The Advantage of Dual Extruder 3D Printer

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dual extruder 3D printer

3D printing technology is still advancing. And expectedly, many inventions are set to come through in bid for enhancing the efficiency and quality of this type of printing.

Extrusion and is an essential aspect of 3D printing technology. And that is the reason you’ll find all of these printers coming with this feature.

Initially, though, machines supporting this technology were designed to feature only a single extruder. But with time and in-depth inventions, the need for developing 3D printers that have dual extruders became apparent.

Currently, we have different types of models from various manufacturers that have two extruders. But so far, it’s fundamental to understand some of the advantages of a dual extruder 3D printer.

Benefits of Dual Extruder 3D Printer

Before we discuss the advantages that you’ll seem to obtain when using dual extruder 3D printer, it is critical to understand that not all printers can support it.

In fact, this is a recent invention in the 3D printing technology thus making it somewhat relatively less widespread, especially in low-cost 3D printers.

However, for the few that have this feature, there’s a significant difference that the users tend to experience when you compare it to using those with one extruder.

So let’s look at some of these advantages in a broader perspective;

1. Enhances The overall printing process

One essential element when it comes to 3D printing is speed. 3D printers ordinarily tend to take reasonably longer to print an object due to the nature of the process and material.

In general, the print speed is dependent on several factors revolving around this type of printing and the technology surrounding it.

So primarily, what happens is that in as much as printing using this technology can seemingly take longer, it has to be relatively reasonable.

And the type of extruder that the printer has; whether single or dual also plays a considerable role in establishing printing speed.

Practically, you’ll realize that a 3D printing machine with two extruders tends to be relatively faster than any other with a single extruder.

Ideally, what makes this kind of printer to be somehow faster is the fact that it prevents you from exchanging filaments from time to time since the extruders move independently.

When you’re using a single extruder printer to create objects, the chances are high that you’ll be swapping out the filaments constantly, even in the middle of printing.

At times it could be because you want to change the color variation of the filaments or essentially for exchanging the type of material.

This process is so tedious and can take up several hours hence derailing printing of your objects.

Unlike single extruder 3D printers, you’ll avoid all the laborious process and print faster and consistently until you finish your task.

It’s because the second extruder will play the supporting role for the reasons that would otherwise force you to exchange the filaments

2. Enables multi-color printing

Apparently, this is quite obvious. Since the printer supports two filament materials, it means that you can use multiple filaments of different color prints for your print.

The moment you place materials of different colors for printing, it becomes possible for this machine to shift between the two and create a multicolored object continually.

It is advantageous because first, it relieves you from the constant exchange of the filaments when the need to print using different filament material color arises.

Secondly, it gives you an easy time to configure the settings of the printer such that all you have to do upon sending the image to the printer is to sit down, relax and wait for the final object.

Multi-color printing improves the overall appearance of a 3D image. So when you can find an easy way of attaining it like using a 3D printer with dual extrusion, it even becomes more advantageous.

Given that exchanging the filaments to replace colors in the middle of printing can relatively be tedious, this type of printer enables you to attain it in the simplest way possible.

3. Increases quality of the final print object

One thing that usually affects the quality of a 3D end product is the inconsistency of the printer in creating homogeneous prints.

It follows that using a single extruder printer to create an object would in a wide range of occasions require you to swap out the filament materials.

If this happens when the printing process is already on, it becomes difficult in some cases to maintain the uniformity of printing.

What happens is that such changeovers usually take relatively longer hence by the time you’re done with replacing the filament material, most undoubtedly, some changes shall have taken place.

The stoppage time for such replacements always affects various parameters revolving around printing of this type of object.

Such that at the end of the printing process, you’ll realize that quite a significant element of quality of the object is considerably compromised.

Therefore, when the quality of the prints dilapidate due to the constant switches of the filament, the value also reduces and subsequently affecting it in other ways.

4. Increases safety of the user

The most important aspect of a DIY 3D printers is that you do not necessarily need to change their filament material from time to time during printing.

So primarily, this aspect plays a significant role on this kind of printer, and it’s the element that gives it the much-coveted edge over a single extruder printer.

Like in this case, the printer obviously consists of different components, and it uses electricity as its source of power.

Given that the temperatures for melting the filaments during extrusion in always extremely high, it means that it can be hazardous if not taken care of appropriately.

What it implies here is that halting to swap out the filament material exposes you to high risk or electrocution and severe burns.

It is not all the time that you’ll be extremely careful to avoid such adverse occurrences from happening. And at some point, you will accidentally touch the extremely hot components of the printer while trying to change the filament and consequently burn.

Moreover, it helps to prevent the machine from wearing out rather fast. You see, when you’re printing several 3D prints daily, and you have to keep on changing the filaments all the time, the chances are high that the machine will undoubtedly wear out.

So a dual extruder 3D printer is advantageous because it will have a comparatively longer life than one with single extruder due to averting such cases of constant swapping.

5. Allows you to use different types of filament material

One way of obtaining the best 3D prints is by using a different kind of filament materials. In point of fact, not all single extruder 3D printing machines support various types of this printing materials.

There is absolutely no way that you’ll find a personal 3D printer with two extruders supporting a single type of filament material regardless of the price.

So it becomes difficult to print 3D files using such type of machine. This is however contrary to what a printer with multiple extruders provides.

Typically, the fact that it has two slots for filament materials is a clear indication that it can support more than different types of filament materials at the same time.

It is advantageous because it means that you’ll be able to use PLA and ABS simultaneously, or even PVA and HIPS.

Such that you don’t necessarily have to worry about which specific type of filament material that you need to use.

The importance of this is that you have the liberty to choose any filament as long as it is compatible with the printing machine.

6. Provides an alternative in case one breaks down

Ordinarily, a dual extruder 3D printer has a primary and secondary extruder. So the former performs all the critical functions as the latter provides support.

However, in some cases, the primary extruder may break down especially when the printing functions uses one extruder.

Of course, this necessitates for a replacement before carrying on with the printing process. In some cases, the spare part would not be readily available thus making it difficult for you to replace it immediately.

What you have to do is essentially removing the secondary extruder and fix it at the nozzle holding the primary extruder and then continue with your task.

Remember this is however only possible if you’re printing using one filament material.

So basically, it shows that dual extruder printers provide a “spare” for one in the event that you’re printing using single filament material and it breaks down.

It is advantageous in the sense that it saves your time that you would other have gone and looked for the spare to replace the broken down extruder.

Secondly, it eliminates inconveniences from arising given that you will continue doing the task and print your 3D file by just replacing and fixing the other extra extruder.

7. Saves cost

The fact that a double extruder printing machine for 3D technology can support different types of filament material enables you to save money.

It follows that ABS and PLA are the standard types of filament you’ll find for printing 3D files. Mostly, they are reasonably affordable.

And this is unlike some single extruders printing units that tend to limit you from using different types of filament materials that only fit in the specific 3D printer kit.

Again, you’ll find machines with dual extrusion 3D printer like Prusa i3 also have other additional features such as 3D scanners to enhance the printing process.

What’s more is that some of these specific printing filaments seem to be quite expensive hence limiting your ability to create high-quality products if you operate on a tight budget.

So, in the long run, you’ll realize that you save a considerable amount of money when you often use a FDM 3D printer with two extruders.

The bottom line is that a dual extruder printer is advantageous in 3D printing from several perspectives. They provide value for money, high printing efficiency as well as desirable results.

But at the same time, it is imperative to ensure that you find the best 3D printers with dual extruders.

You can’t just go to an online store and order any type of printer that supports two extruders merely because they are more advantageous.

If you need to attain the best you have to factor in other vital aspects regarding the printers that support two extruders.

That is how to ensure you benefit from all these and many more advantages that this kind of printer brings forth.

Passtools.com author Anastasia Russell
Anastasia is a 26-year-old blogger who always motivated to observe the ways humans interact with technology. She is currently undertaking a master degree program at the Uppsala University specializing in Human-Computer Interaction & Design Program.

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