Sep 28, 2016 | By Nick

Airwolf 3D has added the highly-acclaimed Dual Direct Drive system to the AXIOM Dual Extruder 3D printer and now promises cleaner 3D prints and help mastering complex filaments like polypropylene, polycarbonate, TPE and TPU.

The Costa Mesa-based company unveiled Dual Direct Drive for the AXIOM and AXIOMe last month. It’s a new proprietary extrusion system that the company will use instead of the industry-standard Bowden drive system and the company claims the direct drive approach makes it much simpler to use challenging materials.

So far the Dual Direct Drive has received the backing from Feetz, a company that 3D prints shoes in a variety of materials that proved too complex for a number of other printers.

Flexible filaments are known to cause jams, buckle or simply distort in other systems, but the Dual Direct Drive leaves a bigger margin for error. So even if your settings aren’t 100% perfect, there’s a good chance you just won’t see that in the finished 3D print.

The AXIOM Dual Extuder 3D printer is a favorite with prosumers thanks to independent hot ends that help you mix up materials and colors in a single print. It also comes with a self-levelling print bed, a 12x8x9.5” print bay that allows for relatively large prints and a 250mm/s print speed that makes it a commercially viable option for low-volume production.

The Dual JrX Hotends also heat up to 315 degrees Centigrade, too, although you can control the temperature independently on each one. Technically that’s enough for fast-melting metals and it’s a surfeit of power for the plastics this machine is designed for, but Airwolf 3D tends to overengineer its products for a reason and the additional heat is meant to avoid clogs in the system and ensure your 3D printer runs smoothly.

Keeping the printer head running smooth and ensuring the material is laid down with exactly the right level of viscosity are two of the main requirements for a high-quality print. The Dual Direct Drive’s additional element of ensuring that the filament is laid down clean can only contribute to a higher quality print.

With the addition of this Direct Drive system, which is available as an upgrade to your existing 3D printer, the AXIOM becomes a truly versatile machine that can handle everything from prototypes to finished products in industrial polycarbonate, flexible nylon and rubber-based products like TPU. Inevitably, it is a demon with PLA as well and Airwolf 3D reckons it could handle up to 40 materials before this latest update.

So this Dual Direct Drive system could help the AXIOM line become a staple in design, engineering and even production houses. It could turn a great prosumer 3D printer into a professional-grade machine at an attractive price point. At $5,195 it definitely isn’t for the novice, but then it does punch above its weight in a lot of respects.

If you don’t own an AXIOM and this new system seals the deal then Airwolf 3D recommends the AXIOM Dual base model together with the Direct Drive Upgrade Package. The AXIOM line is largely mix and match thanks to a modular construction that helps keen enthusiasts and professional users get the best system for them.

The good news doesn’t stop there. The Direct Drive Upgrade literally slots in as an End-User Replaceable Cassette. So if there’s a reason to swap back to AXIOM’s older Bowden-style extrusion system for a specific print job then you can just swap them out and get to work on the next print.

It’s all quite self-explanatory, but that hasn’t stopped Airwolf 3D opening its doors for a series of workshops and training sessions on October 26-27. Not only will this give the company a chance to connect with its customers, it’s also an excellent chance to see the new system close up and make the decision on the upgrade.

Co-founder and lead designer Erick Wolf is supremely confident in the new kit, though, and it’s has rolled it out across the line-up. So he’s clearly happy to stake his considerable reputation on this new extrusion system and we’re keen to see it in action.



Posted in 3D Printer



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