An Honest E3D Hemera Extruder Review


E3D Hemera Direct Extruder

The time for performance is now, with the E3D Hemera Extruder (formerly known as the Hermes Extruder).

Simply put, the E3D Hemera, is a state-of-the-art dual drive extrusion system which has put performance and user-friendliness at the forefront of it’s features. It’s one of the best extrusion systems brought out on the market, so keep reading to see why.

A lot of time was spent making sure this extruder is universal, compatible and easy to use for most people at a competitive price.

Below is a great video that summarises the Hemera Extrusion System:

What makes this extruder special is how it combines the market leading V6 hotend, with a newly developed filament drive mechanism which comes together to create an exceptionally responsive direct-drive extrusion system.

The Hemera Extruder costs around ($100) from Amazon (or from the E3D website) for the Bowden & some extra for the Direct Drive version (around $150).

This allows 3D printer users to print flexible filaments with some of the industries best performance and accuracy, usually done at 50mm/s. It’s also obtainable as a bowden extruder system so it fits most people’s needs.


UPDATE: The Hemera Extruder is currently unavailable due to COVID-19 supply issues.

In the meantime, if you are looking for a great extruder I would recommend the Bondtech BMG Extruder (Amazon), which is on par with the Hemera Extruder. The difference you will see in your print quality should be very noticeable.


The E3D Hemera delivers exceedingly precise results by featuring a dual-drive, very short filament path and a reinforced stainless steel drive train. It gives your 3D printer exceptional pushing force, serious control over starts and stops, better filament grip which reduces the presence of grinding and slipping, and decreased blobbing and stringing. This combination of features gives you plenty peace of mind over the quality of your prints, and pushes you to aim higher in your printing abilities, rather than just printing basic items.

So if you have an extrusion-based 3D printer, you should be able to upgrade it to the E3D Hemera. There are many upgrade guides out there for specific 3D printers so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get it done for your printer.

Specifications

  • Drive type: dual drive with adjustable tension idler
  • Max printing temperature: 285°C (upgradable to 500°C)
  • Mass: 388g
  • Max pushing force: ~10kg
  • Flow rate: 600mm³/min
  • Nominal steps per mm (16x): 409 steps per mm
  • Motor current: 1.33A
  • Filament diameter and tolerances: 1.75±0.05mm

Volume & Dimensions

XYZ dimensions
  • 77 × 44 × 83mm (Direct)
  • 67 × 44 × 76mm (Bowden)

Benefits

  • Very precise tolerances meaning flexible filaments can be printed easily
  • Resists wear from abrasive filament
  • Able to print at high speeds and maintain great quality
  • Cooling fins provide highly effective cooling
  • Small compact system which requires very little maintenance
  • You get very little slip, and plenty of grip because of the dual-drive gears

Features

Modern Dual-Drive System

Dual drive systems (not to be confused with dual extrusion) are well known to supply a better performance than single drive systems.

To gain a massive grip boost and filament force of up to 10kg, E3D used a hardened stainless steel dual-drive. This works so well because the user can adjust the filament tension through it’s secondary gear shaft, being on a movable, sprung idler.

The individually CNC cut teeth on the drive gear, along with the rounded bottom profile supplies the solid grip, and resistance of filament remains jamming into the drive gears. Similar to the Titan extruder, it has a self-cleaning characteristic as any loose remains slip off the extruder’s smoothed teeth.

It’s not necessary to lubricate the gearbox of the Hemera due to the hardened, stainless steel design. This results in a low-maintenance system and increase prevention of filament getting stuck in an oily extrusion system.

Compact & Seamless System

Due to the all-metal, stainless steel design, the size of the gears could be reduced, enabling the system to be more compact without sacrificing on performance.

The Hemera was put together in a way that gives it a simple, yet high performing, compact design which works consistently with most FDM 3D printers. It has various custom parts which not only give it a lovely, sleak look, but gives a convenient mounting slot and other features.

The less parts in an extruder, the better for the user in terms of putting it together so this was one of the aims for the Hemera extruder, and it looks like they’ve achieved their goal brilliantly.

Incomparable Flexible Performance

The best way for your filament to feed through the nozzle is through an extrusion system which is efficient and leaves little room for error. The Hemera does this by decreasing the gap between the drive wheels and the melting area. It benefits your prints by decreasing the amount of filament under a compressed environment, resulting in a more responsive extrusion system.

This allows people to print flexible materials such as TPU, using PLA settings, a speed of 50mm/s at 0.2mm layers and a 0.4mm nozzle. The tests have been done by E3D and they have come out flawlessly. Retraction performance tests and others have been conducted to prove itself and has passed these tests without issues (no stringing or oozing), showing it gets the job done when it matters.

The constraint of the Hemera Extruder gives positive impacts when printing materials that are rigid such as Nylon and PLA, as there is little space for the filament to move unnecessarily.

Mount With Ease

You can easily mount your Hemera using the faceplate’s T-slots. Each side of the motor has 4 T-slot holes.

The custom motor end caps provide T-slots which are convenient for your 3D printing needs. It not only provides flat mounting, but space for other accessories such as cooling fans, bed levelling, and much more. With this, you can easily mount to pre-existing 3D printers, and has the features to let manufacturers easily integrate it onto their printers.

A Heatsink Like No Other

Extruders and hotends have a common problem of unintentional and uncontrolled cooling of your printed parts. It can lead to warping and other stresses which result in low-quality or failed prints.

This is where the Hemera’s heatsink design comes in. It’s optimised airflow is redirected up and away through the ‘fins’ from the important areas, which decreases the chance of warping and other stresses in your prints.

User-Focused Design & Upgrade Compatibility

When it comes to using your Hemera Extruder, all your adjustments are at the top of the system which don’t take a lot to operate. There is a movable adjustable idler where if you want to increase filament tension, simply rotating the thumbscrew clockwise, and to decrease tension, counterclockwise.

The teeth of the drive system is a massive plus because it self-cleans and doesn’t require lubrication, so won’t need to disassemble your Hemera Extruder often.

Even though it’s a low maintenance system, you still want to be able to access the internal mechanisms if you ever need to clean or replace parts. This was kept in mind in design. You simply have to remove the fan and undo two faceplate screws for access to all the main parts. Popping off the faceplate will reveal the filament, idler and spring which are tidily assembled.

In terms of the loading of your filament, there is an auto-loading feature where your filament can be set close to the hobbs and it will actually be sucked in, and be ready to print with ease, without any hassle.

You can find upgrade guides (takes around an hour) for the Hemera Extruder on many 3D printers such as:

Thomas Sanladerer done an upgrade video for the E3D Hemera on an Anet A8 which is detailed and easy to follow.

Another great upgrade video from 3DMN for the Ender 3 shows the outstanding performance of the Hemera. He goes on to print an intricately designed castle in flexible TPU filament, and it came out great!

Choose A Direct Or Bowden Type

As previously mentioned, you have the option to use either the direct or bowden mode with the Hemera. This is through the heatsink and extruder, being the cold side.

The direct mode uses the E3D-v6 hotside with a custom heatbreak. This specific mode requires a cooling fan but the bowden doesn’t.

The bowden mode uses the Hemera bowden adaptor (bowdaptor) which replaces the hotside.

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).

Total E3D Ecosystem Compatibility

The E3D ecoystem is kept in mind with the Hemera, and it’s custom heatbreak maintains compatibility with it. This means it can be used with the Volcano, Supervolcano, Nozzle X, V6, and many more.

The heatbreak has an M4 thread on the coldside and this enhances heat transfer. There is a flange (external rim) on the heatbreak which gives a tigher connection between the heatsink and the heatbreak. It results in flawless positioning of the break between the drive gears, leading to better extrusion control.

There is a standard M6 thread on the hotside for total compatibility with the E3D ecosystem of heater blocks, heater cartridges, nozzles and temperature sensors.

What Comes in the Box?

This kit contains:

  • 1 x 12V OR 24V Electronics kit
  • 1 x E3D Hemera sink
  • 1 x Idler
  • 1 x Idler slide block
  • 1 x Idler spring block
  • 1 x Thumbwheel
  • 1 x Idler shaft
  • 1 x Drive hobb
  • 1 x Idler hobb
  • 1 x V6 Heater Block
  • 1 x E3D Hemera motor
  • 1 x Motor cable
  • 1 x E3D Hemera fixings kit
  • 1 x V6 fixings kit
  • 1 x E3D Hemera heatbreak
  • 1 x Brass 1.75mm, 0.4mm nozzle
  • 1 x V6 sock
  • 1 x Thermal compound

Verdict

Honestly, there aren’t many downsides I can think of for the Hemera Extrusion System other than the price, which isn’t even that high compared to the performance you will get with it. Some of the installation guides of the extruder can be fairly complicated and require experience but that is the usual when it comes to upgrading your 3D printer. Unfortunately, the system is only compatible with the 1.75mm and not the 3mm filament size.

The design, performance, user-friendliness and high quality Hemera extruder is a definite recommendation from me. It will make the world of difference in your 3D printing abilities and give you more confidence in printing complex, detailed designs. The ability to print flexible filament should open many more people up to printing materials other than PLA and really moving forward in their 3D printer journey.

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