Multicolor and multi-material 3D printers are becoming more common, but they’re still in the realm of fantasy for many makers. If you’re saving up to replace your current printer with a fancy multi-material model, you may want to hold on, though. What if there were a way to transform your ordinary old 3D printer into a multi-material machine capable of printing in two colors and/or materials in one print job, with one hot end? No need to run out and buy a new machine – a device invented by Canadian 3D printing company DisTech Automation can give your current printer brand new capabilities.
The Prometheus System, which will be hitting Kickstarter on September 6, is a novel extrusion system that plugs directly into the motherboards of any low-cost FFF/FDM 3D printers and turns them into, according to DisTech, commercial-grade multi-material machines. Compatible with both Marlin and Repetier firmware, the Prometheus System uses Cura to generate G-code that automatically controls filament switching and purging for multicolor and multi-material prints.
DiSTech has just released a teaser video this morning, ahead of next week’s Kickstarter launch:
“Single color and single material 3D printing has always been the standard for low-cost printers,” says Eric Sammut, CEO of DisTech Automation. “The Prometheus System will expand the capabilities of these 3D printers and enable them to produce vibrant multi-color objects, print with support material, and create unique multi-material prints.”
DisTech released the successful, customizable all-metal Prometheus Hot End in 2014, following up a year later with the upgraded Prometheus V2, which is the central component of the new Prometheus System. In addition to the V2 hot end, the system includes the ProStruder, an extruder with five times as much torque as conventional extruders thanks to a powerful geared stepper motor, and the ProFeeder, which takes two filament inputs from the extruders and channels them into a single output that feeds into the hot end – allowing the printer to switch easily between filaments and to print different filaments from a single nozzle.
The Prometheus System, according to DisTech, isn’t just any dual-extruder printer, though. The single nozzle avoids common dual-nozzle issues such as calibration problems and dripping, and eliminates the risk of color contamination by feeding one filament at a time into the single hot end.
“The Prometheus System solves all of the issues associated with conventional methods of dual extrusion,” continues Sammut. “We believe that this new product will set a new standard for desktop 3D printing.”
The Kickstarter campaign is aiming to raise $10,000 CAD. Supporter rewards start at $19 CAD/$15 USD, which will get you a cool two-color 3D printed keychain, while an early bird pledge of $189 CAD/$147 USD (non-early bird amount is $219 CAD/$170 USD) offers an upgrade for the current Prometheus V2 Hot End. You can get the full Prometheus System for an early bird pledge of $259 CAD/$201 USD, or a regular pledge of $299 CAD/$232 USD. For $2,449 CAD/$1,937 USD, you can get a full “3D Factory” comprised of 10 Prometheus System kits, and for $2,999 CAD/$2,325 USD, you’ll be able to tour the DisTech Automation development lab in Kingston, Ontario. The company will even buy you dinner, and you’ll receive the very first fully assembled Prometheus System.
The Prometheus System will be open source, and rewards are estimated to begin shipping in October. All rewards, with the exception of the highest level, will be shipped in unassembled kit form. Again, the expected launch date for the campaign will be September 6; you can sign up on DisTech Automation’s website to be notified as soon as it goes live. Discuss further over in the Prometheus System Adds Capabilities to 3D Printing forum at 3DPB.com.