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Paste Extrusion

Feature

sturdy, standardized, easy to use, and maintenance-free. I was never personally interested in the challenge of developing hardware, and frankly I lack the skills to do so. What excites me is the new “form language” created with the tool and its applications and implications. Out of necessity I’ve continued researching paste extruders on and off, and I’ve learned to enjoy it.

Syringe pump

photo by Adrian Bowyer

so it could print more of its own parts. (As mentioned, the RepRap project started with a paste extruder before filament extruders took precedence. If you’re interested in the back-story, check out the announcement on the RepRap blog from March 23, 2005. The photo of the original prototype a small syringe pump - is no longer there, but you can find it using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine if you’re deeply curious.) The general interest in paste extrusion died down quickly in the RepRap community because such exciting progress had been made in Fused Filament Fabrication. FFF proved far superior for producing mechanically-sound parts. Also the need for support material was reduced by designing parts that could be printed without any support. Eventually people lost interest in the development of ‘inferior’ paste extrusion. The RepRap potential as a serious 3D printer has grown exponentially. Today there are dozens of professional RepRap-derived commercial 3D printers and kits kickstarting the home 3D-printing revolution. This explosion of public interest in 3D printing has had the further effect of diverting effort from Adrian Bowyer original noble goal of a fully self-replicating machine, and towards the (still quite noble) goal of developing professional-grade 3D printers that are more

After a few years of relative neglect, lately I’ve seen a revival of interest in paste extruder development. My sense is that the low-hanging fruit in the development of extruders, frames, and drive mechanisms has been pretty-well picked, so developers have begun to look for new challenging ventures, especially in materials, fabrication processes, and frame design. This is very exciting and hopefully we will soon make large strides in developing RepRap paste extruders. And this is necessary because as I have experienced by mainly using them in the last three years - the issues are more challenging than they initially seem.

In this article I want to give a state of paste extruder development from the perspective of a non-engineer, go over the main principles with their pro’s and con’s and show examples of various types of extruders.

In this article I want to give a state of paste extruder development from the perspective of a non-engineer, go over the main principles with their pro’s and con’s and show examples of various types of extruders.

REPRAPMAGAZINE

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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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