Speed: it’s the one aspect of the 3D printing process which is holding 3D printing back the most. Who wants to wait around for 10 hours for a simple fist-sized object to be printed out? I certainly don’t and I’m willing to bet that you don’t, either. Besides speed, the size of a printer’s build envelope is one of the other more coveted features of a new machine. With that said, who wants a large scale 3D printer when it can take days for an object to print that’s big enough to take advantage of the larger build volume?
One company is trying to step things up a notch, not by manufacturing their own high-speed 3D printers, but by introducing a new upgrade for a variety of their hotend products. E3D is at the forefront of 3D printer hotend technology. They have recently launched a series of new high-quality hotend products which allow 3D printing enthusiasts to upgrade their machines, enabling new capabilities along with more robust 3D prints.
Recently, however, E3D unveiled their latest and perhaps most interesting product to date: an upgrade to their line of extruders called Volcano. The Volcano kit will allow anyone with an E3D-v6, Chimera, Kraken, or v5/4 extruder to modify it with the Volcano, turning their printer into a high-speed 3D printing beast.
The Volcano, aptly named for its ability to spew out molten plastic at very impressive speeds and volume, does two main things. First off, it increases the volume of plastic able to be processed by the hotend. Additionally, it increases the layer heights of a printed object. These two factors work in unison to print objects up to 250% faster. For instance, a typical large gear bearing — which takes approximately 1,400 minutes to print using a standard E3D-v6 hotend — is able to print in well under 600 minutes using the new Volcano modification kit.
Sure, the Volcano may not be the hotend of choice when printing an object requiring intricate details and a high resolution, but if resolution doesn’t matter a whole lot, and print speed as well as strength of the object are important, the volcano hotend seems to be just what the doctor ordered. Because of the larger traces being extruded, inter-layer adhesion is boosted, leaving printed objects much stronger and less brittle, while printing in a fraction of the time that we are all used to.
The way the Volcano works is quite simple. E3D has increased the melt rate within the hotend by almost doubling the melt zone of the standard E3D-v6. This means that the thermoplastic remains in the hotend longer, absorbing more heat during its passage, so that a larger quantity of plastic can be extruded.
It’s a trade-off between speed and resolution, but why not have that option? If you have a printer capable of printing larger objects, then this seems like a hotend you likely could utilize. Let’s face it, most of the functional parts we print do not require intricate details; rather it’s the strength and the ability to print them as quickly as possible that most of us really lust after.
The Volcano hotend is immediately available on the E3D website starting at just £20.00 (approximately $31). The hotend comes in a format compatible with 1.75mm as well as 3mm filament, and an entire package for each can be purchased, including 0.60mm, 0.80mm, 1.00mm, and 1.20mm diameter nozzles, for just £24.00 (approximately $37). Prices will be rising slightly following the Christmas season, but remain very affordable.
Have you purchased this new hotend modification? Let us know your thoughts in the E3D Volcano Hotend forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below showing a printout comparison: