Tool Changing? Bah! Just Add A Second Gantry

What’s a dual gantry 3D printer? It’s a machine with two completely independent XY motion systems, with two independent hot ends, sharing the same build platform. That might be a little hard to visualize, so head over to [Zruncho 3D]’s Dueling Zero project and get a good look at what what a dual gantry machine looks like.

Dual gantry differs from IDEX, which doubles the amount of moving mass on an axis.

Let’s take a moment to quickly cover the different ways to create multi-filament prints before we dive into what’s different with Dueling Zero. One way to print in multiple filaments (for example, multiple colors) is to swap filaments between a single print head, which is what the Prusa MMU and the Bambu AMS do. However, the main tradeoff is that the filament swapping process can be time-consuming. Another option is IDEX (Independent Dual EXtruder) which has two separate hot ends on the same axis. The main downside there is that an IDEX printer has essentially doubled the moving mass on the axis, which limits speed and can affect print quality. Then there’s toolchanging printers like the Prusa XL, which swap entire heads as needed but have a much higher cost.

The Dueling Zero instead adds a completely independent second gantry, so it has two print heads (like an IDEX) but thanks to the mechanical design it acts much more like a single-extruder 3D printer in terms of print quality and motion control. Speed and acceleration aren’t limited by added mass, either, which is good because slow printers are rapidly falling out of style.

We love how clean and finished the design is. At its core, [Zruncho 3D]’s dual gantry mod (designated D0) is based on the Voron Zero design. Dueling Zero is, to our knowledge, the only open-source and fully documented dual gantry printer out there, which is pretty wild. Watch it in action in the short video, embedded below.

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Nevermore Is What You Get When Engineers Design Air Filters For 3D Printers

What happens when an air filter for 3D printers gets designed by engineers with a passion for function, a refusal to compromise, and a desire to do without bad smells or fumes? You get the Nevermore, a design for a recirculating active-carbon filtration system to deal with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from 3D printing.

3D-printable parts and an easy-to-fill chamber for bulk-activated carbon make this recirculating air filter for VOCs a smart, space-saving design.

The Nevermore Micro (and larger Nevermore Max) were originally intended to complement the Voron 3D printer design, but are made such that they can be used with just about anything else. These filters use 3D-printable parts, and are designed to be easily filled (and refilled) using bulk-activated carbon instead of some kind of proprietary pre-packed filter like most commercial offerings. The Voron project is all about a printer without compromises, and the Nevermore comes from that same design ethos.

A Nevermore filter sits inside the build chamber, and works by recirculating air inside while passing it through the activated carbon. The idea is that by concentrating on dealing with the problem at the source inside a relatively small build chamber, one doesn’t need a lot of airflow. A small recirculating air filter can do the job efficiently, though for best results, the build chamber should be as sealed as possible.

One interesting caution is that it seems not all activated carbon is the same, and it is absolutely crucial to use only acid-free, steam-activated (not acid-washed) carbon in a recirculating filter like the Nevermore. There are horrifying photos of oxidized metal surfaces resulting from using acid-residue carbon, some of which took only minutes to occur. Thankfully, there are pointers to trusted sources for the known-good stuff.

It’s known that 3D printing results in chemical and particle emissions. These differ significantly depending on both material and type of printer, but it’s enough of an issue to warrant attention. One deals with particulates with something like a HEPA filter, but VOCs require a carbon filter. This is where the Nevermore comes in. Active carbon filters will wear out simply from exposure to the air, so if one is serious about cleaning VOCs when printing, it is definitely worth looking into bulk carbon with a design like the Nevermore.