In this review we're looking at dual extruder 3d printers and trying to decide what the best dual extruder 3d printer 2017 across the market? Up until recently, 3D Printers were fantastic however they came with limitations that up until recently meant that you could really only print in one colour at a time. If you wanted to print in different colors or using different materials at the same time you had to buy an industrial printer that would have cost you the same price as a house or you had to print in one colour, pause the printer whilst you changed the filament, and then print in your second choice of material.
This was hugely frustrating and personally I have only ever tried this process once and quite frankly would never repeat the process. It's a nightmare, however it does not have to be this way any longer all thanks to technology.
Things have all change in the recent years given that technology has increased so fast that those industrial printers that offered Dual Extruders have now come down in price so much that they are available to the average user when their buying a 3D printer that does not need to be bought by a large loan from the bank. Having second extruder means that your printer is now capable of a range of different tasks.
One Point To Make
Before we point you in the right direction to choose the best dual extruder 3D printer for your needs we have one recommendation to make. Unless you have built and probably designed your existing 3D printer yourself, I would not recommend trying to add a second or third extruder to your current printer.
The problem is that your existing printer has been designed only to print with only one extruder and by adding a second extruder your changing the dynamics of your printer meaning that you now trying to make it do something that it has not been designed for.
The exception to this rule is if you have designed and made your printer yourself, in which case you should be able to adjust your printer to take into account a second extruder. We have tried in the past to add second and third extruders to printers with very limited success meaning that they often don’t work as well as you expect.
Why Do You Want A Dual Extruder 3D Printer
3D Printers work by heating filament and then layering it down on a base layer by layer until they have printed your model. The filament is heated and extracted through an extruder, meaning that by having a second extruder added to your printer, you open yourself to a wealth of opportunities to develop your models and build more impressive designs. By having a second extruder you can also print at twice the speed given that two filament extruders are printing at the same time. Other key benefit include;
- There is no need to stop the printing process whilst you change your filament
- Flexibility to interchange materials within your model
- Flexibility to add different colours to your designs
Top Two Dual Extruder 3D Printers
Yes you're reading this correctly, we have only recommend two dual extruder 3d printers as part of our best dual extruder 3d printer 2017 review as quite honestly these two were both fantastic and we stopped focusing on dual extruder printers and focused on others that we wanted to review.
Both the printers below are easily 5-star printers, however the QIDI Tech is slightly better not due to it's performance, but really due to it's price. The QIDI Tech is much cheaper and therefore hard to recommend the flashforge given that there is no increase in performance, however as always it's your choice.
Below are our thoughts, what do you think?
QIDI Technology Dual Extruder Desktop 3D Printer
The QIDI Technology Dual Extruder Desktop 3D Printer is a fantastic printer that offers the flexibility of a dual extruder whilst still being good value for money. In design, it’s very similar to the Flashforge that we reviewed here, however the key difference being that it’s substantially cheaper whilst still offering a full metal structure, dimensions of 18.3 x 12.6 x 14.8 inches and weighs in at around 45 pounds. The printer support both ABS and PLA filaments and comes with a 1” diameter filament holder which is great as it fits many different types of filament that you can buy online.
The printer comes semi-built and took us around 2 hours to get in a position that we could start printing with the only major jobs being to connect the power to the 115V and mount the dual extruder into it’s cradle. The process is very easy given that the printer comes with a very good set of instructions that are provided on the provided SD card. If you run into problems, the QIDI support is fantastic meaning that you can email them and they respond in hours. We had a slight problem during our build where the filament did not seem to fit into the cradle, however one quick call to the support team and we quickly understood what we had done wrong and how to fix it. Once you have built your printer, you can easily get printing given that the printer comes with two free spools of filament that will get you up and running quickly.
A Few Points To Make
- Don’t let the unit cool down before you removed your design as this can cause you major problems given the plate is not heated and therefore will stick to your model
- Make sure that you use both the Rafts and the Supports as they are both important
- ABS and PLA work well with this Printer - there does not seem to be much difference
- You may need cut down the guide tubes otherwise they will rub on the glass cover
- If you buy this printer - the SD is in the printers SD card slot
Flashforge Creator Pro Dual Extruder Desktop 3D Printer
The Flashforge Creator Pro is a fantastic 3D Printer and would easily take our top spot when it comes to the best Dual Extruder 3D Printers, however it’s just a tad too expensive to make it a value for money product that the average home buyer will actually buy. Performance, features and even design is very similar to the QIDI Technology printer above with the only difference being that it's substantially cheaper. Our reviews and our customer reviews have all agreed that the flashforge is a great printer, but it just does not offer a huge difference of features or performance to make the difference.
That all said, the Flashforge Creator Pro has entered into this market place to replace the very popular Creator X and offers users the same proven design and optimized build platform that now comes with a transparent cover that means that printing is effectively sealed from the outside world which is great when it comes to printing in ABS which as we have discussed before gives off a terrible smell. Added to the design are a number of well place LED lights that have the added benefit of both looking smart, but also lightening up your design whilst it’s in progress allowing you to check what’s going on without opening up the unit.
The printer comes with dimensions of 32 x 46 x 38 Centimetres, though the actual printing size is slightly smaller, it still offers users plenty of room to print hobbyist items. Printing is fast, mainly due to the dual extruder that offers printing in both ABS and PLA which are directed onto spools that feed the extruders at between 25 and 160 mm per second meaning that layers are built at around 150-200 Micron in thickness. This is around the perfect thickness for printing quality objects quickly and efficiently. Unlike many of the top 3D printing models, the Flashforge Creator Pro comes with a massive heated plate that is made from heat resistant aluminium that helps to keep your model from sticking directly to the plate and offers the chance of your model to cool at the correct pace to allow it to settle and produce a fine finish. Like the printer above, the Flashforge Creator comes with a 4GB SD card that both contains the manual and software that is need to print your designs.
Overall, it’s a fatalistic printer and we were surprised with the level of detail that you can achieve from the printer. That all said, we would have liked the instruction manual to be a little more detailed especially around area such as calibration and bed levelling which whilst does not been to be moved from straight out of the box to print, it’s something that you’re going to want to think about as you get more experienced down the line, and something that the instruction manual does not really focus on to much.