We've all heard of printers with direct and bowden extruder setups. But what's the difference, and which is better? We explore the differences, looking at the pros and cons of both direct and bowden extruders.
Most filament 3D printers use either direct or bowden extrusion. Both set-ups use an extruder to push filament through a heated nozzle, either directly or through a bowden tube. Though similar, these extruder formats have major differences. Let’s begin exploring the definitions, pros, and cons of these two systems.
Direct extrusion is a method of extrusion by which the extruder pushes the filament directly into the nozzle. This method is helpful for many reasons, but it also has some downsides. Let’s take a look.
Unlike a direct extrusion machine, a Bowden extruder is mounted on the printer’s frame. It pushes and pulls filament through a long PTFE Bowden tube and into the hot end. This system also has pros and cons.
So, which system is better? It depends. Before you decide which extrusion format to use for your printer, you should consider some important factors.
The first is frame stability. Delta printers, for example, cannot support a direct extruder. If, however, your Cartesian or CoreXY printer has a sturdy frame, printing with a direct extruder should be no problem.
Speed is also a deciding factor. If your priority is fast, precise printing, with standard materials, Bowden extrusion will be more satisfactory
Lastly, you should consider the materials you would like to print. If you’re interested in flexible or abrasive filaments, a direct extrusion system is likely the one for you.
Good luck finding your perfect extruder! Happy printing!
License: The text of "Direct vs Bowden Extruder – 3D Printing Technology Shootout" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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