Despite the influx of machines making their way to market, capable of printing with a paste extrusion system, those who already own a 3D printer are likely not going to run out and blow another several hundred to thousands of dollars on another machine so that they can print with numerous other materials. Not to mention there are currently no machines readily available which are capable of printing via paste extrusion as well as thermoplastic fusion methods. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just purchase an attachment to turn your FFF 3D printer into a paste extrusion machine?
One company, called +Lab, based in Milan, Italy, is working on a system which could allow you to do just that. +Lab is a group of designers and engineers who are working together taking a multi-diciplinary approach to focus research on the field of 3D printing, while hoping to diffuse 3D printing culture within society. Recently the team at +Lab has come up with an innovative new way of fitting fusion based 3D printers with a paste extrusion add-on.
Their initial extruder, which they have created, consists of a 60ml syringe for liquid deposition modeling (LDM) and has been created to fit a 3Drag printer (K8200). For those unaware, a 3Drag printer features a moving bed and stationary extruder, making it perfect for this setup. With that said, the syringe can easily be integrated into a variety of other 3D printers by simply designing a customized mount for that particular printer.
The team at +Lab warns that a typical 3D printer will need to be slowed down significantly so that the head movements are not as fast, if this syringe extruder was to be used. For those of you interested in printing out and constructing the attachment to fit this paste extrusion system onto your 3D printer, +Lab has provided DIY instructions on Thingiverse for you to follow. With that said, one of the parts measures around 30cm (1′) in length, meaning that you will need a 3D printer with a large build envelope to print. +Lab is working on spliting this part into two smaller parts so that almost any printer will be capable of fabricating the entire system.
Once attached, paste-like materials such as clay, peanut butter, Nutella, and caulk can all be printed with it. If you have fitted this extrusion system onto your printer, please let us know by posting in the +Lab paste extruder forum thread on 3DPB.com
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