Ender 3 V2 showoff v2

 Apogee Tool head - Beta 5

Apogee turntable

A tool-head design for Creality Ender 3 printer series. Supports the following models:

- Ender 3 v2

- Ender 3 Pro

This project was sponsored by LDO Motors!

Ldo Logo

The cool name was given by: Karls Vladimir Peña

 Getting started

The design is made modular to support several hotend types as follows:

·      Stock Creality MK8

·      Phaetus Dragonfly BMS (6 and 7 fins version)

·      Phaetus Rapido HF

·      E3D Revo Voron edition

·      Slice Mosquito

·      Microswiss MK8

Its composed out of four main parts:

ender base 1

Hotend baseplate

ender funschroud

Fun shroud

ender crtouch mount

CR/BL Touch arm

ender wirecover

Wire cover

The hotend baseplate is custom designed for each hotend type.

 Bill of materials and components

·      Orbiter v2.0

·      2 x 4010 blower

·      1 x 3010 axial fan

·      CR_Touch or BL_Touch bed level sensor

·      LED hotend lit – see dedicated section

·      11 x M3 thin square nuts (1.8mm max thickness)

·      9 x M3 L10 Hex drive rounded head screw (button head screw)

·      2 x M3 L8 Hex drive rounded head screw (for BL_Touch bel level sensor only)

·      2 x M3 L15 Hex drive rounded head screw (for Phaetus Dragonfly BMS only)

·      2 x M3 L15 Hex drive rounded head screw (for Phaetus Dragonfly BMS only)

·      4 x M2.5 L15 Hex drive rounded head screw (for Phaetus Rapido HF hotend only)

I recommend using good quality 4010 dual ball high flow ( 3.3CFM) blower fans like the ones from GDSTime.

For the hotend cooling, 3010 axial fan, I recommend either GDSTime or Sunnon (preferred with maglev technology is much quieter). Ender 3 V2 requires fans with 24V rating.

This design uses M3 square nuts instead of heat inserts which might cause some hassle for users not having tools to insert them. Its designed with M3 thin square nuts 

 Design parts & Print settings

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All parts shall be printed out of ASA/ABS (preferred) or PETG.

 Part 1 - Hotend base

First step is to print the hotend base, you need to select the hotend base designed for the hotend you plan to use, as shown in the next section.

Hotend base for stock Creality MK8 hotend.

Print settings:

·     0.4mm nozzle – 0.4mm layer width and 0.25mm layer height

·      Bottom layers: 6

·      Top Layers: 6

·      Walls: 4

·      Infill: 75%

·      No supports needed

Apogee LDO Ender 3 v2 MK8 base

Hotend base for Phaetus Dragonfly BMS

Note: Groove mount Dragonfly BMO is not compatible!

Apogee LDO Ender 3 v2 BMS base

Hotend base for Phaetus Rapido HF

Apogee LDO Ender 3 v2 Rapido Base

Hotend Base For Slice Mosquito


Hotend Base For E3D REVO VORON


Hotend Base For Microswiss CR10


 Part 2 - Fan Shroud

Print settings:

·     0.4mm nozzle – 0.4mm layer width and 0.1 – 0.15mm layer height (I personally printed with 0.15mm) for a nice finish of the sloped areas

·      Bottom layers: 4

·      Top Layers: 5

·      Walls: 3

·      Infill: 20%

·      No supports are needed

The fans shall simply slide and click in, no additional screws are required.

ender funschroud

 Part 3 - CRTouch / BL_Touch bed level

Print settings:

·      0.4mm nozzle – 0.4mm layer width and 0.1 – 0.15mm layer height (I personally printed with 0.15mm) for a nice finish of the sloped areas

·      Bottom layers: 4

·      Top Layers: 5

·      Walls: 3

·      Infill: 20%

·      Supports are needed

The wire of the sensor shall be inserted in the guide gap.

ender crtouch mount

 Part 4 - Wire cover

Print settings:

·      0.4mm nozzle – 0.4mm layer width and 0.1 – 0.15mm layer height (I personally printed with 0.15mm) for a nice finish of the sloped areas

·      Bottom layers: 4

·      Top Layers: 5

·      Walls: 3

·      Infill: 20%

·      Supports from build-plate are needed

ender wirecover

 Print orientation

base print

No supports needed

fan print

No supports needed

Crtouch print

Support only where its shown in this picture

wirecover print

Support from build-plate only

 Assembly instructions

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Step 1. Take apart the original hot-end assembly removing all the parts from the metallic carriage baseplate.

Remove the two M5 screws as shown in the picture, they are used to fix the printed hotend base to the metallic carriage plate.

Baseplate mount m5

Step 2. Insert two square nuts on the back side of the hotend base, will be used to fix the hotend in place (not needed for Rapido hotend).

Fix the hotend base to the metal base plate using the two M5 screws (the ones holding the top rollers in place).

base backside screw 2
carriage baseplate 2

Step 3. Insert the remaining square nuts into the hotend base slots.

MK8 mounting 2

Remove the PTFE coupler from the MK8 hotend before installing!

Step 4. Mount the hotend using two M3 L20mm screws as shown in the picture. Note that the heater wire terminals shall come out of the heat-block on the left side. The stock heater wires of MK8 hotend are on the right side. Take out the heater and insert it from the other side.

For reasons unknown to me Creality do not practices heat transfer technology. When installing the heater carriage please use some good quality high temperature silicone-based gap filler – thermal paste. You can add thermal paste for the temperature sensor as well.

Step 5. Insert a PTFE tube between the hotend and the Orbiter. The length of the PTFE tube shall be adjusted for each hotend type so when inserted in the hotend about 6-6.5mm is left over the hotend base top.

PTFE tube lengths:

- MK8 : 64.5 mm

- MK8 with bimetal heat-break: 48mm

- Dragonfly BMS : 34mm

- Phaetus Rapido : 37mm

- E3D REVO : 35.5 mm

- Slice Mosquito : 31mm

Apogee PFTE

Step 6. Insert the fans inside the fun shroud. First slide in from the backside the left blower fan, please mind that the wire shall be routed inside the fan shroud channel, between the shroud and the blower fan. Press it firmly in until the fan is aligned with the front side of the shroud and you hear a click sound. Slide in the second blower fan on the right side. 

Press in the 3010 axial fan in the middle with the fan wiring toward the left bottom side of the shroud (toward the wire guide part). The airflow direction shall be towards the hotend heatsink.

Insert the two square nuts in their slots as shown in the picture. Make sure the square nut thread is aligned with the screw hole on the top side.

LEft fan insertion
middle fan
nuts alignment

Step 7. Insert the LED hotend lit board. Shall slide in from the hotend side with the LED’s facing the hotend direction. Press it in firmly until its aligned with the front side of the fun shroud and makes a klick sound at both sides. The PCB shall align with the two notches on the fan shroud. If you use the standard Creality silent board connect the LED wires in parallel with the hotend cooling fan. For other boards with more outputs you may connect it to any fan output. The LED board is designed for 24V supply voltage. It can be connected to the main power supply output as well.

For details how I constructed the Hotend lit board please read the Hotend Lit section.

led slidein
led in place

Step 8. Slide the fan shroud assembly in the hotend base and secure it in place using the two M3 L10 button head head screws. Route all the wires into the wire restrain channel.

fashroud screws

Step 9. Mount the Orbiter v2.0 over the top of the assembly. First align the filament exit hole of the extruder with the PTFE tube.  Secure the Orbiter 2.0 is place using two M3 L10 button head screws. You may use two small washers as well.

Orbiter mounting 2

Step 10. Optional for CRTouch bed level sensor

Insert the two square nuts in the two slots from the sides of the CRTouch holder. Make sure the threaded holes are aligned with the sensor mount holes. Fix the CRTouch holder on the hotend base using two M3 L10 screws as shown in the figure. Mount the CRTouch sensor in place using two M3 L10 screws.

Connect the CRtoutch sensor wire and insert it in the sensor holder slot. Route the wire on the back side below the orbiter motor into the wire guide strain release path, there is a small gap through which the wires can be inserted, you might need to lose the Orbiter a little to make space for the wires to slide in place. After this tighten back the Orbiter fixing screws.

Crtouch fixing
crtouch wireguide
Crtouch wire 2

Step 11. Carefully arrange all the wires into the wire guide. Ad the wire cover over the guide slot and fix it in place using one M3 L10 screw as shown in the figure.

Step 12. Connect the X belt according to Creality recommendation.

Congrats! You are all set! Next step is firmware and slicer configuration.

wirecover placement

 Firmware & slicer Config recommendation - underConstruction

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This section contains specific information for configuring the original Creality silent mainboard. In case your mainboard is changed to a different mainboard please consult the Orbiter v2.0 webpage for firmware configuration.

Using Creality silent board V4.2.7 or v4.2.2 we need to consider its limitations.

The major limitation is the hardwired stepper driver configuration. This do not allow disabling of stealth chopping feature.

When using stealth chopping the maximum stepper speed is limited. Trinamic suggests switching to spread cycle at high stepper speeds. You may think the extruder does not spin fast…but actually the Trinamic driver limitation is not stepper speed, but minimum step time. Having high step/mm ratio for the Orbiter v2.0, limits the maximum extrusion speed the Trinamic driver can drive the Orbiter to about 40mm/s. Therefore, retraction speed needs to be limited in the slicer to 40mm/s (Orbiter would be capable of 120mm/s). Otherwise, higher speed will lead to fake overcurrent detection and the driver will be disabled = extruder magically stops.

Motor current is set on the Creality silent board via trimmer resistor. The default stock value is 1.4V which is equivalent to 0.8A RMS which is exactly what the Orbiter v2.0 need. If you want to reduce a bit the stepper driver and the Orbiter temperature you may reduce the voltage to 1.2V with the method explained in the Orbiter v2.0 webpage

Being direct extruder, the nozzle pressure needs to be more precisely controlled, therefore good result can only be achieved with pressure advance. Again, for unknown reasons to me this feature is deactivated by stock firmware from Creality. To activate it the printer firmware needs to be updated with the Apogee Orbiter Firmware.  

Firmware and flashing instruction will follow soon. - I have it prepared & under testing I will release it soon!

The provided firmware is preconfigured with all the setting to run the Orbiter extruder correctly. If you decide not to reflash the microcontroller the following configuration commands must be sent via USB interface (using Pronterface as example). 

Firmware configurations:

Send configuration commands via user interface and save them to EEPROM.

M350 E16                        ;micro stepping set to 16*

M92 E690                        ;steps/mm - you may need to finetune it

M201 E3000                    ;acceleration mm/s2

M203 E40                        ;max speed mm/s

M205 E5                          ;E jerk mm/s

M900 T0 K0.22 L0.02      ;linear advance values to be calibrated*

M207 S1.5 F7200 Z0.2    ;firmware retraction*

M500                                ;save settings to EEPROM

Slicer specific configurations:

·      Retraction speed: 40mm/s

·      Retraction distance: 1.2-1.5mm

·      Retraction vertical lift: 0.2mm

Home offsets configuration:

·      X Offset – TBD

·      Y Offset - TBD

 CRTouch Setup

To use the CR_Touch its detection pin coordinates relative to the hotend nozzle must be configured.

Note the probe position in this design is on the right side in contrast with the original Creality setup where it’s on the left side of the hotend.

Probe offsets:

·      Probe X Offset = 40.5mm - CR_Touch

·      Probe X Offset = 37.5mm - BL_Touch

·      Probe Y Offset = 0.00 mm

·  Z offset = -1.15 ÷ -2.0 – needs to be calibrated

Apogee CRTOuch distance

Klipper input shaper Acceleration sensor

A good input shaper calibration for Klipper requires the mounting of an acceleration sensor. One simple way to attach this sensor to the Apogee is to hook it up to the right fixing screw of the Orbiter like shown in the picture. Based on test I performed even if the sensor is not bolted down with both screws still gives very good, close to reality results.


 Hotend Lit

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I always liked hotend lit features. This feature was among the first on the requirement list for this tool-head design. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a good fitting ready-made solution therefore I decided to design one. 

 White LED Hotend LIT

The design is very simple…is just four white LED’s connected in series plus two series current limiting resistors.

Schematic of the white LED hotend lit board:


Bill of materials:

·      1x Hotend Lit PCB

·      2x 560Ohm 1206 resistor

·      4x white LED – Refond - RF-50HI35DS


The hotend lit is supplied by 24Vdc. It can be connected in parallel with the hotend cooler fan or directly to the mains power supply.

 RGB LED Hotend LIT - Alpha version

 Per popular request from Klipper users I designed a second hotend LIT version using two Neopixel RGBW LED's.

Note: This version is not tested yet, I ordered the PCB's and waiting for them to arrive.

RGBW lit

Bill of materials:

·      1x Hotend LIT RGB PCB

·      2x 100Ohm 0603 resistor

·      1x 100kOhm 0603 resistor

·      2x 100nF 16V 0603 capacitor

·      2x BAW99 diodes with SOT23 package

·  2x SK6812 RGBW LEDs or equivalent (WS2812 for RGB version only)

HotendLitRGB PCB1
HotendLitRGB PCB3

The hotend lit is supplied by 5Vdc. DIN shall be connected to an output of the main board configured as RGB driver output pin.

The DIN and DOUT pins of the board are protected against short circuits and misconnection. Should not connect the 5V and GND in reverse, there is no reverse supply protection on the board.

Using the Gerber files I ordered the PCB’s from (2$ for five pieces plus shipping). Ordered the rest of the components from and soldered them by hand.

 Build Gallery

 The story of the Apogee tool-head design

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All started in January 2022 when Jason from LDO asked me to design a tool head around the Orbiter v2.0 for one of the world most popular printer, the Creality Ender 3.

LDO sponsored me with an Ender v2.0 to I have the means to test the design.

We imagined this project in multiple steps, the Apogee tool-head design being step one.

Next steps will be upgrading all the axes to linear rails and belted Z axis.

LDO will provide kits with all the components needed for each update step. The kits shall be affordable with well established LDO quality. Upgrading the printer with the LDO kit shall not require any advanced mechanical skills, other than two hands and a screwdriver.

When I started the tool head design, I immediately thought to partially reuse my well-established twin blower design I use on my Mach Cube and the CRTwin design.


Since the Orbiter v2.0 filament path is closer to the middle of the extruder, its possible to mount the Orbiter v2.0 with the motor toward the backside and will not collide with the printer frame (like the Orbiter 1.5).

As always reaching a nice-looking design takes time and several iterations. Below you can see some of the early design variants.

All variants where a working solution but somehow, I felt they are missing a wow factor. They were looking nice but I was missing some cool-ness.

During my engineering studies I had to study marketing, being interested only in electronics designing this was somehow a pain for me. More over the professor taught us and acted like Marketing was more important than engineering which was at that point for me outrageous. But he was right…today most of people buy products because of their appearance rather than performance. The performance is a basic need but mostly not decisive.

People look for how nice the product is, how appealing is to the eyes and what cool features it has. Even if the cool features are useless in everyday life. Like RGB hotend lit...its useless but its cool, I mean its OK to have a white lit but RGB why? Still I love it as many because its cool :).

The first versions used screws for plastic to keep the fans in place. Dave from LDO suggested to remove them and design a slide in feature for the fans. Beside vibration concerns I had in the beginning the idea came out pretty well, less screws less hassle :). After several design variants one day I got the idea of using some stealth fighter theme and the Apogee came to life 🙂

Next step was to repeat the airflow simulation and adjust direction where its needed. Next pictures show the airflow simulation results. By purpose I aimed the airflow about two millimeters below the nozzle. Done that because these basic simulations are not very accurate since uses a perfect laminar and homogeneous airflow. In reality the airflow is not that perfect aiming below the nozzle it reduces airflow cooling the nozzle tip without influencing considerably the part cooling efficiency.

CFD simul 2
CFD simul 1

 Two aspects of a concern

First, the part cooling is done using 2x 4010 blower fans. There is a tradeoff between size and performance, these fans being very small we need to use a very high efficiency fans with highest possible CFM. I have had good results using GDSTime double bearing fans having 3.3CFM airflow. 


You might think this is not comparable with bigger fans performance, which is true but we have to analyze the whole picture. In fact, many duct design have a long twisting tube and a narrow opening using a big fan. I’ve been there done that it’s not an optimum is why…there is a lot of turbulences forming inside a long twisting narrow exit fun duct which creates lots of backpressures and the actual airflow is reduced dramatically because the fan is not able counteract the backpressure. This is worse when some designers use radial fans which on paper has much higher CFM rate but pressure wise, they are even weaker ending up with an actual cooling flow below 10% of what the fan is able to deliver.

Lastly narrow airflow aimed at the tip of the nozzle…why? The hotend is moving around the print with a fast speed. A narrow output cools the material just for a short amount of time, making it wider increases the part cooling. Narrower output does not make the airflow higher, in simulation yes…in reality creates more backpressure and reduces actual airflow. When comes to fun duct design most efficient is to design a duct with as less obstruction possible and air shortest path.


Second, the hotend cooling fan. This design uses a small 3010 radial fan. I recommend Sunnon maglev or dual ball bearing GDSTime. Sunnon being much quieter but hard to find 24V version.

You might consider the fan is too small compared to what other design are using. It’s a misbelief to think if you experience heat creep put a bigger fan. In fact, hot-ends do not need much cooling, but they are requiring efficient cooling. 


This mean there has to be an unrestricted input airflow in path, an unrestricted path towards the hotend cooler and a way out without generating much backpressure which will reduce cooling airflow dramatically. Next picture demonstrated my point

This is just a basic setup with ideal airflow. Red cylinder shows the air path. In this setup we have a 4010 fan and dragon hotend. Because radial fans actually do not have airflow in the middle of the blades you can see the airflow completely misses the heat break cooler, causing heat creep. Sure, many design try to direct flow in the middle but via this creating airpath restriction which creates lots of turbulences and backpressure reducing the actual cooling airflow.

Dragonflow v2

The best practice from my point of view is to use a smaller fan with unrestricted flow path, this way it will actually cool better compared to 4010 or 5015 fans.

Now wonder a bit how E3D hotends are cooled just fine with a 3010 fans.

Apogee Toolhead Name

I have to admit I had not found a good appealing name for this design. I thought there will be a good idea to involve the Orbiter Facebook community to come up with a cool name. Sure, the proposer of the winner’s name is mailed with a free Orbiter v2.0 gift package.

This cool name Apogee was given by Karls Vladimir Peña.

Last but not least I express my true respect and appreciation for the support received from LDO team, Ben Levy and Petrus Stefan from Their feedbacks during the design phase is much appreciated!

 Design change History

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Beta 5 changes history

- Updated Phaetus dragonfly BMS base for versions with 6 and 7 fins heatsink

- Enlarged fan shroud blower wire guide by 3mm to fit other different blowers as well

- Added a wire guide for the hotend lit wires inside the fan shroud

Beta 4 changes history

- New Base for Microswiss MK8 hotend

- Adjusted the square nut hole size fixing the hotend to the baseplate. The nut is press-fitted reducing the possibility of rotating the nut during hotend dismount.

- Moved the Dragon BMS hotend downward by 1.5mm to increase the distance between the fan-ducts and the printer heated bed.

- Moved the BL_Touch downward by 2.2mm. Apparently the BL_Touch with plastic pin is shorter than the old version with metal pin.

Beta 3 changes history

- New mount for BL_Touch bed level sensor

- Tow holes in the back of the Fan Shroud for wire fixing using zip ties

- CR_Touch mount square fixing holes moved to the back, they are not visible from the from improved look

- New Neopixel RGB hotend lid PCB for Klipper and RRF users

Beta 2 changes history

- Hotend base design change to make space for the Orbiter sensor add-on for Klipper and RRF users

- Two new hoteds, E3D REVO Voron and Slice Mosquito

- Fan shroud fixing screw changed from flat head to button head, reduce BOM components diversity

- Improved mounting of the wire cover