Water-cooling stepper motor with aluminum block

  • On a budget, I'm water-cooling a 3D printer. I'm using a 5 V aquarium pump (\$3). Originally I tried to only use about as much water in a can of chickpeas but then found out i needed a lot more. I have a deliberate need to water cool stepper motors in the first printer, so that I can print with a high temperature filament like PEI (the operating temp of a stepper is maxed at about 53 degrees celsius; PEI requires an enclosure temperature of 80 °C), but on another printer I'm having some other issues with the motors that I think could be solved by better heat dissipation.

    What I am getting to is a device like this:


    It is the perfect size for a stepper motor. My plan is to zip-tie one of these to each stepper motor and water cool it in a single path across my printer, including the hot end.

    Can anyone think of a reason why this wouldn't work? i just haven't heard of anyone doing anything like this, but it makes sense to me as a chemistry minor. The specific heat of water is way higher than almost anything else. And it is way less noisy than fans. And it works inside an enclosure, while fans might not

    Should I ziptie the aluminum block to the back part of the stepper where the metal is, or to one of the darker black sides?

    Would I be able to 3D print a cooling block like this instead of paying for it? See also this relevant question on thermal conductivity of various 3D printing filaments. It should probably be metal to transfer heat better?

    Why are you convinced you need to water cool the steppers?

    Well, for high temp printing (e.g. PEI with 350 deg C extrusion), I def have to. The operating temp of a stepper is maxed at about 53 degrees celsius. PEI recommends an enclosure temperature of 80 degrees celsius (!). NASA uses a custom air filtration system to cool the steppers, but this seems a lot easier. For this application, I should probably use a tub of water, actually, not a chickpea can.

    As for the other issue I briefly mentioned, it is because I have eliminated almost every other possible reason for it. But I dont want to get into it because it would be better as another question

    OK. I suspect it would be better (less catastraophic failure modes) to get the motors all outside the heated enclosure, but that doesn't invalidate the question in any way.

    You can print it custom shaped to touch properly also the sides if you use TCpoly filament, but I'm not sure about it being watertight. Also, you will need a radiator. A can will not dissipate heat fast enough and you will end up with warmer and warmer water over long prints.

    Use zip-ties to secure the pipes to the connectors, to avoid getting water everywhere. Use flush-cutters to trim the ties, to avoid getting blood everywhere.

  • baret lyon

    baret lyon Correct answer

    2 years ago

    I just did this lol and checked online to see if anyone else did it too. It works really nice.

    I used thermal paste and zipties to secure each block to the stepper motor. Dont use thermal tape its not as effective as paste.

    I had to do this operations since my motors were overheating due to the enclosure design.

    enter image description here

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

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