I were quite happy with the performance on my previous extruder mechanism, although it was supposed to be temporary. Combined with the J-Head I got very nice prints for a while.
After a bit of research I ended up buying a Bulldog Lite Extruder from their Indiegogo campaign and was pleasantly surprised that they shipped them right away with no waiting at all. Although a bit heavy it's beautifully machined and well put together. The "Lite" comes without the gearbox which makes it a bit lighter, but is only suitable for 1.75mm filament. Secondly I ordered the E3D v5 hotend which has gotten great reviews. Going with an all-metal-hotend made sense this time around since there's no peek or PTFE that can melt/be deformed.
One thing about about the Bulldog / E3D combo that isn't perfect is the mating between the two. They are both fabricated to follow the J-Head "standard" so you can just slide the stem into the extruder, but there's quite a bit of slack along the z-axis so I made some shims out of regular plastic. 4 of these did the trick.
Now I finally have a working printer again. And I must say, I'm very pleased with the quality of the prints as well as the new functionality in Marlin. The printer even sounds better!
My first print were a camera stand for one of my Raspberry Pi's. This print was sliced with .3 mm layer height so it's a bit rough, but I opted for speed before beauty this time. I've made the design available on Thingiverse as well.
Until next time!