Sweden-based Bondtech has released an upgrade to their already successful 3D printer extruder: the Bondtech QR.
The new extruder, version 3.0 or “QR”, is designed to integrate into an existing 3D printer by replacing the original extruder mechanism, although it’s also possible to build a 3D printer from scratch and use the Bondtech QR as well.
Why replace your extruder? Two reasons: ease-of-use and reliability. These are the two factors that drive 3D printer operators nuts. Poorly designed extruders can cause failures in mid-print, wasting time, wasting print materials and potentially even causing damage to the 3D printer. 3D printer extruders also have a habit of requiring adjustment and maintenance, and anything that makes those easier is simply a good idea.
The new Bondtech QR does both: It re-uses the drivegears in the previous version (which were proven to work reliably), which include both two drive wheels and a geared stepper motor that should be capable of pushing filament through a wide variety of hot ends and nozzle sizes.
Meanwhile the new QR version includes a couple of very useful operational features.
There’s a quick release tab, which enables you to very rapidly change filaments. Simply pull the tab and remove the filament - assuming you’ve pre-heated the hot end, of course. Inserting new filament is similarly straightforward. This is what “QR” means: Quick Release.
Adjusting tension is another very useful feature. It seems that many 3D printers have a sweet spot for optimal tension that must be found, often by trial and error. The Bondtech QR makes that very easy by including an easily-handled knob to dynamically adjust tension to the appropriate setting.
Maintenance is also simplified, as you can unscrew the tensioner bolt and access the internals quickly. Watch the video above to see how these features work. For us, the simplicity and ease of use is terribly important.
The QR is not a complete 3D printer; it’s merely a part to be included in one. But therein lies the challenge for Bondtech: how to engineer the QR’s design to be accommodated in the most 3D printer models. They’ve done so by providing the ability to work in both Bowden or Direct extrusion scenarios, and providing a series of adapter mounts for various machines. Certainly there’s nothing stopping you from designing your own mount, too.
The Bondtech QR is available now at a cost of USD$120-130, depending on where you purchase it.