There are so many fantastic 3D models available for printing. It’s really too bad that unless you use paint, these objects will only be printed usually in one or, if you are lucky, two colors. With current FFF technology we just haven’t progressed to a point where we can fabricate in a full array of vibrant colors.
Over the last couple years, however, there has been some progress in this area. We have at least seen more machines which come equipped with dual extrusion, and multiple extrusion hotends. In fact we have even seen a few startups emerge claiming to offer the mixing of several colors of filaments (although none of these have actually made it to mass market yet). If we are to progress further within the field of fused filament fabrication, we need extruders which can overcome a variety of key issues.
England-based E3D, known for their wide selection of 3D printer parts and filaments, is trying to do just this. The creators of the Kraken, a four-nozzle multiple extrusion hotend, have been working diligently on a product they call Cyclops. With the Cyclops, E3D hopes to overcome a series of key issues seen when printing an object with multiple hotends. These issues include the lack of ability to level the nozzles independently, causing the nozzles to touch the printed object or the oozing of nozzles, and the issue of the weight of the extruder, which can be a hindrance to speed during the printing process.
They just completed their first round of test prints using the Cyclops, and provided several pictures of the results, as well as many of the key specifications of the new extruder, which includes the following:
- Dual material input
- Small footprint ~ 28 X 30mm
- Nozzles are Interchangeable
- All-Metal high temperature performance
- Light weight – great for bowden and delta printers
- Compatible with all modern firmware, electronics and slicers
Testing is still underway, though things are progressing very smoothly. Soon the Cyclops will be released on the E3D website in beta, along with actual photos of the extruder and the usual open source engineering drawings that E3D always provides. Continue to check the E3D website for further updates regarding this very promising new extruder. Let us know your thoughts and follow along as things progress in the E3D forum thread on 3DPB.com.