The dual extruder 3D printer is a magical beast. Allowing you to combine colors and materials with abandon, creating high-quality prints with insane overhangs and dazzling aesthetics, these specialist machines of the desktop 3D printing market are versatile, excellent and worth your attention.
Here we shine a spotlight on the best out there. If you want (or need) to print better than mono-material, these dual extruder 3D printers are the ones to do it.
If you happen to balk at the idea of purchasing a dedicated machine, already in possession of a perfectly fine 3D printer, then there are dual extrusion upgrades — just use the jump link below.
Piggybacking on a design popularized by Creality’s Ender 3, the Geeetech A10M plonks a cherry on top of this particular cake with dual extrusion capability.
Indeed, thanks to two extruders – that appear to be styled after E3D’s popular Titan extruder – piping filament into the A10M’s single nozzle hotend, you can lay down two different colors in succession or, using Geeetech’s Color Mixer software, blend different colors to make new hues and shades.
By far the cheapest dual extrusion printer on this list, the Geeetech A10M is a prime example of just how far inexpensive printer kits have come in the last year and a half, maturing the feature set without drastically inflating the price. We’re not saying it’s perfect, but the price and promise of multi-color printing, it’s difficult to ignore!
Based on MakerBot’s open source Replicators of old, the Flashforge Creator Pro endures today as one of the more affordable and capable dual extrusion 3D printers around.
Sturdy construction and a fully enclosed build chamber allow for easy printing of temperature sensitive materials that would otherwise warp.
Dual extrusion on the Flashforge Creator Pro comes by way of a dual nozzle print head. Unlike IDEX systems that split the nozzles onto separate assemblies, this dual nozzle setup keeps both in play at all times and lets you print two materials that require vastly different temperatures. Such a system can lead to quicker dual extrusion prints, but caution is advised to properly set retractions to prevent the inactive nozzle from oozing material into the print.
Craftunique’s latest addition to the well-defined CraftBot line of printers gets a dual extrusion upgrade plus a wealth of new features, including the Supervisor filament monitoring system.
The CraftBot 3 facilitates the printing of soluble support materials with ease, thanks to the two independent prints heads — both featuring all-metal hot ends — being able to heat to different temperatures. Besides this advanced mode of printing multiple materials, perhaps the most interesting feature of the CraftBot 3 is the Supervisor filament monitoring system.
Said to monitor filament flow and take direct action on the printer whenever a problem occurs that threatens the print, the Supervisor also serves as a warning system, alerting the user to blockages and similar filament-based troubles that it cannot resolve itself.
Solid mechanics including linear rails and a ballscrew-driven Z-axis, plus silent steppers and the wonderfully feature-rich CraftWare slicer make the CrafBot 3 is a formidable machine.
Developed in Spain as a project at BarcelonaTech university, BCN3D is a go-to name for those in the market for a dual extrusion 3D printer.
Completely open source, the designs, and schematics are freely available online for scrutiny, improvement, and instruction — a desirable trait in the fast-moving world of 3D printer development, and one that encourages community feedback to the benefit of all.
The BCN3D Sigma utilizes independent dual extrusion for its printing system, meaning that it features two separate print heads on its X-axis gantry — widely considered to be the better of dual extrusion systems.
Built like a tank and featuring a pleasant to use UI, calibration setup and customized flavor of Cura for easy to manage dial extrusion prints, it’s perhaps one of the more user-friendly dual extrusion 3D printers to make this list.
Recently on the receiving end of a wholesale revision, the all-new Sigma (dubbed Sigma R19) features a reworked family of hot ends co-developed with British OEM E3D, plus the inclusion of Swedish-made Bondtech dual drive extruder gears. In all the mechanical changes should equal to better overall performance — a trait compounded with improvements to the UI and expansion of user-friendly information and tooltips on the machine itself.
The update to R19 also brought new print Mirror and Duplication print modes to the Sigma, to better take advantage of the printer’s IDEX system.
Those looking supersize their multi-material prints can look to the Sigma’s bigger sibling, the Sigmax, which features double the print volume.
Placing great emphasis on dimensional accuracy and the printing of complex single material parts using soluble support structures, the Zortrax Inventure is a dual extrusion 3D printer that comes as a complete system for producing functional parts.
In addition to a dual extrusion system that utilizes two nozzles on the same print head — once again with the idle nozzle electronically lifted to clear the active printing — the Zortrax Inventure features a DSS Station, a dedicated soluble support-dissolving unit that assists in post-print processing.
Materials are handled via proprietary Zortrax cartridges to minimize the amount of handling and set up required by the user, and an enclosed and heated build chamber ensures printing success with finicky temperature sensitive materials.
Recently revised to offer true-leveling in addition to auto-leveling, this workhorse of a dual extrusion 3D printer from Ohio-based manufacturer MakerGear is a unique beast.
The MakerGear M3 dual extrusion 3D printer differs from other Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) systems with direct drive extruders integrated into each of its two print heads. Such a system should equate to better compatibility with a broader range of materials.
To counteract the added weight of direct drive and its potential effect on the print speed with inertia, the MakerGear M3 flips the typical Cartesian locomotion system on its head, the X-axis gantry fixed in place at the top of the printer, and the print bed moving in the Y- and Z- axes.
An onboard Raspberry Pi running a MakerGearified Octoprint getup (with 10+Gb of storage for print files) means wireless interactivity is a go. Factor in the Polyamide coated removable glass bed, and you have a highly capable dual extrusion 3D printer that probably doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
Aimed at professionals needing consistent, quality results, the Ultimaker 3 is a premium dual extrusion 3D printer that commands a premium price point.
To print multiple materials, the Ultimaker 3 makes use of a single printhead that accommodates two “print cores.” As one core prints, the idle core is raised slightly to move it out of the active print area and reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
The benefit of such a system means that each print core can cater to a specific material and use. Best of all, the cores all feature a quick release mechanism that allows rapid retooling of the printer between prints.
High quality, high up-time. Just what you want in a dual extrusion 3D printer.
For larger prints, there is the Ultimaker 3 Extended (pictured alongside the “normal” Ultimaker 3), which offers more build volume in the Z-axis.
Building upon prior accomplished, but ultimately under-the-radar 3DWOX machines, the Sindoh 3DWOX 2X 3D printer carries forward the series’ signature ease of use along with new features including a removable magnetic build plate, an air filtration system and, crucially, dual extrusion 3D printing.
The 3DWOX 2X makes use of a cartridge filament loading system that removes the need for intervention in filament loading and unloading and can print a combination of materials, including the soluble PVA.
A fully enclosed build chamber ensures stable temperatures during printing, and Sindoh has paid particular attention to quietening the machine, getting it’s operational noise level down to 40 decibels (akin to a computer humming along).
Uniquely (and arguably for good or bad), the Sindoh 3DWOX 2X talks to you, too. Status notifications can be relayed to you by voice, in addition to error troubleshooting guidance.
Unveiled early in 2018 as the successor to Raise3D’s well-received N2 3D printer, the Raise3D Pro2 dual extrusion 3D printer boasts workhorse-like performance and effortless operation thanks to its 7-inch color touchscreen and eye-catching user interface.
A massive build volume (the largest on this list) puts it on the more useful end of the spectrum for engineering-grade prints thanks to a fully enclosed build chamber and high-temperature hot ends.
The Raise3D Pro2 uses a single printhead design for its dual extrusion system, utilizing two independent nozzles and heating blocks that raise when idle — much like the Ultimaker 3 elsewhere on this list.
A removable print bed, HEPA filter, onboard camera for print monitoring plus power-out and filament-out detection completes a comprehensive package.
For professionals in need of bigger prints, a larger version is available in the Raise3D Pro2 Plus.
Boasting such innovations as using needle valves to prevent oozing and guarantee clean filament transitions, plus out-of-the-box Olsson Ruby nozzles for 3D printing highly abrasive materials; well, the CEL RoboxPro is a beast of a machine.
Designed to print big structural parts without so much as a shrug, it’s a step change over the company’s previous CEL RoboxDual desktop machine.
For 3D printing, the CEL RoboxPRO uses three specialized interchangeable print heads. Two of the three are for dual extrusion 3D printing, with the QuickFill head pairing a detail nozzle for perimeters with a wide nozzle for fast infill and the DualMaterial head specialized for printing two materials — including support material.
Quality of life features such as a fully enclosed print volume (with a lockable door), removable magnetic print bed and HEPA air filter, plus wireless connectivity make the RoboxPRO a feature-rich productivity machine.
Another dual extrusion 3D printer that we would describe as being built like a tank (a pattern is emerging), the ZMorph VX boasts a unique position on this list as the only truly multi-tool “all-in-one” 3D printer.
In addition to dual extrusion 3D printing, which it achieves via a dedicated dual extrusion tool head that channels two filaments through a single nozzle, the ZMorph VX can also CNC mill, laser engrave and thick paste extrude using dedicated tool heads.
This multitude of abilities makes it an attractive proposition for workshops with space at a premium for tools. It’d be easy, however, to dismiss such versatility as coming at the expense of each functions quality.
ZMorph is eager to show otherwise, often pointing to a range of case studies in its social media chatter demonstrate the machine has the chops to back up its image.
The company’s Voxelizer 2 software allows for pretty advanced color mixing and texture mapping options above and beyond basic two-material printing, in addition to managing jobs using each of the VX’s functions.
The successor to the already excellent Ultimaker 3, the Ultimaker S5 takes everything that’s great about the 3 and tacks it on to a larger build volume, partially enclosed print chamber secured with magnetic doors, deeper Cura integration and all-round quality of life improvements.
The spool holders remain frustratingly out of reach on the rear of the machine, but if you can overlook this minor issue (avoid placing the printer against the wall), the Ultimaker S5 is damn near perfection.
A steep price jump ($5,995 to the Ultimaker 3’s $3,495) puts it solely in the professional/business end of the market, but those that can afford will likely be glad that they can.
If you’re the lucky owner of specific 3D printers, you needn’t splash the cash on a whole new machine to start multi-material 3D printing. Here’s a quick list of add-on solutions for considerably less than the cost of the dual extrusion 3D printers listed above.
Bringing multi-material printing to the vast majority of 1.75mm filament printing machines, the Mosaic Palette 2 is perhaps the most versatile alternative to dumping a wedge of cash on a dedicated dual extrusion machine. Heck, it even outdoes dual extrusion with a possible input of four different filaments.
The device intelligently splices the filaments, feeding a single, perfectly proportioned multi-color thread into your printer.
An evolution of the Palette+, the Palette 2 marks the beginning of a wider effort of Mosaic Manufacturing to integrate Palette into printers out of the box.
The Palette 2 Pro features improved internals to allow for quick splicing and up to 20% faster printing speeds.
An add-on for the hugely popular Original Prusa i3 MK3S, the MMU 2.0S adds the ability to incorporate five (yes, five) different filaments, channeling them through the 3D printer’s single print head. The MMU 2.0 makes printing soluble support material possible on the MK3S.
One of a raft of add-on tool heads for Lulzbot’s excellent Taz 6 3D printer, the Dual Extruder V3 features a dual nozzle hot end co-developed with E3D, and is tailored toward printing support materials.
Designed to work with a range of SeeMeCNC’s delta style 3D printers, this 2-into-1 dual extrusion upgrade lets you mod your machine into a bona fide dual extrusion 3D printer.
Of course, if you are using a 3D printer that derives from the Prusa i3 or other RepRap designs, then it’s highly likely that a DIY solution to turn your machine into a dual extrusion 3D printer exists. The process will be slightly different for every device, but in essence you will need a few parts to get going: additional extruders to push the extra filament, some way of mounting this to your printer, a hot end assembly that can accept multiple filaments and a mainboard with appropriate connections to control all this additional hardware.
There’s a multitude of tutorials online for various printers — for example, this guide for modding a CR-10 into a dual extrusion 3D printer.
A quick search online for your specific printer should yield some useful results.
License: The text of "12 Best Dual Extruder 3D Printers in 2019" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Subscribe to updates from All3DP
You are subscribed to updates from All3DP
You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more…