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  1. #1

    Dual extrusion or not?

    I am looking to buy a 3-d printer. I am a mechanical engineer and plan on printing a lot of moving parts. I'm torn between two printers. The flashforge creator pro for its cost and dual extrusion or the ultimaker 2. I don't like the flashforge build size, but as a novice I don't know if I can live without dissolvable filament. How important is it to have dual extrusion capabilities? How limited am I without having dissolvable filament? Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    well the flashforge build size is not as small as it sounds.
    And you'll probably be mostly making stuff that fits in it.

    Dual extrusion is a right pita. It either takes 3 times as long as you need wiping walls or you don't use the walls and get bits of the two filaments mixed in with the other filament.

    It does depend on whether or not you intend to design/make stuff that needs a lot of support.
    I pretty much don't design things that need support. But you might.

    The ultimaker is faster, and a second head can be fitted - pretty sure they do an expansion kit. So if you've got the dosh - I'd go for the ultimaker, at the end of the day it's the better printer. And like I said pretty sure you can add a second head if you need to.

    If you look at the print head you'll see that it's on the left hand side, leaving a big gap on the right for a second head.

  3. #3
    Engineer-in-Training
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    Add Wolfie on Thingiverse
    For build volume, have you looked at the Taz 4? Its the one I am going to go with. It does have dual extruder heads available.

  4. #4
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    Follow Fusion3 3D Printers On Twitter
    We at Fusion3 have just released the F306 with a dual extrusion option. For more information, http://www.fusion3design.com/wp-cont...-1.30.2015.pdf

  5. #5
    Technologist
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    Add truly_bent on Shapeways
    Wolfie;
    You buying the Taz 4 or building from kit? I haven't checked if they're normally sold as a kit or not. Anyway, there's a complete kit for one on GrabCad if you're interested in building it yourself.

  6. #6
    Engineer-in-Training
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    They are available as both kit (LulzBot KITTAZ 3D) and assembled (LulzBot TAZ 3D). The Lulzbot Taz is fully open hardware and open software so all parts can be downloaded directly from Lulzbot as well as all the mechanical drawings needed to produce the metal parts too (assuming you have access to a metal shop which I don't) as well as BOMs needed. You could manufacture a Taz without paying anything to Lulzbot. I don't have the resources to do that yet and I don't mind supporting a company that is willing to make EVERYTHING about their printer open and free should you wish it.

    As a first printer, I thought it wise to go with assembled (mostly) to get up and running with the fewest issues. After that, I can use it to produce parts for other printers/devices or additional Taz if I want to expand my printer stable. I also have a 50w laser cutter/engraver that I can produce any laser cut MDF/Plexi/plywood parts for other printers with or additional components for the Taz (such as a plexi enclosure).

    With the two machines (Taz and Laser), I have machines capable of creating/depositing material as well as removing/cutting material. From there, I can go lots of places. Including OpenSLS as I have a laser machine very much like the ones they used in their project. So that will give me SLS ability as well.

    I have done considerable research and have been shopping for a printer for almost 3 years. I had settled on the Hyrel 3d for its ability to take up to 4 extruders and some of its interesting extruding options (clay, playdough, sugro,etc) but that advantage has faded as those types of extruders can be obtained now for use with virtually any printer. Back then, the earlier versions of Taz were in the running too. And on top of that I waited for over a year for availability of the Hyrel to come to fruition, in vein. I gave up and restarted from the beginning. The Taz quickly floated to the top along with the Ultimaker 2. But the Taz seemed to eek out a win on many things I considered important (filament types, multiple extrusion, build volume, ease of customizing, open source hardware/software, customer reviews, and company attitude in the industry).

  7. #7
    an interesting thread. newbie come listen.



  8. #8
    Student RNipper's Avatar
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    We have the Fusion3 with a dual extruder and are pleased with it so far. Getting the settings dialed in is a big part of that. We are looking forward to all the possibilities, especially with the Fusion3's large build volume.

  9. #9
    Staff Engineer LambdaFF's Avatar
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    Dual extrusion is not simple. Maybe you want to start with something simpler and then put in the kit for a dual head.

    Basically, unless the machine is perfectly dialled in, the "idle" head bumps into what you are printing as you print it, and/or oozes stuff into the print.

    Can be avoided, but takes time to learn and can be frustrating.

  10. #10
    I got the FFCX exactly because it could do dual extrusion. Have a separate build material and support material. Though everything would be easy peasy. When I got the printer I struggled getting it to work; the prints were awful (messy and imprecise). I also couldn't get the solvent for the support material (D-limonene for HIPS).

    So I gave up on the idea. Removed the second extruder to save weight and did mono-material prints for about a year. This works better then you might expect but requires a lot of post print finishing.

    In the last few months things have changed. Firstly I know my printer's mood like the back of my hand. It has been mechanically fine-tunes to perfection (a work in progress, mind you). Like-wise with the software. Makerware can take you very far, provided you take the time to learn how it works. I also found a D-limonene supplier. So the experiments began.

    Right of the bat I got good results. Experience really does make a huge difference. I have some photos of my last prints for clients; really intricate stuff. I hope to post these later today or maybe during the week. I am quite busy with real-life work and stuff. The results I get now are on par with any print I have seen from big-name printers like Stratasys and the like and at a fraction of the cost. These days printing with support is out of the question unless its something simple for around the house.

    To answer your questions:

    1) Using dissolvable support opens doors, believe me. But you must get to know your printer inside and out. This goes for all printers. Be prepared to tinker and upgrade overtime.

    2) FFCP vs Ultimaker: two very different beasts with different pros and cons. FF's have direct drive extrusion; the Ultimaker has Bowden. Direct drive is a better choice for dual-extrusion as you have more control over your extrusion volume and output. On the other hand direct drive adds weight to your carriage which can result in corner ringing. You can counter this by slowing your print down and playing with the acceleration settings. Ultimately you won't get the print speed of an Ultimaker though. Personally I print outlines at 25mm/s to 50mm/s and get a fantastic finish; for others that is too slow. Both printers need to be fully enclosed to print with ABS so no difference there. As far as layer height goes the Ultimaker can go down to 0.02mm, the FF to 0.1mm. From a purely technical aspect the FF's steppers can go that low too. In fact they are better suited to go that low than the Ultimaker steppers but the direct drive of the extruders limits the minimum flow rate. Adding a gear to step down the extruder revolutions and you can very easily as fine a layer as the Ultimaker. Again, its all down to your technical aptitude and desire to tinker. FWIW I successfully printed at 0.05mm layer height on my FFCX with out any mechanical modification, just by adjusting the flow output. However that layer height coupled with the slow print speed results in the print taking a very long time.

    The Ultimaker has drawbacks. Firstly it is very expensive compared to other printers. You could get two FFCP's for the price of one Ultimaker. It also uses an odd sized filament i.e. 2.85mm. Common sizes are 1.75mm and 3mm. I've heard that some people are suing 3mm filament on their Ulttmakers but cannot confirm.

    Things I don't like about my FFCX: Its quite noisy. Not industrial machine noisy but if its running at night then I have to close the doors. I don't like the colour either (black). I will probably strip it at some point and spray it either white or silver (like the UM .

    There are other brands worth checking out. High on my list are the TAZ5 and the Robobeast. Both will need enclosures made of to be used with ABS.

    Hope that helps.


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