Jan 2, 2016 | By Benedict
Innovative German designer and 3D printing expert Kai Parthy has teamed up with Netherlands based 3D printer manufacturer ReprapUniverse to develop the 1730 Full Metal Hotend, a powerful and flexible modular hotend compatible with both 1.75 and 3mm filaments. The innovative product will be the subject of a January 2016 Kickstarer campaign.
When purchasing a 3D printer, a decision that stumps many first time buyers is whether to opt for 1.75 or 3mm filament. Because of the fast and widespread evolution of 3D printing, the industry has ended up with two different standards, with neither offering a telling advantage or disadvantage over the other. Whilst 1.75mm filament can be better suited to smaller nozzles and 3mm better suited to larger ones, the difference for most 3D prints is often negligible. This means that it often in a customer’s best interests to simply buy a 3D printer or hotend to suit the filament size most readily available to them.
The divergent filament sizes can be a problem for makers. In some places, filaments of a certain color or material may only be available in one size or the other, causing inevitable compatibility problems. Makers may also undertake specialist projects which require filament only available in the larger size, whilst other projects may specifically require the narrower alternative. Given these relatively common situations, it is surprising that 3D printing companies have been slow to provide an adequate solution to the 1.75/3mm problem.
Kai Parthy, an expert in experimental filaments, and ReprapUniverse, a premium seller of 3D printing equipment, both identified the problem as a serious one. After exchanging ideas, the two parties decided to provide their own solution. Using their 10 years of combined 3D printing experience, Parthy and RepRapUniverse carried out some intensive brainstorming, prototyping and testing sessions, which eventually produced the 1730 Full Metal Hotend, purportedly the first 1.75 and 3mm hotend. The creators have a patent pending for their 3D printing innovation.
“Over the last 5 years I have developed my own Hotends for testing my filament creations,” Parthy explained. “I also use and test with full metal Hotends available on the market, but I often need to do extensive adjustments on them to overcome thermal issues. By this the idea came up to solve these thermal problems (PLA blockage etc..) in finding a new setup. Together with the team of ReprapUniverse we have built prototypes. Intensive testings and re-adjustments over the past months have resulted in fully functional prototypes which have successfully passed the BETA phase.”
With the 1730 Full Metal Hotend, users can change from 1.75 to 3mm filament in less than 5 minutes, by simply switching the nozzle. The modular design of the hotend is also leakage proofed and optimized for a range of filaments including high-temperature varieties. Extensive research has resulted in a unique thermal handling system which can accommodate PLA, ABS, PU, PC and other exotic filaments.
Although most 3D printers use a direct drive extrusion system, in which the gears of the extruder sit just above the hotend, some 3D printer manufacturers prefer a “Bowden” setup, which runs a flexible tube between hot and cold ends. This arrangement can result in faster printing speeds, since the gears can be set on a stable surface away from the moving hotend. The modular setup of the 1730 gives it unprecedented flexibility, allowing to be both a direct driven and Bowden hotend in one.
Parthy and ReprapUniverse firmly believe that their new product provides an invaluable solution to a long-standing 3D printing problem. Although there has been a gradual increase in 1.75mm filament usage, Parthy is quick to pour water on the idea that 3mm filament could be altogether phased out—a situation which would make the 1730 redundant.
“This is nonsense. Special filaments which can not be produced in 1.75mm diameter, [such as] soft filaments which hardly feed in a thin tube, will always be manufactured in 3mm diameter. The 3mm filament market share still holds about 35% in Europe.”
The 1730 hotend boasts some significant features and technical specs beyond its primary function. An optimized thermal barrier has eliminated the need for water cooling, with a very short heating zone needed inside the extra-long nozzle. A reduced feeding friction makes the hotend ideal for soft and brittle materials like PU, and multiple nozzle diameters are provided to suit the two compatible filament sizes.
To bring the project to life, Parthy and ReprapUniverse will be instigating a Kickstarter campaign in mid-January 2016. The team has already produced a functional prototype for the 1730, but crowdfunding will enable the two parties to bring the all-metal hotend into production. Should the campaign prove successful, early backers will receive their 1730 Hotends by the end of March 2016.
“The 1730 has truly surpassed my initial expectations,” said a confident Parthy. “It has all the potential [for] setting new standards as a consumer-friendly Hotend.”
Posted in 3D Printer Accessories
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RSR wrote at 1/3/2016 1:47:56 AM:
I kinda like the heat sink, I think I may order one when avalible.