Although there are many factors that go into the selection of a 3D printer, one feature that appeals to many people is versatility. Printer quality still trumps everything else – it doesn’t matter how many materials a machine can print with if it’s churning out terrible prints – but multiple capabilities are obviously attractive, and many manufacturers have been scaling up the variety of what their printers can do. The most extreme example, obviously, is ZMorph with their all-materials 3D printer/CNC machine/laser cutter factory in a box, but we’ve been seeing a lot of printers introduced recently that can do more than just 3D print. (Laser engravers seem to be the tool of the moment.)
Even for those who have no interest in CNC milling or laser cutting, it’s hard not to be seduced by 3D printers that promise to print with a wide variety of materials – or, even better, multiple materials at one time. The beloved LulzBot was delivering multi-material capabilities well before it became popular to do so, and they now offer seven different swappable tool heads. The latest of these is the FlexyDually Tool Head v2, which enables users to print with both flexible and rigid materials in a single print job.
The FlexyDually v2 is an upgrade of the original FlexyDually, introduced in 2014. According to the LulzBot website:
“This expert-level tool head enables you to make: Living hinges, 3D printed-in-place gaskets and sealing surfaces, tires bonded to wheel hubs, wearables, and more.”
The all-metal v2 can heat up to a temperature of 300° Celsius (572° Fahrenheit), allowing for the printing of even more material combinations than the v1. Another upgrade includes a precision machined aluminum extruder mounting plate for easier setup and more reliable prints. It’s compatible with LulzBot TAZ 4 and TAZ 5 printers, uses open format 3mm filament, and, like LulzBot’s other hardware, is open source.
“LulzBot 3D printers feature proven extruders with industry-leading robustness and millions of hours of testing and use,” said Harris Kenny, Vice President of Marketing for LulzBot’s parent company Aleph Objects, Inc. “By upgrading the LulzBot tool head line, our community has better ways than ever to reliably prototype and bring ideas to life.”
The FlexyDually Tool Head v2 is available for $495, and is supported by the latest version of Cura LulzBot Edition. Aleph Objects, who recently expanded their operations into Australia, seems to be in no danger of losing popularity, and this latest offering should undoubtedly be well-received by LulzBot devotees. Thoughts on this latest technology? Discuss more in the FlexyDually Tool Head v2 forum over at 3DPB.com.