So... Has anyone built an Independent Quad Extruder 3D Printer?

So… Has anyone built an Independent Quad Extruder 3D Printer?

Imagine how the Sigma has 2 independent hotends with 2 X Motors, each is on its own cart but both are on the same X rail, one cart docking to the left and the other to the right.

Now let’s double that: 2 IDEX x rails, one docking to the front of the machine, and the other to the rear. In essence, one hotend head in each of the 4 corners of the machine.

Thoughts?

It sounds reasonably doable. That said, I’d consider some kind of a tool changer setup. Then it could scale up however you want, just pick off the tool you want from the rack. Granted, you’d have to develop some kind of repeatable retention system but I think it would pay off.

The tool changer is a separate project, as is the Prusa Multi Material style quad “Y splitter”, when they release the source files for that.

A concern with the tool changer is the repeatability of positioning between tool pickups. In other words the nozzle may be off from where it was before…

With this approach, I figure it’ll be relatively constant and can be tuned once. At the expense of more complex electronics to drive the thing, however.

I think it makes a lot more sense to combine IDEX with a SNMC (single-nozzle multi-color) head, like a diamond hot end or a bowden Y-splitter. I mean, it’s possible that someone wants to print soluble support, flexibles, AND two colors of a regular print material (PLA, ABS, PETG) in one print, but it’s extremely unlikely. Much more likely, if you want four filaments, you want three colors of print material combined with a support material (or MAYBE a flexible, but probably not both), and if you really do need support and colors and flexibles all in one print, you need more flexibility than dual IDEX gantries will give you, not to mention that it’s ridiculously over-complicated for what it gets you compared to something like a toolchanger.

Of course, if you really need all those things in one print, you should really be using something like an Objet.

Six multiextrudrer search imaginacrea prusa reference that from him project…

We’ve done more than 10.000 hrs of printing with the magnetic tool changer without issues with repeat accuracy. I’d alyways perfer completely independent extruders, lower moved mass, easier maintenance etc. However for more than 2 (or 3) extruders you need a corexy-style gantry with at least one “open” side to park the tool heads. Using 4 corners would complicate the design (bascially mirroring each component one or two times).

My printer would certainly be big enough Ray if you want when I’m done testing dual I’ll try for quad.

Hello Ray, I was just wondering if anybody carried on with this idea. We were just discussing this the other day in a facebook group dedicated to IDEX on the Duet platform. The exact same thing you were proposing back in June 2017, only not on a Sygma. We wanted to do it on an i3 printer. But eventually a Sygma inspired machine, the Cubetrix IDEX, came into the discussion. Thanks in advance.