AMS Spring 2023

ZCatch Develops Tool For Smooth Nozzle Removal

Inkbit

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Modern 3D printers have come a long way in terms of the tech that goes into the nozzle. With various printers, you can now switch them around for different diameter or all sorts different functionalities. Although, this comes with the issue of cooling the machine nozzle, removing existing filament and then the nozzle itself. This process can take up to 20 minutes and often requires multiple tools (depending on your printer). Florida-based start-up ZCatch are looking to make the entire procedure much simpler with their new Universal Nozzle Removal Tool.

The Nozzle Removal Tool is a compound system in which the end user can remove nozzles and secure the heater block using a single device. Moreover, it’s far faster and safer than the average removal process, cutting the machine downtime by a significant degree. It also works with just about any printer on the market according to the ZCatch. Basically, it’s a must-have tool for any maker who uses a 3D printer. The average maker has to switch up their nozzles frequently due to testing different filaments, printing with abrasive materials or working with different nozzle diameters.

The Nozzle Remover

The current system of nozzle changes typically involves a minimum of two tools. Most often, this involves the crescent wrench and socket wrench. Aside from taking time, the process also involves dealing with hot equipment with a chance of injury or waiting for it to cool. Additionally, the tools themselves are bulky and they are not specially designed for this particular task.

The Nozzle Removal Tool, on the other hand, combines the functionality of both tools making great use of an ergonomic finger grip design with a low heat conductivity stainless 17-4 PH steel design. The overall extended length of the Tool is 82mm (3.23 inches) with a diameter of 31.75mm (1.25 inches) for the upper and lower housing making this a small compact tool that can get into those tough spots and get the nozzle out. It also ensures safe removal without damaging the heater block.

The ZCatch tool employs a ratcheting mechanism which allows users to loosen and tighten the nozzles. The tool works with 1/4 drive sockets, with a recessed square on one end connecting to the Tool and different
adapters on the other end in order to connect to different Nozzle sizes.

The company intends for the tool to be an affordable, convenient and compact device that makes the switchover process easier. It combines the functionality of multiple tools into one device, expertly designed to remove parts safely.

ZCatch on Kickstarter

The company has put the nozzle removal tool up as a Kickstarter project, looking to raise $14,000. Visit their Kickstarter campaign here. They’ve already raised upwards of $3,000 from 116 backers with 18 days left to go. ZCatch wants to meet their prototype finalization goal and go further with their component finalization and material finalization. Specifically, they will finish up the design and supply finalization of push pin and locking head components.

They are in the process of setting up their distribution channels and the company is far along in their goals. Given time, the ZCatch nozzle removal tool could become a household device for any 3D printing enthusiast.

Special thanks to ZCatch for providing information for this article.

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