Full-color 3D printing is something that has been being talked about for quite some time now, when it comes to desktop FFF-based printers. While there are a few 3D printers that claim to 3D print in full color, the availability and pricing at this time for such a machine is not exactly where most people would like to see it. Back in April, we reported on a company named OmniDynamics, and their new filament extruder, called the Strooder.
On May 27, 2014, OmniDynamics launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Strooder, and about a month later the campaign ended with them blowing past their original £20,000 goal, raising £64,369. Today, OmniDynamics has provided 3DPrint.com with some updates, and also unveiled an interesting new breakthrough that they have come up with in order to allow owners of the device to create virtually any color filament they wish.
“The Strooder is now finalised for manufacturing and will begin shipping within the next 2 months,” Stephen Lloyd, Operations Manager for OmniDynamics, tells 3DPrint.com. “We are still taking pre-orders at the moment and have already begun taking orders from schools.”
The ability to create 3D printer filament from raw plastic material means incredible cost savings can be realized. Typically filament manufacturers charge a 400-1200% markup on their merchandise, with normal prices ranging from $20 to $50 per 1kg spool.
“We have now successfully made Strooder filament in PLA, ABS, HDPE, TPE PE,PP and LDPE,” Lloyd continued. “We are now hitting extrusion speeds of 3 metres per minute due to a custom screw and nozzle combination. We have also integrated colour in to our prints using colourants following the same principle of ink printing mixing CMYK to achieve all possible colours.”
The idea of CMYK coloring — the four inks commonly used in color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black) — is extremely exciting because this means that virtually any color can be created by mixing and matching other colors. OmniDynamics has achieved this through a very simple process that includes adding small amounts of colorants (about 1%) to the pellets prior to extrusion on the Strooder. This means that multiple colors can be extruded in one spool of filament, allowing for multi-colored prints, or 100% customized colors for objects that need to match another object exactly.
There is a lot of excitement coming from Strooder, and 2015 should be the year it is all unleashed. Lloyd, while being excited about the color options the device will provide, is also extremely excited about the potential that the device has for schools.
“We have started to set-up supply links with schools, and this is something we are very excited about, we believe this could have a massive social impact to the industry, showing children sustainability and recycling in product design,” says Lloyd. “We are hoping to create a system where children will take plastic bottles in to school and turn this into a 3D printed object to take home. It is far too easy for everyone to ignore recycling when you are told something like a cup or pen is made from recycled material. We are currently in a unique position to go in to schools and retailers as our product is the only extruder on the market that has the necessary safety and compliance to be used in that environment.”
Without a doubt, the widespread use of filament extruders should make 3D printing more accessible to more people, while at the same time allowing for the experimentation of different material options.
What do you think about the potential that the Strooder has? Have you pre-ordered one? Discuss in the Strooder forum thread on 3DPB.com.