Additive Manufacturing Strategies

An Adjustable Resolution 3D Print Head?

ST Medical Devices

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Peter Mann and Nick McGibbon are a design and prototyping team with extensive backgrounds in CAD, materials testing, application manufacturing, product design, 3D milling and 3D printing, 5207ac252ca9c1ed994f838b8bc9006c_originaland they’ve created the xHead Extruder, what they call the world’s first adjustable resolution print head.

The pair, from Brompton, Ontario, say their xHead was designed to deal with some very specific problems associated with 3D printing like fixed resolutions, head cleaning, clogged nozzles, and getting rid of the messy tape on the heater block.

“Rather [than] waste time complaining, we simply decided to solve the issues we raised,” they say. “From the initial concept to the first prototype, the xHead surpassed both our expectations. We were so happy with the results, we immediately filed a provisional patent for our invention.”

The xHead was designed to allow complete cleaning of all its internal cavities, and the duo say they tested their solution by clogging the entire assembly, including the nozzle, and then letting the filament harden before attempting a repair.

“Not only did our design clean easily, we put the head back on to reprint with it,” they noted.

The resolution adjustment feature is also designed to go completely through the nozzle, which they say will allowing cleaning without removing the print head. While to this point the resolution and cleaning adjustment is a manual process, Mann and McGibbon are designing a servo motor based system the pair would be able to offer with the proper funding.

The xHead thermal jacket is injection molded and the pair plan to make heat efficiency numbers, along with all the images and videos of their prototype testing, available as questions are posed and responses required.

44f7ad1242ded655e390a033bc3ba770_originalThey say the xHead is made with high quality components and CNC milled by Geometrix, a micro machining company with a proven track record in design and supply.

The Kickstarter campaign they started to fund their xHead project includes a top reward of a plug-and-print version of the xHead extruder package and a servo controller which will include a thermal enclosure, all input and output socket set screws, a thermal break, and a brass nozzle for $200 CAD (around $165 USD).

Should they meet their funding goal of $9,000 CAD, the estimated delivery date for the xHead is this summer. First and second batches will ship to the US and Canada in June and July, with international shipments going out in August.

Do you think this device will be capable of meeting the claims? Let us know in the Adjustable Resolution 3D Print Head forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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