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Professional Autolift retracting hot ends provide maximum print quality & performance.
Professional Autolift retracting hot ends provide maximum print quality & performance.
93 backers pledged $19,001 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Autolift Precision 3D Printer Hot Ends

$19,001

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Autolift retracting hot ends are the perfect 3D printer upgrade for hobbyists, entrepreneurs & small businesses.

NEW! UNIVERSAL STYLE MOUNT NOW AVAILABLE FOR INCREASED COMPATIBILITY. (See our project update or more info) 

Upgrade your consumer level 3D printer with professional Autolift retracting hot ends. Their brilliantly simple design can improve performance, increase your print resolution and virtually eliminate clogging issues.

Autolift retracting hot ends

  • Plug-and-play groove style mount 
    or
  • NEW! Universal style non-groove mount (See our project update for more info)
  • All-metal design for high temperatures 
  • Micro linear bearing for maximum durability and performance
  • Compact design allows for simplified adaptability 
  • 1.75mm or 3mm filament 
  • 40w cartridge heater included 
  • 300º C thermistors included (500º C optional) 
  • 0.35 mm nozzle included 
  • Fan included Locally sourced parts, hand assembled by D3D team 
  • No Kapton Tape Required! Thermistor & Heater affixed with setscrews

The D3D team is proud to be back on Kickstarter with another 3D printing innovation. The idea for Autolift hot ends was born during our development process for the RUGGED HPX line of extruders, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year. After hundreds of hours of testing, we discovered that rigid mounted hot ends could create quality prints, but were limited in their ability to offer fine detail and resolution when printing with 2 colors. That’s because they could not fully retract, resulting in plastic stringing and deposits left on the print. That limitation was frustrating and helped showcase the need for high performance hot ends that could prevent dragging, eliminate stringing and break the 100 micron barrier.  

That's when we came up with the idea for a hot end nozzle that lifts when not in use.

Early Whiteboard Sketch of Autolift Hot Ends
Early Whiteboard Sketch of Autolift Hot Ends

Our patent pending D3D Autolift hot ends are the solution. The AutoLift system automatically lifts the nozzle during filament retraction, eliminating dragging and preventing extra plastic from being deposited on the print.

Autolift is an engineered system comprising of a micro linear bearing and spring to activate the retracted nozzle position. The system does not require special electronics or servo actuation, and is designed to function as part of the standard filament retraction operation. The Autolift system is also adjustable, allowing the user to fine tune the retraction amount depending on the particular project, material or printing objectives.

Autolift Hot End Dimensions
Autolift Hot End Dimensions

 Carl Douglass, Co-Founder 

Carl is a professional engineer with over ten years of experience in the plastics industry and currently holds a senior level management position at a plastics manufacturing business. While Carl's background includes experience in marketing, structural analysis, polymer science, polymer processing, and software development his passion is product development. 

Over the last several years the majority of Carl's focus has been on strategically planning, developing and releasing new products in the plastics industry. 

The new product development initiatives have had budgets in hundreds of thousands of dollars with market sales in the millions. His background in product development using plastics naturally led him to 3D printing. Carl's unique perspective allows him to solve problems and think differently about how we want our product to change 3D printing in the future. 

 Brian Douglass, Co-Founder 

Brian spent the last 8 years building, diagnosing and fabricating electro-mechanical systems for a variety of industries. Brian began his career in the lighting and grip industry in diagnosing movie set lighting electronics and high tolerance camera dolly's, from there he was part of a crew rebuilding aircraft engines, and eventually moved on to automotive diagnostics and repair. 

All of these fields offered such a variety of experience that has allowed him to think outside the box and find solutions to mechanical challenges using a wide array of methods.

Brian has spent most of his career in leadership roles working to streamline business operations. Brian's thought process epitomizes innovation and he relentlessly pursues excellence. 

Together, our combined experiences make us a powerful creative and technical team with a passion to drive the industry forward and spark innovative solutions to problems that have been limiting the potential of consumer 3D printer users. 

We use our unique perspective to focus on what we want to accomplish and not just what has been done already. In this light, we know anything is possible! Our passion to succeed trumps any potential failure. In fact, Carl and Brian feel the only way to fail is to give up - something neither of them has ever done. 

 WHY DESIGN THIS PRODUCT? 

The first question we usually get asked is: Why did we design and test Autolift Hot Ends?  Well, the answer is simple.

As relative newcomers to consumer grade 3D printing, we were quickly frustrated with the capabilities of the available technology, the quality of parts, and the constant “tinkering” required to print high resolution prints. 

We wanted something better – not just for us – but for the entire 3D printing community we had joined. We felt we shared and understood their frustrations, and had the passion, vision and experience to take our ideas for a solution from concept to reality. 

Our development is complete, we have several hundred hours of testing and have printed dozens of single and multi-color prints. 

 We have tested many materials including, ABS, PLA, PVA, Nylon, HDPE, a few custom materials and have experienced outstanding results with all materials. 

On our path of creative innovation, we have come across many problems and found many of our solutions in unlikely places. These solutions could only be obtained after we set the bar high and set our sights on a very specific target. 

OUR TARGET OUTCOME 

Our target outcome has always been this: to create a durable, high quality product that is adaptable to almost any consumer 3D printer in order to allow for the use of more types of plastics and more than two colors. 

 In other words, we want to vastly increase the efficiency and creative potential of makers and 3D printing enthusiasts everywhere! 

We are thrilled with the results and feel confident that we’ve not only reached our target, but surpassed even our own expectations. We have been diligent in selecting our suppliers to ensure we could provide top-notch parts for our product. We have narrowed suppliers down to a select few to provide high quality parts on schedule. In addition to component supply issues we have also designed our extruder head component for simplicity and minimum number of parts resulting in maximum reliability and simple maintenance. The various components are simple to install and, if necessary, can be replaced as modular sub-components. 

Many of our suppliers are located in Central Minnesota. The remainder are throughout the US. A primary goal of ours is to keep production and supply as local as possible and within the United States where cost effective. 

As our campaign comes to an end and the funding is transferred we will immediately order all materials and begin assembly as the the supplies arrive. Our initial production batches will be delivered in August. If we find that orders exceed our production/shipping capacity, we will issue new reward levels for product delivery in September.

Our funding goal is set at $10,000, this allows us to purchase materials in a high enough volume to keep our costs low.  We will be able to order enough materials to drive our production costs to a minimum.

AutoLift - Direct Mount
AutoLift - Direct Mount
Autolift Hot End - Remote Mount
Autolift Hot End - Remote Mount
Autolift Mounting Options
Autolift Mounting Options
Autolift Adapter Plate
Autolift Adapter Plate
Compatibility Matrix
Compatibility Matrix
   

Risks and challenges

Since development is completed the only risk we face is lead times with our component manufacturers. Since Carl and Brian are focused on designing and solving problems we've left the detail work of producing our high tolerance parts to our trusted local manufacturers. With keeping much of this production local we are allowing our community to grow with your support. We have great relationships with our local fabricators and a good understanding of the time it takes to complete our parts but there's always an opportunity for those lead times to increase by a week or two. We will continue to work closely with these fabricators and keep you updated on our progress.

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Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    EARLIEST BIRD Special! Single Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    EARLY BIRD UNIVERSAL Special! Single Autolift Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration and available with specifiable diameter smooth Barrel or Threaded barrel.

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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    EARLIEST BIRD Special! Remote Mount (Bowden Style) Single Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $129 or more About $129

    EARLIER BIRD Special! Single Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $134 or more About $134

    EARLIER BIRD Special! Remote Mount (Bowden Style) Single Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $139 or more About $139

    EARLY BIRD Special! Single Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $144 or more About $144

    Remote Mount (Bowden Style) Single Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $149 or more About $149

    Single Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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  9. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $235 or more About $235

    EARLIEST BIRD Special! Dual Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $245 or more About $245

    EARLIEST BIRD Special! Remote Mount (Bowden Style) Dual Auto Retracting Hot Ends assembled with 0.35 mm nozzles, 300 degree C thermistors, 40w cartridge heatesr, and 2 - fans. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $245 or more About $245

    EARLY BIRD DUAL UNIVERSAL Special! Dual Autolift Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistors, 40w cartridge heaters, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration and available with specifiable diameter smooth Barrel or Threaded barrel.

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    Pledge $255 or more About $255

    EARLY BIRD Special! Dual Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $264 or more About $264

    EARLY BIRD Special! Remote Mount (Bowden Style) Dual Auto Retracting Hot Ends assembled with 0.35 mm nozzles, 300 degree C thermistors, 40w cartridge heatesr, and 2 - fans. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

    Estimated delivery: Aug 2014
    Add $20 USD to ship outside the US

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  14. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $470 or more About $470

    EARLIEST BIRD Special! Quad Auto Retracting Hot End assembled with 0.35 mm nozzle 300 degree C thermistor, 40w cartridge heater, and fan. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $490 or more About $490

    EARLIEST BIRD Special! Remote Mount (Bowden Style) Quad Auto Retracting Hot Ends assembled with 0.35 mm nozzles, 300 degree C thermistors, 40w cartridge heatesr, and 2 - fans. Available in either 1.75mm or 3mm configuration.

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Funding period

- (30 days)