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Dual Extrusion with MakerBot Desktop

    Dual Extrusion Options

    If you select or are connected to a MakerBot 3D printer with dual extruders, you will see some different options on the Prepare screen and in the Settings dialog. These options allow you to designate different extruders for different models on your build plate, and for rafts and supports.

    Assigning Objects for Dual Extrusion

    Setting things to print using two extruders is super simple in MakerBot Desktop. All you have to do is place your STLs or OBJs in the configuration in which you want them to print, and assign each one to the extruder you want to print it. 

    You might want to start by setting colors for your two extruders. Go to Edit > App Settings, or, on a Mac, MakerBot > Preferences, which will let you choose a color to represent each extruder. Click on the dropdown menu for an extruder to see what colors are available. You can choose colors just to help you differentiate between objects in the Prepare screen, or you can match the extruder colors to the actual filament you will be printing things with.

    To assign an object to an extruder, click on it to select it. Then click the Object Information button at the lower left of the Prepare screen or use the O key to open the Object Information menu. If you don't see the Object Information button, check the Devices menu at the top of your screen; the button will not appear unless a MakerBot 3D printer with dual extruders is selected under Type of Device.

    Use the dropdown in the Object Information menu to select which extruder you want to print the selected object.

    Once items on the plate are assigned to separate extruders, you will see a message warning you that the Thing you're printing uses dual extrusion. If you get this message when printing on a MakerBot with a single extruder, you will need to convert your plate to print on a single extruder before slicing the file. When every individual piece on the plate has been assigned to the extruder you want it to print from, click the Print button.

    Dual Extrusion Print Settings

    Certain options work differently with dual extrusion prints, so it’s a good idea to review your print settings before starting a dual extrusion print. Start by opening the Settings dialog and looking at the Quick tab.

    First, always make sure you have the correct material selected for each extruder. Different materials will use different settings. The Extruder Temperature settings will change automatically based on which materials you select, but you can also change the individual temperatures manually.

    The default behavior for rafts and supports is slightly different for dual extrusion prints, and depends on what materials you have selected. If you have MakerBot Dissolvable Filament selected as the material in one of your extruders, the entire raft and any automatically generated support structures will be printed using that extruder. In all other cases, the slicer will generate mixed-material rafts and supports. For more information on mixed material rafts and supports, see the Custom Settings section below.

    Custom Dual Extrusion Print Settings

    To change how rafts and supports are printed, or to edit settings for the purge wall that helps prevent the mixing of materials, switch to the Custom tab in the Settings Dialog and choose Multi-Material Printing from the center pane.

    The Support Material Extruder and Raft Material Extruder settings let you select whether to use the left or right extruder to print supports and rafts. The right extruder is extruder 0 and the left extruder is extruder 1. Make sure the Mixed Material Support and Mixed Material Raft checkboxes are not checked. If they are checked, they will override the extruder selection dropdowns.

    Keep the Mixed Material Support and/or Mixed Material Raft checkboxes checked to create mixed supports or rafts. Mixed material rafts and supports are generated to match the parts of your print they touch. For example, if you are printing with red and white MakerBot ABS Filament and your first layer contains both colors, the raft will be red where it touches the red sections of the print and white where it touches the white sections. The same goes for any support structures generated for your print.

    If Mixed Material Support and/or Mixed Material Raft are selected, the Support Material Extruder and/or Raft Material Extruder settings will be ignored.

    The rest of the available multi-material printing settings have to do with purge walls, extraneous structures that help reduce the mixing of materials in dual extrusion prints. For more information about the purge wall settings, see the Multi-Material Printing section on the Custom Settings page.

    Dual Extrusion Examples

    Which dual extrusion settings you use will depend on what you are printing. Here are a few examples of how you might optimize your raft and support settings for different kinds of prints.

    • A dual color print with overhangs.

      Use the Object information menu to assign each object on the build plate to the correct extruder. When each object on the plate is assigned to the extruder you want it to be printed by, click the Settings button.

      Set both Raft and Supports to Color-Match. Then make your other settings changes, save them, and then print or export your file. MakerBot Desktop will automatically arrange your raft and support structures so that any given part of your object will only touch raft or supports of the same color. 

     

    • A dual color print with no overhangs.

      Use the Object information menu to assign each object on the build plate to the correct extruder. When each object on the plate is assigned to the extruder you want it to be printed by, click the Settings button.

      Set Raft to Color-Match and Supports to Off. Then make your other settings changes, save them, and then print or export your file. MakerBot Desktop will automatically arrange your raft so that any given part of your object will only touch raft of the same color. 

    • A single color print.

    • Use the Object Information menu to assign the object on the build plate to whichever extruder you like. Then click the Settings Button.

      Set Raft to Color-Match. If your object does not have overhangs, set Supports to Off. If it does, set Supports to Color-Match. Then make your other settings changes, save them, and then print or export your file. MakerBot Desktop will automatically print your raft and, if you're using them, your support structures in the same material as your object.

     


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