MRRF: Flexible 3D Printing

The concession stand at the Midwest Rep Rap Festival did not disappoint when it came to the expected fare: hot dogs, walking tacos, and bananas for scale. But the yummiest things there could not be bought—the Nutella prints coming off the Ultimaker² at the structur3D booth.

3D printed gasket
Flexible gasket printed in silicone atop a rigid 3D printed engine block.

Hey, what? Yes, an Ultimaker² that can print in Nutella, icing sugar, silicone, latex, wood filler, conductive ink, polyurethane, peanut butter, and a growing list to which you should contribute. This is possible because of their Discov3ry Universal Paste Extruder add-on, which is compatible with most filament printers, especially those that use a RAMPs or Arduino control board.

A large syringe containing the substance of your choice is loaded business end up in the Discov3ry. It gets pushed through tubing that runs to the print head and out through one of many commonly available polypropylene or stainless steel tips. The structur3D team has found that printing on waxed paper works best for the materials they’ve proven out. Each syringe holds 60cc of stuff, and the Discov3ry comes with three of them. They are currently available for pre-order, with a shipping forecast of early summer.

13 thoughts on “MRRF: Flexible 3D Printing

    1. I didn’t do anything? (Me works at Ultimaker. Software guy)

      FYI, few people at Ultimaker are HaD regulars. But we never submit stories to generate some for of HaDvertizement. Not really our cup of thee. Always fun to see an Ultimaker used for some sort of project. In this case, it’s just that, nothing from Ultimaker itself, just the printer used in a new way.
      (The motorcycle was posted on our main side months ago, so pretty sure we didn’t pitch it just now, and just random co-incidence)

      On the topic. Syringe extrusion is cool stuff. And they made a pretty clever “bowden” like setup, which is a nice change from all the other syringe solutions I’ve seen so far. Which are bulky “on head” solutions.

  1. I would not suggest printing food grade Nutella, icing sugar, silicone (1 part caulk is not food grade but other types can be), and peanut butter along with latex, wood filler, conductive ink, polyurethane if you want to use this again with food.

    Also, how do you even print latex? You can print latex caulk but actual latex doesn’t really work like that.

    1. If you maintain separate syringes, feed tubes, and extruder ends for food-grade and non-food-grade, you should be fine. Not sure how easy it is to swap the tubing out, but I would hope pretty trivial.

        1. Well yeah, but as mentioned in the summary, they find that printing food-grade materials on wax paper works well. So you don’t actually need a separate build platform, just cover it up with wax paper when printing food-grade.

  2. met these guys at MRRF, they had a really cool setup, coloidal extrusion is something I’d like to try someday, I may not buy their device but I totally want to base my implementation off their ideas.

  3. Print fast curing catalyzed silicones, resins and similar products through a disposable mixing nozzle. If the substance is runny, add a filler or thickener to one or both components as it enters the mixing nozzle. Google disposable mixing nozzle There are many types.

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