3D printers using independent dual extruders allow two different types of filament to be combined in a single print. This makes it possible to create objects from two different materials (for instance using soluble support with another advanced material) or to make multi-color prints. Several 3D printers on the market offer dual extrusion by placing two nozzles in a single print head. Since the inactive nozzle is always close to the part that is being printed, this technology comes with several drawbacks like oozing.
What are Independent Dual Extruders?
IDEX – short for Independent Dual Extruders – is the 3D printing technique that allows two print heads to move independently from each other. Each head has its own nozzle and can be loaded with the same, or different material than the other head. This technology has several advantages compared to a single head with dual extruders.
Benefits of Independent Dual Extruders
- No more oozing: Each independent head has its own nozzle and filament. When one nozzle is active and printing, the other inactive nozzle is moved to the side of the bed. Since the head that is not printing is moved to the side, any filament that leaks out of the inactive head does not stick to your workpiece. This prevent contamination of materials and gives cleaner prints.
- Sync and mirror mode: With the independent heads, the Leapfrog Bolt can print two single extruder prints at the same time. Effectively doubling the output of the printer.
- Large temperature differences: Since the heads are separated from each other, it is possible to set the nozzles at different temperatures with a large difference in temperature between them. Using a default Bolt Hotend and a High Temperature Hotend allows a temperature range from 100°C to 360°C! This allows the user to make many more material combinations.
Multi color printing without contamination
With two nozzles in a single print head, the colors in a multi color work piece tend to mix since filament will leak out of the nozzle that is not printing. Not with IDEX because it has separated nozzles. In addition, the Bolt has a wiping system that further reduces any mixing of the colors when switching from one color to the other. The result: super clean multi color prints.
Twice as fast with sync and mirror mode
The independent dual extruder system on the Bolt Pro allows two identical parts to be printed simultaneously. This doubles the production speed of the printer, making the machine much more effective for serial production.
The Bolt Pro dual separated head 3D printer is unique with this feature because of its advanced User Interface. The software automatically copies the selected part for you. Less hassle for you and more production from your printer.
Printing symmetrical parts of molds can also easily done with mirror mode. Instead of making a copy of the selected print, the Bolt mirrors the print. Then it proceeds printing both the part and mirrored part at the same time.
Create new solutions with multi material printing
Another big advantage of the Independent Extruders is that it allows the two nozzles to have a big temperature difference and therefore allows different materials to be combined. For instance, complex prints using soluble support such as the print of the left are made possible. But why stop there? The Bolt’s high temperature capability, full enclose and direct drive system allow many materials to be printed. Combine existing combinations or test new materials which just have been developed. Because of the Leapfrog’s open materials policy, you can test and combine anything you like on the Bolt. Flex, PLA, Woodfill, PVA, PETG, HIPS, Hybrid, ABS, Carbon, Colorfab Ngen, Laybrick or Nylon have all been verified to work on the machine offering the opportunity to develop projects with wide applicability and from various domains such as engineering, education and architecture.