Extruders are the heart of all 3D printing technology. This is the part that houses the nozzle through which the molten plastic is pushed forward. This is also the part that rests on supports that move when printing the object. Just to be clear, the extruder doesn’t move itself, it has motors that move gears and cogs which rest on rods and bars moving the whole extruding body.
Because of this operation, the extruder is the most important part and has had received special attention from 3D printing aficionados from all over the world. This is the reason why the extruders are the most customized part of all 3D printing technology and hold a special place in the hacker and techie’s heart.
All of this concludes to hundreds of new designs of extruders some optimized towards ABS filaments, others geared towards PLA. For Nylon, non-proprietary or other filaments, extruders have been modified and optimized but they comprise a smaller portion of the extruder market as compared to the former.
One point worth mentioning (for the newbies) is that these are printing extruders. Nowadays, the market is flooded with filament extruders which are not exactly the same thing. A printer's extruder is the one that attaches to the printer and puts out molten material for the purpose of printing. A filament extruder is an extruder meant to take in plastic and churn out filament (in semi-molten or heated state) for the purpose creating filament and not printing. This means, that the output of a filament extruder is the filament that will be fed to the printer when you want to commit 3D printing.
With this little trivia, read on for more information on our selection of the top 3 DIY extruder kits.
An Egyptian based company, Atom 3D has offered one of the best tutorials (with all physical resources in the form of open-source files – all here) for creating your own extruder. They have provided detailed instructions and all of the parts can be 3D printed. The extruder itself is a single nozzle kit, which can obviously be extended to two heads once you’ve gotten the hang of how the whole thing works. Putting it together can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours depending on your own ability and knowledge.
Compared to the stock extruders or other kits available, the price is just appropriate when you factor in the ability to customize it the way you want. The kit is previewed next to a tomato to show its size with a preview of all the parts laid out to highlight ease of use. Apart from a fan and motor, the rest of the parts are just nuts, bolts, screws and the housing/scaffolding which you can make out of any material as opposed to the default plywood. With all this, the tutorial also shows technical specifications for engineers along with videos for a thorough instructional for the complete beginners.
Glow Plug 3D
This extruder kit (check it out here) comes with pretty much all the instructions and materials that a newbie will need to get through. But because of the build quality, a newbie may actually take up to a week to construct the extruder. This is because the tutorial takes you through very refined details, coupling all the information with parts where you need to cut out aluminum parts for your machine.
As stated above, once you’re sure of what you want, you can go ahead and replace the aluminum scaffolding and supports with wood or other materials, but that is once you know what you want. If you’re skilled enough to know that, then perhaps going through the whole instructional is not for you. The price is pretty much the same as with the above kit, but the kit itself offers a great number of benefits over the aforementioned product. With the Aluminum parts, the whole kit is much more solid and strengthened, offering higher speeds of printing, less vibrations within the body that will cause jitter in the printing process and also a much more precise print through its multiple sizes of the nozzle diameter.
The website is a tutorials hub for all DIY 3D printing technology. It offers a wide range of tutorials and resource for anyone looking to create their own parts for their 3D printers. With a 14 step process, it is quite literally that easy. But with that ease and comfort comes a catch.
The extruder is pretty much the same as any other stock extruder with no special optimization or design engineering in place. It offers you the same build quality and functionality that you find in the extruder you already have (if you’re planning on making one to replace the one on your printer).
In case you are making the whole printer from scratch, then this may be of more value to you. The details accompanying the kit are outlined on the website so if you want to get an idea of what you’re getting yourself into and what you’ll eventually get out of it, just head over to the manufacturers website.
BuildYourCNC’s extruder kit is the best kit, in my opinion, (of the three) for three reasons. One, it’s the cheapest. Second, it’s almost the same as a stock extruder meaning setting it up needs nothing special, such as cutting out your own aluminum parts. Third, it’s the only one available from the manufacturer. This last reason offers two benefits. First, once you’ve gotten the hang of setting it up or assembling it, customizing it for a dual head will be a snap, because the company does not have a different design for more than a single head. Second, because of this lack of flexibility in design, the instructions and resources offer no variation which may be confusing for the first time 3D printing fanatic. Get yours by purchasing or ordering it online today.