The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

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RP Iron Man
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The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:26 am

I have some exciting news about a new product that we have been working on :)

The Prometheus System!

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DisTech Automation has developed a new solution for multi-filament 3D printing called The Prometheus System which allows you to print 2 different filaments from a single nozzle. It works by pulling one filament out of the hot end and feeding another filament into the same hot end to switch between filaments. This new product builds off of our existing Prometheus V2 Hot End.

Using a combination of custom filament switching G-code, precision machined parts, the 1-piece internally polished Prometheus V2 nozzle, and powerful geared extruder stepper motors, we are able to reliably print objects with hundreds of filament switches in a single print!

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This enables you to print multi-color objects, print with support material, or create multi-material prints!

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Multi-Color Worlds printed in ABS plastic.

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Propellers: Yellow PLA with PolySupport support material on the left; Nylon Alloy 910 with Guidel!ne PETG support material on the right.

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Composite wrench printed with Colorfabb XT-CF20 Carbon Fiber perimeters and Colorfabb XT Clear infill.

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Glow-in-the-dark objects printed with Colorfabb Glowfill

The objective with this new product is to eliminate the difficulties and quality issues associated with conventional methods of dual extrusion (calibration, nozzle dripping, color contamination, extrusion pressure, etc...).

The Prometheus System is a unique approach to multi-filament 3D printing that is designed to solve all of these issues! By using a single nozzle, The Prometheus System eliminates the calibration and nozzle dripping issues that affect dual nozzle configurations. In addition, by feeding one filament at a time into a single hot end, The Prometheus System prevents the problems with color contamination and increased extrusion pressure that are associated with recently popularized color mixing hot ends. This results in clean color transitions and flawless printed parts:

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I am really excited to hear what you all think of this new product! We have been working hard to find the optimal solution for multi-filament 3D printing and we think this is it! Please use this thread to share your thoughts on our new product and our unique approach. We are committed to working with the open source community and we will be releasing this product under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Creative Commons license.

Our Kickstarter campaign for The Prometheus System will launch on September 6th. You can sign up at http://distechinnovations.com/ to receive a Kickstarter launch notification and get the first pick of the discounted Early Bird rewards.

Happy Printing!

Eric
**Intuitive MULTI-FILAMENT 3D Printing** -- Successfully Funded on Kickstarter!

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Prometheus Hot End discussion thread

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby d1rron » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:47 am

Interesting. And I JUST got a Bondtech, damn it! Lol

Would this work on a Rostock with a hanging extruder?
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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby Glacian22 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:46 am

So a few weeks ago I emailed Eric about his filament switching tech, since I saw the "hey we're doing a kickstarter soon" notice on the his website and I was curious...I've bought two of his Prometheus hotends and gotten great performance from both, and I'd been thinking about getting some form of dual extrusion running on my RMax. He ended up sending me a handful of sample prints so I could get a look at the results first hand, and they're definitely top notch. No color contamination or speckles like you usually see from double hotend setups, all of the pieces are just incredibly clean.

And yes, he did ask me if I wouldn't mind chiming in with my impressions, but no he isn't paying or compensating me in any way. :D I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the nitty gritty details, and how the price breaks down, but I'm almost definitely going to be grabbing one once the kickstarter launches!

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby TwoTone » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:22 am

Sorry if this a hijack of the thread. Still very new to 3d printing. I was wondering how hard it is to use a system like this. For example, if I have a file that has a lot of support material, how hard is it to specify the fill using one material and the print is another.

I haven't gotten into editing stl files yet.

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:02 am

@Glacian22

I am glad that you are excited! Tomorrow is the big day :)

@d1rron

I think this system will be a very good fit for the Rostock Max in particular because of the low moving mass (~65g).

I currently run a custom delta similar to the Rostock with a hanging extruder with great results :) However, keep in mind that I do not hang my extruders from the carriages, but rather from the top of my printer frame.

@TwoTone

I use CURA slicing software which can automatically generate support material and print it with a different extruder, generate filament switches, purge filament, etc.. so it is all easily configured :)
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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby Nylocke » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:46 am

Is the "y" a printed object? Would it be possible to make my own? Are you selling a version with just the prometheus and the y?

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:59 am

@Nylocke

The "y" is indeed a printed part, however, the filament guide that connects the "y" to the Prometheus Hot End is custom machined from a specific material (KETRON HPV PEEK plastic) and is the key component that you need.

For the campaign, I am only offering complete upgrade kits for the Prometheus V2 and complete kits (including the Prometheus V2). I am doing this because I want to be able to ensure that all of the Kickstarter backers get a product with the same components that will work. When people use different components in the same system (different extruders, different hot end, etc...) it can lead to a troubleshooting nightmare. At this point, I want to be able to constrain as many variables as possible!

Let me know if you have any more questions!
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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby Nylocke » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:13 am

So in the campaign all options include the extruders? I can imagine not using the prometheus or something very similar with a polished one piece assembly might be troublesome but I can't see what trouble a different extruder could cause. I need a new hotend for my Rostock and I was going to get an E3D cyclops but if this system works this well I was going to skip that and just get the Prometheus and "Y" connector and use my own extruders, unless your design proved to be really good.

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:59 am

@Nylocke

I understand your reasoning, however, the extruders are also a very important part of the system and are required for it to work well. The extruders have a 5:1 gear ratio so that they can reliably execute the rapid movements required for filament switching.

In addition, they are designed to effectively guide the filament in and out of the extruders for long retractions of about 150mm for filament switching since they have bowden inserts on the top and bottom.

Finally, the drive gear is very sharp and does not have a concave so it does not eat away at the filament with rapid movements like some hobbed gears do. The problem with creating other options with no extruders is that not everyone has extruders that can meet the performance requirements of this system, and unfortunately I cannot test every possible combination of hardware. I don't want to offer an option that has not been tested yet! I hope you can understand!

Keep in mind that the extruders are heavily discounted during the campaign so it should be a good investment :)
**Intuitive MULTI-FILAMENT 3D Printing** -- Successfully Funded on Kickstarter!

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby KAS » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:15 pm

Do you have a direct link to the kickstarter campaign?

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:23 pm

@KAS

The Kickstarter campaign will launch tomorrow (September 6th) so I will post a link to the live campaign here as soon as it goes live!
**Intuitive MULTI-FILAMENT 3D Printing** -- Successfully Funded on Kickstarter!

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby KAS » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:32 pm

cool, just trying to get a jump :)

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby bot » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:13 pm

This is pretty cool!
*not actually a robot

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby Nylocke » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:51 pm

Have you tested flexibles like ninjaflex with the system? I've done some embedded ninjaflex in ABS type stuff before and its a really quite slick.

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:08 pm

@Nylocke

In terms of flexible filaments, I have printed with Taulman PCTPE (flexible Nylon) with great results!

I have not tried Ninjaflex yet with The Prometheus System. Keep in mind that it is a bowden system, so I would recommend using semi-flex for easier printing.
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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby Nylocke » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:33 pm

I know, the hysteresis and all. I was mainly wondering if it tends to try to fold it's way out of the extruder, but you haven't tried it yet. I would be up for semi flex, but I have 3 rolls of 1.75 ninjaflex that I haven't done anything with yet, and ninjaflex isn't cheap.

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby joe » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:54 pm

Nylocke wrote:Have you tested flexibles like ninjaflex with the system? I've done some embedded ninjaflex in ABS type stuff before and its a really quite slick.


Going off topic again, sorry RP Ironman. Nylock, I have been unsuccessful with embedding/ attaching ninjaflex and abs. It always delaminates with an easy tug. Any secrets?


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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby KAS » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:24 pm

Does this system retract the filament past the Y in-order to switch colors?

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:27 pm

@KAS

Yes. that way only 1 filament is fed into the hot end at a time.
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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby Glacian22 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:55 pm

So a couple of technical questions...you mentioned the Y being custom machined from a HPV PEEK blend, what makes that special? And does the extruder constrain the filament all the way up to the drive gear? If so then flexible materials should be too difficult as long as the bowden is short, like with a flying extruder setup, right? And is the custom switching code useable in other slicers? I'm specifically thinking Simplify since they have some features I use regularly and does have support for custom code on tool change triggers.

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:18 pm

@Glacian22

The Y is actually 3D printed from Nylon Alloy 910. The "Filament Guide" is the part that connects the Y to the hot end and is custom machined from KETRON HPV - Bearing Grade PEEK. There are a number of reasons for choosing this material. Our early prototypes used machined PTFE, but due to accelerated wear on this component, the part had to be replaced after every 4-5 hours of printing! In addition, PTFE is very difficult to machine accurately. KETRON HPV PEEK plastic is an interesting composite material that consists of a blend of graphite, carbon, PTFE and PEEK plastic. It was the only material that could meet our requirements for wear resistance, low friction, machinability, and thermal stability.

As for the extruder: Yes, it does constrain the filament up to the drive gear so flexibles should work with a short bowden tube. Just keep in mind that there is also a (short) unconstrained portion where the two filament paths from the extruders meet in the Y connector. For this reason, I would think that semi-flex would be a better option.

As for the Slicer. I do not have Simplify 3D so I have only tested with CURA. However, there is no reason why it shouldn't work with Simplify 3D! The only requirement is that the slicer needs to be able to support a prime tower and have user configurable tool change G-code :) Depending on your setup you could also use a dump zone instead of the prime tower.

I hope this answers all of your questions!
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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby KAS » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:09 am

S3D supports both the prime tower and adjustable tool change retractions.

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby joe » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:03 am

Got mine ordered. Backer #1 (not that it matters)

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Re: The Prometheus System - Intuitive Multi-Filament 3D Printing!

Postby RP Iron Man » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:37 am

@joe Thank you for your support!

We just launched our Kickstarter campaign for The Prometheus System!

Click on the link below to visit the Kickstarter page:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/811909269/the-prometheus-system-intuitive-multi-filament-3d/description

We would really appreciate your support! :)

Cheers,
Eric
**Intuitive MULTI-FILAMENT 3D Printing** -- Successfully Funded on Kickstarter!

I designed the Prometheus V2 Customizable All-Metal Hot End. Buy online
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