Oct 18, 2016 | By Benedict
3D printer manufacturer Titan Robotics has partnered with filament provider Push Plastic to develop a high-speed, low-cost pellet extrusion system for the Atlas 3D printer. According to Titan Robotics, pellet extrusion can push plastic three times faster than high-volume filament extrusion.
When comparing the costs of 3D printer filament with basic plastic pellets, it’s easy to see why 3D printing companies like Titan Robotics are eager to develop pellet extrusion systems. A 1kg spool of 3D printing filament can end up costing around $30, but 1kg of plastic pellets can cost as little as $2. At the end of the day, 3D printer users are paying a huge premium to obtain their plastic in evenly shaped, printer-friendly lengths, but what if that requirement was no longer necessary?
In order to take advantage of the low cost of plastic pellets, 3D printer manufacturer Titan Robotics has teamed up with 3D printing filament specialist Push Plastic to develop a pellet extrusion system for Titan’s Atlas 3D printer, an FDM machine with a huge build volume (915 x 915 x 1,220mm for the Atlas 2.0). By removing the need for specialist filament and creating an extrusion system that melts plastic pellets and extrudes them directly onto the print bed, the two companies believe they can offer huge savings to makers while also offering a high-quality product with faster feed and flow rates than traditional systems.
Titan Robotics and Push Plastic believe that the added element of speedier extrusion makes their pellet extrusion system a true 3D printing game-changer: “Pellet extrusion can push plastic three times faster than high volume filament extrusion,” explains Maddie Garrett, Titan Robotics’ customer relations lead. “At Titan Robotics, we’ve achieved flow rates of 5 lbs per hour with a 3mm nozzle and feed rates of 7,000 mm a minute with 1 mm nozzle. With further modifications, we hope to increase the flow rate up to six or seven pounds per hour. Compared to filament extrusion, you’d be lucky to reach a flow rate of 7 lbs over an entire day.”
In addition to its impressive cost- and time-saving aspects, the new pellet extrusion system being developed by Titan Robotics and Push Plastic uses a heated enclosure, making it suitable for 3D printing with high-temperature plastics like unfilled ABS and Polycarbonate resin. Open-air test prints with PLA and HIPS resin have proved successful, and Titan Robotics is currently attempting to print in an enclosure with ABS and Polycarbonate.
Implementing the new pellet extrusion system into the Atlas 3D printer was, according to Titan Robotics, relatively simple, and although there are currently no firm plans to commercialize the system, Atlas users can contact the company about the possibility of obtaining one. Titan Robotics advises that the pellet-based 3D printing method is ideal for those looking to combine additive and subtractive manufacturing, where a part can be quickly printed using the pellet extruder and then finished with a CNC machine.
Check out the video below to see the pellet extruder and Atlas 3D printer in action.
Posted in 3D Printer Accessories
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Eduardo wrote at 10/19/2016 1:02:48 AM:
Would be nice to see pictures of parts printed by the Atlas. completed prints.