FDM based 3D Printers are typically limited to printing in different types of plastics. They work by usually melting ABS or PLA plastic in a similar fashion to how a hot glue gun works. Recently, however, we have begun seeing more and more materials become available for these 3D printers.
In June, we reported on a company called Structur3d which had launched and successfully funded their Discov3ry Paste Extruder. It allows for anyone with a FDM 3D printer to attach this add-on and begin printing objects using just about any paste that’s on the market. Now, there appears to be a little bit of competition. RepRapBCN has just informed 3DPrint.com that they have produced their own ‘Paste Extruder’ available for pre-order.
“Our paste extruder is an upgrade for our BCN3D+ 3D printer, but if you understand how it works, you will notice it is really easy to adapt to other printers,” explained Rafael Angles Lopez of RepRapBCN to 3DPrint.com. “Just a small tweak on firmware, and logically, design and print something to hold the extruder.”
While it is built specifically for the BCN3D+ 3D printer, as Lopez explained, it can easily be modified to work on virtually any FDM 3D printer. Once installed it will allow you to print in virtually any pasty material, such as jelly, chocolate, mashed potatoes, plaster, clay, and concrete. Here is a video showing it printing in colored mashed potatoes.
RepRapBCN demonstrated using several printing materials, including clay, mashed potatoes, and chocolate. All of them turned out quite well. The extruder works by using a specialized syringe that includes a plunger which pushes the filament through a small nozzle. The plunger is controlled by the extruder’s motor, which provides the control and power.
The Paste Extruder is currently available for pre-order for €110 (approximately $148 USD). It will begin shipping on October 15, 2014.
RepRapBCN also plans to release a user guide over the next few months which will help explain how to use different materials in the Paste Extruder. What do you think? Would you consider purchasing the Paste Extruder? Discuss in the RepRapBCN Paste Extruder Forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the Paste Extruder printing in Chocolate below: