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  1. #1

    Plastic Pellets?

    When do you guys plan to implement the tech needed to allow the 3D Monstr to print using Plastic pellets? In my opinion this will make this printer highly attractive to those of us that like experimenting with our designs but hate spending a fortune on filament.

  2. #2
    Student 3dm's Avatar
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    Hi, Riskerbus, I very much agree with you about the impact a pellet extruder will have.

    At the moment, I don't expect it to enter production until late in 2014. If we can bring the prototype to the NY Maker Faire in September, I will be very happy.

    When we get further down that road, would you be interested in helping us test it?

  3. #3
    Student Mike's Avatar
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    If he's not interested, I'd certainly be interested in testing it.

  4. #4
    Student 3dm's Avatar
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    @Mike, well, when we come to that, I'll throw your name on the list, as well. What kind of a printer do you have? You'd need to either have one of ours, or would have to figure out how to integrate the extruder to yours.

    The latter issue is something we're going to start talking about publicly some time in the Spring. When we publish, as we promised, the mechanical, electrical,and electronic interfaces between the printer platform and the extruder, we'll be asking the community to pitch in and help create appropriate implementations for many different printers. But that's a conversation for a few months from now.

  5. #5
    What I don't get about this option is that there are several extruder out on the market now, both kits and competed devices. What makes the ability to take plastic pellets (which would also have to be mixed with colorents) any better than a separate extruder?

    I'm asking this seriously and am not being belligerent at all.
    -
    A little learning is a dangerous thing.

  6. #6
    Student 3dm's Avatar
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    Hi, @DT,

    I think the requirements for a stand-alone filament maker vs. an on-machine pellet extruder a little bit different.

    Firstly, a stand-alone machine needs to go as fast as it can, and that forces some engineering decisions, like size and power, that don't need to happen in an on-machine extruder. So our implementation will be smaller and more efficient,and may be even less expensive (although we're not yet sure about that).

    Secondly, an on-machine extruder doesn't need to make any special accommodations to spooling. This is the bane of stand-alone machines - getting a uniform filament is very difficult without auto-spooling. You also need to cool the filament as it comes out of the nozzle, but not too much, etc. All these considerations disappear in an on-machine scenario.

    Again, I'm hoping this makes our solution less expensive and easier to use. If we can make it work that way, would that makes sense?

    Ben

  7. #7
    Ben,

    One of the major problems, as I see it, is that doing this at the printer requires doing it once per head (unless I'm missing something). For many of my projects I will be needing all 4 heads.

    Will you be able to handle the extra mass of four pellet extruders that are moving in odd ways? I'm not trying to discourage the idea, but I can see a lot of problems.

    A dedicated filament extruder costs under $800 for the fully completed ExtrusionBot or under $300 for the kit Filabot. These are easier to set up under ideal conditions such that the filament is spooled and comes out at a constant rate. They seem to be able to make about a kg a day according to their advertising, but I haven't looked much yet at real user testimony.

  8. #8
    Student 3dm's Avatar
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    Hi, DT,

    Yes, mass and size are very much a concern, precisely for the reasons you mention. We're not sure yet how this will shake out, we're not very far down that road.

    The bulk pellet extruder is in the development road-map for this year, but at the moment, we're slotting it after the work on the food-grade and the low-temp paste extruders.

    Ben.

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