Fused deposition machines are an interesting class of rapid prototyping and art robots, capable of extruding paint onto a canvas or extruding to build up complex, three-dimensional objects one layer at a time. Naturally, one of the challenging parts of designing machines like these is designing and building a system for dispensing the printing medium. So, imagine how surprised we were when we were walking through the aisles of our local Michaels craft store and saw a pre-built extruder on the shelf for $20!
Naturally, we picked one up because an extruder head might make a nice accessory for our own three dimensional printer.
So, what is it? It’s an inexpensive kit that can be used for developing your 2D or 3D printer extruder with an air-powered delivery system. For the price you can get a small air pump, tubing, syringes, tips, and dispenser. The components are simple and easily hackable, and it looks like a good set of tools for starting to build a simple extruder head for an art bot of some sort.
Quite mysteriously, this kit is not actually advertised as an arbitrary material extruder kit, but rather as “the ultimate fabric painter.” This is very strange because not only does the kit not include any fabric paint, but it’s not obvious that there’s any advantage whatsoever to painting fabric with this method. (Actually, if the picture on the front of the box is any indication, there may even be disadvantages!)
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