First dual extrusion print from a Cyclops hot end and BondTech QR extruders

Here’s my first two color print from an E3D Cyclops driven by two BondTech QR extruders. Up until I got the QR extruders last week, I was unable to get a complete print (using modified, geared stepper ezStruders). These photos are a testament to three great pieces of kit: the E3D Online Cyclops hot end and the BondTech QR extruder and the Taz of course.

My Taz (KITTazz) was modified with an FSR under-bed sensor system for auto calibration. The 3 FSRs define the bed’s plane. I print on PEI exclusively. And I updated to Repetier firmware (the latest) since it supports a really nice multi-extrusion capability and the type of auto calibration that I wanted.

For this print I took a guess at slicing parameters. I couldn’t be happier with a first effort. This bronze colored PLA filament is very picky - it shows every extrusion flaw (something to do with its reflectivity I think). The part in hand looks fantastic.

This was sliced with KISSslicer 1.5 beta 2.20 on OS X for my Lulzpot Taz 4 printer with a Cyclops dual hot end (2 filaments in-1 nozzle out). 1.75mm PLA filament. Here’s the basics:

.2mm layers
.4mm extrusion width (.4mm nozzle)
3 loops/perimeters printed inside to outside
.6mm skin
33% straight infill
3mm prime and suck (retract)at 25mm/s
5mm wipe
205°C temp / 55°C heated bed on PEI print surface
Printed at 40mm/s, first layer at 22mm/s

No extra retract for filament change since that can cause problems with the Cyclops as I discovered with trying Simplify3D (which by default did 12mm retract and caused the Cyclops to jam after 3 layers every time!).

That looks great! Very clean transitions between extruders.

Yes, I’m really pleased and excited. I’ve been dabbling in dual and triple extrusion for a few years and this is by far the most promising result I’ve had.

Beautiful print!

I would love to see a video of this thing printing!

I’ll shoot some video the next time but I’m NOT videoing the entire 5 hours of print!

Here’s the setup:

I don’t blame you on that one. Just would like to see the switch between colors and what not. Do you notice any oozing/stringing being you are using 1 nozzle along with 2 bowden?

If the part is sliced in KISS, no. If in S3D I have lots of problems. It is not handling the switch over very well and there don’t appear to be parameters to adjust that. There are a couple of others who reported this too. It’s a bummer as I’d like to use a different color for infills than shells to do things like this:

Here’s the next thing I’m working on, a technique to print logos and inscriptions in 2 colors on my 3D printed fly reels using the E3D Cyclops 2 color switching hot end and BondTech QR extruders. This is a first attempt and is about 95% of the way there. Just a few refinements and it should be ready to go. This one is done in translucent smoke PLA in clear PLA. The logo is three .2mm thick layers.

I like how there is no ooze or leak from one color to another. With many dual extrusion prints you can see one color in another a lot of the time. What do you think about the Bondtech extruders? Are they worth the price?

In addition to getting clean color separation, I can mix colors. Repetier and RepRap firmware have a great feature where you can create virtual extruders that mix together 2 or more physical extruders in a switching hotend like Cyclops. So if I had red and yellow filaments I can do pure colors and any number (up to 14) mixes in between. It will be an interesting year!

re: the BondTech QR extruders. I did A LOT of research and I’ve bought, printed and tested almost every extruder available. I knew I need much greater traction and reliability for the Cyclops as I had not been successful with it before and I could always trace it to the extruder. The Bulldog extruder sorta-kinda worked but still had occasional hiccups - and I really need near 100% reliability.

I found the Micron3DP all CNC machined extruder and was about to go that route (and it is $$$) when the QR came on the scene. I liked its predecessor but not having a way to release the filament for feeding seemed an issue for me. The QR stands for quick release and has a release lever. What I like about the BondTech is that it has TWO drive cogs that are geared together and driven by the stepper motor (which is a geared stepper). The Micron3D has a typical single driver cog and pressure wheel/bearing (and that is not even grooved to help guide the filament). With two cogs, the filament is getting pushed from opposite sides - basically twice the pushing force.

Back in the early days, SeeMeCNC had their Steve’s extruder which worked on the same principle. I loved the Steve’s but it was a big bulky ugly thing and didn’t have a guided filament path. But NOTHING would stop it from extruding! The BondTech QR has a completely supported filament guide into and out of the business end. I have abut 50 hours of solid continuous and tricky dual extrusion printing on them now and they have not even come close to failing or producing suboptimal results. Even the surface finish and first layer quality has improved on simple parts. I think the continuous dual cog feed eliminates potential push-pause-push… that can happen with 1 cog and a pressure wheel - just a hypotheses that should be tested by someone at some point. I am a complete convert now! To the point where I am ordering another 6 QRs to upgrade my other printers’ extruders. I almost passed on the QR when I discovered that its body is 3D printed Nylon. But, it is laser sintered to enhance interlayer strength. It is also painted black. Once in hand I was blown away by the quality of the printed shell, I emailed Martin to tell him that. I have really high standards and this extruder is as good as it gets.

Off Soap Box


That is great, I would like to experiment with the BondTech but have never used bowden type extruders, do you think it would be worth testing it for a direct drive system? Also in terms of the color mixing, I read somewhere (might be on this forum) that mixing colors would just leave a toothpaste effect where the colors don’t actually mix but come out as a single strand with colors on either side. (see image below) So I am looking forward to your experimenting and will be living it vicariously

The BondTech can be used direct drive too - it has a standard groove mount that fits E3D hot ends and others. No Bowden necessary.

Yes, mixing is not true mixing. But the effect can be quite nice. I’ve done a bit of this already more to come.

Well thanks for sharing all this information. I might have to purchase one of these myself. The $130 price-tag seems reasonable if it works as described.

Realy great prints! I also like the way you mounted the QRs, so the filament has a straight way down and is not U-shaped like in other bowden printers. I have two questions if you could answer them:

.) Will this extruder position also work if you are aproaching high z-values? I think the bowden tubes have to to some S-shape then?
.) One of the main reasons for selecting the TAZ instead of for example Ultimaker was the direct drive. I was expecting cleaner prints as you should have more direct control of nozzle pressure changes when extrusion speed changes or when retracting. But I see your prints are perfect as always, if you have only a single extruder would you also choose a bowden? If I could eleminate the sag in the X-axis with going bowden without other drawbacks, that would be intresting…

I posted some photos of what it looks like at max Z here on my google+ page. At this high Z there is a curlicue in the Bowden but the extruder is more than capable of delivering the filament. If you need to print really tall objects it would be better to have more Z height or mount the extruders higher.

I run Bowdens on all my delta printers. The Taz is the only Cartesian printer I have. So I’m not concerned about Bowdens as I’ve had great experience with them. Everything is a tradeoff! I still prefer to minimize moving mass even on the Taz. It eliminates X axis/rod flex that folks report for one and it allows faster speeds and quicker acceleration/deceleration. But a QR and E3D V6 hot end is MUCH lighter than the stock setup and more compact so it should work much better just from that perspective.

Ok, here is the finished product. This is what I’ve been trying to do for over a year and the combo of Cyclops and BondTech QR extruders (and my Taz and a lot of CAD and slicer trickery) made it a reality.

I conceived this design/process over a year ago and until today have not been able to actually print anything that meets my quality expectations. This logo is encapsulated completely inside the transparent PLA. There is one .2mm layer of clear printed first then the 3 layers of the logo in smoke black translucent PLA are printed along with infill of the clear and then the entire back is infilled in clear PLA to make a 7mm thick disk. This will be the back side of a fly fishing reel with the customer’s logo ( embedded. It looks spectacular in person. Notice the subtle difference between this and the photo I posted above.

I was just thinking about dual extrusion and using HIPS as a soluble support structure for ABS and I was wondering if the Cyclops hot end would allow for this? Being both materials print at similar temperatures would this work or do you think clogging could occur?

That should be a perfect application for the Cyclops. As long as both materials will extrude at the same temp then it should be fine.