MakerBot’s unknown invention is uncovered: A 3D printer that switches build materials midprint

When it comes to 3D printing, one of the issues that many people face, is that they are bound by one build material or color per print. That is unless you want to manually switch out material while the printer is in the middle of printing. Some may ask, “Why would you wish to switch materials mid print?” 

There could be several reasons. One may be that you wish to have a multiple color print, one which perhaps has designs on it in separate colors. Another reason may be that you wish to transfer from PLA, to ABS, Nylon, Wood based filament, or another desired material. There are new materials coming out on a monthly basis, all of which have different textures, looks, and other desired physical properties.

MakerBot has invented a new type of process which, if it works properly, will allow 3D printers to change build material mid print. They have filed a patent to protect this solution over a year and a half ago, but just recently was it published for the public to see, and has uncovered it.

The way this printer would work, is that it would have a specialized extruder, that includes multiple build materials, multiple build material feeds, and a filament changer as seen in the diagram below (we’ve edited it to make it easier to understand). … (Read more)