Prints and process
One of the things that keeps us fairly busy in the office is some of the R&D work we're doing. A good chunk of this involves making test rigs to do quick proof of concept work -- if we can get something working with 3D printed and laser cut parts, it's a good indicator that we can get it working with more advanced fabrication methods. Here's an example of that process -- we had primarily been working with 3mm filaments, but knew we would like to move down to 1.7mm filament.
Doing a quick mock-up Bowden test unit confirmed that there weren't any immediately show-stoppers with moving down to the smaller filament. It also confirmed our suspicion that we'd want a little more torque in the motor unit. This is useful validation as we begin to move into the design-for-manufacturing process.
What you're actually seeing in the photo is a couple of bowden clips connected to an extruder tube. The clips are providing a quick and secure mechanical lock for the bowden tube, which has a reasonable amount of force being applied to it by the stepper motor, via the filament. The whole thing looks fairly simple, but it took about four design revisions to get the clip that holds the extruder tube right.
And, here's some images of new prints: Yoda, a factory and the Cube-Sphere decorative object from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:31343.