When it comes to desktop FDM/FFF 3D printers, we have continued to see the prices of these machines drop significantly over the past couple of years. Now, virtually anyone can afford to have a 3D printer in their home, to begin turning their 3D models into actual tangible products. One thing still stands in the way of providing 3D printer owners the ability to countlessly iterate upon their designs, and use their printers on a continuous basis. That one thing is the ridiculous price of 3D printer filaments.
Your typical filament price is around $40 per kilogram, and if you own a 3D printer, you know that this $40 in material can be used up in as little as 2 days. This adds up over weeks, months and years, many times preventing people from using their 3D printers as often as they would ultimately like. Recently we have begun to see companies create and release various filament extruders, which allow individuals to create their own filaments for pennies on the dollar. These machines work by melting and extruding plastic from pellet form, into spools of filament compatible with desktop 3D printers. These pellets can be obtained at much cheaper prices, thus greatly reducing the costs of operating a 3D printer.
Tomorrow, a brand new filament extruder will be unveiled to the world, in the form of a Kickstarter campaign. 3devo, a company which has been established as a new venture from Devoteq, will be unleashing the NEXT 1.0 filament extruder, a machine which they claim is of the utmost quality.
“Filament extruders by themselves are anything but new, but what sets 3devo apart from the competition is the attention to detail and quality of the end product that has been invested in it,” Lucas van Leeuwen of 3devo tells 3DPrint.com. “Unlike other filament extruders that generate poor-quality or inconsistent filament, the NEXT 1.0 is designed to extrude nothing short of a professional grade product, ensuring that the filament it extrudes can be perfectly wound onto the spool of a 3D printer for optimum results. All this from the comfort of your own desk.”
The NEXT 1.0 has 7 features which the company will be boasting about on their campaign, and which make it stand out from the other extruders on the market. This includes:
- The extrusion system’s high quality – special extrusion screw system that transports pellets, converting them into filament.
- Tri-zon heating system – As opposed to other consumer extruders with just one zone, the NEXT 1.0’s extruder barrel has 3 independently heated zones, each with a dedicated heater, giving users more control over temperatures, which allows for the creation of higher quality filament.
- Hopper refill sensor – Features a built-in sensor that triggers an alarm on the device when the hopper level gets below a prefixed threshold.
- Diameter control system – You choose the exact diameter of your filament.
- Automatic winding system with slipper clutch – Aids in the creation of perfectly wound spools of filament.
- Easily swappable spool mount
- Easy user interface
“We ran into a problem,” says 3devo co-founder, Tim Wesselink. “There is quite a high cost of 3D printing filament and a lack of flexibility in material types and colors; we were also unable to recycle our failed prints/waste plastic to create something new.”
It’s not just about saving money though. The company wanted to make a machine that could allow for the complete customization of filament as well, and this is one of the selling points of the NEXT 1.0. Not only that, but it is able to create filament at groundbreaking speeds, something any “maker”, designer, or engineer who is already tired of waiting for long print times, will appreciate.
The NEXT 1.0 has been under development for 2 years now, with 5 separate prototype iterations created. 3devo went to all ends of the spectrum, trying to create a top of the line machine that is of the highest possible quality.
“We had to design new parts for the Next 1.0, new parts that have never been used in a desktop filament extruder before,” says Wesselink. “It’s allowed us to control the quality and consistency of the filament with exact precision, and push the performance of desktop extrusion to the NEXT level.”
It should be interesting to see how well this extruder sells. Certainly there is a need for a machine of this caliber. Will this lead to more people going out and buying 3D printers, knowing that they can create high quality filament in their own homes, saving a ton of money in the process? We will soon find out! Check out the videos below.