A magical creature, the 3D printer with dual extruders. Users can use multiple filaments to 3D print wildly colorful creations and technical marvels with auxiliary materials like water-soluble supports or stronger materials for reinforcement, or even mix different filaments to do so. These adaptable desktop 3D printers are interesting to anyone. In 3D printing, the term “dual extrusion” refers to the practice of printing with various materials, whether you select various colors or different types of filaments with various effects, such as metallic plastic filaments or wooden effects.
This enables you to produce better and more impressive goods, and many experts, 3D printing enthusiasts, and owners of small businesses, such as Etsy stores that sell 3D printed goods, swear by it.
Extruders in two different spools of build material can be drawn from simultaneously by 3D printers. They can be divided into three groups: dependent, IDEX, and “TRUE” IDEX. The machines’ actual extrusion heads are fixed together and printed in alternate directions while the machine moves the active extruder to the printing location. To print duplicate or mirrored parts, IDEX (independent dual extruders) move independently along the X-axis. Due to the ever-growing selection of options from both large and small manufacturers, selecting the best dual extruder 3D printer can be challenging.
Specifications, brands, and features can all muddle together into an unintelligible jumble, leaving you to wonder if you made the right decision. Here, we highlight the best of the best. These dual extruder 3D printers are the ones to use if you want (or need) to print more than one type of material.
How to pick the best dual extruder 3D printer
In general, there are three types of dual extruder 3D printers: single-nozzle, dual-nozzle, and independent dual extruder (IDEX).
The filament that is not active is pulled back from the printhead in a single nozzle configuration. A “purge” after changing the filament makes sure all of the old material has been completely extruded.ss
Larger purges waste more material and take longer, but ineffective purging can result in the model having mixed or discolored materials. In contrast to single-nozzle printers, dual-nozzle printers have two independent extruding nozzles. These typically enable greater versatility and relatively quick multi-material prints; quicker because less time is spent switching filaments, and more versatile because the separate nozzles allow printing with different nozzle diameters in a single print. Due to the increased risk of oozing affecting your model with dual-nozzle printers, you’ll probably need to print an ooze shield and top tower. Let’s say you want to use water-soluble support materials when printing. To ensure that none of that soluble material enters the models due to ineffective purging, in that case, one of these is typically the minimum.
The most adaptable best dual extruder 3D printers are IDEX systems, which feature two print heads that can each function independently. In addition to the ability to print with multiple materials, such as with a dual-nozzle system, the independently operating print heads enable you to print two items at once using the duplication and mirroring print modes, making batch production a relatively quick process. The weight of an additional print head, which raises the possibility of Z-wobble, is the main disadvantage in this situation, in addition to the issues with shared dual nozzles.
Consider your objectives before choosing a dual-extrusion 3D printer. A single-nozzle system is probably the most affordable and will require the least amount of maintenance if you simply want to print in multiple colors. A dual-nozzle printer might be an option if you want to print with soluble supports or various nozzle sizes. And IDEX might be the best option if you want all of the aforementioned features as well as the ability to print two parts at once to speed up the process. Just remember that the price usually rises in that order.