With the introduction of dual extrusion 3D printers, the amount of 3D printing opportunities have skyrocketed. If you’re looking to buy a dual extruder 3D printer, and are contemplating whether it’s worth the money, you need to know what the difference between single and dual extrusion 3D printers is so that you can make a well-informed decision, because, after all, 3D printers aren’t the cheapest devices, and you want to make the most out of it.
But before we get into what dual extrusion 3D printers, let’s start with the basics of 3D printing. 3D printers used to only have one extruder, meaning that you could only print using one material at a time. Dual extruder 3D printer models, on the other hand, include a second nozzle and extruder, which basically gives you the ability to print parts using two different materials. The printing process of single and dual extrusion printers is the same, except dual extrusion printers give you the ability to switch between filaments whenever you want.
This adds a ton of functionality to the printing process, as it gives you the ability to combine a standard material with support materials. In other words, you won’t have to remove supports and the final print won’t have support marks left on it. Another advantage of dual extrusion printers is the ability to print using two different colours. And lastly, you can reinforce one of the printing materials with a stronger one. For instance, you can print most of the print from one of the nozzles using PLA, while you reinforce specific areas using a carbon-fiber filament for extra toughness.
But of course, there are also disadvantages to owning a dual extrusion 3D printer. The first and most obvious one is the cost. a dual extrusion printer costs more than its single extrusion counterpart. This also means that you’ll also need to buy a second filament, which only adds to the costs. Additionally, 3D printers require quite a bit of care, and since dual extrusion 3D printers have a second nozzle and extruder, the number of potential issues is practically doubled.
That being said, dual extrusion printers aren’t really recommended for beginners, as they add another level of complexity to 3D printing. For instance, slicing becomes more complicated and oozing can become a problem. Other than that, dual extrusion lets you make more interesting models that are not only tougher, but also more aesthetically pleasing.