About this project
July 15 update: Pricing will increase after the campaign has ended.
Extrude. Experiment. Explore.
We want to enable you to get more use out of the 3D printer you already have at home, by expanding the range of materials that you can print with it.
Introducing new materials will make 3D printing far more relevant to everyday uses, and real world applications. We have some ideas in mind for those applications, but what we're really excited about, is letting the community of makers explore the new possibilities.
The Discov3ry is an affordable paste extruder that can easily be added to almost any existing 3D printer. It will expand the range of materials beyond molten plastic, to include a wide range of pastes.
We have created several working prototypes, which were used to print the samples shown below.
We are looking to the community to raise $30,000 to fund a production run of at least 100 units of the Discov3ry.
$100,000 Update: We will ask our backers to choose 3 colors to for the Discov3ry's shell, and each backer will be given their choice of color.
Stretch Goal: If we raise $150,000, we will create 20 different designs optimized for various pastes and provide project tutorials so that you can quickly and easily start printing things like:
- Custom orthotic insoles with silicone
- Cake decorations with icing sugar
- Flexible phone cases with silicone and latex
- Water soluble supports for complex designs with icing sugar
- Fun images with Nutella
- Custom o-rings and gaskets with polyurethane
- and more...
Feel free to suggest a project that you'd like to see included!
3D Printed Paste Samples
Are you tired of printing plastic Yoda heads? We love Yoda too, but we want to push 3D printers towards printing more objects with real world value.
Here are some examples of what we've done with our own printers. What would you do?
Some other materials that can be 3D Printed (click for more image examples): Silicone, Polyurethane, Wood Filler, Clay, Ceramics, Icing Sugar, Nutella, Conductive Paint ... and many pastes that we haven't even thought of trying to print with yet.
Paste printing is a difficult problem. Many attempts at an affordable paste extruder have been made previously. The team, with Andrew and Charles being materials engineers, are approaching the problem from a different perspective. Focusing on reinventing only the parts of the printer that are involved with the delivery and extrusion of the material means that we're able to move faster, and develop a better, more user friendly product which more people can make use of.
What people are saying
"As a man who loves things that come out of tubes, I am excited about the Discov3ry Extruder. ...Full disclosure: I would totally 3D print a big blob of Nutella and eat it."
- John Biggs, East Coast Editor @ Tech Crunch
"Suddenly 3D printing makes perfect sense."
- Michael Arrington, Founder Tech Crunch
Compatibility with Existing 3D Printers
The Discov3ry Paste Extruder will work with any stepper motor based, fused deposition modeling (FDM) desktop 3D printer system. If your printer uses plastic filament, it is almost certainly compatible with the Discov3ry.
We've designed the extruder to be plug-and-play, you can integrate with your existing printer in just three steps:
i. Switch out the printing tip to connect the material feed tube and extruder tip.
ii. Connect the Discov3ry's wiring into your existing printers electronics.
iii. Make a simple modification to you printer's software
The Discov3ry extruder is compatible with filament based, desktop 3D Printers from manufacturers including:
Also see, "Will the Discov3ry work with my 3D printer?" in the FAQs.
Setting up the Discov3ry on your printer is very simple. All you have to do is set up the print parameters to account for the specific properties of each material.
Don't worry, we will provide guidance on what the proper print parameters would be for most of the materials you'll want to work with. For materials that we haven't worked with yet, we're excited to build a community forum where we collaborate with makers, to share experiences with new materials, and of course the projects and models they create with the Discov3ry.
There have been 3D printers specifically designed to print different types of food or silicone. Our product is different, because we're allowing you to make use of the printer you already have at home. One of our major innovations is in separating the "pastruder" from the print head carriage.
The Print Material Cartridges
The Discov3ry system works by forcing material out of reusable, affordable and easily available syringes, through a feed tube, and finally an extruder tip mounted to the printer head carriage.
We will be providing a 3 cartridge starter kit with each Discov3ry extruder. Each starter kit will contain:
- 3 x 60cc reloadable food-grade syringes;
- 3 x 30cm reusable foodsafe plastic tubing;
- 3 x male luer lock / tubing connectors;
3 x female luer lock / tubing connectors;
- and an assortment of Luer lock tips.
All printing consumables are easy to source and will also be available for order on our website, structur3d.io, following the Kickstarter campaign.
There are many pledge levels available for all different types of backers. We have summarized the different perks below. Choose the corresponding menu option to the right to make a pledge.
Want to support us, but don't have a 3D printer? For any pledges over $33 you'll receive one of these t-shirts. Look good, and display your pride as an early backer of Structur3D Printing.
If you're already getting a Discov3ry extruder, just add $33 to your pledge, and we'll ship it to you in the same package.
The Stretch(y) Goals
Although the campaign goal is $30000, the rewards do not stop there. We want to encourage you to continue to contribute and help out ALL of the backers. This is why we have implemented some campaign stretch goals, rewards that will unlock when a new total pledge level is met.
We have set up the first stretch goal for $65000, when this pledge level is met, all backers will receive an expanded cartridge kit (from 3 to 6 cartridges) for their Discov3ry extruder.
- $30 000 - Our Campaign Goal - The project goal is met and the Discov3ry will go to production. UNLOCKED
- $65 000 - More Cartridges - You will receive 6 complete cartridge kits, from syringes to tips, instead of the original 3. UNLOCKED
- $100 000 - More Colours - 3 colour options will be available for the Discov3ry extruder
- $150 000 - Paste Optimized 3D CAD Designs - The Discov3ry will ship with at least 20+ various paste optimized CAD models to get you up and running ASAP.
$300 000 - ??? - Unlock the $150K level to open this stretch goal.
Who we are
Structur3D Printing was founded by Charles Mire and Andrew Finkle in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Structur3D Printing is currently a member company in the 4th cohort of Communitech’s HYPERDRIVE Startup Incubator.
Charles Mire received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Wollongong in Australia. For his research project, he developed a custom 3D printer based on a Sherline tabletop CNC milling machine in order to study 3D printing using conducting polymers and structural biopolymers. He became hooked on 3D printing as a result of this project.
Andrew Finkle is currently working towards his PhD in Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology) at the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo. His academic research is in the area of incorporation of renewable nanomaterials into thermoplastics for performance enhancements in 3D printing applications. Andrew built his first RepRap in 2010.
John Mardlin holds a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering at Queen's University by training, who also happens to be pretty awesome in business and marketing. He has a history of leadership roles in startup technology companies and community building including co-founding and directing the TEDxVictoria event series. His writing on technology has been published on Forbes.com and earned him recognition as a Quora Top Writer in 2013. He plays the banjo, and lots of board games.
Our friend Alan Quarry did a series of interviews with us about our company and our product. This bit of the interview might give you some sense of why we created the Discov3ry, and why we're excited about it.
Our Production Plan
The Discov3ry units will be produced in Kitchener-Waterloo, ON by the Structur3D Printing team.
All of the materials for the build can be sourced locally except for 3 items where we have suppliers from China.
Risks and challenges
We've already created multiple working prototypes of the Discov3ry, and we've set conservative dates for delivery, so we're very confident that we can reliably deliver the Discov3ry to backers within the timelines we've promised.
We have a finalized bill of materials, meaning we know what the fixed costs will be for parts.
In the event of a highly successful campaign with a large volume of orders there is a risk of delays in fulfillment as we scale up our manufacturing capacity. In order to address this risk, we have provided conservative timelines for delivery, and staged delivery of different batches across a period of several months.
These risks are also mitigated by our participation in the Hyperdrive Accelerator program. Through this program, we have close access to world class mentorship from manufacturing experts, who we can call upon for guidance if we run into challenges with fulfillment.
Every project has risks. We feel we've done what we can to manage them and are completely confident in our ability to meet our commitments to our backers.
Charles, Andrew, and John
The Discov3ry is capable of printing a wide range of paste materials. We have successfully printed hardware store silicone caulk, latex caulk, polyurethane sealant, and wood filler; from the food category, we have successfully printed homemade royal icing (see recipe in the forum section of our website) and Nutella™. We believe most other materials within this range should print well with the Discov3ry. We are still working on optimizations for clay and ceramic and will post updates to our forum once we have some good results. We are also investigating medical grade silicone.
No, the paste materials are printed at ambient temperatures with Discov3ry, and the printed structures are typically air dried overnight (or per the material manufacturer’s specifications).
In some cases, yes. If you are printing icing or other easily cleaned food, simply washing the consumable parts in soap and water will clean them. However, for materials like silicone, it is recommended to simply replace the consumable parts. We will sell replacement consumables through our website.
Discov3ry was designed to be widely compatible with most filament 3D printers. Printers that use a RAMPS/Arduino control system will very likely work well. Other systems that may be more proprietary might require further investigation to determine compatibility.
The following is a list of the most common printers, and their compatibility with the Discov3ry. If you don't see your printer listed, let us know and we'll find out what we can.
Easily compatible printers, using a RAMPS/Arduino control board:
- Type A machines
- Deezmaker Bukobot/Bukito
- Boots Industries
- Pirate3D Buccaneer**
*The process will be slightly different for the Replicator 2 and Replicator 2x, we will provide precise guidance for these specific models
**The Buccaneer is compatible, but will require slightly more modification due to the design of its frame.See the FAQs for more on the Replicator 2 and Buccaneer.
Printers using more proprietary hardware
- New Matter MOD-t
We are confident that integration is possible with this second group of printers, but it will require more patience and technical consideration. We will continue to investigate these printers, and if possible, develop guidance around the installation processes required for each one.
If you don't see your printer in either of these lists, let us know and we'll look into it, or you can reach out to the manufacturer with these questions:
1) Are your electronics based off the RAMPs architecture? Are they accessible?
2) Does your printer work with open-sourced software?
3) Is the extruder motor a NEMA17 stepper motor?
4) Is the nozzle chassis easy to access in order add or change extruder tips?
Please visit the forum section of our website where we provide tutorials to help you get started. We will continue to update the content as we try new materials, so check back regularly. Users can also share their experiences through the forum.
We hate being secretive, but we’ve spent cumulatively over year working on this product. So we feel the need to protect our investment, at least in the short term. As we move forward, further developing our product and building up a community of makers using our products, we intent to open source the initial design.
Do you know if there are any environmental considerations that need to be considered when using your extruder? Ventilation? Smells?
Environmental considerations are minimal, and mostly related to the materials you choose to print with.
The operation of the extruder uses the same kinds of motor as a typical 3D printer
The materials you choose may actually have less smell, and have much fewer volatile emissions than printing with molten plastics
Compared to molten plastic, printing with play dough, clay or edibles like icing sugar is more environmentally friendly and health friendly (as long as you don’t eat too much icing :) ).
After contacting with the team over at Micro3D, we just received a response on the compatibility with the Discov3ry extruder. They were very receptive of the pastruder and here is their response:
“This is a fantastic and overdue addition addition to the field of 3D printers.
“In order to get the lowest possible price point, we had to reinvent our hardware, software, firmware, and electronics, all of which is non-standardized, with the exception that you could send standard Gcode commands to be able to use the system as openly as possible. We also provide fairly easy access to two motion subsystems on the gantry, as well as some additional input/outputs. However we need to test one of your systems in the future before making any firm statements, because we can not say whether The Micro will work with your system requiring some modification or not.
“Again, an expert user can easily control our micro motion subsystems through G-code programming in the same way RAMPS works. However the base electronics are not accessible without completely taking The Micro apart, but there is access to some of these components in the extruder head. Thus it will be easiest for them to use one of our extruder head motion subcomponents in the Paste Extruder, with some minimal modification to the paste extruder (possibly a single 3D printer adapter and a wire extension). That is something we can basically guarantee and hope happens for many such additions to the field of 3D printing!
“There is no dual extruder option at this time.”
This means that the implementation with the Micro3D is possible, but will require a somewhat different instal procedure than an Arduino / RAMPs 3D Printer. You will be required to connect the wiring in parallel with the filament extruder and add a switch allowing only one extruder or another. The great thing is that the Micro3D takes geode, so you can use your favourite slicing software (ie. Slic3r) to modify your printing instructions and parameters.
Andrew from Structur3D here, I currently own a Makerbot Replicator 2X.
Although, I have not used the Discov3ry on it yet. It will work with a small amount of work. Mounting the tip is easy, you do not need to remove the 2 ABS extruders, you could simply fix it along side (using something as simple as a zip-tie, or more customized like a 3D printed mounting bracket).
You will also need to connect your wiring for the Discov3ry to the electronics located beneath the 2X. You will need to decide to replace or add this to your ABS extruders. If you add this as a 3rd extruder, you may need to add a switch to go from "ABS/ABS" to "ABS/paste."
There is even the possibility to print with dual materials. Which we think will give pretty cool results.
Yes, the Discov3ry should work with most desktop delta FDM printers. If your system uses NEMA stepper motors and you can access the wiring with relative ease then there should be no issues getting the Discov3ry installed.
The small tip to mount at the head of the delta will actually be lighter and MUCH smaller than a filament extruder, providing more range of motion for some systems (with complete replacement).
If you have (or intend to) purchase the Discov3ry extruder and a backer T-shirt. Choose the Discov3ry button and simply add $33 to the total (plus any additional shipping charges). Example: Discov3ry and T-shirt to USA = $299(Discov3ry) + $33(Tshirt) + $10 + $25 (both shipping charges) = $367
We've done some digging around to find out more information on the Bucaneer, and it appears to be arduino/RAMPS based, which makes it compatible with Discov3ry.
However -- please have a look at this unboxing video (6:00 mark),https://www.youtube.com/watch…
It shows the top view of the printer and the nozzle chassis, where you would connect the tip end of Discov3ry.
So while this is a very doable project if you wanted to pursue it, it will take a little more work since this printer is designed a bit more for the "just push print" user experience. Also, according to the Pirate 3D support page (http://pirate3d.com/support), they mention simply using a non-PLA filament will void your warranty. Certainly, at this point, I would expect adding Discov3ry will void the warranty.
While we don't want to discourage you from buying our product, we do want to make sure you have an expectation of the experience.
Support this project
- (35 days)