3D printing is making an impact now more than ever. As the technology has become readily accessible to engineers and the public, prices for high quality, small-footprint printers have dropped. Though printer prices have decreased, filament costs remain high, causing prints to remain expensive, making iterations pricey. ExtrusionBot, the self-proclaimed fastest, home-built filament extruder, aims to solve just that problem by giving users access to high-quality filament.
Watch: Kickstarter of the Week: The World’s Fastest Filament Extrusion
Mark Dill, the owner of ExtrusionBot, says, “Over the years, as 3D printers have come down in price making it affordable for everyone to do their own rapid 3d printing, the cost of the filament has not. We are going to change that.” With the current Kickstarter campaign, $365 can nets both a filament extruder and a new perspective on 3D printing capabilities.
“It is very tricky to get a fast extrusion rate while maintaining an acceptable tolerance in the diameter of the filament. This by far has been the most challenging part and taken the most time to perfect,” Dill says. The ExtrusionBot is capable of producing wound filament at a rate of ±3 ft per minute at 3 or 1.75 mm (both nozzles are included) with tolerances better than ±0.10 mm.
Not only is the ExtrusionBot fast, it’s quiet. The extruder boasts noise as low as 45 dBA @ 3 ft, while running at 120 VAC, 50/60 Hz, 100 W peak, 50 W average. The machine also totes a small footprint of 10” by 7”.
To reach such fast extrusion speeds, the bot uses some proprietary parts, but the team attempted to use as many off-the-shelf materials as possible. Dill explains, “Off-the-shelf parts were used as much as possible; this made the design harder but helped keep the cost down, and also avoided the pitfalls of being single-sourced to one supplier.”
Though the ExtrusionBot only works with ABS and PLA materials, as they are the most common 3D printing materials, the team is working with Nylon powder and metal to see where the capabilities can lead. “I will not say that we can do these materials until all of our requirements and testing have been completed. I am pushing the team hard if a $100K stretch goal is met for another material to be added to the list,” he says.
This machine uses stock material ABS and PLA in the form of pellets. This readily available material rises drastically in price when companies spool it for 3D printing. For some time, 3D printer customers have looked for an easy way to recycle bad prints or repurpose the support structures.
The team is currently concentrating on their Kickstarter campaign with the base-model ExtrusionBot, but Dill says that an add-on should be available in the future that will allow this type of option; potentially allowing the recycling of materials, structures, and even used prototypes.
With more than 40+ combined years in the electronics, failure analysis, semiconductor, and manufacturing industries, the team has a lot of hands-on experience to draw from while developing the ExtrusionBot. After numerous iterations and nearly eight months in development, the ExtrusionBot is ready to hit the market. It has already made more than six times the original goal of $10,000, but the team has offered stretch goals, hoping to entice Kickstarters into raising more than $100,000.
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping