The Mutant V2 is a mod for your 3D printer to allow you to have multiple tools/extruders in a quick-change format. In a few seconds you can easily change from one tool to the next without dealing with disconnecting multiple cables and having to keep track of what gets plugged where and in what orientation. This unit was provided to me by Wham Bam for review and no money was exchanged.
I will start by mentioning that I believe this modification is not for everyone. If you are new to 3D printing and or have very little experience and or confidence in cutting wires and rewiring then this modification may not be for you; or get someone who is experienced and have them install it for you. This modification will also need modifications to your firmware which is also something not everyone is comfortable doing.
What I received:
- Mutant V2 Quad
- 1 Fixed Plate with accessories
- 3 Mobile Plates with accessories
- Universal X Gantry Plate Roller Bearing Kit
- Aluminum X Gantry Plate
- 1-meter Timing Belt LL-2GT
- 2x M5x30 screws
- Stepper Cable Kit
- 150mm cable with Stepper Male Connector
- 800mm cable with Stepper Female Connector
Everything in the kits is neatly sorted in individual bags and there is a separate bag for the fixed plate accessories and the mobile plate accessories.
Here is what is included in the Fixed plate accessories bag
Here is what is included in the mobile plate accessories bag.
Here is the Universal X Gantry kit by itself close up.
Before you begin the journey to install a Mutant V2 on your printer I would suggest you find and print (or design yourself) the printed parts you may need to be able to mount your hot end and or extruder onto the mobile plate and anything else you plan to use on it like a z probe. In my case it is a bl touch. You do not want to be halfway through the install and then realize you need a part to finish the install and if that is your only printer you are forced to undo everything you had already did to print that part. I would also suggest to double check everything already installed on the printer works as expected before you start this install and do not do another modification while installing this one. You do not need the added complexity to try and troubleshoot which mod might have the issue. (Ask me how I know)
In this review I will only cover the hardware install as the software part of it is probably different for every printer. I also would like to include that my Neptune 2 does not have a stock main board, it was replaced with a board that supports RepRap firmware. I did this because RepRap is the type of firmware I am most comfortable I will go over the software more in detail on a future post where I go over using the stepper cable kit so that I can go from a Bowden printer to a Direct drive.
Obviously to be able to install the Mutant you will need to disassemble your printer to then assemble it again with the Mutant. This was my starting point, where everything is still original with the addition of the bl touch.
I disconnected the BL Touch wires, and removed the screws holding the mount in place. Followed by removing the screws for the fan shroud, removed the PTFE tube from inside the hot end, and then the screws from the hot end. This would leave me like shown below. I placed back all the screws I removed so I wouldn’t lose them and be able to keep track. For now, I placed the hot end assembly behind x axis as I wouldn’t need it for a while as my next step would be the universal mount. If you did not get a universal plate them you would need to have printed a mounting plate between your original plate and the mutant fixed plate.
Install the Universal X Gantry Plate and fixed plate
Here I removed the 3 large bolts that hold the rollers in place, keeping track of their order as the bottom one is different from the other 2. Then I removed the belt from the original belt.
I placed the large screws with the rollers on the universal plate, using the bottom crews to tighten the plate onto the rail. The bottom crew has a hex piece that has an eccentric placement and turning that can take up the slack on the plate so it does not wobble. I installed the included belt, and used zip ties to secure it taught make sure the plate can move the complete travel without binding and can reach the x end stop. In my case it could not so I installed the printed end stop that I included in the link to make up the difference in the place sizes.
At this point you can go ahead and install the fixed plate onto the universal plate, using the included screws in the accessories.
Mobile Plate and Hot End
Here I decided to divert away a bit from the Wham Bam instructions. Their next step was to mark the wires and cut and I wanted to leave that to the last possible moment. So instead I used the plastic spacer included in the mobile plate accessories and the screws and square nuts to install the hot end onto the mobile plate.
Next I prepared the printed piece I have for the fan shroud; in the back I placed 2 square nuts, this will give me a place to screw in the fan shroud. While the mobile plate does provide many mounting hole options that are tailored to work with many different hotends the Neptunes fan shroud was unfortunately not one, but in this case I believe it was Elegoos intention for that to happen as there are multiple things that are not the same as other printers on this machine.
Using 2 more screws I installed the fan shroud mount behind the hot end.
Followed by the fan shroud.
Here is when I used the included stickers to mark the wires. I needed to place 2 of the same letter stickers on the wire above and below where I was going to cut. This was the cables were all labeled after the cut and it should just be a matter of matching letters on the stickers with letters on the plates. WhamBam does provide a pdf on their website with a recommended wiring diagram, which I followed, since this would give me a good reference in the future for when I am creating new tools I can always refer to it. They also provide you with a large sticker with places to write down every cable you labeled and what it does in case you decide to do things differently.
After that you have to cut the wires, strip the tip, and then place them into the screw in terminals. I would suggest to do this one at a time making sure you have left yourself enough slack to be able to install the wire after.
We do the same on the fixed plate as well. We remove the 4 screws holding down the lid of the fixed plate and then we can see the terminal. For both used zip ties as necessary to hold the wires in place.
Then place the cover back on and the screws back in.
Finally then you can place the mobile plate onto the fixed plate and your hardware modification is done.
After this you would just need to dive into your firmware to make the proper changes to the new tool changing abilities of your printer. Whambam provides plenty of support and documentation on their website including how to configure Marlin firmware for tool changing (https://whambamsystems.com/mutant-support) . I will write another post soon on how I accomplished the task using RepRap/Duet firmware.
The install of the Mutant V2 was more intimidating before doing it than actually installing it. In reality its just putting in a few screws and placing wires into a screw in terminal. It should be able to be done in a few hours after you have the initial steps done of printing parts needed for the install.
I was extremely happy to be able to try this out as this is something I wished existed several years ago. Even if you install this mod just for the sole purpose of being able to work on a tool off of the printer makes it worth it for me. There have been several times where I got a blob of doom on my hot end and trying to remove it from my printer while in that confined space is horrible. With the mutant now you can just remove that tool and work on it easily, better yet you can install a second tool on the printer and keep going while fixing this one. Another possibility, have the same tool multiple times with different nozzle sizes. No more need to hot tighten every time you want to switch nozzles, just switch the whole tool. And yes, I understand that is a much more expensive option but I think its worth it. I have seen to many cases where someone in a rush does not tighten a hot end properly and gets a huge blob. For the price and convenience this provides I believe the Mutant V2 is worth the money. It has very good build quality, includes everything you need for the install and then some.
If you are interested in purchasing one or anything from WhamBam please use my code DSK2021.