Reliable multi-color and multi-material 3D printing
At RepRap.me we are constantly thinking about how we can improve 3D printers and 3D printing technologies. As we see it, the next step for 3D printers is reliable multi-color and multi material printing.
That is why we started development on The Diamond Hotend.
Benefits of The Diamond Hotend
- Easy calibration
- Better precision
- Prints with 3 different colors or materials
- Color blending
- Minimal filament waste
Today multi-color 3D printing with regular single nozzle hotends is possible but require you to fuse the filaments together before printing. This process is time-consuming and color changes are difficult to time and can only be made in the horizontal plane.
Dual-hotend solutions are faster and offer better control but entails a different set of problems.
First, you will need to align the height of the nozzles. If one nozzle is just a tiny bit lower than the other, it can damage your print.
Next, you will need to calibrate the position of the nozzles in relation to each other. If you don’t calibrate the nozzles correctly, the colors will be overlapping on one side and gaping on the other side. Another major problem with dual-hotend printing is filament oozing from idle nozzles, causing a messy print job.
Introducing The Diamond Hotend
The Diamond Hotend is a single nozzle hotend for 3D printing in multiple colors that requires a minimum of calibration. It allows you to time exactly when and where the color changes and eliminates the problem with oozing nozzles.
It allows you to feed three different types of filaments through one nozzle and provides a faster, easier and more precise method of 3D printing, at an affordable price with minimal filament waste.
Features of The Diamond Hotend
The key feature of The Diamond Hotend is the diamond shaped nozzle. We have designed the nozzle to have smallest possible mixing chamber, to make color shifts as fast as possible and to avoid unnecessary filament waste. To ensure rapid nozzle heat up we have constructed the nozzle as compact as possible.
Right from the beginning of this project, we wanted to create a top-shelf product. That is why we have chosen to incorporate heat sinks and heat breaks from E3D Online into the design of The Diamond Hotend.
The E3D Online products represent a proven technology and are widely recognized as the best on the market. Furthermore, we have an ongoing business relationship with E3D Online and know the company to be a reliable supplier.
At this time, we have developed mounting brackets and the necessary hardware and firmware upgrades for the bq Prusa i3 and bq Witbox 3D printers. However, the design of the mounting brackets can easily be modified to fit most 3D printers on the market. All relevant files for printing the mounting brackets can be downloaded from Thingiverse.
We hope that the 3D printing community will collaborate with us in modifying the mounting brackets to fit other 3D printers and encourage everyone to share their bracket designs with us. Any new bracket designs shared with us will be made available for download from our webpage.
The Diamond Hotend prints with 1.75mm filament and we have tested it with a variety of filaments including PLA, ABS, HIPS, FLEX, and PETG with excellent results.
Firmware and hardware upgrades
The Diamond Hotend requires a motherboard that supports tripple extruders. We recommend using the RUMBA motherboard for its easy firmware setup and triple extruder support.
Adapting your existing firmware for use with the Diamond Hotend is easy and only require you to do minor changes.
You can choose to purge the mixing chamber as infill by printing the infill before the outer perimeters, or apply prime towers to purge the mixing chamber with every filament shift. This technique ensures crystal clear printout colors.
We have found Repetier Host to be excellent for preparing triple color prints, because it has proven to work reliably with prime towers.
Help us bring reliable multi-color and multi-material printing to the 3D community
For the last six months, we have spent several hundred hours designing, building and testing multiple generations of prototypes. Our development is now complete and we are ready for production.
All we need now is your help to finalize the project.
With your support, we can produce the first real batch of Diamond Hotends and bring reliable multi-color and multi-material printing to the 3D printing community.
Please back our project and share it with your 3D printing friends.
Thank you for your interest and support
Risks and challenges
At this moment, we have a fully functional prototype and are ready to proceed with full scale production of The Diamond Hotend.
There is a small risk that the production will be delayed by shortages of raw materials and components. To counter this risk delays we have carefully selected backup-supplies of every essential component used in the production of The Diamond Hotend.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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