Hyrel 3D, an up and coming 3D printer manufacturer, recently showed off a new emulsifiable extruder that allows users to print with Sugru (a quick-curing silicone), plasticine, play-doh, and even silicone RTV.
Hyrep 3D printer users can swap their PLA/ABS filament extruder with the new soft materials extruder, model EMO-25, or they can have both installed side-by-side. Hyrel’s printers allow for up to 4 separate extruders to be installed at once.
Emulsifiable Extruder Features
- User-loaded cartridge system
- Certain materials can be reused (e.g. play doh, uncured polymer clay)
- Modular and interchangeable with Hyrel’s hot-head plastic filament extruders
- Operates at room temperature
- Safe for use in schools, studios, and other such environments (except with silicone RTV and other such irritating chemicals)
- Low sensitivity to build environment (such as proximity to air ducts)
- Wide range of materials can be used
Two things keep popping up in my mind.
1) I wonder how well this works with Sculpey and other polymer clays. It should work well, as it can work with Play-Doh, plasticine, and air-dry clays. But the ability for it to work with Sculpey would open up many more options for crafters. And since the platform isn’t heated, substrate materials can probably be used to take the clay to an oven for curing.
2) I wonder if it will be possible to create custom gaskets, O-rings, and rubber grommets. Material selection would be quite limited, but printing off a few small parts with Sugru using PLA as a support material would be handy.
Here’s a quick video of the Hyrel 3D printer layering some Sugru.
There will be two packages available for the EMO-25 printer head – a starter package, and a pro package.
- one cartridge
- 3 nozzles: 2mm, 1.5mm, 1mm
- two cartridges
- 5 nozzles: 2mm, 1.5mm, 1mm, 0.75mm, 0.5mm
Both kits will include one smart head, EMO apparatus, motor, and cabling.
Cartridge volume is 25 cc (cubic centimeters).
Hyrel 3D printers start at about $2000 and go up to about $3100. Build envelope is 8″ x 8″ x 8″.
I have been following the progress of several 3D printer manufacturers, and thus far I am pretty impressed with what Hyrel 3D is doing. Their approach is a little different, in how they’re looking to create a modular system that’s more configurable than others on the market, but I think they definitely have the right idea.
I imagine that it won’t be long before Hyrel releases a food-safe extruder head that’s designed for use with chocolate, frosting, and other such edible materials.