Sep 8, 2014 | By Alec

Last week, the French inventors' couple Philippe and Myriam Boichut unveiled the last innovation to their popular SpiderBot Delta 3D printer. Their newest model will, as they explained in a blog post on their website, include a double extrusion system that will not come into contact with any of the filament already printed. If this works as promised, they will be able to avoid leaving any printing imperfections on 3D printed objects.

The current SpiderBot model.

This small French company has enjoyed popularity amongst private, academic and business customers with their current model of the SpiderBot Delta 3D printer. This printer can work with ABS en PLA materials and has a printing capability of 18 cm wide by 18 cm tall. It's success is largely thanks to innovations to their original extrusion system. For while most printers include an extruder with six attachment points, their SpiderBot Delta on has three thanks to their TSS system.


This system, short for Three Sphere System, consists of a combination of three spherical magnets and six carbon tubes that move the extrusion head with great precision. As two tubes are attached to one magnet, the support plate doesn't tilt or wobble. Not only does this system allow for perfect positioning of the extrusion head, the magnetic connection can also be easily broken by applying the right amount of force, allowing for easy maintenance.

Now, the Boichut couple is aiming to build a printer that transfers this effective method to a double extrusion system. And after almost a year of developing, designing and testing, numerous mishaps and 7(!) prototypes, they have settled for a particular system of rotating nozzles. This design aims to avoid any contact between the nozzles and the printed filament, even when they are rotating and switching positions. While some testing is still on-going, the innovative couple are confident that they will be able to release their latest model before the end of the year; the beta tests are already planned. As Phillipe explained:

"Important improvements have been made compared to a standard dualhead and the earlier shown design. We discovered that the second head often touched the object when printing and even if you retract the material of the inactive nozzle, there is often a small amount of material on the nozzle tip that can leave traces […]To prevent this, a radical design change was required, we came up with a completely new dual head with rotating support and inclinated nozzles, which will avoid the unused nozzle hitting the object during printing."

The different results can be easily seen in the picture above. To the left, you can see an object printed with a commonly used double nozzle system. As can easily be seen, the material is slightly damaged, which happens when either of the nozzles shifts positions. To the right, is the result of their current prototype. Their design allows for the unused head to shift at an angle, which allows it to avoid the printed objects entirely.

This can easily be seen in the picture below. As phillipe explained, 'when head #1 is printing material (red in the picture below), the second head is rotated away from the print area and can't damage or mark the object and vice versa, when head #2 is printing support material (green) head#1 will be rotated away. This furthermore allowed to reduce the distance between the nozzles, improving the overall object print size area compared to a standard dual head.'

Another great advantage of this setup, is that the extruders and nozzles are only placed 11 mm apart, which allows for a very efficient use of space and printing volume.

While we will have to wait for more results about this very innovative design in action, this latest model of the SpiderBot Delta nonetheless looks very promising. Look out for an update in the near future.

Take a look at this innovative design in action.


Posted in 3D Printers

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enricodare wrote at 9/11/2014 11:09:32 AM:

hi, is already a bit you see similar projects

Suro wrote at 9/10/2014 12:16:47 PM:

Yeah, that looks so much like a. Stratasys it hurts. I wonder how that'll of down legally.

Pottertown wrote at 9/9/2014 1:05:53 AM:

Good luck with the patent application...Good idea, but it's 20 years old, that's how Stratasys does multi-material. Although they don't have a big pillar of material, they have a waste container and tip wipers in the back.

Tom McBaum wrote at 9/9/2014 12:15:59 AM:

That is really a nice design. Hopefully, the required parts will be made available separately, as opposed to forcing existing Delta printer/Kossel/Rostock/BI v2.5/etc. owners customers to buy a complete Spiderbot "dual". And maybe at a more reasonable price this time, eh, Spiderbot team?

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