E3D Tool Changer Partially Reviewed

[Design Prototype Test] got a box in the mail. Inside? An E3D “tool changer and motion system.” Superficially, it looks like a 3D printer, but it is touted as a machine that can mount several different kinds of tools, including a 3D print head. In the video below, you can see the assembly of the heavy-looking machine.

In a world in which a cheap 3D printer costs way under $200, this machine is much sturdier and costs about $3,000 with all the pieces. [Design Prototype Test] is a bit put out by the price, but you have to wonder if they aren’t trying to allow for an eventual CNC head for which the extra-sturdy build could be an advantage. However, the use of motion belts makes that seem like a long shot.

We’ll be curious to see what the final result will be with this machine. The reviewer was pretty unhappy about the price and a few other items. However, the tool-changing mechanism seemed to make him happier. He stopped short of putting together the four print heads and extruders for lack of a Bowden tube. Maybe we’ll get to see a part two video.

Even at the high price, the machines are waitlisted so you probably can’t get one right away. If you are interested in more details about the machine you can check out E3D’s site. We can’t tell if this is an overpriced 3D printer, a bargain high-quality printer, or if there is some tools on the way that might require the sturdy nature of the motion system. We do like the idea of decoupling the design so you can buy what you want and even later expand to a multi-head system.

What will the market think? Time will tell. We like the idea of using 3D-printer-like systems for things other than 3D printing. Of course, what we really want is a 3D printer for PCBs or, at least, metal.

7 thoughts on “E3D Tool Changer Partially Reviewed

  1. He goes on how it’s to expensive and obviously build by engineers and not designed to be cheap.
    But that’s exactly what e3d said all along. It’s a platform for the motion changer to tinker and build tool heads for for like a devkit.
    I wonder if he took more than 20 minutes into reading up on it before he ordered it.

  2. I did not expect to find an unboxing video on hackaday. Sure, you could call it a review, but then again any video with an opinion about something that somebody else made could be called a review. But what’s the added value, youtube is already full of them, so we come to hackaday for quality info, hacks or stories.
    So to make a long story short, what’s the hack?

    I know that if hackaday posted a video straight from the seller with all the detailed specs/intentions/bells and whistles of the product, people would be screaming “it’s an add”, but what’s the actual added value of the video in this article here. Technically you could also say that it’s an “add” for the channel of the guy who made the video.

    Please hackaday, there’s no need to pump out x articles a day if the articles itself aren’t really worth reading. Stay with your roots… stay with serious articles holding some interesting tech info or projects about making or hacking. Don’t lower yourself to simple retweeting/posting/forwarding youtube vids within the same week the come out.
    Thank you for your understanding.

  3. The whole concept of this machine is the mechanical equivalent to an dev-kit or evaluation board for a new piece of electronics.

    It’s not going to be cheap, because it’s basically all CNC machined parts made in low volumes, but it is absolutely made to be the best possible machine we could construct to show off the concept of toolchanging tech.

    Just like an electronics Dev-kit the objective is to allow people to evaluate the tech and integrate into their own designs. This is going exactly to plan and we have printer manufacturers who have used this kit to inform their development and now proper commercial machines with toolchanging are on their way to the market. If you want a complete ready to print printer then wait for these to come to market. If you don’t and want to evaluate or experiment with toolchanging then buy one of these. Or take a look at some of the already existing open source derivations that are intended for self-builders.

    I’m happy with our strategy, and proud to see it working, in both industry and community this tech is maturing and hopefully becoming somewhat standardised around universal tools.

  4. No marketing input, no industrial designer on the project, no beancounters sacrificing performance for cost concerns. Built entirely by engineers, for engineers. Put it out there and see who wants it.

    Exactly what we intended. :D

    It’s not a printer, it’s a Dev kit. It’s meant to be like this. Bulletproof. It’s meant to be a technical tour de force, for evaluating a new technology so others can learn and develop it further.

    The cross bar was cheaper than the carbon part, it was also stiffer and more reliable due to matched thermal expansion. The additional lightweighting machining probably added less than $40 to the machine. Worth it.

    If you want a toolchanging printer you can take out the box and looks beautiful, with user centric design then wait for our development partners to bring one to market. If you want a Dev kit to play with something cool and new this is out there for the hardcore, the enthusiasts, the developers pushing our industry forward. I hope they enjoy it.

  5. yeah.. i tried to watch this guy and it hurt!

    Saying that the instructions were too detailed as a complaint, saying that the machine was too expensive while complimenting the cnc machining work and construction… I mean i didnt even know about this printer but the first look at it tells me that it is not for people just getting into 3d printing but tinkerers and modders. People who are looking to help furthur the 3d printing world while he just comes off as another youtuber trying to live off the algorithm (his whiny patreon video was amusing). While he might be entertaining for others to watch, i found his delivery cringy at best.

    I think that the tool changer idea has some merit, especially when using different materials on the same print. I think it would even be cool if someone could work in some subtractive machining into one of the tool heads for maybe some light clean up work.

  6. Watched a few minutes and couldn’t bear it any longer. He looked familiar and then I remembered. That’s the same guy that claimed Prusa stole his idea of using inductive sensors for bed levelling. Nuff said.

    1. I watched the videos in question, and either he’s a bit dumb, or he plays dumb for views… He claimed that prusa also copied his idea for a filament runout sensor… An idea that existed way back on the reprap forums…
      either he’s got a persecution problem or he’s delliusional and does not understand free sofware/open hardware…

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