E3D Hemera - A Next Generation Extrusion System

E3D Hemera

TLDR:

E3D Hemera - formerly Hermes - is the best extrusion system we’ve ever made. It combines our market leading V6 hotend with an all new filament drive to form a highly responsive direct drive extrusion system - providing unrivaled performance with flexible filaments. Hemera is also available as a bowden extruder. 

Featuring a dual-drive, hardened stainless steel drive train with a fully constrained, super-short filament path and an E3D-V6 Hot-Side, E3D Hemera provides an unrivalled precision extrusion experience: excellent control over stops and starts; greatly reduced stringing and blobbing; and greater filament traction means slipping and grinding are a thing of the past. We print flexibles at 50mm/s.

To make upgrading as easy as possible, we've teamed up with some community favourites to create printer specific upgrade guides:

Printer Name Written Guide Video Guide Printable Mounts
Artillery Sidewinder X1 by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob) To be released soon by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob)
Artillery Genius by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob) To be released soon by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob)
Creality CR-10s Pro by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob) To be released soon by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob)
Creality CR-10s Max by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob) To be released soon by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob)
Lulzbot Mini by Joe Spanier (Maker's on Tap) To be released soon by Joe Spanier (Maker's on Tap)
Lulzbot Taz Printers (Taz 4, Taz 5, Taz6) by Joe Spanier (Maker's on Tap) To be released soon by Joe Spanier (Maker's on Tap)
Creality Ender 3 by Dan Rock (E3D) by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob) by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob)
Creality CR-10 Printers (CR-10, CR-10S, CR-10 4S, CR-10 5S) by Dan Rock (E3D) by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob) by Joe Casha (3D Maker Noob)
Anet A8 by Tom Sanladerer (Tom's 3D) by Tom Sanladerer (Tom's 3D) by Tom Sanladerer (Tom's 3D)
Prusa i3 MK3 To be released soon To be released soon To be released soon

Have we missed your favourite printer? Let us know via facebook, twitter or email us at support@e3d-online.com.

Wait, what did you do with Hermes?

You're probably wondering why at the last minute everything that you were expecting to be called 'Hermes' is now called 'Hemera'. Unfortunately, less than 24 hours before launch, we received a legal challenge from a company much larger than us, and with significantly more legal resources. They objected to us naming our product after a Greek god from the Mycenaean era, as they feel that name belongs to them.

Unfortunately we don't have the time or resources to resolve this through a long legal process and we just want to get on with making incredible extrusion systems. Therefore we've had to undergo a rapid unscheduled rebranding, and have settled on Hemera, a somewhat less fashionable Greek god, yet still in keeping with our other mythological names, and our first female one too.

Please do excuse us if some of the content is slightly less polished than usual, it's been a long hard night. If you see any instances of the old name hanging around please do let us know too. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

Dual Drive - Push Harder

For E3D Hemera, we opted for a dual-drive arrangement which provides a huge boost in grip over single drive systems. We are able to push filament with up to 10kg of force. The secondary gear shaft is on a moveable, sprung idler which allows the user to adjust filament tension. All the gears are hardened stainless steel.

Sharp teeth - with a round bottomed profile - provide excellent grip and strongly resist filament debris wedging into the drive gear and in almost all cases it’s self-cleaning as any debris simply falls off the teeth. (Look familiar? You may remember this self-cleaning tooth profile in the Titan extruder.)

Hemera drive gear closeup - individually CNC cut teeth

We achieve this profile by individually CNC cutting each tooth, allowing us to provide the round-bottomed root, with a tooth that curves upwards to a robust, sharp tip. 

E3D Hemera’s compact, hardened, stainless steel drive train

As a result of opting for an all-metal hardened stainless steel drivetrain, we were able to reduce the size of the gears. This enables the drivetrain to fit within the frame of a Nema 17 stepper motor - more on compactness in the next section. With the drive train being made from hardened stainless steel, we can maintain lubrication-free operation of the Hemera gearbox. For bearings we make use of an igus® bushing and shielded ball-bearings. A dry-running system, as we know, means minimal user-maintenance and also prevents filament debris from sticking to a greasy drive train.

When designing Hemera’ dual-drive hobbs, we took a ground-up approach starting with a specification of dual-drive, researching and testing material combinations and implementing our tooth profiles.  Dual drive is an established concept within the industry (going all the way back to 2011 with Steves Extruder used on the SeeMeCNC H1) and it is clear that dual-drive provides considerably more grip  when compared to single drive systems. Fundamentally, the entire extrusion system is just better.

Compact, Integrated System

We set out to develop a compact extruder and HotEnd system with a reduced part-count. Hemera is a system of components designed to work seamlessly together as a single product.

To achieve this, we have developed a custom motor, based on a NEMA 17 frame, with our own faceplate designs. This is neat as it allows us to use the motor itself as part of the assembly and to add our own features for the user’s convenience, such as the mounting T-Slots.

The custom motor for E3D Hemera: not just a pretty faceplate, but useful too

Unparalleled Flexible Performance

Hemera constrains your filament like no other extrusion system. You won’t truly ‘get’ the impact of the optimised constraint that Hemera provides until you’ve printed flexibles with it. But trust us - the performance is second to none and also has a significant impact on printing normal materials such as PLA or PETG. 

Flexible Dragon model printed in ninjatek cheetah https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1624412

A flexible example we like to show is the famous “retraction performance test” model by MAKE (a model with many retractions, short stop/start extrusions, and travel moves) we are able to show off incredibly defined results with no stringing or oozing, indicating how unbelievably responsive the system is. Just look at this TPU print:

Retraction and fine-features test - PLA v.s. TPU - printed with same settings
Model: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2755063

If you were impressed, then wait until we tell you that we printed the TPU print using typical PLA settings. We didn’t change anything except the filament. 50mm/s with a 0.2mm layer, with a 0.4mm nozzle. 

Bencies - PLA v.s. TPU - printed with same settings
Model:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:763622

How did we achieve this wizardry? Firstly, Hemera was designed to be compact which allows us to attain a very short distance from drive-wheels to melt-zone. This has a number of benefits, primarily reducing the length of filament under compression when being pushed into the melt zone, improving responsiveness. 

Secondly, we carefully toleranced all the components after the drive gear. There is a clearance gap between drive gears and heatbreak of approximately 100µm. The filament is tightly constrained in the heatbreak with only 250µm of clearance (enough to allow for slight inconsistencies in filament, but not so much that we introduce a big filament-spring into your system!) 

E3D Hemera offers no way out for flexibles

These two improvements together mean that the filament has only one place to go - into your nozzle, and that when you apply a force - it responds. 

An additional benefit of this arrangement is that there are zero transitions after the drive gears, filament proceeds directly to the melt. This ensures  reliable operation. 

Mounting

The T-Slots on the custom motor faceplates allow for easy mounting solutions to pre-existing machines, as well as providing a more compact, stable platform for printer manufacturers to integrate onto their machine. 

Hemera T-Slot mounting system

Each side of the motor has 4 T-Slots holes. One side can be used for mounting to the carriage, leaving the opposing face free for mounting whatever you need, part cooling fans, bed levelling probes, or other accessories.

A new heatsink with optimised airflow

The heatsink isn’t just a visually striking aspect of Hemera (or inspired by Sanjay’s hair). As a result of in-depth testing with a hot wire anemometer setup, we have optimised the airflow of the die-cast fins. Airflow is directed up and away from both the HotEnd and the heated bed, meaning airflow does not disrupt the print envelope. This reduces the risk of warping and uneven stresses forming in the printed part.

Optimised Hemera Heatsink airflow

User-centered design 

All interaction with Hemera is from the top. To set filament tension the user simply twists a thumbscrew and a cam slider mechanism with a captive nut compresses a spring and loads the idler. Filament tension is increased by rotating clockwise and decreased by rotating counterclockwise.

Hemera is designed to auto-load filament exceptionally reliably, no matter what you throw at it. With the drive wheels turning, you can literally drop filament onto the hobbs and it will be sucked in, and you will be ready to print.

Although we have implemented self-cleaning drive-teeth and made it so no lubrication is required, there may one day be the need to disassemble Hemera for maintenance. If maintenance is required, the internal mechanisms are easily accessible by removing the fan, and undoing the two faceplate screws. Full access is available to clean and replace parts even while filament is loaded. When you pop off the faceplate the filament, idler and spring all come along too, as one neat assembly.

Hemera - maintenance made easy allow easy servicing

Quality control considerations

Here at E3D, we strive for excellence by putting emphasis on developing rigorous quality control. As part of our focus on traceability, we are laser engraving QR codes onto the Hemera motor, allowing us to tie the QC data we already collect, to the unit in your hand. 

In order to quality control the complex 3D geometries of the Hemera heatsink and motor we purchased dedicated new and upgraded inspection equipment that combines optical measurement and probing.

Eventually, we aim to have this serialised data, along with sensor and heater data available to every customer via our website. 

Hemera motor with laser-engraved QR code

Direct And Bowden 

The Hemera cold side (heatsink & extruder) is compatible for use in both direct and bowden modes. In direct, we make use of an E3D-V6 hotside (with a custom heatbreak). 

In bowden, we simply replace the hotside with the Hemera bowden adaptor (or “bowdaptor” as we like to call it). 

Note that the cooling fan is required in direct mode, but not in bowden mode.

The bowdaptor allows you to attach a length of PTFE tube via the same collet and collet clip as you’d come to expect with the rest of our ecosystem.

Left - Direct Drive, Right Bowden

Cost

We are happy to be able to offer a really competitive price for Hemera; the retail price for a fully-fledged direct system is just £90. This is inclusive of an all in one Extruder, HotEnd, and Motor. A Bowden-only Hemera unit is also available with a retail price of £70. Assembled units will also be available post-launch (pricing TBC). 

With Hemera our goal was to raise the performance bar of extrusion and hotend systems. We have the advantage of scale, and so have also paid heavy attention to the manufacturing processes being used to keep costs low. Die-casting of the heatsink and motor faceplates are incredibly efficient ways to produce precise aluminium parts in high volumes. We touch this up with a minimal amount of post-machining to achieve a perfect balance of cost and quality (whilst also getting some sexy bare metal highlights.)

Optimised Hemera Heatsinks

E3D ecosystem compatibility

Hemera features a new heatbreak with an M4 thread on the coldside to improve heat transfer. 

The flange on the heatbreak ensures a precise mate between the heatbreak and the heatsink. This guarantees perfect positioning of the break between the drive gears, giving that fantastic constraint.

The hot side makes use of the standard M6 thread which maintains full compatibility with the E3D ecosystem of nozzles, heater blocks, temperature sensors, and heater cartridges.

Hemera heatbreak (left) V6 heatbreak (right)
Hemera heatbreak with V6, Volcano and Super Volcano heater blocks

E3D Hemera, is a powerful, advanced extrusion system, we truly believe is the best product that we’ve ever brought to market and can’t wait for you to get your hands on it. 

We’ve spent a huge amount of time ensuring that this product is as compatible, universal and user friendly as it can possibly be for the end user. As such, to make things as easy as possible for you guys, we’ve collaborated with some of the industry’s most loved content creators (MakerNoob, CNC Kitchen, Toms3DP, Maker’s Muse & Ivan Miranda to name a few) to bring you upgrade guides and videos for the most popular printers on the market.