In order to get the most out of our desktop 3D printers, we need a wider variety of print heads. Makers have long been experimenting with the idea of universal paste extruders, syringe-like devices that can handle more viscous materials for 3D printing. And, though many have successfully created such printheads, Structur3D will be the first to launch a commercially available paste extrusion system.
The Discov3ry paste extrusion system is more than just a syringe print head that can squirt out a variety of “goops”. Structr3D bills it as a plug-and-play device that anyone can attach to their existing RepRap-style 3D printer, including Makerbots and Ultimakers, and begin printing. It can plug into the existing electronics boards that run most RepRaps and works with open source software. Discov3ry also includes a cartridge system that allows for a 60cc supply of paste to be fed to your 3D printer. 60ccs, Structur3D claims, is enough for several prints and the cartridges can be capped off and stored for later.
So, what’s a paste extruder good for? Just about anything that isn’t quite a solid. It’s often associated with food printing and Structur3D has tested their extruder out with cake frosting. Other printable materials include: ceramics, silicone, latex, and polyurethane.
Structur3D plans on launching a Kickstarter campaign with the anticipated price somewhere around $350, which they believe is adequate to give almost any desktop 3D printer user the ability to print with paste.