About this project
With the success of our Prometheus V2 All-Metal Hot End and hundreds of happy customers around the world, we are now excited to introduce our latest product:
The Prometheus System is a revolutionary extrusion system that expands the capabilities of any low-cost 3D printer. It allows your 3D printer to produce complex multi-color and multi-material objects with the simplicity of a single hot end.
Expand the Capabilities of your 3D Printer!
Print with 2 different colors to create spectacular colorful 3D printed objects:
Print with removable support material to create complex objects with steep overhangs:
Create functional parts with composite structures for optimized strength:
Print with special materials to create objects with stunning visual effects:
Create an entirely new assortment of intricate objects:
Press Contact: info(at)distechautomation(dot)com
- Print with 2 colors or materials (support material, composites, and special materials)
- Print any filament up to 300C
- No calibration required
- No nozzle dripping (single nozzle design)
- No color contamination (single hot end design)
- Low moving mass (~65g) makes it ideal for Rostock style delta printers
The Prometheus System is not only an upgrade for multi-filament 3D printing, it is a premium hardware upgrade that increases the material capabilities and reliability of your 3D printer.
Prometheus V2 (Customizable All-Metal Hot End)
The Prometheus V2 customizable all-metal hot end is a high performance hot end that has been refined over the past two years based on the feedback of hundreds of users around the world. The internally polished 1-piece stainless steel nozzle allows you to print any material up to 300C with flawless results.
The customizable design of the Prometheus V2 hot end allows you to configure the length of the “melt-zone” to your specific needs. Using a short 12mm “melt-zone” increases precision and minimizes filament waste with multi-filament 3D printing.
ProStruder (5:1 Geared Extruder)
The ProStruder is a powerful laser cut extruder that is bowden compatible. The PTFE tubing extends right up to the drive gear creating a fully constrained filament path through the extruder.
Its 5:1 geared stepper motor provides more than enough torque to handle high-stress printing scenarios with rapid retraction.
ProFeeder (Multi-Filament Feeder)
The ProFeeder directs the filament path from the 2 extruders into a single filament guide that feeds into the hot end. This allows for filament switching by retracting one filament and feeding the other into a single hot end.
The precision machined KETRON HPV – Bearing Grade PEEK Guide that connects the feeder to the hot end is the secret sauce of the Prometheus System. KETRON HPV – Bearing Grade PEEK plastic was chosen for its thermal properties, low friction, and superior wear resistance to ensure the performance and longevity of this critical component.
We are currently using the popular Cura slicing software to generate .gcode files for multi-color and multi-material prints. Cura allows you to print with a prime tower to purge the previous filament on each filament switch and ensure clean transitions.
The Prometheus System can be used with any motherboard that supports dual extruders. Most common motherboards like the RAMPS, RAMBO, and RUMBA motherboards support dual extruders.
The Prometheus System should work with any firmware that can control dual extruders. Both Marlin firmware and Repetier firmware are compatible.
From the beginning, our goal was to make multi-filament 3D printing as simple, reliable, and precise as possible. To determine the best approach, we began by researching the conventional solutions: the Dual Nozzle Solution and the Mixing Nozzle Solution.
The Dual Nozzle Solution
This conventional approach is the most common and involves mounting 2 hot ends side-by-side to print with 2 different colors or materials.
The Mixing Nozzle Solution
This approach uses a customized hot end with multiple filament inputs that feed directly into the “melt-zone” with a single nozzle output.
We realized that we needed to come up with our own solution that incorporated the benefits of a single nozzle output without the issues of a Mixing Nozzle.
Our Solution: The Prometheus System
Our unique solution eliminates the complexities associated with multi-filament 3D printing by allowing your printer to switch between 2 different filaments that feed into a single hot end.
This approach eliminates the issues associated with conventional approaches to multi-filament 3D printing and allows for the flexibility of printing 2 different filaments while maintaining the simplicity, quality, and reliability of a single hot end.
The Prometheus System produces flawless multi-color objects:
Despite the apparent simplicity of this method of multi-filament 3D printing, it is not nearly as easy as it looks. To ensure reliable filament switching without jamming, we had overcome several major obstacles:
When you retract filament from your hot end, you may have noticed a long string of plastic that trails from the tip of the filament. This can easily cause jamming upon reentry into the hot end.
Our custom filament switching G-code minimizes stringing and the problems associated with it.
Reducing Plug Diameter
When you retract filament from your hot end, there is a 2mm diameter plug that forms at the tip of the filament. This can easily cause jamming upon reentry because it has to squeeze through a 2mm bore in the hot end.
The precision machined KETRON HPV – Bearing Grade PEEK Guide reshapes the plug diameter to 1.9mm as it is pulled out of the hot end so that it has sufficient tolerance to reenter the hot end without getting stuck.
Preventing Cold-Zone Jamming
When you retract filament from your hot end, the molten plastic can stick to the rough internal walls of the barrel in the cold-zone and cause jamming.
The Prometheus V2 Hot End uses a 1-piece nozzle that is internally polished along its entire length. This prevents molten plastic from sticking to the internal walls in the cold-zone as it is retracted from the hot end.
Providing Extra Torque
Conventional 1.75mm filament extruders use standard NEMA 17 stepper motors. These extruders have limited torque and can easily stall in high-stress scenarios.
The ProStruders use powerful 5:1 geared NEMA 17 stepper motors which provide enough torque to push through sticky situations and execute the rapid movements involved in filament switching.
By minimizing stringing, reducing the plug diameter, preventing cold-zone jamming, and providing extra torque, we are able to reliably print objects with hundreds of filament switches in a single print!
We are committed to working with the open source community to accelerate the development of desktop 3D printing.
This entire project, including all of the information on this page, is available under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Creative Commons Non-Commercial license. The CAD drawings and STLs for the Prometheus System will also be released under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, and will be made available on our website when we start shipping.
With the incredible success of the Prometheus Hot End over the past few years, we have developed an outstanding reputation in the 3D printing community as a manufacturer of high performance all-metal hot ends.
“I've bought a combination of 6 [Prometheus] V1's and V2's, and they're the only hotends I've found that can truly print 30+ hour prints in PLA without jamming. By far the best hotends I've used.” - Jesse
“I've owned two other "all metal" hot ends from other makers as well as a basic jhead. The Prometheus v2 is a class above all the others I've used.” - Forest B
“I currently print very smooth models/props at 218°C using PLA and couldn't be happier. For the price and quality you can't go wrong, it's a brilliant little device.” - Jon Catt
“I bought my first Prometheus V2 18 months ago and now I have them in all three of my printers.” - Tristan Hasspieler
“Seriously, just get a Prometheus and don't worry about your hotend ever again.” - Abram
“A must have for your Rostock Max V2 or any printer for that matter. Looking forward to what's next from Distech!” - Nicholas Allen
You can find more than 25 five star reviews on the Prometheus V2 product page.
“Based on all the hot ends that I have reviewed this is the one I would put on my personal printer in terms of overall performance, flexibility, ability to do different things, and price point.”
- Michael Zenner [Zennmaster 3D Printing]
“It worked perfectly fine with every material from ABS, PLA, Taulman Bridge Nylon, and even Nijaflex. None of those plastics ever jammed…A solid hot end overall, with the ability to reconfigure it in certain situations.”
- Thomas Sanladerer [Tom’s 3D]
Please look through these rewards carefully to determine which one is right for you!
Both the EARLY BIRD and KICKSTARTER rewards are offered at discounted prices. After the Kickstarter campaign, The Prometheus System will be sold at a higher price.
Note that all rewards (except the “DisTech Backstage Pass!”) will ship as unassembled kits.
Conversions are based on 1 USD = 1.29 CAD and only serve as an estimate of the actual conversion rate you can expect when you make your pledge.
We offer either 12V or 24V electronics. We will send a survey at the end of the campaign to ask if you want 12V or 24V electronics with your reward.
Add 9 CAD (~7 USD) to your pledge if you want to add an A4988 Pololu Stepper Driver to your reward.
Add 25 CAD (~19.5 USD) to your pledge for each extra nozzle size. We offer 0.3mm, 0.4mm, 0.6mm, and 1mm nozzles! (We recommend using nozzle sizes larger than 0.3mm with The Prometheus System).
Existing Prometheus Hot End users can select the Prometheus (Upgrade) reward. Please note that this upgrade is compatible with the final release of the 1.75mm V2 heat sink (with the brass insert in the top of the heat sink). If you own a Prometheus V1 or an early beta Prometheus V2, you will also have to purchase a new V2 heat sink from our online store. We also recommend using 0.4mm, 0.6mm, or 1mm nozzles.
We have spent the last several months designing, testing, and iterating prototypes of the Prometheus System and we are now ready to scale manufacturing. With your support, we can raise enough funds to begin mass production and bring this product to life!
Eric Sammut – Founder, CEO, Engineer
Eric founded DisTech Automation with the goal of expanding the capabilities of open source desktop 3D printers. He designed the original Prometheus Hot End over 2 years ago and has been developing the Prometheus System for the past several months. Eric oversees all operations at DisTech and has years of experience designing and manufacturing hardware products.
Funding and Mentorship
The ongoing funding and mentorship we have received from Launch Lab, the Queens Innovation Connector, and the Summer Company program have played an important role in the development of this product.
We would like to give credit to all of the talented designers who created the STL models that are featured in our Kickstarter campaign:
- [Julia Vase #011 – Heatwave] by virtox (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:126567)
- [Random vase - Hex ] by Hrvoje Cop (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/random-vase-hex)
- [Roundom Vase] by Hrvoje Cop (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/roundom-vase)
- [Random Vase V2] by Hrvoje Cop (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/random-vase-v2)
- [Yet More Twisting Kochflake Vases] by BenitoSanduchi (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:37117)
- [Marvin Advanced] by Sannyshine (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:525888)
- [Two Color World] by m6mafia (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:11660)
- [2-color lounging cat] by nervoussystem (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:62531)
- [Pet Monster Valentine – Heartless] by cyclone (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:17309)
- [Dice with coloured dots (Dual Extrusion)] by PolygonPusher (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:21842)
- [SIMPLE PROPELLERS] by davidbec08 (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:94003)
- [Squirrel Guardian] by mikebattaglia (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:22115)
- [Thinking Gargoyle] by cbabbage (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:20634)
- [2-color tree frog] by nervoussystem (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:329436)
- [2-color standing cat] by nervoussystem (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:62536)
- [Dual Draudi] by BCN3D (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:948577)
- [Puzzle Draudi] by BCN3D (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:948575)
Risks and challenges
From our experience developing, crowdfunding, and manufacturing the Prometheus Hot End over the past two years, we understand the importance of realistic risk assessment to ensure the success of this new product.
This is not our first crowdfunding campaign.
In 2014, we launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the original Prometheus All-Metal Hot End. We reached over 250% of our funding goal, and unlike most crowdfunding campaigns, we fulfilled all rewards within a few weeks of our projected delivery date. All of our backers were happy with the performance of our product. Many of them have become return customers and have purchased many more Prometheus hot ends from us over the past couple of years. The success of our campaign was the result of our careful plan for manufacturing, quality control, and delivery. This is the same plan that we are following for this campaign.
The most significant risk of manufacturing any product is the transition from prototype to mass production. Companies often use different manufacturing processes for building their prototype and mass producing their product. This can lead to unforeseen issues with manufacturing tolerances, material performance, and specifications because of the different method used to mass produce the product. To overcome these issues, we have all of our prototypes manufactured using the exact same machines and processes used for mass production. While this does increase the time and cost involved in prototyping, it allows us to understand the issues involved in our large scale manufacturing process before we begin mass producing our product. In developing the prototype of the Prometheus System we have already solved all of the manufacturing issues and are ready to begin mass production. Additionally, we have been working with our manufacturers for the past 3 years and have a very good working relationship with them. We have multiple manufacturers for the same components so that we have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong during production.
There is always a chance that new issues such as tool wear and misalignment could arise in the manufacturing process. We have two stages of quality control to ensure that the components of our product are manufactured according to specifications. During the first stage of quality control, our manufacturer inspects each critical machined part individually to ensure that all parts are within the required tolerances. After the parts arrive, we conduct a second round of quality control and inspect the important tolerances of each part individually. If the components pass this second round of quality control they are packaged into kits for delivery. We have been using this two stage quality control process for our products for the past two years with excellent results.
We have been shipping internationally for the past two years so we are aware of the details involved in shipping hardware products around the world. We have noticed issues in the past shipping to certain countries and now we know the best way to ship to these countries to ensure that the product is delivered. If we think there is a better way to ship your reward to your address we will get in touch after the campaign and give you our advice.
We have carefully limited the quantities of each reward to ensure that we can fulfill all Kickstarter rewards within the specified timeline. This way we will be able to add new rewards with later fulfillment dates if our campaign is significantly overfunded.
We have done extensive testing to ensure that the hardware components of this product can maintain consistent performance without deteriorating. From this point on, we will continue to optimize the filament switching G-code to further improve reliability with all filament types.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The Prometheus System is compatible with any FDM 3D printer that supports the following:
- Dual extruder stepper motors on the controller board
- A standard 100K thermistor for the hot end
- CURA slicer engine (Simplify3D should also work!)
- Marlin/Repetier based firmware (this includes almost all desktop 3D printers)
We offer either 12V or 24V electronics. We will send a survey at the end of the campaign to ask if you want 12V or 24V electronics with your reward.
We have only tested this system with the Prometheus V2 hot end so we cannot recommend using it with any other hot end. The Prometheus V2 features an internally polished 1-piece nozzle that allows for reliable filament switching.
Here are some tips for mounting the system to your printer:
- The Prometheus V2 hot end needs to be secured to your carriage (end effector) using a standard groove mount. You can find several designs on Thingiverse for standard mounting patterns for popular printers (like the Rostock Max, Prusa i3, etc...).
- The ProFeeder is inserted into the heat sink of the Prometheus V2 so you do not need to worry about securing this part.
- The ProStruders use standard 4mm mounting holes that are spaced 50mm apart with the filament feed tube centered in between them. They are bowden extruders so they can be mounted somewhere on your printer frame that is accessible and minimizes the length of the bowden tube. This will be different for every printer.
- The overall distance from the tip of the nozzle to the top of the ProFeeder is about 13cm.
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