Ok, Cyclops (and Chimera) Q&A time! I'm seeing quite a lot of questions, a few misconceptions and a whole bunch of cool suggestions and discussion.First some reference material:http://files.e3d-online.com/Cyclops/Drawings/CHIMERA.pdfhttp://files.e3d-online.com/Cyclops/Drawings/CYCLOPS.pdfhttp://files.e3d-online.com/Cyclops/Drawings/CY-COOLER-BLOCK-AIR_.pdfhttp://files.e3d-online.com/Cyclops/Drawings/CY-HEATER-BLOCK_.pdfhttp://files.e3d-online.com/Cyclops/Drawings/CY-NOZZLE-400_.pdfSecondly, lets tag in some relevant characters+Joshua Rowley
(Who is actually the primary designer of this whole setup)+Whosa whatsis +ThantiK +Thomas Sanladerer +Camerin hahn +Nils Hitze +Jelle Boomstra +Laird Popkin +Mark Moissette
To be clear from the outset: Cyclops is not a mixing hotend
Yes, two materials are extruded from a single nozzle, and yes both materials can be extruded at the same time. However the primary application here is to print each material in turn one after another, and not so much about combining the two materials. (Nothing stopping you doing so if you want however).
Polymers by their very nature flow in an extremely laminar fashion. This means that if you extrude a black filament and a white filament into a single nozzle then you will receive extrudate that is black on one side and white on the other. You will not get grey. Cyclops does not have any mechanism or facility to take these two discrete streams of molten polymer and agitate them in any way to form a homogeneous mixture.
Although Cyclops is not a mixing hotend, it is a spin-off from a bunch of colour mixing experiments where we found somewhat accidentally that you could switch colours extremely quickly with certain melt zone geometry.
The switching is not done with a "Y" type affair where you pull out one filament back beyond a junction and then push down a second in it's place. The "Y" approach is fairly neat and simple, but suffers from globs and blobs left in the "Y" areas that can jam things up, as well as requiring large amounts of purging and some colour bleeding from leftover plastic intermittently contaminating the current plastic.
Cyclops does all switching in the molten fluid state and this allows for really really quick switching. I'm hesitant to give out hard numbers here, but essentially the required prime tower size is so small that we have to artificially make it larger because otherwise it would be too thin to adhere well to the bed. Additionally there is extremely little to no colour bleed and you get very pure output. Even with extremely strong colours such as black and white.
We played with a whole bunch of cool little ideas like passive ball bearing shuttle valves, but ultimately found that simpler was better and there was little advantage to being very fancy.We're absolutely still working on mixing hotends.
However it's a deceptively complex problem. We have really encouraging prototypes and some cracking performance. I'm pretty optimistic about it, but there are yet still a few unsolved problems.
Any other questions or speculation welcome. I'll do my best to keep up!