Sep 13, 2017 | By Benedict

Startup Protea Design has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the DNA Extruder, billed as the “fastest consumer-level extruder on the market.” Backers can secure the filament extruder for $580, lower than its slated retail price of $800.

We see plenty of 3D printers coming to life (and occasionally suffering an early death) on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms. And despite some controversial campaigns in recent years involving no-show printers and dodgy business plans, the 3D printing community at large still appears to see crowdfunding as a valuable tool for startups finding their feet.

But considering how many 3D printers pop up on these platforms, it’s nice to occasionally see something a little different and, frankly, a little more necessary: more competition in the filament extruder market. Toyko startup Protea Design is providing just that with its DNA Extruder, a fast, precise, at-home filament extruder for 3D printer users.

Described by Protea as “a never-before-seen combination of speed, precision, quality and aesthetics,” DNA looks to solve specific problems associated with existing filament extruders, while offering a reasonable price point—even at the full RRP.

“During development of DNA we paid special attention to solving the issue of slow extrusion that many extruders available on the market face,” Protea explains. “With the use of our…screw and barrel design we were able to increase extrusion speed to levels never before seen in an extruder priced below $1,000 or even $2,000.”

Big claims then, but the stats sound promising. The DNA Extruder is purportedly capable of extruding filament at a rate of 10 feet per minute, which works out as a full 1 kg roll of filament in 1 hour, even with ABS. By contrast, the Filabot extruder takes 4.3 hours to process 1 kg of PLA, while the ProtoCycler takes 2.5 hours. Both are more expensive than DNA.

DNA doesn’t need you to keep feeding plastic to it manually either. Its large hopper holds a whole kilo of pellets, meaning a whole spool of filament can be extruded in one go. “Just load the hopper and have a brand new roll of filament in an hour,” they say. “No more waiting around and feeding the machine, or being restricted by a small hopper.”

One of the key weapons behind the new extruder is its thermoplastic extrusion screw and barrel combo, machined out of a block of steel and tested by a professional, which purportedly allowed Protea to reduce DNA’s size and improve the quality of extruded filament. The combo helps to “promote higher pumping pressure for extraction of water vapor and air from the filament,” as well as improving mechanical operation through a direct connection to the motor.

Despite looking a complex piece of kit, DNA is apparently easy to set up. It’s fitted with a 600W internationally compatible power supply, allowing for alternating voltages between 110V and 220V. No special plugs or cables are needed, and the machine can be up and running “in minutes.” A digital PID temperature control unit allows users to adjust extrusion temperature up to 250°C, while speed can be adjusted with a large knob on top of the machine.

Finally, the DNA extruder looks the part housed in a lightweight, strong, and heat-resistant polyurethane material. “The unibody design gave us the ability to reduce weight by excluding extra materials that would be used to connect multiple pieces together,” Protea says. “This design also provides increased rigidity and toughness to the enclosure.”

Interestingly, Protea has decided to abandon plans to patent the DNA technology, having received plenty of feedback from the maker community about the importance of open source development. As such, the startup will release all design info for the extruder if the campaign is successful.

The new filament extruder is available to pre-order with a pledge of $580, though backers can also add $20 to their pledge for a 1 kg bag of ABS pellets, or choose from a few other options.

That’s all dependent on the startup hitting its targets, of course. Protea’s $60,000 campaign goal isn’t low, and with just over $13,000 raised so far, the company will be hoping for a real push over the next 19 days.

Check out the campaign here.



Posted in 3D Printer Accessories



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