Musings and Experiments on the Art and Science of 3D Printing

When it rains, it pours: Prusa multi-material quad kit arrived!

By Michael Hackney Friday, June 16, 2017
Last week I got the Mosaic Palette to explore printing with four colors of PLA on one of my large delta printers. Yesterday I got the Prusa quad multi-material kit for the Prusa i3 MK2(S upgrade) I ordered with the printer last October. In fact, the only reason I bought the Prusa was to get my hands on the quad extrusion kit! Turns out the i3 MK2 itself is not a bad little printer within the limitations of its 8bit RAMBo mini controller and firmware. But it produces nice prints reliably (not as nice as those from my delta printers running Duet Wifi and RepRapFirmware, but nice).

Here's what arrived in a Tyvec package:
And here's what's inside the main box, the motor and multiplier pox has 4 steppers and Prusa's innovative multiplexer/driver:
Under all of the parts were the two components I was most interested in. Shortly after I ordered my kit last Oct. Prusa announced a shipping delay because they were not happy with extrusion and hot end. The net result was, they worked with Martin at Bondtech and decided to use the excellent Bondtech dual-driven drive gears in their extruder update. The magic here is the Bondtech dual drive do very little damage to the filament surface. I've been talking about this for several years so it's great to see an application where this is critical. Prusa is sourcing the drive gears from Bondtech.

They also worked with E3D to address the issue they discovered with the hot end that affects the quad kit but not normal V6 operation. This is because the quad kit does its magic by pulling the active filament completely out of the hot end in order to insert the next color in! That's a lot of movement, especially when the end of the filament is a molten blob that can get unglanceable up as it cools and solidifies. 

So I anxiously removed bags of parts until I found these. The Bondtech drive gears - they are as beautiful in a Prusa bag as they are in a Bondtech QR or BGM extruder!
 
And the E3D V6 hot end:
So it will be a fun weekend of tearing apart my i3 MK2 again (I had to tear it down for the "S" update last month) to install the quad system. I'lll post photos, impressions, results as they come. Meanwhile, take a look at these prints from Prusa, if these don't make your heart skip a beat (except for those unbearable Benchies) you are either 1) dead or 2) disinterested in FFF 3D printing!
(photo linked from http://www.prusaprinters.org/update-multi-material-upgrade-2)





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