The true story of the Orbiter Extruder


Let me introduce myself first. My name is Róbert Lőrincz, from Transylvania / Romania (yes, from the place of Dracula). My roots are Hungarian, as I like to call it, I’m a Hungarian stuck in Romania.

I studied my all-time hobby electronics, I have a PhD in Brushless motor control electronics. In my real life I work as Engineer in automotive for over 15 years. I I’m the lead designer of motor control ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuit), they are one of the most advanced ASICs available on the market. I also have over 10 patents on these topics.

My 3D printing journey started with a Christmas gift from my brother, a cloned ANET A8.

So, what you do with your first printer? of course upgrade it….so I bumped into Ben Levi's BLV MGN12 mod and built it. 

BLV mgn12 by Ben Levi (44)

 After a while I realized my biggest limitation is the 8-bit main board so bought a Duet Wifi in the same time moved to a different 3D printer design, core XY. This was the time when Ben released some teaser pictures about his new upcoming BLV MGN Cube. I loved his concept, so only thing left was wait until Ben releases his design and somehow convince my wife that I need it.

I was bored waiting. As a true DIY-er I was thinking if others can do it, I can also do, right? … so fired up SketchUp (was a very bad idea) and about three “Chinese” months later I had my Mach Cube v1.0 up and running – heavily inspired by Ben’s early pictures of his great BLV Cube.

blv cubg mgn trans-min

Back than I was convinced bowden setup is the best option, fought everyone who thought different…I had my days…I used a cloned BMG. But could not print really fast. High back pressure constantly killed my PFTE tube and couplings.

Remote Direct drive extruders caught my attention, after some research my DIY instinct kicked in … Built not Bought! ... so, I designed some direct remote extruder concepts and shared via Thingiverse. Was an amazing learning experience for the first time ever I was able to print insanely fast…like 400mm/s. Then I learned all the drawbacks and issues of the concept I mentioned also on the Orbiter v1 Thingiverse page.


Worm gears are not the best choice for extruders. Although high gear ratio gives a good theoretical filament extrusion force in reality this is not always true, mainly because the worm gear efficiency is pretty low.
The plastic printed gears are even worse, at high torque their efficiency is well below 50%. The plastic worm gears tooth's are bending a little causing pressure variation in the nozzle which leads to some tiny wavy artifacts on the printed surface. 20-30:1 gear ratio reduces a lot this effect but the stepper will not be able to provide decent filament acceleration slowing your printed drastically down because it has to wait for the extrusion (this is the case for the Zesty Nimble, the flex3drive drive with Nema8 and my previous worm gear based extruders as well, acceleration below 100mm/s^2).


I got myself a set of big 12mm BMG style gears – just because they looked cool - in the hope it will improve something but did not like the concepts I ended up with at first…searching for inspiration I bumped into the Wantai round Nema 14 stepper with a small T10 spur gear attached…I said wow! The T10 spur gear allows me to build a small sized planetary gear reduction.

After some concept designs and long night discussions over BLV Projects Facebook group especially with Ed Palisoc (we discussed lots of crazy ideas) my first Planetary geared direct extruder came to life. With components I had at hand. 

I really wanted a metal filament guide so simplest solution was the grinded full metal heat-break, concept which was misunderstood by many. Frank Gore showed how it’s done properly. You can watch it here.

As a true hobbyist I never considered selling it or make money out of it, I just shared it, since it’s better than collecting dust on my hard drive…if that is possible anyway. Non-commercial just because I do not think is fair somebody else making a profit on freely shared work without at least getting in touch with the original creator.


Next thing, guys from Voron where contacting me, they like my design and wanna use it on their Voron printers…In my mind what? moron printers?…wait they sad Voron google it moron!…Cool printers by the way…Appreciations to Lloyd Galang and Jared, they teamed up with Jason from LDO and made the first LDO stepper for the Orbiter v1 and Galileo (Orbiter fork for Voron made by Jared).

Actually, the name Orbiter is coming from the Voron Group, sorry I donno who is the original baptizer but I like the catchy name.

One day I started to see Orbiter clones for sale…half of me was pissed off (full part of Ed Palisoc) second half of me was happy, I mean they don’t really clone crap, right?

Next day I asked Jason from LDO if is interested in manufacturing the whole Orbiter extruder not just the stepper. Few days later we signed a license agreement with LDO Motors for manufacturing and distributing the Orbiter extruders.

Of course, since then I’ve been contacted by many parties to give them right to sell/manufacture Orbiters. I have license agreement only with LDO - I work with them to provide a good quality product for a fair price.

Yes, in the license terms is stated that they pay me a royal fee for each of the Orbiters they sell. I get the price of a good coffee for each. Not because LDO did not offered me more, I just preferred to have the fair affordable price.

Jason lives by the rule to give credits and support the original creators, he took a mission to convince some cloners to support me as the original creator and he did succeed as you can see by the official resellers list. 

Even the Orbiter version which we call now v1.5 is actually started without my permission or consultation, but in the end Vivedino/FormBot also agreed to accept Jason's rule and the terms of the license. So Vivedino via LDO became the official supplier for the main parts of the Orbiter v1.5. 


At the time, we reached an agreement with Vivedino, they already finished their molds so not much I could influence anymore just some suggestions to improve what was still possible. Anyway, they did a great job, the molded version of Orbiter v1.5 is much better than the SLS printed v1 beside the filament guide.

It was a pity since the V2 concept was already existing, I had samples in my hand, but was too late. So, we decided with Jason to supply the v1.5 to replace the printed v1 versions since we knew it’s a long way to bring the v2.0 into production.

We push to have the v2.0 by end of 2021, and by living Jason’s rule he made a deal with Bondtech to manufacture and supply the filament gears for v2.0. 

In the meantime, I’m working on a two in one concept as well, I have my first concept design ready and waiting for some components to test it. I will share some details in the near future.

 Here we are today, I never imagined the Orbiter will became so popular. Hackaday published an article where I found out about the competition. Thanks Barrett Dent for initiating our Facebook group The Orbiter Extruder User Group and for all of you, you are the people made the Orbiter extruder so popular!

Thanks for all your support, the tips, I have enough coffee for the next three years, cheers Robert.