The Multistruder is a quad FDM extruder. While most 3D printers use single or dual extruders, Multistruder makes use of four print heads each capable of extruding different plastic printing materials – and at different temperatures – during a single print run.
Michael Stabile is an industrial designer with 10 years experience in product design and manufacturing. Stabile built his first CNC device five years ago and he's been involved with 3D printing for the last three years. He has been hard at work developing the Multistruder in his spare time for a little more than two years.
"My goal is to create the best, most affordable multi-filament extruders," Stabile says. "The flagship quad drive model is designed to be small, efficient, cost-effective and reliable."
Stabile says the production version of Multistruder will feature independent temperature controls on each nozzle, and it's that level of versatility and control will allow for the use of up to four different filament types at a time.
As part of the Multistruder Kickstarter campaign, Stabile is offering a complete Multistruder kit which includes the hot end, Arduino control board, relay shield, stepper motor, bearings and everything else you will need to upgrade your printer to quad printing for $262.
Now all you have to do is figure out which Multistruder you'll need.
"There are so many printer designs out there, and they seem to change daily," Stabile said. "Making Multistruder work with them all is quite a challenge. We have to start somewhere, so initially Mulstistruder will be available to fit Mendel Prusa i1, i2, and i3 style printers. It's also available for Mendel Max."
He says that developing Multistruder began with the original idea of packing as many extruders into as small a space as possible. With that in mind, he began working out the details of what became a rather more complex project. He says he had to consider weight, airflow, reliability, ease of construction and finally, price point, before he arrived at his current solution.
So will the Multistruder be an open source project?
"Not yet, but it definitely will be. To protect my investment and the integrity of this project, Multistruder's source files will be remain private until development is completed," Stabile says. "The Reprap community has been an amazing resource and the foundation for this project. The decision to hold off on sharing development was not taken lightly and I hope the community understands."
Stabile says he'll ship the first Multistruders in March, 2015.