Completely replace the hot end / head


First of all, I did this to my machine because it was useless in its current state, I had 3 other working Zims and this was to be my parts machine. I have been tossing a few ideas around in my head for a while now on how to convert my Parts machine Zim to leverage more open source parts so when Dgbrit posted his thread ( on his solution when
one of his stepper motors went bad I decided to take the plunge.

I did not care about dual extrusion, I just wanted to see if I could get this machine up and running and not reliant upon proprietary parts. My next step with this machine would be to replace the board. (maybe, at some point).

I thought someone else might like to read about what I did, step by step so decided to post my solution. I will try to update this and answer questions as I have time. Also THANK YOU Dgbrit for posting your solution!

Steps I have taken already with my Zeepro Zims:

Step 1: - remove the horrifically glued in USB plug (or re solder a new one)
I have been able to remove this on 4 different Zim’s each one was a different animal but what worked for me was a combination of tiny drill bits and dental picks.

Step 2: - Update the firmware to Jpod’s firmware found here on this forum.

Step 3: - Setup and install raspberry Pi - or run it via your computer

Step 4: - purchase and leverage Simplify 3d for slicing (optional)

Steps 1-3 are basically the steps outlined here:

At this point you have a really good running machine as long as you don’t have issues with your heater blocks, thermistor, nozzles etc.

This is exactly how 3 of my zeepros are set up and running.

That said, I have had nothing but issues with this particular machine. I have a strong suspicion that this particular machine was one of the early ones. It had a lot of stripped screws, odd LED lighting and a lot of other issues. Out of the box I could only get it to extrude out of one of the extruders, I could never get the second one to work. I even tore the whole machine apart, put in new nozzles etc, got it all back together and it still didn’t work right, this was then turned into my “Parts” machine.

On to the next part of conversion.

Print this out ahead of time if you want to:

Step 5:
Take the entire head apart, you only want the carriage and the proprietary board left when you are done.

That means take off the aluminum blocks, the stepper motors, the heaters, the nozzles, Everything :slight_smile:

You need the following parts:
You will either need to source the following from your existing Zim or the web:
Hot end Connector (cut off of existing parts, leaving plenty of wire to work with)
1 fan connector
1 thermistor connector (if you want to) - I finally ended up just soldering my termistor to the back of the board as suggested by Dgbrit and others on this forum, this solved my random temp issues, the original connector is crap.
Keep one entire fan untouched just remove it from but do not cut the connector.

Buy new:
One Bowden style j-head clone or e3d v6 clone - you want something similar to this:
I used a clone and not the genuine e3d one since you specifically want the push fit connector that the above head comes with.
I do not know if you could use a genuine e3d bowden head or not and I didn’t want to spend the money to find out.

quick update, THIS (below) is the exact hot end I ordered:

One all metal extruder and NEMA17 stepper motor

If you have a way to get the push fit gear off of one of the existing nema17 motors I’m sure you could use that too, I didn’t want to waste time trying.

Step 6:
Solder the hot end connector you cut off in step 5 to the new hot end heating element
Solder the thermistor to the connector from the zim or solder this directly to the board on your zim.
Take the fan connector and solder this onto the small fan that comes with the hot end.
Assemble the hot end. Save the other fan if you want to use the adjustable layer fan linked above.

Step 7:
Assemble the Extruder parts onto the NEMA 17 motor. My new one came with a long ribben cable, I replaced the end of this cable that normally would plug into board and replaced it with the connector I cut off of one of my Zeepro motors.
With this extruder assembled you should be ready to put things back together.

If you opted to print out the adjustable layer fan parts, you should assemble these onto your hot end as well.

You want to make sure to plug the fans back into their appropriate spots on the board.

To attach the hot end to the Zim you will unscrew the push fitting from the top, you then use this to attach the hot end to the carriage.

From here you just need to start plugging things back in.

You now have a somewhat working printer, now the fun part, calibrate and test things.

With this setup I spent time and still continue to fine tune things. I use simplify3d to slice, in here I had to take my extrusion multiplier way down to 65-70% and I am still tweaking retraction settings. The new gear driving the filament is a lot bigger so you can adjust things via the software or do the right thing and re do the extrusion steps in the firmware (on my to do list).

Here it is with everything assembled.

VIdeo of it working:

I will try to keep posting as I figure new things out.

I need new nozzles

Thanks for your work - nice! :clap:

but: WHY have you ordered 4 ZIMs??


I had one that I originally ordered from Zeepro the other three were purchased for 150 bucks each (free shipping) on ebay. That was too cheap to pass up, and I have no patience so having multiple printers makes jobs with lots of pieces go faster. All in all the Zim is a decent printer and can produce decent prints.

I also have a Lulzbot Mini (great little machine), my next printer would be the Prusa I3 MK2, if I ever need a new one.

1 Like

Is it ok to print the Adjustable layer fan parts in PLA or does it have to be ABS?


very nice! any plans to add the 2nd extruder or are you leaving it a single to cut down on weight?


That is what I used and so far it’s been ok. I will eventually reprint in ABS.


I’m not positive that two would fit this way. For dual extrusion the solution Dgbrit came up with seems really good.


Thanks for being tolerant of all my questions. that said, did you end up using the brass extender that he did as well? you didn’t mention it in this build so i wanted to confirm before I placed the order.


I found that I did not need it using the hot end I ordered. I ordered this:

however the threads did not seem to match up so this might not have been the correct part.

My thinking now is that I could probably use a throat piece and a few M6 nuts to extend it down if I needed to, but so far it works and reaches the bed without the brass adapter.

1 Like

I haven’t tried this yet but was thinking a bit this week about trying to take my custom hot ends ( that I have lying around, discussed here: Custom hot ends for the Zim

Installing these and then still doing the Bowden style setup for the extruder motors (I am NOT a fan of the direct feed setup done by Zeepro). This would allow me to use the open source nozzles the existing fan system and achieve the same end result I was looking for.


cool. ordered the two hot ends for future installation. I think looking at them i know why they are long enough without the adaptor; the nozzles they show in the photo are much longer than the standard e3d v6 style


Would two E3Ds fit or is the heatsink to large?


Yes I’m working on it now just watiting for parts


hey cal, did you end up having to change the thermistor setting in the eeprom or is the one that comes with that hot end a direct replacement?


It worked right out of the box for me. No changes needed.

1 Like

I attempted to put the v5 hot end on as you showed here and when i tighten it down, it isn’t quite square. how did you remedy that


I honestly didn’t have to do anything, mine sat flush and square. Maybe it was due to my hot end being a knock off? Can you post a pic?


my NEMA 17 (for Bowden) has the 4 colored wires, pretty sure theyre standard. Red, Black, Blue, Green. I know that R/B and B/G are paired together so which of the 4 wires on the stock connector are paired together?


so ive mounted my Bowden on the frame of my Zim and i think its correct. I also ordered and assembled the Adjustable E3D V6 / Volcano Layer fan off of Thingverse. The only problem is that my fans off of the original head are way too small so i have to order a new one off Amazon. here are the pics so far:


hopefully someone is still watching these posts.


not worth the efforts as you can buy a new printer for the cost of the parts & time