Update 7:30PM 9/1/2014: The Indiegogo campaign for Phatom has just launched!
Having dual extruders on a desktop 3D printer certainly isn’t a breakthrough. There are several companies putting out products which include two extruders, allowing users to print products which incorporate two seperate colors. For instance, a miniature traffic cone can be 3D printed with the white stripes replacing the orange in a couple areas, all during a single print process. Dual extruders provide added utility which some hobbyists may find worth the additional cost associated with them.
When I first started getting interested in 3D printing a couple of years ago, I always wondered why someone hasn’t created a machine which utilized two independent extruders. Two extruders working independently on an object should be nearly twice as fast in the fabrication of that object. Although I knew it wouldn’t be an easy task, and certain physical barriers would limit such a design somewhat, I always figured it would eventually come down the pipeline.
One Company, called Phantom Corporation, founded by Lithuanian, Eimantas Tomkevicius, is trying to do just this. Tomkevicius explained to us his desire to create something unique, which could fabricate objects faster than the other machines on the market today. First introduced to 3D printing in 2012, it wasn’t until last year that he really began thinking about what he could offer the market.
“In April 2013 I went to San Francisco for 3 months with the idea to create a video game,” explained Tomkevicius to 3DPrint.com. “I went to one hacker space called Noisebridge. I was really surprised at the time, as the place was amazing. There I had an opportunity to try the 3D printers my self. I have tried them all in the first week. I noticed they were really slow and too complicated for those who were not engineers.”
This was the launching point of a project which Tomkevicius has spent over a year working on (a large portion of that time, rewriting marlin code to function with such a setup) with Tadas Jotkevičius, their designer, Tomas Rinkevicius, their technical engineer and Evaldas Virketis, their hardware engineer. The team hopes to launch a crowdfunding campaign for a printer they call the Phantom, sometime in the next week or two.
The Phantom 3D printer is the first machine to utilize two extruders which work independently on the x and y axis from one another. The team has applied for a patent, thus was not willing to provide us with the full mechanical details of the system. The printer will be capable of doubling the speeds of most single extruder machines, ultimately reaching speeds of 200 to 250 mm/sec, at a resolution of between 100 and 300 microns.
Tomkevicius explained to us that the Phantom excels during larger prints, or when printing multiple objects, as the extruders each can take care of their particular area of the project without worrying about the location of the other extruder. When it comes to smaller objects, the full capabilities of dual independent extruders can not be taken advantage of because of the close proximity of the extruders in relation to one another.
If the printer does what it says it will, such a machine certainly will be a significant incremental advance within the market for desktop 3D printers. Let’s hear your thoughts for the idea behind this innovative new 3D printer, in the Phantom forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the quick promo video below:
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