Makergear Extruder Batch 5

Yesterday I finally started assembling my extruder that will be mounted on one of my mills.

It’s uses a stepper with a gear box to control flow rather than a dc motor that uses pressure like a Makerbot.

-Plastruder ~ $180.00
-Stepper controller
-A few pounds of material to work with. I got some black and some orange.

It’s actually pretty satisfying bolting these plastic chunks together with springs, ball bearings and bolts. I can’t wait to be making this sort of stuff.

Makergear google group

I joined this group the other day (I suppose Friday 11th, Feb, 11) since I’m anxiously awaiting my plastruder from them. It was a little tricky making sure that I had everything I needed from their site. We’ll see if I have all the stuff when I try to connect it to my CNC.


I just learned that my new extruder from MakerGear was shipped today!
I’m so excited I can’t stand it!

I’m going to attach it to my CNC mill and make plastic parts (I hope).

I don’t know how long it will take to ship to NY but I’m very excited
to receive it and get it going.

My mill is run by Mach 3. Anybody have experience with that?

I also have EMC2. What about that one?

My extruder has a stepper motor. What do I connect the stepper
controller to? A pin on parallel port?

My project page is It has all my projects of
making things.

Darcy Whyte

Marauder Extruder/Mill


I realize that it’s pretty involved to make even a simple CNC mill for cutting plastics and wood. There are nice open source projects such as the Mantis. But for some reason, there is still a high enough complexity that projects are not getting done in my community (despite the low cost of the project). Perhaps the functionality of these projects isn’t compelling enough for people to make the commitment.

So I am setting out to make an open source design that is both a CNC cutter AND a plastic extruder (like a reprap or a makerbot-cupcake (thing-o-matic)). It will have both an endmill and a spindle.

Here’s the plan as it stands (feedback, ideas and collaborators welcome!):

  • Marauder will have a work area of about 11 x 8.5 x 3″.
  • It will be possible to tote it around.
  • It will be based on inexpensive parts.
  • Construction methods will use common tools.

I expect to build many prototypes during the design phase. I’m supposing I’ll sell a few of them during the process.

I have no set timeline. I’ve been working on this for about a month.

Marauder is the current project working name. Naming the project isn’t a priority but I’m sure something will drop out of the process.

Makerbot (Thing-o-matic)


I want a Makerbot Cupcake or a RepRap. Now that I have a CNC mill, I think it would be easier to just add a plastic extruder to it.

Andrew Plumb suggested (a couple of months ago) that I get one of these.

I also need to work out the software chain for this stuff. Any feedback there? My mill is on Mach III at the moment. I intend to convert it to EMC2. Are there any projects that use this stuff?

Jan 21, 2011 update: I have purchased the extruder that Andrew suggested. I also got some 3mm filament to to with it.

Controller: I guess I need to get some sort of controller for this stepper so that I can connect it to a parallel pin on the controller computer.

Heater: What to get for the heater in the extruder? Does that get controlled by a controller or is there a manual setting on a typical cupcake machine? Do I need to know the temperature? Do I need something to display that?

Software: I’ve been using Sketchup and a few other tools to run the CNC mill. How to control the extruder? Is this the A axis? What does this mean when generating the g-code? What is the required chain of programs to get this done?