Apr. 2, 2015 | By Alec

Multi-color printing: it’s a bit of a fantasy for so many hobbyists. Not only would it result in more fun and original creations, it also increases the marketability of 3D printed objects. Its therefore no wonder that many hobbyists are checking out all possible options to print in multiple colors, but the truth is that many are rather disappointing. Fortunately, a new option has just launched on Kickstarter all the way from Denmark: the Diamond Hotend, a flashy extruder that could be the most effective and affordable option currently on the market. And what’s more, it could be ready for shipping as soon as June 2015.

To be sure, there are plenty of construction options to create a multi-color 3D printer, but most revolve around a dual-extruder build that typically doesn't live up to expectations. For starters, every additional extruder added to your printer decreases its build space, so what you add in color you tend to lose in space. But perhaps more invasive is sacrificing detail. Virtually all FDM 3D printers operating with a dual extruder set-up suffer from the dreaded ooze: a leakage of filament from the extruders, causing colors to drip on places where you never wanted them. This could sometimes result in very sloppy, unprofessional prints.

And there are the single nozzle builds, that avoid some of those problems but encounter others. Specifically, they require you to fuse filaments together before printing. Not only does that take a lot of time, but color changes (that need to ‘wiped off’ on the build plate) are difficult to time and can ruin your creations as well.

These typical problems are exactly what makes the Diamond Hotend so intriguing. Developed by Copenhagen, Denmark-based manufacturer and reseller of 3D printers Reprap.me who specialize in 3D printing innovations, this addition to a typical 3D printer can supposedly be used to create reliable, multi-color, multi-material and high quality every time. Having just launched on Kickstarter, this campaign is promising to be a big success; more than 90,000 Danish krone ($13,000) have already been gathered in pledges in just a few days (nearing the 150,000 krone goal, or $21,000 already), with another 28 days left to go on the campaign.

As the RepRap team behind the Diamond Hotend explain, they have developed their innovate extrusion head to be ahead of the curve in terms of 3D printing development. ‘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,’ they write.

In a nutshell, their innovative product seems to have all you’d need: Easy calibration, high precision, 3 different color and material options at once (PLA, ABS, HIPS, FLEX and PETG have all been successfully tested), efficient color blending and results in just minimal waste of filament. ‘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,’ they write. ‘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.’

The design is also flashy, but serves a purpose. The diamond-shaped nozzle has been specifically designed to feature a very small mixing chamber, to ensure color shifts are quick and efficient. ‘To ensure rapid nozzle heat up we have constructed the nozzle as compact as possible,’ they write. To further enable that, heat sinks and heat breaks from E3D Online have also been incorporated in the design.

To operate the hotend you will need to manually install a motherboard capable of supporting triple extruders, and the Danish guys recommend a RUMBA. ‘Adapting your existing firmware for use with the Diamond Hotend is easy and only require you to do minor changes. We have found Repetier Host to be excellent for preparing triple color prints, because it has proven to work reliably with prime towers,’ they write. Fortunately, a reprap wiki has also been made already.

But perhaps the biggest question that arises is: does this hotend fit my 3D printer? As the Danish developers argue, it should fit most devices and builds, the mounting brackets for many still need to be designed. ‘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. 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,’ they write. They are, however, confident that it should fit on most 3D printers on the market.

As this Kickstarter is already heading towards stellar success, it might also be good to know that design and prototyping phases have already been completed. The crowdfunding campaign is fully geared towards funding production: ‘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.’ This means that shipping is set to start as early as June 2015.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on one of these babies, head over to Kickstarter for more info. A pledge of just 210 krone (or $30) will be enough to get a nozzle, though to get all the parts and even a RUMBA you’ll need to pledge 2100 krone (or $300). 



Posted in 3D Printer Accessories


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mounika wrote at 11/11/2015 6:27:08 AM:

What are the drawbacks using square or another shape nozzle instead of using circular in extrusion process. Can you please tell me please as i am student my professor asked me to find out but i caouldnt find any literation regarding this. Can you please help me and tell me as in etrusion process we use only round shape nozzle and you people are using diamond shape. in your case mixing matrails color part makes difficult what is only one color is used it there is any difficulties

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