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The Swapper3D: No More Purge Blocks!

The Swapper3D: No More Purge Blocks!

USD349.00USD449.00

The Swapper3D is a bolt-on add-on for the the Prusa i3 or the Creality Ender3 V1, PRO, and V2 and CR series printers. 

The Swapper3D can swap nozzles during an active print to eliminate purge blocks.  Instead of purging old colors out, it swaps nozzles so that a nozzle only ever has a single color in it.

*** This is a Pre-Order.  Expected Shipping date is in December 2022.  ***

Upgrade your Swapper3D with these complimentary products:
This item: The Swapper3D: No More Purge Blocks!

Available on backorder

USD349.00USD449.00
USD349.00USD449.00
QuickSwap-Insert

Available on backorder

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+
USD19.00
QuickSwap-Insert 20 Pack

Available on backorder

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USD299.00

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Purge blocks waste more time and filament than the print you want to make. 

Purge blocks, sometimes called purge towers or just purge, are the result of MultiColor 3D printing when switching to another color, the nozzle-hotend must have the previous color cleaned out. This is wasted filament, wasted print bed space, wasted printing time, and wasted money. 

Purge blocks are bad for you, and the environment!

The default purge blocks that Prusa Slicer suggests are inadequate for most transitions, especially from dark to light colors.  They need much larger purge blocks sometimes 10x the amount of the actual print. 

Purging endlessly gives a diminishing return; The color will never be perfect. A discerning eye will always see the color streaks especially from dark to light color transitions.

In the video you can see the massive purge block needed to attain the crisp color separations. What a waste of material and bed space!

The Swapper3D is a bolt-on add-on for the the Prusa i3 or the Creality Ender3 V1, PRO, and V2 and CR-10 series printers with one of the following filament changers: 

  • Prusa MMU
  • Mosaic Palette
  • CoPrint: Multi-Material Module 
  • ERCF (enraged rabbit carrot feeder)
  • 3D Chameleon

Instead of purging old colors out, it automatically swaps nozzles so that a nozzle only ever has a single color in it. For instance, if you’re printing a white and black print, there is a nozzle in The Swapper3D for each color White and Black. Then every time the print changes color, the Swapper3D swaps the current nozzle for the nozzle of the other color and then no purging is needed because the nozzle has that color already in it!!

Each nozzle is assigned to a single particular color and reused an unlimited number of times during the print. Each time the printer needs to use that color the Swapper3D loads the nozzle for that color, it’s heated back up, and the printing continues. In this way unlimited color swaps can be done.

The Swapper3D can hold 25 nozzles. That is many more than other ‘tool changer’ or ‘multi-extruder’ 3D printers, Swapper3D can do this because only the nozzle and heat-break are removed from the printer which is much smaller without the heater-block, heater, and temperature sensor. The unique design and ultra short heat break prevent jams even without a cooling fan on the heat-break.

And because the Swapper3D locates the QuickSwap-Insert/Nozzle in the same bore of the heater block there is no offset calibration required as there would be with multi-extruder 3D printers. And because there is no purging at all when using the Swapper3D you don’t need to waste any time calibrating the transition length and optimizing the purge amount per filament. This will get you printing in less time and with less frustration.

The Swapper3D can even be used for nozzle size changes on the fly. Imagine having .2/.4/.6/.8/1mm nozzles for use throughout your prints automatically no tools required. 

Our QuickSwap-Insert comes with a Nickel plated Copper nozzle by default, but the actual nozzle is removable and can be replaced with any E3D V6 compatible nozzle. 

This way you can still make use of your expensive upgraded nozzles you already own (i.e. Ruby tipped, tungsten, hardened steel, and different sizes, etc). Also, if the nozzle clogs then you can just replace the  end nozzle instead of the entire QuickSwap-Insert which will save you money.

 

Benefits of the Swapper3D:

  • Eliminates purge blocks
  • Eliminates color transitions and purge waste
  • Reduces used filament
  • Reduces print time
  • Frees up space on the print bed
  • Automatically swaps nozzles during multi-material prints (like PVA)
  • Automatically swaps nozzles during MultiColor prints (*MultiColor add-on not incl.)
  • Automatically swaps nozzles for different sizes during prints
  • It’s more interesting to watch than printing a purge block

MMU print reliability is greatly improved.  Because the filament is now cut before unloading no tip shaping is required, and strings are impossible too. The reliability of the Mosaic Palette is also increased because less filament is used for the entire print which helps the Palette maintain splice length synchronization.

A step in the right direction to save our planet: 

One of the main purposes of this product is to reduce the waste plastic that is normally produced during MultiColor FDM 3D printing. Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues in the world. The filament plastic we waste unthinkingly every single day, the plastic we throw away without a moment’s thought, it lives on, and on.

We estimate that if every Prusa MMU 3D printer user were to use a Swapper3D then it would keep more than 300,000kg worth of purge plastic out of landfills per year!

Why 25 Nozzles?

For the first time ever a 3D Printer is able to have 25 nozzle types and sizes loaded at once. By this point you may be wondering “Why are there 25 nozzle/hotend storage spots when the Prusa MMU can switch between 5 filaments, the CoPrint up to 7, the Mosaic Palette up to 8, the ERCF up to 12 (enraged rabbit carrot feeder)?”

The Swapper3D supports “UP TO” 25, but it will work with 1 or 2 or 5 or 8…all the way UP TO 25. When users purchase the base Swapper3D kit it comes with 5 QuickSwap-Nozzles and it can be expanded by adding more at any time in the future.

The ‘up-to’ 25 nozzles can also be used to automatically switch different nozzle sizes during the print even when printing with a single filament.

The Swapper3D Supports"UP TO" 25 Nozzles

There are a few good reasons for us to include 25 nozzle/hotend storage spots:

1) Nozzle sizes & types. The Swapper3D can be used to automatically swap nozzle sizes during a print.  Since the Swapper3D hotend works with any E3D compatible nozzle you could load in your ruby, tungsten, stainless, high speed, brass, nickel copper, or hardened steel nozzles that you already own and automatically swap them at the required time during a 3D print.

2) Filament types. Mixing different filament types can cause problems, so you could use the extra spots to store nozzles for different material types, like ABS or PET, and automatically swap them during a 3D print. This way you don’t need to clean the nozzles out between materials without risk of jamming or clogging. The Swapper3D works with any material.

3) Leave your colors loaded. If you have 25 different colors on hand you could leave all the nozzles loaded and select the correctly colored nozzle from inside PrusaSlicer, either at the start of a print or automatically during a print.

4) Future proof. As MultiColor add-ons increase in number of available colors you can easily add QuickSwap-Nozzles to the Swapper3D to accommodate the upgrade.

In short the extra storage spots don’t require any extra hardware so there is no disadvantage if you don’t use them, and plenty of advantage if you do use them. The Swapper3D comes with 5 QuickSwap-Nozzles. That is enough for the Prusa MMU. If you want more then you can buy them at the checkout.

What is included in your Swapper3D Kit:

Each Swapper3D kit includes all the hardware needed to assemble one(1) Swapper3D, and five(5) QuickChange nozzle-heatbreaks.

We know our customers are Makers at heart, and they don’t shy away from a little 3D printing and assembly, so we thought “Why not let them print their own parts, and assemble the Swapper3D themselves? Then they can save some money and get a faster delivery at the same time!” That’s why we are giving you the option to buy just the hardware and print your own plastic parts; Or at check-out you can upgrade to have us print the plastic parts of your Swapper3D for you. It’s your choice.

We will provide you with complete step by step written and video instructions for building your Swapper3D.

Hardware (Set 1) Included in Swapper3D Kit:

Hardware (Set 2) Included in Swapper3D Kit:

Additional Parts included for Mosaic Palette Users:

3D Printed Parts Add-On Available at Checkout:

As a fun (and tasty) thank you we include some “BigBrain3D” candies in with your kit to help you through the Swapper3D assembly using our complete step by step instructions. The Squish Candy Company in Montreal will be custom making us mini packs of their Brain Freeze candies (which we think match our BigBrain3D Logo pretty perfectly!) 

Swapper3D in action on the Prusa i3 and the MMU:

Weight 3.3 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 6 × 2.5 in
3D Printed Parts

Hardware Only Kit, Hardware & 3D Printed Parts (Prusa i3), Hardware & 3D Printed Parts (Ender 3)

Filament Switcher style

MMU, Palette

The package is 20x20x7cm, and is 1.5kg for just the hardware. It is 20x20x60cm and 3kg for the hardware and printed parts.

The Swapper3D doesn’t know what material or color is in a particular nozzle, what it does know how to select a QuickSwap-nozzle from a particular receptacle and load it on demand from the 3d printer. You need to keep track of colors and materials in Prusa Slicer. Whichever tool you assign to a particular part of your print, either a body or a feature Prusa Slicer will call the swap command for that particular nozzle, at the correct time in the print and all of that is in the gcode file that Prusa Slicer exports. Just like you would normally do for an mmu print.

Yes. Each nozzle is assigned to a single particular color and reused an unlimited number of times. Each time the printer needs to use that color the Swapper3D loads the nozzle for that color, it’s heated back up, and the printing continues. In this way unlimited color swaps can be done. For example, the print in the video has 576 swaps.

The Prusa MMU can switch between 5 filaments, the CoPrint up to 7, the Mosaic Palette up to 8, the ERCF up to 12 (enraged rabbit carrot feeder), in the future there may be even more. The Swapper3D supports “UP TO” 25, but it will work with 1 or 2 or 5 or 8…all the way UP TO 25. When users purchase the base Swapper3D kit it comes with 5 QuickSwap-Nozzles and it can be expanded by adding more at any time in the future. The ‘up-to’ 25 nozzles can also be used to automatically switch different nozzle sizes during the print even when printing with a single filament.

No. Some people really love their 3D printer (like the Prusa i3). With the Swapper3D they can keep the printer they love and add new improved functionality to it. No tool changer out there supports 25 tools, there isn’t the space for that many tools. All those other ways of MultiColor printing require purging, and the Swapper3D eliminates that. Over time the ongoing consumable filament costs + time saved will pay for the Swapper3D’s static price.

About 15 seconds, which is almost exactly the same time it takes the MMU to unload the current filament and load in the next filament, which means the swap adds zero(0) seconds of additional time because of the nozzle heating up. The Nozzles have a low thermal mass. The QuickSwap-Hotend has a much larger mass and it maintains the temperature of the heater block at all times, during printing and during a filament change and during a swap, with the standard 6mm tube heater and thermistor of the Prusa i3 extruder. When a cold nozzle is inserted, it lowers the temperature of the heater block by about 15C. The Swapper3D inserts a gcode command to wait for the temperature to stabilize to the print melt temperature before it continues printing.

Retraction has 2 effects which both make a large impact to stringing. 1) removing extrusion pressure and 2) creating suction at the tip of the nozzle. The #1 effect is seen immediately after a swap. The #2 effect is seen shortly after a little bit of extrusion, and to account for that we change the slicer to infill before perimeters. There is also the wiper on the cutter arm (not seen in this video. More info on Kickstarter page.) that can be used for priming the nozzle.

There is a wiper molded into the cutter guard that deals absorbs the ooze (not shown in this video. see Kickstarter for more details) We also infill before perimeters to address the pressure stability and priming. Though additional priming can also be done on the wiper pad if needed.

Retraction has 2 effects which both make a large impact to stringing. 1) removing extrusion pressure and 2) creating suction at the tip of the nozzle. The #1 effect is seen immediately after a swap. The #2 effect is seen shortly after a little bit of extrusion, and to account for that we change the slicer to infill before perimeters. There is also the wiper on the cutter arm (not seen in this video. More info on Kickstarter page.) that can be used for priming the nozzle.

Yes, you can use this to automatically change nozzle sizes too. and you can use it to swap filament materials too.

The infill is almost never enough volume for a color purge. Remember the infill is limited to the volume of that color space on a single layer. And the infill volume varies by layer so for larger layers maybe it’s enough but it may not be on smaller layers and then you’ll get color smearing.

No. Not for a lead screw. 1398g are added to the sprung weight. The current of the Z steppers is increased to account for this, and no missed steps have been seen. In the kit we include heat sinks and a fan that are added to the printer main board which keeps it much cooler than it was with even stock current.

Very low. We are currently stress testing the current iteration of The Swapper3D (the one in this video) which has done more than 35,000 swaps without failure up to now and is still counting.

No, because the amount it would need to purge would be the exact same amount (and take the same time) in both cases. The only benefit to a purge bin is that you save the bed space, But many printers cannot move the nozzle off the bed, so in cases like the Prusa i3 you cannot use a purge bin.

Because Swapping nozzles is better. Pulling out the filament can cause strings and malformed tips that interfere with reinserting that filament next time. It’s such a common problem that some people hate filament switchers like the MMU because of it. Cutting the filament eliminates the possibility of those problems.

In the main video we are switching the filament after a nozzle change using the Prusa MMU (Multi Material Unit). In short, the MMU pulls the old filament out -> selects a new filament -> then loads the new filament in. (The Swapper3D cuts the filament before the MMU pulls the old filament out to prevent possible strings and jamming.) The Swapper3D can also use these filament switchers: Mosaic Palette (any version), CoPrint, ERCF (enraged rabbit carrot feeder), Ryper MMU, 3D Chameleon, and any other similarly designed filament changer.

Possibly. Currently we only support the Prusa i3 out-of-the-box, but we will be adding support for other printers as fast as we possibly can. Brave Makers (like you) can also modify the mounting bracket or create an adapter to mount the Swapper3D to their own printer. We encourage this and supply the 3D step files to our customers to make it easier for them to create their own custom adapters. In addition to mounting the Swapper3D, your alternate 3D printer needs either an available serial port on mainboard or an external Raspberry Pi running Octoprint to coordinate nozzle swaps.
Because there are so many different variations of 3D printers we really do need the community to help expand support for the Swapper3D.
Printers with a similar design to the Prusa i3 (i.e. bed slingers) will be the easiest to adapt to. For instance the Creality printers (Ender 3, CR10 , etc) will be next for us to create a variation for. There is nothing preventing a core xy printer from using the Swapper3D as long as it has a) an adapter b) an available serial port and c) available clearance.
Printers that have an enclosure will probably be most difficult to adapt for since they usually have only enough space for their print area inside. Something a little more creative than a simple adapter may be required in that case; But we are working on solutions to each of these.

We’ve measured the sound pressure level using a dedicated meter. At 3 feet away a swap is 60db. According to online sound level comparison charts 60db is about the same volume as an office or normal conversation or a 3D printer. Because you are listening on an un-calibrated sound system it may seem louder than it actually is. You could calibrate your sound system by downloading a sound level app for your phone (it’s not going to be perfect but it will get close) then place your phone 3 feet from your speakers and play the video, then adjust the volume of your speakers until the sound level app says it’s 60db. That said, our goal is whisper quiet so we are exploring ways to reduce the sound, which is annoying to some people especially if the printer is close to where they work, something as simple as little pockets of sound deadening insulation around each servo would take the volume down many decibels. We expect that users will also come up with their own ideas as it’s a very easy system to mod.

The Swapper3D requires integration with the Prusa i3 with some small changes: 

  • Either Octoprint or an updated Marlin firmware version which enables serial communication to the Swapper3D. This is to coordinate the nozzle swaps and the filament switching at the correct time and tell the 3D printer when the swap is complete.
  • Power is delivered to the Swapper3D from the 3D printers power supply by 2 wires. 

3 Wires (Tx, Rx, Ground) are also run from the 3D printers main board to the Swapper3D for Serial communication.

The Z stepper current must be increased to compensate for the additional sprung weight on the X axis. This causes the Z stepper driver on the Einsy board to get a little too hot. To compensate for this we are including Heat Sinks and a case fan for all pledge levels. You will need to clip some of the vents to make room for the heat sinks. We include 4 heat sinks because the stepper drivers were always a little too hot so it’s a good opportunity to address that and keep everything cool. With these changes the stepper drivers stay cool to the touch even after 24 hours of printing with the Swapper3D.

The Swapper3D also works with the Mosaic Palette 2 & 3 (4 or 8 filament). It requires a couple of extra parts and another servo motor.

The process for a swap is slightly different when using the Palette, there are a few more steps because the Palette splices have some color mixing which can’t end up in either nozzle, the splice must be cut out so there are 2 required cuts.

 A splice from the Mosaic Palette: 

This means that there is a little waste but still much less than a purge block. Each splice is about 12mm and weighs approximately 1.1grains. Instead of the featured OmNom print saving 181g, with the Palette the 576 splices weigh a total of 41grams, the total weight savings is about 140grams.

There is a sliding lock that pulls the hotend up against a taper in the heater block.  This is a cut away view of the locking mechanism being unlocked and the QuickSwap nozzle being slid out.

 


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