep, no mount included) STL files for the mount are available from the Bondtech website. So back on with the old extruder to print a new mount.
So, on to calibration!
Despite all of its excellent engineering, the extruder was very difficult to tune, especially for retraction and jerk. Seeming to be an artifact of the gearing, whilst in itself not a lot different to the ratio of a Wades the acceleration characteristics are completely different as this is a heavy gearbox.
The quality of engineering is part of what makes this extruder so hard to tune, the tolerances are so tight that any setting that is not perfect for your setup will have a huge impact on your print quality. But when you get it set up, WOW.
Getting the set-up just right for my machine (Custom built delta with a long bowden feed and an E3D hot end) took close to 40 Benchys but it was worth it in the end.
A little example of some of the benchies from disaster to success, notable artifacts being retraction and jerk.
With settings finally spot on I decided to run a relatively long print with a lot of detail and fine layers to really test the resolution this extruder can provide. But first, a little story and a testament to how much torque this extruder can provide.
At some point whilst printing the test Benchys the filament crossed itself and knotted.
Was this a problem for the Bondtech QR… no, it most certainly was not. First, as I keep my reel under the printer on a shelf and feed through a hole in the shelf and up to the extruder it first reeled in the slack. It then proceeded to pull the whole reel tight against the top of the shelf… Was it finished at this point… Oh, no….
So great was the torque of the extruder it started dragging its mount down the printers T-slot frame and when it finally reached the bottom it was still pulling with enough force to make the printer (Weighing over 40lb) begin to tip. At that point, the mount snapped forcing me to print a new mount. So I can honestly say that this extruder certainly has plenty of power, maybe a little too much.
Pictured, a 20 hour print with 0.1mm layer height of John Snow’s Bastard sword, Longclaw from Game of Thrones, well the pommel anyway, in 1:1 scale.
THE KING IN THE NORTH!!, THE KING IN THE NORTH!!, THE KING IN THE NORTH!!… sorry, got a little distracted.
Pros and Cons
- Ease of loading filament (It takes seconds and is zero hassle)
- Excellent engineering
- Multiple mount options
- Difficult to set up and dial in
- No safe-fail (see conclusion)
- Feed guide and mount not included as standard
Despite the difficulty in setup, this is a great extruder! Power overwhelming.. Part of the problem dialing this extruder in stems from the sheer power it can deliver, you have absolutely no room for any kind of error in settings or you end up with one hell of a mess on your hands. If you get it right, it is extremely rewarding, but if you get it wrong, oh boy are you going to have a bad day.
The amount of power is also troublesome in rare situations where your filament may snag on the reel, I have already recounted what happened whilst tuning and would really like to see a clutch as a failsafe.
The price is quite high, at a whopping 135euros (not including VAT) especially considering you do not get a lot of extras (mount, filament guide, and even some cable types being optional extras). Some design choices have been made that simply do not make any sense. The body is, as stated, SLS printed nylon, white nylon, textured and painted to look like cast metal. A set of processes that add huge amounts to the overhead costs but have little to no bearing on performance.
For jobs that need high speed feeds or are using exotic filaments this extruder really shines, this would be an excellent extruder for super high flow applications such as the E3D Volcano.
For the experienced user, especially if you are using exotics or high flow this is an absolute must.
High end recommended.
Big thank you to George at Emvio Enterprises LTD for providing this product for review!
Emvio Engineering is the exclusive distributor of Bondtech products in the UK and Ireland.
Visit their website at https://emvioeng.com/
3D Printer Chat Podcast with Martin of BondTech: https://3dprinterchat.com/podcast/interview-with-bondtech/
For the sake of openness and transparency, this product was provided free of charge from Emvio Engineering / BondTech for review purposes. As I am sure you can see, we review things honestly — praising quality or critiquing where I see potential improvements. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this product, and I am looking forward to continuing our series on Extruders and drives and helping new 3D printing enthusiasts find affordable options for getting into this world.