Vandal968 wrote:how are you typically using you dual setup? different colors in the same material, or different materials? I've noticed on my machine that the only time I seem to have jams is when switching materials, especially when going from a higher-temp material back to PLA. I've started swapping hot-ends when I change materials and while not super-convenient, it's more convenient than clearing a jam. Your dual-extruder setup looks especially attractive to me as a way to use one extruder for one material and a second extruder for a 2nd. Have you tried this? Any gotchas in the software when using it this way?
Well, as you know if you've been reading my write-up, I'm still working out the software details, and it changes every day. Today for the first time, I printed something that was more than just a calibration piece (the 2-color die that I posted the g-code for on the site, which is one of my recent submissions to Thingiverse). I had tried printing through a few layers of it over the past couple of days, changing retraction amounts and tweaking the start and tool change scripts. While I found that both Simplify3D and slic3r are doing skirts the wrong way for dual extrusion, I also decided that I would have to use an ooze shield after all. At least for Simplify3D (probably for slic3r, too, but I haven't gotten quite that far with it yet), using the ooze shield circumvents the problem with the skirt. I don't need the ooze shield so much for catching drips as I need it for priming each nozzle on every layer. But it works well for that.
On the negative side, the printed part ended up less clean than I was hoping for, with some of the oozing ending up on the print and getting embedded in the surface. On the positive side, I didn't have to touch the printer for the duration of the print, where I previously (with the MakerGear dual extruder) had to babysit the print or else the drippings would have overwhelmed the ooze shield. I think that in the end, I'm going to end up having to to back to fairly aggressive filament retraction on the inactive extruder as well as keeping the ooze shield. It makes the project not quite the "solution to everything" that I had hoped for, but this architecture does still have distinct advantages. Plus, there's still room for improvement.
That was a long-winded start to my answer.
Anyway, the rest of my answer is that I haven't done any multiple-material prints with the new setup, not because I'm not thinking about it, but because I'm still trying to dial in parameters and set up the software correctly. I did a handful of dual-material prints with the MakerGear dual, including PVA for dissolvable support; and I have various spools of PVA, HIPS, ninjaflex, and PC to experiment with; it's all on the to-do list!
I ordered the magnets and sent an inquiry to MG to find out cost as well as how to order the required parts. Rick asked if it's for a custom dual-extruder setup (clearly it is) and said that he's passing my questions to "operations" and I should hear back tomorrow. Hopefully the parts are available and there aren't any roadblocks. I'll share what I find out.
"operations" is probably carefully eyeing their inventory of spare rail carriages and v4 mount plates and wondering if they're going to regret being so quick to supply me for my project. They have been so good to me. . . I don't want to cause them any grief. That was part of the reason I was looking around for second sources for the rail carriage and fans and such, but the mount plate is a custom part, and I think their wire harnesses are custom, too. I wanted this to be a fairly low-cost way of adding a second extruder, which it is in theory, but in practice getting everything on the parts list doesn't work out so neatly.