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Paste Extrusion

A paste extruder is a type of extruder that extrudes material in the form of a paste rather than melt a plastic filament. Typically this is a cold process where the printed object solidifies by air-drying. Examples of paste materials include ceramic clay, silicone, resins, play-doh, cookie dough, bio-material, icing sugar, etc. One could even print chocolate or wax with a modestlyheated extruder.


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This may sound like it’s only useful for hobbyist applications and not for serious use. But have heard about all the research now going into 3D printing biological materials, organs, cells, and tissue? Basically, paste extruders! I started working on paste extruders at our design studio, Unfold, in late 2009 because we were pursuing the idea of 3D printing ceramics by extruding tiny coils of clay, a process very similar to a traditional craft technique called coiling. It’s a form of semi-industrial craft production that projects the past history of traditional techniques into the future. Because of its ability to produce such fine layers, new forms are possible.

photo by Unfold

The Reprap was born with a paste extruder. When we began we were still firmly in the Darwin age (the first-generation RepRap) and there were barely any commercial RepRap-derived kits available. There was a fair amount of talk in the RepRap wiki and forum on paste extruders, mainly as a method for printing support material, conductive materials for circuits and motors, and hot-end ceramic insulators. One of the goals for RepRap v2 (later born as Mendel) was to have true multi material capabilities photo by Unfold



RepRap Magazine Issue 3  

The third issue of RepRap Magazine. Interview with Nicholas Seward, Paste Extrusion, Hot-Ends, and much more.

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