3DEVO announced a new purge material that seems to have a lot of advantages, but what’s this all about?
If you recall, 3DEVO is the manufacturer of one of the very few functional desktop filament production systems. I’ve seen many attempts come and go, but at the end of the day there’s 3DEVO still there with a product that does work. Producing properly 3D printable filament is a challenging task, particularly with today’s requirements for high-quality parts.
Large commercial operations have massive and expensive equipment to produce high volumes of 3D printer filament in very predictable quality. However, the scale of these operations naturally forces them into producing large batches of the same set of materials.
For those who require unusual — and sometimes unobtainable — filaments, there’s only one option: make the filament yourself with your own mix of ingredients. And that’s where 3DEVO’s gear comes in, unless you happen to have a spare filament production line laying about. I sure don’t.
3DEVO’s equipment provides the full lifecycle to convert pellets or shards of plastic into fully 3D printable filament by extrusion. They even have accessories that can chop up your rejected 3D prints into bits that can be re-extruded into fresh filament. By adjusting the mix of input pellets and other ingredients, it’s possible to produce unusual filaments with strange mixes of polymers, additives and colors.
But there’s an interesting problem that you could see in filament production that is not so visible on 3D printers themselves: purging.
With a filament maker it’s likely you’re making different kinds of filaments frequently. This obviously requires changing the input materials, but it also requires that you “purge” the entire material path in the filament extruder.
If you don’t do so, you risk having bits of the previous material appear in the new filament.
You could simply run the new material through for a time to ensure it’s clean and uniform. But is it really? Is there perhaps a small knob of the old material still awaiting dislodgment during the in the middle of your new filament extrusion job?
The right approach suggested by 3DEVO is to purge the filament extruder, and they do so with a “purge material” that’s specifically designed to clean out the filament pathway.
3DEVO has sold a purge material for some time, but this week they announced a brand new mix that is far more effective. It’s called “Devoclean Midtemp EZ”.
3DEVO describes the new purging material has having “6 huge improvements”, and they seem to be pretty important:
- Wider Temperature Range: They’ve lowered the minimum range for this purge material to 160C, making it easier to ensure purging of more materials without resorting to alternatives
- Less Material: 3DEVO has changed the mix to perform cleaning faster, so less purge material is used
- Faster Color Changes: This is likely associated with the faster cleaning aspect, and is critically important since many 3DEVO jobs will be simply changing color
- No Expiry: The new material is shelf-stable and can be stored and used forever
- No Mechanical Additives: Devoclean Midtemp EZ has no abrasives in the mixture that would gradually erode filament extrusion parts
- Low Odor: Devoclean Midtemp EZ emits no smells when heated and used for purging
3DEVO also offers a “high temperature” purging filament for use with more exotic engineering materials, but the new Midtemp product should cover all common materials. It’s sold in either 350 or 1100 gram bags in pellet form for US$34 or US$89, respectively.
This is a notable improvement in purging technology, and is perhaps addressing issues many 3D printer operators have never considered. But when making your own filament, they are certainly important.
If you’re interested in making your own custom filaments, 3DEVO is one option to consider.