Mounting the Nimble

The Nimble is a Remote Direct Drive (RDD). 

The very light direct drive extruder is mounted on the print head, while the heavier stepper motor is mounted remotely on the printer frame. Power is transmitted using a special flexible drive cable and a gear system inside the extruder. 

This arrangement keep the part that moves as light as possible, in the case of the Nimble our extruder is less than 30 grams. 

The stepper can be mounted anywhere on the printer frame. With a Delta we mounted it on the base.

Dual Nimble installed

Mounting the Nimble on a different type of printer is just as easy. The drive cable gives you great flexibility in placing the stepper where you want. Below the Nimble is mounted on an i3 clone, with the standard length drive cable.

Nimble mounted on an i3 clone.

In this image we have used a blue drive cable sleeve and Nimble just to make it stand out, the standard colour is black which would have been less visible in the photo.

There are so many variations of printers out there, but as you can see there is always a good spot to mount your stepper.

Cable positioning

Length of drive cable

The type of printer and size of the printer determine what length of drive cable you need. The standard length of 95 cm will fit almost all printers. If you really need to use a different length, here is a simple way to measure the length needed.

If you have a bowden extruder and want to keep your drive stepper in the same location, measure the length of the bowden tube.

If you want to mount the stepper elsewhere, or you do not have a bowden, take a length of filament. Hold one end at the print head and the other end, in a nice lose arc, to where you want the stepper to be. Measure the length of the filament and add 5 cm.

Make sure you measure the longest possible path, with the print head as far away as possible from the stepper. Also make sure the filament is free to make the whole movement from start of a print to the end of your max print volume. 

Then simply select the best fitting length while you order your Nimble. If you need a different (longer) length, simply add that information as a note while ordering. 


Mounting the extruder to the print head or effector depends on what type of printer and hot end you have. Because there are so many variations out there we have developed an adapter system.

We have designed various adapters to mount the Nimble. If the adapter you need is not yet available, we will help with the design for it. We can do it for you or give you all the info you need to design it yourself.

Existing adapters are downloadable via the Thingiverse to print yourself, or if you aren't able to print yourself you can use the Shapeways shop to buy high quality SLS printed versions of our adapters. 

Here are some links that are relevant.

Thingiverse page with models

Spreadsheet with the adapters 

Questionnaire for your adapter 

Shapeways shop