By far the most important component to an FFF or FDM-based 3D printer is that of the extrusion system. A faulty extruder can make a quality 3D printer, a worthless piece of junk. Clogging, uneven extrusion, and a variety of other issues can quickly turn a project that starts smoothly into a major catastrophe.
El Paso, Texas-based company Praxis3D, realizes this and has created what they feel is one of the most innovative quality 3D printer extruders to ever hit the market. The X-truder has just been launched on Kickstarter, and from the looks of things it’s quite impressive.
Praxis3D has set out to create a compact, affordable, high temperature, dual nozzle, single motor extruder which weighs approximately one pound. After four rounds of prototyping, the three-man team feels that they have accomplished the goals they had set out to achieve. The X-truder features four key innovations, making it a worthwhile upgrade according to those behind it. They are as follows:
- Two all metal extruders – copper heatsink, polished 316 SS tubing as a heat break, 60 watt cartridge heaters.
- A special filament drive system – easy filament loading and unloading, high torque Nema 11 stepper, easy configuration in most firmware.
- Extremely simple electrical connections – 40 circuits on a 24 inch long ribbon cable, 2 LEDs which light the print area, and steady power via a 6V regulator.
- Extruder nozzle retraction feature – retraction mechanism cycled 100,000 times without showing any signs of wear, servo driven mechanism to switch between active nozzles, and easy alignment.
The X-truder is capable of printing in a variety of materials, thanks to its ability to reach fairly high temperatures. These materials include, but are not limited to ABS, PC, PVA, PLA and TPU.
For those interested in helping out, while also pre-ordering the X-truder, the early bird price of just $250 is still available. This price includes the X-truder head assembly, an interface PCB, and the ribbon cable. Once the first 100 units sell, the price will rise to $275. Yes, this isn’t particularly cheap, however, like we have mentioned above, the extruder is easily the most important component of a 3D printer, a component you certainly do not want to skimp on.
Praxis3D is trying to raise a total of $100,000 by November 30, in order to launch full scale production of their X-truder. If they can not raise the full amount, they will not produce this product. Let us know if you have pre-ordered this device. Discuss in the Praxis3D X-truder forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the Kickstarter pitch video below: