While the general public is learning about 3D printing faster than ever, and there are dozens of companies stepping up to sell them printers, it’s important that we remember why there is a 3D printing industry. It isn’t because the technology was invented over thirty years ago; back then they locked it away and kept the technology for themselves. It wasn’t until the RepRap project was born that home 3D printing became a realistic possibility. And even now, with literally hundreds of 3D printers available on the market, home built RepRap 3D printers still represent the largest block of 3D printers used in the industry.
Certainly companies like MakerBot and 3D Systems are gaining considerable market share, but open source RepRap printers will always be a big part of the industry. Especially with so many companies selling products that are actually based on open sourced technology, it isn’t surprising that users are being inspired to build their own 3D printers. Unfortunately, some of those companies take from the open source community and never really give back, but thankfully there are a few who understand how important open sourced hardware and software is to innovation.
Aleph Objects, manufacturers of the LulzBot Taz and LulzBot mini, has based all of their 3D printers on open source technology, and they’ve always given back to RepRap and home built 3D printer users by selling the 3D printer components individually. And today they continue giving back by releasing their LulzBot v2 hot ends, currently being used on all of their award-winning 3D printers, for individual sale. The all-metal hot end allows DIY printers to raise their maximum extrusion temperature to 300°C (572°F), so they are able to use virtually any of the new range of exotic and advanced 3D printing filaments available.
“The market for 3D printers continues to rapidly grow and evolve, with many customers choosing LulzBot 3D printers today for their ease of use and reliability. The technology, however, is rooted in the hacker and RepRap communities, and we are proud to continue to serve those communities by now offering our popular v2 hot ends as separate products,” said Harris Kenny, Vice President of Marketing at Aleph Objects, Inc.
But the higher printing temperature isn’t the only benefit that the LuxBot v2 Hot End brings to the table. The v2 can accommodate standard sized filaments as well as 3mm filaments thanks to the lengthened heater block which increases the filament melting zone and speeds up the printing process. It comes with a pre-installed 24V ceramic heater cartridge, not to mention the 100k thermistor with an aluminum mounting plate–as well as a compact cooling zone that won’t sacrifice print volume to provide high-quality cooling options.
The LulzBot v2 Hexagon Hot Ends are also available in three different nozzle diameters for any level of detail required. The 0.35mm nozzle diameter is ideal for 3D prints that require an ultra-fine layer resolution, while the 0.50mm nozzle diameter is a perfect balance of accuracy and speed. And for those print jobs that you just need to get done quickly there is the 0.60mm nozzle diameter which offers faster printing and improved layer adhesion. All three nozzles are completely compatible with 3mm specialty filaments and are capable of fine layer heights as low as of 0.05mm with layer width as wide as the diameter of the selected nozzle.
Currently the LulzBot v2 Hexagon Hot Ends are priced at $70, in stock and ready to ship right away. Aleph does note that the v2 needs to be actively cooled, so they recommend installing it with the standard 5.5v Micro Blower currently being used on the LulzBot TAZ and LulzBot Mini 3D printers. The LulzBot v2 Hot Ends are the same technology as the LulzBot TAZ and the LulzBot Mini, however they are not compatible with them due to wiring differences. You can find out more about the v2 Hexagon Hot End here.
Have you used any of these hot ends? What did you think? Let us know in the Hexagon Hot End Forum thread on 3DPB.com.