You’ll need some plastic filament for your extruder, correct? Not so if you happen to use an extruder from Maizena. It prints liquid!
Specifically, the extruder uses a mixture of corn starch and water, extruded under pressure. In the image above you can see the liquid mix entering the extruder through a tube. No filament!
The Maizena team has been investigating approaches to liquid printing and came up with a design that seems to work. There are a couple of advantages of such a system: less power is required due to the absence of a heating requirement; extremely inexpensive material, as corn starch is commonly available at very low prices compared to any plastic filament.
It’s an interesting approach that certainly deserves some investigation. We’re a bit skeptical about the utility of the prints, however. How robust are they? Would the finish, resolution and strength compare with ABS or PLA prints? What kind of overhangs are possible when printing?
We’re certain Maizena is checking all this out and we’re interested to see the results.