Jan 26, 2016 | By Andre

In 2011, while in the early stages of building my very first RepRap Prusa Mendel, a question I wrestled with was whether to go with the 1.75mm diameter filament or the 3mm option. Knowing it was a one-way street unless I wanted to build a second extruder, I decided on the 3mm route because that’s what others at my makerspace did. Fast forward to 2016 and it appears that choice will be made a lot easier now that the 1730 Full Metal Hotend made its way to Kickstarter.

As reported by us in early 2016, this modular 3D printer hot-end removes the need to decide what filament standard to go with. And while either option works pretty much the same, it can be frustrating sourcing new types of filament or rare colours only to find out the supplier only carries spools in one diameter or the other.

This patent pending hotend should get anyone with an open-source 3D printer excited. While there has been a shift toward the 1.75mm direction in recent years, the team responsible for the Full Metal Hotend suggests 3mm filament still holds a 35% market share in Europe and that some materials are simply finicky to work well with a smaller diameter.

The Kickstarter has the filament diameter swapping as a focal point, but also promotes that it’s leak proof, optimized for High Performance 3D Printing and compatible with standard, special and high-temperature filaments.

Kai Parthy, the filament-guru partly behind the Full Metal Hotend has stated that “The 1730 has truly surpassed my initial expectations. It has all the potential on setting new standards as a consumer-friendly Hotend.” And while one would expect to hear that from the organizer of their own Kickstarter, the reality is that being able to easily swap filament strands is long overdue.

From a technical perspective, other features include it being 500°C ready, that it comes complete with an optimized thermal berrier, a short heating zone, is energy efficient, has improved feeding and faster printing (achieved through shorter retract values). Additionally, and here’s another thing I’ve come to appreciate since my RepRap days, it comes fully-assembled so there’s no guess work involved once it arrives. Also, since no 3D printer is designed exactly the same, different mounting options will be provided for easy installation.

Just like most Kickstarters out there, the most popular pledge package revolves around the purchase of the product itself. The regular Kickstarter Full Metal Hotend sits at €149 and includes free worldwide shipping (with two early-bird categories going for slightly less). From there, rewards go up in price but include extras like specialty filaments, entire 3D Printers, bulk deals an a meet-the-creators prize.

While tossing in a 3D Printer here and there might seem odd at first, it makes sense considering much of the team behind the hotend runs RepRapUniverse, an established 3D Print related online retailer. Having this team of more than 10 years of experience between them run a Kickstarter should bring some calm to anyone out there perpetually nervous about getting their product on time (this time you’re looking at April 2016).

In the Risks and challenges area of the campaign page, the team sort of just pats itself on the back and doesn’t introduce any concerns. One thing I feel I should note and is often overlooked is that the customs/import fees are always the purchasers responsibility, so that might add additional costs depending on where in the world you’re located.

So yes, after all these years, it appears a dedicated and experienced team of 3D printer enthusiasts have put together a hotend that can print using both 1.75mm filament and 3mm filament. While I have long put my RepRap to rest (poor little fellah), the open-source 3D printing market is still flourishing and I expect the team to achieve their €15,000 Kickstarter goal with time to spare before their 30 day campaign runs its course.



Posted in 3D Printer Accessories



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