If we look at a FDM (FFF, Material Extrusion) 3D printer the three key components are the feeder, extruder and nozzle of the 3D printer. These components determine the rate and pressure at which the material is deposited as well as (together with fans) how quickly this material solidifies. There are hundreds of 3D printer companies making the boxes that print but precious few companies working on improving the key components of 3D printers. It would be kind of like we were doing a biathlon where hundreds worked tirelessly on the skiing portion of the race but no one was learning how to shoot. One of the very few companies working on improving the key components of 3D printers is Bondtech. Known for its QR extruder and first getting noticed for its V2 extruder the company makes high-quality components that can improve your 3D printer. Better looking parts, faster printing and less failed prints are just some of the possible benefits. My favorite component of Bondtech’s is their drivegear for their feeding system. An incredibly well-designed part it prevents digging and slipping due to incorrectly dimensioned, tensioned or smooth filament. We interviewed the founder of Bondtech, Martin Bondéus, to find out more.
The drivegear seems like such a tiny part but it really has extensive effects in 3D printing. What kinds of effects are they?
“Our feeding system makes a big difference in terms of reliability, our system provides very high feeding force without any slipping or grinding of the filament that will make the process more stable, the operator does not have to worry that an overnight printjob does not finish due to problem with the material feeding.”
How did you make a better drive gear?
“After extensive testing with different solutions in our machine shop with manual machines we were able to define an optimized geometry, after the design was finalized we have moved over to volume production in best in class CNC machining centres.”
What are the effects of this for the user?
“The user can focus on being creative printing new exciting designs instead of worry about if the print job will fail or not.”
What do your QR kits do?
“Our QR kits is our high-end extruder that is virtually indestructible, it is currently our strongest feeder and is available for both 1.75 and 2.85 mm filament in right and left-hand versions to make installations easier, it is the obvious choice if you are looking for the best of Bowden extruders.”
How do they work?
“Featuring two counter-rotating drive gears, the Bondtech extruder grips the filament from both sides, thus eliminating the risk for grinding, slipping, filament deformation and under extrusion. In addition, the extruder is powered by a strong stepper motor and planetary gearbox that provide a superior pushing force.”
Whats a pancake stepper?
“A pancake stepper motor is a shorter version of a normal stepper motor, as these motors have less torque than normal Nema17 motors they require a gearbox inside the extruder in order to provide enough pushing force. The big advantage is that they are lighter than normal Nema17 stepper motors so the moving weight of the printhead is reduced and this makes it possible to print faster with sustained quality. The gearbox also improves the resolution of the extrusion and this is especially important when printing will smaller nozzles.”
What is dual drive and how does it work?
“The DualDrive technology features two counter-rotating drive gears, the Bondtech extruder grips the filament from both sides, thus eliminating the risk for grinding, slipping, filament deformation and under extrusion.”
Why don’t you make hotends?
“Currently, we are focusing in extruders and the parts around this but for the future, we will probably expand our range of products used in the additive manufacturing area.”