The part of an FDM printer's extruder that gets hot enough to melt plastic and other materials is known as the hot end. A gear or wheel assembly drives filament into the hot end, where it melts and is forced out of the nozzle onto the print bed. The magic behind the Diamond Hotend is a three-channel nozzle that allows three separate filaments to feed the same exit point.
The three filaments can be different materials or different colors, which means the Diamond Hotend enables a single print head to perform tasks normally associated with printers having three extruders. However, because it is only one assembly with one nozzle, there is only one nozzle height to calibrate, no nozzle-to-nozzle calibration and colors can be mixed to form new colors, in addition to color and/or material swapping.
Although it isn't being promoted, this could be the key to multi-extrusion deltabot printers somewhere down the road.
One of the more startling aspects of the Diamond Hotend is its delivery date. Most 3D printing-related crowdfunding campaigns schedule deliveries months or even a year away and tend to deliver late. Diamond Hotend backers can expect to see their purchases in a couple months, according to Kenneth Weiss, CEO of RepRap.me.
"The critical part (the Diamond Nozzle) isn't manufactured yet but the machining company that made the prototypes of the Diamond Nozzle has guaranteed us that they have everything they need and can produce 1000 units within 14 days of us ordering," said Weiss. "The other parts making up the Diamond Hotend as a whole are already existing paths that we just need to buy in the needed quantity (with an estimated delivery time of up to 3 weeks and backup suppliers in place) or 3D printed parts, for which we have plenty of 3D printers."
Pledges are available in a variety of different configurations – just the nozzle, an entire hot end, an entire extruder (includes the hot end), a full RepRap Prusa DIY 3D printer kit, or a pre-assembled bq Witbox upgraded with a Diamond Hotend for those who don't want to build or modify their own 3D printer.
The campaign's currency is set to the Danish Krone, but the US dollar conversion is noted in each pledge's description.