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Multi-Material Power

Dual Extruder 3D Printer – The Top 10 Right Now

Picture of Mika Yeap
by Mika Yeap
May 8, 2018

Multi-material 3D printing has become a standard feature for many new machines in 2018. Here's a list of some of the best machines out there that can chew through more than one spool at a time.

1. FlashForge Creator Pro

Creator Pro
Creator Pro Source: FlashForge

For beginners worldwide.

$1048 with Simplify3D software

  • Most affordable option
  • Average print quality
  • Enclosed build chamber

This is an affordable dual extruder 3D printer that produces good prints reliably. The Creator Pro‘s design is similar to that of the Makerbot Replicator line, and it’s pretty solid in operation. With a closed build chamber, temperatures are nice and stable when printing sensitive materials like polycarbonate or ABS. Overall, it’s a great starter machine with room to grow, even for a complete 3D printing beginner, because of its accessible price and availability.

2. Prusa i3 MK3 Kit + Multi Material Upgrade 2.0

Prusa i3 MK3 with MMU
Prusa i3 MK3 with MMU Source: Prusa Research

The future-proof, stable, popular choice.

$1058 ($1360 assembled)

  • Fantastic print quality
  • Removable PEI-coated build plate
  • Up to five materials in a print

Whatever you’re doing, whatever stage you’re at, whatever you need to make, getting this (more than) dual extruder 3D printer would probably not be a bad choice. (Unless you’re making robotic grippers that need corrosive resistance, in which case you should skip to the last machine on this list.)

Let’s first look at the printer itself, without the Multi Material Upgrade (MMU). The Prusa MK3 a smart piece of hardware. Mesh bed levelling does its own thing, extremely accurate stepper drivers detect when it skips steps, power outage protection ensures your prints turn out great even if you have a blackout, a flexible print bed makes print removal trivial — the list goes on. Then you add the MMU. After some assembly, you can print with up to five materials, something no other machine on this list can do.

Bottom line: You’ll likely get the most value out of this machine because of its upgradeability and stability. The hardest part is getting a Prusa i3 MK3 on your desk from the warehouse, because their massive popularity makes availability spotty.

Product image of Original Prusa i3 MK3

Original Prusa i3 MK3

Product image of Original Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2.0

Multi Material Upgrade 2.0

3. CEL Robox Dual

CEL Robox Dual
CEL Robox Dual Source: Aussie 3D

A feature-rich innovation that doesn’t torch your pocket.

£1500 ($2060)

  • Fully enclosed build chamber with safety lock
  • Modular tool head system
  • Automatic filament detection

The Robox Dual is a uniquely automated option boasting filament auto-loading, a temperature-controlled safety lock for its enclosure, and automatic filament type detection enabled by special chips in the filament spools. Though the auto-detection function only works with CEL’s proprietary filaments, you can use any regular filament with this machine.

But the best part of this dual extruder 3D printer is the tool head: It’s a modular system where each tool head can be swapped out very easily by hand, without any screws or wires, for different multi-material capabilities. This means switching between the secondary infill nozzle toolhead and support nozzle toolhead (both sold separately) is trivial.

Though it’s print quality is above average, but nothing extraordinary in 2018, this machine is the only one on the list to offer some of these smart bells and whistles. The hands-free experience would be a perfect choice for you if need a platform that works with little configuration, or if safety is a concern.

4. Lulzbot Taz 6 with Dual Extruder v3

Taz 6 with Dual Extruder v3
Taz 6 with Dual Extruder v3 Source: Lulzbot

If green is your favorite color, you still have a great option.

$2795

  • Large, open build area
  • Stable workhorse
  • Diverse extruder options

Although it lacks some of the more modern bling of other machines at this price point, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Taz 6. The design is one of the most open of all the printers on the list, providing easy access to its large build area. It’s got an industrial, hacker-esque feel, showcasing exposed green drive gears and a black metal frame dotted with large bolts. We think this dual extruder 3D printer looks perfectly at home in a well-loved workshop next to a CNC mill scattering sawdust everywhere. (In real life, this is not ideal because small particles such as sawdust can clog your extruder.) 3D Hubs agrees with this image, naming it Workhorse Printer of the Year in 2018.

It even gives you a few choices for extruders, including the Dual Extruder v3, which earns it a spot on this list. Other options you can choose to mount include an enhanced-cooling toolhead or even a toolhead speciallly designed for using flexible filament.

Given the price of the Taz 6, though, you should probably only buy it if you’ll make full use of those different extruders (sold separately), or if the Prusa i3 MK3’s black and orange really doesn’t sit well with you.

Product image of LulzBot TAZ Dual Extruder v3

LulzBot TAZ Dual Extruder v3

5. ZMorph 2.0 Sx

ZMorph 2.0 Sx
ZMorph 2.0 Sx Source: 3DHubs

The 3-in-1 platform for true makers.

$2880

  • CNC and laser engraving available
  • Sturdy metal frame
  • Fully contains noise and debris

The is a bit more than a dual extruder 3D printer. The cherry on this large, heavy metal cake is its impressive toolhead system. You have the widest range of options here, whether you want a single extruder, dual extruder, wide paste extruder (for chocolate, decorations, or ceramics), CNC mill, or laser engraver.

Since this is about dual extruder printing, let’s talk about its 3D printing performance: It’s superb. The sturdy construction intended to steady a CNC toolhead serves plastic-drooling quite well. In addition, the enclosure not only effectively keeps all debris inside when milling, but also helps reduce the noise produced when 3D printing.

The list of truly juicy innovations, however, starts with the design. It’ll catch some eyeballs for sure, as its organic curves blended with the integrated touchscreen and brushed metal has no aesthetic equal. Something else bundled in this package worth a look: ZMorph incorporates some interesting technology in their proprietary slicing software, which allows the same files to be turned into 3D prints and also CNC paths.

This truly is an advanced platform for makers who undertake a diverse range of projects. Unless you’re using at least two of the tool head options, however, you would be better served with a smaller, lower profile, and cheaper option.

6. Raise3D N2 Dual

Raise3D N2 Dual
Raise3D N2 Dual Source: Trideus

Prints as smooth as the glass fully encasing it.

$3000

  • Glass case keeps everything neatly tucked away
  • Spacious build chamber
  • 7″ full-color touchscreen

Dubbed the best overall printer in 2018 by Make, the Raise3D N2 Dual earns a spot on any list of respectable machines. One big reason why is print quality: capable of producing models with a 10 micron layer height, the N2 really can crank out some shiny stuff. If you’re printing large models with that resolution, though, be prepared to wait a couple days, because you can actually fill up a foot-cubed (305mm x 305mm x 305mm) space with your latest invention or Thingiverse binge download. At least you don’t have to worry about warping because the heated bed and chamber stays warm and toasty.

To top it all off, this dual extruder 3D printer has power cut protection in case you trip on the power cord. As soon as the power comes back on, the print resumes where it left off.

You should consider the N2 if you want a stable, reliable machine that can handle all sorts of tough materials and keep you printing happily and constantly for many years to come. But make sure you don’t knock it around too much, because the bed levelling is a painful process involving an allen key and tiny screws.

Product image of Raise3D N2 Dual

Raise3D N2 Fully Enclosed Dual Extruder 3D Printer

7. BCN3D Sigma R17

BCN3D Sigma
BCN3D Sigma Source: 3DJake

The renowned independent dual extruder system.

$2695

  • Two independent extruders!
  • Open source culture
  • Breathtaking dark metal exterior with LED lighting

The machine some people think of first when you mention dual extruder printers is the BCN3D Sigma R17. Its most exciting feature is the independent dual extruder system (IDEX), where one nozzle remains parked while the other prints to prevent oozing or stringing of the unused material. This seems to be a great strategy, as multi-material prints consistently come out pristine.

Another pleasant surprise in this package is the separate spool holders that sit neatly inside the giant aluminum frame that allow you to change out one spool without disturbing the other. And, because it matters to many people, the company also open sourced all their design files so that everyone else can improve on their ideas. Something that will send more mixed messages is the bed tramming process, which is effective but long.

The Sigma is a classy addition to any workshop or design office, and it’s definitely a top performer among mid-tier dual extruder printers. Printing with moisture-sensitive materials might be an issue due to the open spool placement, but if you’re saving a spot on your desk for this chic hunk of metal, you’ll probably go for style (multi-colored prints) over function (soluble supports), anyway.

Recently BCN3D released the Sigmax, an upgraded and extended version of the Sigma.

8. Makergear M3 Dual Extrusion

M3 Dual Extrusion
M3 Dual Extrusion Source: Makergear

The heavy duty lean muscle.

$3299

  • Two independent extruders
  • Light and open design
  • Built-in WiFi and Octoprint

When you purchase the M3 with dual extrusion, you’re also purchasing a laudable work of engineering. It combines the open build plate of the Prusa i3 with the reliable independent extruders of the BCN3D Sigma, a feat enabled by sturdy linear rails that remove the need for a bulky frame. But don’t let its simple looks deceive you. This dual extruder 3D printer is a slick performer able to print at a resolution of 20 microns and provide easy print removal with its assisted-levelling removable glass bed. In the box, you also get a Simplify3D license, worth $150.

Overall, we think the M3 is an underrated machine that puts function before form with excellent results in terms of print quality. The only thing holding people back might be the unusual combination of its minimal construction and price tag.

Product image of MakerGear M3 Independent Dual Extruder

MakerGear M3 Independent Dual Extruder

9. Ultimaker 3

Ultimaker 3 in Tested's Review
Ultimaker 3 in Tested's Review Source: YouTube

The sleek, heavy-duty muscle.

$3495

  • Easily swappable print cores
  • Built-in WiFi and camera
  • Seamless Ultimaker ecosystem

The Ultimaker 3 got a lot of attention when it was first released because of its take on dual extruders: For neater multi-material prints and ooze prevention, the machine raises the inactive nozzle while idle. More importantly, the extruders use Ultimaker’s removable print cores, which are basically subassemblies of the hotend that are tuned for different filaments. This makes switching materials easy, as you can just insert a new core, load your new filament, and the machine detects the change automatically.

But the Ultimaker 3 also has the usual modern offerings like a built in camera, WiFi connectivity, and assisted bed tramming. Another rare bonus is the large Ultimaker ecosystem. The machine ships with Cura, the leading open source slicer, and in recent versions numerous conveniences catering to Ultimaker owners have been added.

The above-average cost of this machine makes it a serious investment, and it lives up to that, raising the bar of Ultimaker’s already-fantastic reputation for quality. And you’ll rest easy knowing that quality is truly remarkable, even dependable enough to make fixtures and jigs in a Volkswagen factory. To get the full experience, though, be prepared to regularly drop some cash on the company’s slightly pricey filaments and add-ons, like print cores.

For a taller print area, check out the Ultimaker 3 Extended.

10. Markforged Mark Two

Markforged Mark Two
Markforged Mark Two Source: Superior 3D Solutions

If you need to 3D print your next car, this is your best bet.

$13,499

  • Diverse range of professional-grade materials
  • Unique, patented continuous fiber reinforcement
  • Frictionless printing over WiFi

There are no other machines like this one out there. The key selling point of the Mark Two is its Continuous Fiber Fabrication (CFF) technology. Essentially, one extruder prints the shell of your model in Markforged’s own Onyx chopped carbon fiber nylon composite, which is slightly malleable, and inlays it with a continuous strand of carbon fiber, high-temp high-strength fiberglass, kevlar, or fiberglass. (You get some of each material, including Onyx, for free with this printer.) This inlay made possible by the dual extruders increases the strength of printed parts drastically.

This high-end dual extruder 3D printer is used to produce everything from chemically-resistant robotic jaws that clamp hard metal thousands of times without wearing down or even press brake tooling that forms 14 gauge steel. Other nice things about this machine overshadowed by CFF include a very unique bed levelling solution, beautifully engineered components, and a very usable WiFi-connected slicer, Eiger.

In summary, this machine is meant for specific engineering applications where 3D printing is not ordinarily used. It combines the low cost of 3D printing with the immense strength and function of other processes, such as machining. For a team that need this, the investment is worthwhile compared to the alternatives, which can either be nonexistent or many times more costly. But it’s certainly not for printing 3D Benchy’s on Sundays.

You can request a quote for the Mark Two on Markforged’s website.

License: The text of "Dual Extruder 3D Printer – The Top 10 Right Now" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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