Multiple Extruders

I’ve created a new Topic here to follow the line of thought that arose in the discussion fromWhat type of paste material(s) would you like to see 3D printed?: (below).

Many people recently have brought up the potential for mixing materials, at the point of deposition using multiple extruders. Any comments about possible applications, or ideas for execution are welcome.

This actually addresses an inquiry I had from a chocolate manufacturer earlier today.

Our current focus is on the basic add-on extruder product, but in the future we do hope to be able to address the advanced use case.

@triphi, I’m quoting your post from another topic, to keep things organized:

I have seen some companies using an electromechanical system to switch between multiple filament, which share a single drive system.

As I can only guess at your drive method, I do not know how it would adapt.

That’s an interesting design suggestion, can you suggest a good example of this to look at?

I still think that adding multiple extruders to the product being distributed through the kickstarter campaign would be too much of a departure from our current design to deliver on time and on budget to our backers.

I am hearing this as a very strong request that I think we will want to investigate.

Let me ask this: given the $300 CAD cost of our basic unit, what would you pay for a dual extruder unit, which could be driven and extruded independently?

Imagine using one electrical/mechanical system that can drive multiple syringes, one at a time, at lower cost than having multiple sets of controllers and motors. For example, printing conductive lines as a part of a printed object, or printing different colors of chocolate, or using both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ materials in the same printed object.

Imagine, for example, syringes arranged in a drum, with a servo rotating the drum to put each syringe in place. The trick would be creating a signal from the printer to the electronics to trigger switching syringes. Perhaps you could use “retract” to swap between syringes?

That is interesting, and probably pretty doable, but introduces a lot of extra moving parts to the current design.

I know it’s difficult to discuss the mechanical design when we haven’t yet shared our design with the community. We’re looking forward to getting it out there, so that we can truly begin to collaborate with you on design iterations.

That makes sense. There’s a lot that can be done with one syringe, so you can always add more later as an upgrade.

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