Take a quick look at Kickstarter or Indiegogo pretty much any day of the week and you’ll find plenty of 3D printing related projects out there. They range from ingenious to “what were they thinking”.
One new project that falls firmly in the former category is the new Diamond hotend, billed by the creators as, “a single nozzle multi-color 3D printing” solution. What’s this new project all about and is it worth your contribution and support?
Let’s take a closer look.
The Diamond Hotend
The Kickstarter project promises that the Diamond hotend is “an affordable single nozzle hotend that provides a faster easier and more precise method of color 3D printing”. The project aims to make true multicolor printing a reality for hobbyists, who until now have been extremely limited in this area.
There are quite a few differences between the Diamond model and other options on the market designed to allow you to create a true multi-color 3D printer. For one thing, it’s a single extruder, not a dual extruder system like most out there.
That’s good news for those who don’t want to eat up their limited build space, as every additional extruder you add to the printer reduces your available room.
Another difference here is that the Diamond hotend is from RepRap (so it’s already a name that you’re familiar with, and that has been associated with 3D printing for a very long time).
The Kickstarter page lists the hotend’s advantages as having easy calibration, better precision, and the ability to print with three different colors or materials at the same time (all in a single extruder). It also offers color blending and reduces filament waste, saving both your wallet and the environment in the process.
“Today, multi-color 3D printing with regular single nozzle hotends is possible,” RepRap explains, “but requires you to fuse the filaments together before printing. This process is time-consuming and color changes are difficult to time and can only be made in the horizontal plane.
Dual hotend solutions are faster and offer better control, but entail a different set of problems. The Diamond hotend is a single nozzle hotend for 3D printing in multiple colors that requires a minimum of calibration and allows you to time exactly when and where the color changes will occur.
It also eliminates the problem of oozing nozzles.”
Currently, the Diamond hotend Kickstarter is off to a decent start, and has actually been completely funded with more than 20 days left to go. It ends on May 1, 2015.
While funded, the rewards are still available, and they start out pretty low in terms of cost. The base reward is a basic thank you on the RepRap website, followed by a key ring. For the third tier reward, you actually get the diamond nozzle ($30 contribution).
The rewards build from there, offering additional extras and niceties such as heat sinks, mounting brackets, fans and other equipment.
If you’d like to get in on the action, you can do so right here.