I installed a Micro Swiss Direct Drive Extruder a few days ago. Since I watched a video before buying the extruder, I knew the extruder motor would be stationed on the x-axis. I decided then that a second lead screw was needed and installed it the day before installing the extruder. There will be a post on that installation as well.
The extruder installation was uncomplicated until after it was completed. I asked in a Facebook group I belong to (it was the weekend and the business was closed) about how to get the extruder to move. I wanted to check if it was working properly. A wonderfully nice gentleman assisted me right away by telling me to heat the hot end to filament temperature. That piece of information was missing from the instructional video and manual.
Something I figured out on my own was that filament loads differently from the MK8 extruder that comes with the printer. With the MK8 extruder, filament must be pushed into the nozzle. When I attempted to do this with the direct drive extruder, I could not get it to enter the compartment below the gears. Here, again, some additional information would have saved me some frustration. I recalled my experience printing on a Prusa MK2 at a maker place over a year ago and realized trying to push the filament to the nozzle was not going to work. I tried manually pushing the filament to a point between the extruder gears and advancing it further via the control box. That worked.
Something I wanted to point out, that is unrelated to the Direct Drive Extruder, is the wheel I removed from the bottom of the MK8 extruder assembly. There are pieces of missing rubber (see photo to right). After seeing the wheel, I understood what was causing issues with the assembly rolling across the axis. Fortunately for me, I had one wheel remaining from replacements I made last month. I do not know how the wheel was damaged. I may have caused the damage when I replaced the other wheels of the assembly.
I changed to a Direct Drive Extruder in order to print foaming PLA, as recommended by RichRap3D in his blog post about the filament. I’m not making airplane wings, though. I have other plans.