A dual extruder 3D printer is an FDM-type 3D printer with two extruders. Each extruder can print with a different filament material. It is useful for building soluble support structures and producing multicolored objects. The extruders can work in unison or independently of one another, depending on the type of 3D printer chosen.
What is the Use of Dual Extruders?
Each extruder can print with a different filament material. Having two extruders is useful for producing objects with multiple filaments and multiple colors. A project will require two colors to create a pattern in the design of a 3D printed object.
Sometimes dual extruders are necessary for creating a specific type of part in a particular material. For example, water-soluble supports are produced with dual extruder 3D printers.
What are the Facts of Independent and Dependent Dual Extruders?
There are two different types of dual extruder printers, dependent dual extruder printers, and independent dual extruder printers. Both types of dual extruder printers have unique characteristics.
A 3D printer with dependent dual extruders means the nozzles stay in contact with each other at all times (also known as contact design). These nozzles then move together in the same direction during the printing process. Some dependent dual extruder designs are not able to lift away from the object the machine is printing. If this problem occurs, the 3D printer parts can bump into the object it is printing, resulting in a damaged 3D printed object.
Independent dual extruders, also known as IDEX, work independently of one another for more specialized projects. Two specialized functions of IDEX are duplication mode and mirror mode. Duplication mode is when the printer prints the object and a copy of the object at the same time. Mirror mode is when the printer prints the object and the object’s inverse at the same time. For both mirror mode and duplicate mode, the extruders print one object each. Both processes lead to faster and more efficient production.
Additionally, a 3D printer with independent dual extruders can lift away from the object that is being produced. This ability helps protect the object from being damaged during printing.
To view and learn about a dual extruder 3D printer that can lift away from the object it is printing, view the Pro2
To view and learn about a 3D printer with IDEX, view the E2
Do I Need a Dual Extruder 3D Printer? Are Dual Extruders Worth It?
The answer to both questions is that it mainly depends on the kind of projects which will be 3D printed. Dual extruders are essential for any project which requires multiple filaments and colors. A dual extruder printer can even produce two parts at the same time for faster production, depending on the size of each piece.
Designers, educators, and consultants tend to have different kinds of 3D printing projects in their lines of work. Their printing needs and requirements will most likely vary with each printing project. In such cases, there may be times when a second extruder is necessary to complete the project, and other times it not necessary to complete the project. It is advisable to plan for the long-term and the possibility of needing a dual extruder 3D printer in future projects.
How to Calibrate a 3D Printer Extruder?
To learn how to calibrate a 3D printer extruder from Raise3D, read one of the following How-To articles:
Learn more about dual extruder 3D printers with the Raise3D Pro2