Jan 8, 2015 | By Alec

Every 3D printing enthusiast will have felt the anguish that accompanies purchasing a 3D printer. For while the available options were relatively easy to oversee just a few years ago, the landscape of 3D printers has now become a jungle of possible options to choose from. Most have certain features or price tags that draw your attention, so deciding on a model is rarely an easy task.

And now a new model has appeared that boasts some very interesting features of its own: the Digitrax MH5 multi-head 3D printer. Hailing all the way from Vietnam and developed by two French engineers, it's a device that principally seeks to combat the main drawback of 3D printing: the agonizingly slow pace in which printing takes place.

As they explained, "Printing can take hours, or even days for a single item. To prevent that and speed up your production, Digitrax designed and built the MH5 multi-head printer. It will allow companies, R&D, FabLabs, clubs or associations, designers, advertising agencies, design firms and more to multiply their manufacturing capabilities by five".

As its name suggests, their upcoming 3D printer achieves this by adding not one or two, but four additional extrusion heads to a typical FDM 3D printer set-up. But above all, modularity is the keyword, for their design features an easy adaption system, allowing you to quickly reduce or increase the number of printheads between one and a maximum of five. "You can easily adapt the printer to match your needs by choosing the size of the items and the number of extrusions, with or without head disassembly." Digitrax said.

This will obviously affect the size of objects you can print; the print bed’s full size is 28 x 28 x 20 cm, which is thus also the maximum size of an object printed with a single extrusion head. Adding an extrusion head will naturally decrease the maximum width of objects by a factor of two (so a bit below 14 cm each). Adding a third extrusion head means each item features a maximum width of just under 9 cm, and a fourth reduces it to under 7 cm.

This means that the MH5 3D printer definitely has a lot of potential. While you do sacrifice print space by adding additional print heads, you can also print at a far more efficient rate without needing to continuously reprogram or disassemble your whole set up. In one example, small 8cm vase was printed in PLA in just over an hour. ‘To print 15 of these 8cm pots with 1 single head printer, it would have taken 16h printing.[…] With the MH5, the same model has been printed 15 times in just 3h 21mn. […] You’ve thus won an impressive 12h 39mn,’ the company explained.

Anyone looking to commercially 3D print objects in plastic could therefore definitely benefit from this machine. The only downside is its relatively high price for an FDM setup: Digitrax is planning a commercial price of $4600, and a pre-order price (ordered before March 31st, 2015) of $3600. The printer also isn’t released yet, and no release date is set, so we’ll have to make do with the following YouTube clip to satisfy our curiosity:

Aside from its five extrusion heads, the printer otherwise appears to simply be a decent model. Its fully specifications are:

  • Heavy duty design with full A6063-T5 aluminum frame
  • Accuracy : 100μ
  • Filament : 1.75
  • Material : PLA for MH5, PLA & ABS for MH 5.1
  • Printer size : 77x57x55 cm
  • Printing volume : 28x28x20 (15.680cm3)
  • Connections : USB or Micro SD card
  • Nozzle diameter : 0.4 as a standard, others upon request
  • 5 individual LCD screens for controlling each head temperature
  • Use of 1 or 2 or 5 heads
  • Quick assembly of the 5 heads with adjustable spacing Control
  • Printing area LED lighting
  • Individual fan speed adjustment
  • 1 year warranty
  • Upon request :
  • 60 x 30 tray for PLA + Heater bed for ABS
  • Remote camera supervising
  • WIFI connection
  • Remote maintenance
  • Production delay : 3 to 4 weeks

If you’ve never heard of Digitrax before, that’s probably because it's a very young company. Based in Saigon (or Ho-Chi-Minh City) in Vietnam, it has been founded by French entrepreneurs and engineers Frédéric Lefevre and Philippe Maurel. They do work with Vietnamese production specialists and promising young engineers in producing their printers, but they assure us that ‘Digitrax is absolutely looking for western quality,’ and that their models can ‘easily compete with the best printers in the global market.’ If you’re interested in their MH5 3D printer, check out their Facebook page for contact details. 


Posted in 3D Printers


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hojalot wrote at 1/9/2015 4:26:00 PM:

I'd rather have 4, $1000 printers. I imagine that keeping all the extruders aligned and dopisiting material at the same rate would be a challenge.

Frans wrote at 1/9/2015 12:02:03 AM:

Or for the $4600 it costs you buy 5 Prusa i3 printer and then use the leftover $2100 to buy another 4 Prusa's The remaining $100 you spend on a nice meal....

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