We’re looking at a unique device, the FUSE welding filament clamp, by industrial designer Pedro M. Librero.
What does it do? It’s pretty straightforward – it welds two separate strands of plastic filament together. What’s more interesting is what it permits you to do.
Normally plastic extrusion 3D printers have a problem when they get to the end of the filament spool. Usually it means your print fails because the machine will “air print” the last layers when filament runs out. Or you end up with a negligible amount of filament left that you might not have a small print to make use of it. Both situations can be frustrating.
This happens because most plastic filament 3D printers do not have the ability to detect loss of filament. MakerBot’s new extruder does have this ability, but it’s available only on their very newest machines, which few people have.
To use the FUSE Clamp, you’ll have to watch your printer and pause it when it gets near the end of the spool. Then place both ends in the clamp and it will fuse them together. They say:
Simply connect FUSE, to the electric current. waiting one minute and melts the end of a coil, with the beginning of the next.
Apparently the FUSE works with all common filament types, including PLA, ABS, Nylon and more. It also works with 1.75mm and 3.0mm diameters. Interesting side effect: you can switch colors. In fact, you could theoretically snip up several colors and make your own custom-colored filament.
The FUSE Clamp is available (including shipping worldwide) for only €59 (USD$80) and could pay for itself by avoiding failed prints and using up the tail ends of your spools.