There are many materials that FDM 3D printers are able to print with. However, there are many more materials that don’t print on the majority of 3D Printers, due to their physical properties. However, one company, by the name of Structur3D Printing, hopes to change this. They plan on doing this by launching a new product called the Discov3ry. It is an extruder add-on that allows most FDM 3D printers, including MakerBots, Ultimakers, RepRaps and other DIY printers to print in a multitude of previously unthought of materials. It should work with any stepper motor based desktop 3D printer system.
The Discov3ry add-on will allow these FDM 3D printers to print in materials such as polyurethane, latex, silicon, wood filler, clay, ceramics, sugar icings, peanut butter, Nutella®, Play-Doh®, and many more! The list goes on and on.
“We know that once the Discov3ry is in the hands of makers, they’ll find all sorts of amazing applications for our product,” explained Structur3d’s president and co-founder Charles Mire to 3DPrint.com.
By allowing owners of 3D printers to print in these non-traditional materials, the Discov3ry add-on can save them a ton of money. For example, instead of paying $20-$40 for a 1KG roll of PLA filament, this device will allow you to feed in other less expensive materials. Take for example, silicon or latex. Both of these materials can be purchased at any hardware store, in the form of caulk. A tube of latex or silicon caulk will cost you between $1.50-$6 at Target, Home Depot, or any similar retailer. This material can then be fed into the Discov3ry add-on, and then extruded out of the MakerBot Replicator or other 3D printer.
The same goes for wood filler, which runs about $5 for a 4 oz. tub, as well as different types of clay material. It doesn’t stop here though. The add-on also allows for the printing of food substances, such as cake icing, peanut butter, nutella, and any other sort of “pasty” foods.
The possibilities of what you can print with are endless, with the Discov3ry extruder add-on. Just about any pasty material will be able to be printed.
Modifications to 3D printers have been made in the past, to allow for the printing of ‘pasty’ materials. However, the Discov3ry is the first commercially available plug and play paste extruder that can be easily integrated into the majority of commercially available 3D printers without significant modifications.
“The printing tip is easily mountable, and the device plugs into your existing electronics,” explained Mire. “As with any material, the print parameters will require some modification. We will provide guidance around the proper settings for specific materials with the Discov3ry.”
Details of how this extruder add-on works are not yet being released to the public. Structur3D Printing, plans to officially reveal this product on May 17th at the MakerFaire in San Francisco. After that, they plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign on June 2nd, and those interested in being notified of the launch may sign up at structur3dprinting.com.
“During the campaign, we will have a perk category for users who are interested in receiving the earliest versions of the product for beta testing, to ensure that we ship the highest quality product possible,” explained Mire.
What will the Discov3ry add-on costs?
“Pricing has not been finalized, but we are aiming to come in below $350,” explained Mire. “We believe this is a reasonable price to allow makers to get more out of the printers they already own.”
Here is a video of the Discov3ry in action: