If you want to create three-dimensional objects from materials other than plastic with your printer, the "universal paste extruder for virtually any desktop 3D printer" from Discov3ry might just be the ticket for you.
The Discov3ry is an affordable paste extruder which can easily be added to nearly any existing 3D printer to expand the range of materials a printer can use beyond molten plastic to a wide range of pastes. The company has created several working prototypes which are capable of printing silicone, polyurethane, wood filler, clay, ceramics, icing sugar, nutella and conductive paint.
The principals of Structur3D Printing, Charles Mire and Andrew Finkle of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, are materials engineers who say they approached the paste printing problem from a different perspective.
Their focus has been on "reinventing only the parts of the printer that are involved with the delivery and extrusion of the material." Their Discov3ry Paste Extruder is designed to work with any stepper motor based, fused deposition modeling (FDM) desktop 3D printer system.
"If your printer uses plastic filament, it is almost certainly compatible with the Discov3ry," they said. "We've designed the extruder to be plug-and-play, you can integrate with your existing printer in just two steps."
While there have been 3D printers specifically designed to print different types of food or silicone, Mire and Finkle say their product is different as it's designed to be used with the printer you already have at home. Their major innovation? Separating what they call the "pastruder" from the print head carriage. The Discov3ry system works by forcing material out of reusable and easily available syringes through a feed tube and into an extruder tip mounted to the printer head carriage.
If you support their campaign on Kickstarter, they provide you with three 60cc reloadable food-grade syringes, three 30cm reusable foodsafe pieces of plastic tubing, three male tubing connectors, three female tubing connectors and an assortment of lock tips.
All of the Discov3ry units will be produced in Kitchener and Waterloo by the Structur3D Printing team.