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Let's suppose I want to build a water block shaped exactly for my Ubis 13s hot end

Ubis 13 hot end

(similar to this instructable), or that I want to circulate water around specific objects to be cooled (like Water-cooling stepper motor with aluminum block).

CNC allows the use of shaped radiators/water blocks, but it is too expensive for home projects and requires the ability to make a part at the first or second attempt, to keep costs low.

3D printing allows me to design jackets which are perfectly matched to the intended part, including gaps for O-rings or matching valleys+ridges between the components which also would result in a mostly waterproof seal (just add grease or hot glue...). In this case, water would be in contact with the object to cool and also provide (where suitable) a better interface. Corrosion can be avoided with some additives (in case of aluminium, water should be acidic).

Which common printing material is best for this application? Let's limit the question to materials that can be reliably printed at maximum 270 °C (nylon ok, but no polycarbonate or PEEK, for example).

We are talking about very low pressure pumps, mechanical strength is of little relevance.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oooh... I hadn't seen that hot end design, but I really like it. A big limiter to print speeds is the mass of the print head. Smaller/lighter print heads allow for faster movements with fewer "ringing" and jerking effects at the changes, and this hot end looks very light. Couple this with the comment where they also allow some fanless printing (perhaps a much larger fan on the frame to help), and you could end up with a very light print head. $\endgroup$ – Joel Coehoorn Sep 30 '19 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ My plan is to enclose the printing chamber for ABS/nylon printing (and I use trimmer line, which curls even more than normal nylon), so external cooling would be required. Also, I would like to avoid air flow from the hot end fan so close to the printed part. However, the question is about the material, it may be useful in other cases as well. $\endgroup$ – FarO Sep 30 '19 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ As the design is pretty simple from the outside, machining it would be actually pretty simple. Start with the inlet and outlet from the side, flip, start a cylindrical bore of hotend shaft diameter, then bore open to allow flow around the top, add a grove to take a seal topside and in the bottom. put aside. Take a plate, drill core hole, add grove to take seal. Put both parts onto one another in alignment without seal. drill 6 mounting screwholes outside of the grove and tap them in the body. Tap the inlet and outlets. Install the fittings and O-rings. Install hotend. Test. $\endgroup$ – Trish Sep 30 '19 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Trish thanks for the info, but I don't have the facilities for machining. $\endgroup$ – FarO Sep 30 '19 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ You should consider if FFF is the process for creating long term water/coolant tight parts. Constructed from existing tubes as suggested might be a way better solution if you don't have the tools and means to fabricate parts on a lathe. $\endgroup$ – 0scar Oct 6 '19 at 6:31
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I saw a lot of selling PETG water cooling pipes. So PETG will be the best choice considering all factors.

In addition: You could use any plastic with the oil instead of water for cooling medium. Also automotive anti-freeze (G11, G12, G13 ...) designed to be non corrosive and much better than water in terms of cooling.

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