There are a lot of great 3D printers on the market these days, but if you’re looking for one with dual extruders, the options can be a little more limited.
So, if that’s what you’re after, we’ve put together a list of the best dual extruder 3D printers under $500 available right now. Keep reading to learn more!
Best Dual Extruder 3D Printer Under $500 Top Picks
1. QIDI TECH 3D Printer
This printer is from a Chinese manufacturer, which makes awesome printers for semi-professional artists. It is an affordable dual-extension model, and those who want to get started in 3D printing are better off buying this one.
- Enclosed Print Chamber – the printer has an acrylic cover and some panels that adhere to the printer’s top and sides. What I like about these panels is that they are see-through. They also fit snuggly, so they stay firm on the printers once you snap them on. The panels are not just there for display but also to maintain a constant temperature.
- Magnetic Built Plate – the printer has a small build plate, the size of which is only 230 x 150 x 150 millimeters. The bed level is manual, but it comes with a 6 mm aviation-grade build plate. It is made of aluminum. The plate itself is made from Prusa’s steel.
- Dedicated Slicing Software – the slicing software that comes with the printer is the QiDI Print. It is now on version 5.2.6. It does look like the Cura 3X version, but it is by far easier to use than others. I like the auto-slice function. It also has customization options, and it is available for both Mac and Windows.
- Performance – the printer’s output is acceptable. The surface has some rippling, but it should not render your project unusable. You can also expect consistency from the machine, which means you will not get outputs that have high variations.
This printer can withstand torture tests and has passed the benchmark standards of many professionals. The result is not that smooth, but it does offer dimensional accuracy and fine control flow. It is also easy to set up, so beginners will not have a hard time getting started with their project.
If you decide to buy this printer, I suggest purchasing some silicone socks and nickel-plated nozzles. This way, if the filament tries to stick to the nozzle instead of the print bed, it will be easier to clean off. This happens to the best of us, so it’s best to be prepared.
It can be difficult to install a pair of Mk10 silicone socks because they are close to the two extruders. However, if you are careful and make sure that the sock does not go below the level of the extruder tip, you will be fine. To make sure your 3D printer continues to run smoothly, you should obtain some PTFE heat liners. The ones that come with the printer eventually break down over time, which can lead to problems like heat creep and extruder skips. Make sure you measure the liners in your spare parts kit before ordering new ones, and be sure to search for “HEAT LINERS” instead of just “PTFE tubing”.
- Great tech support
- Replacement parts are available online
- Second extruder is great for multi-material printing
- Reliable for short to multi-day print jobs
- Easy to use and produces great prints
- Requires re-leveling after long prints
- Not recommended for beginners as the software can be finicky
2. LOTMAXX Shark V2
The Lotmaxx 3d printer is an excellent dual extruder printer for colorful prints. I highly recommend it for people who do art projects that require detail, as it also comes with a laser engraver. The engraver is powerful enough to etch wood. It is a quiet printer that has step drivers and fans that cool it while it is operating.
- Touchscreen User Interface – the printer comes with a control panel connected via a wire to the printer. This control panel has a touchscreen interface, which makes it like office equipment. It has an LCD screen with a plastic enclosure.
- Steel Build Platform – the build platform is made of steel sheet that has a textured surface. What keeps it in place is a magnet underneath, which is located under the plate. It is an excellent design because you can remove the parts for cleaning after each project.
- Calibration and Levelling – you need to spend some time calibrating the build plate. Lotmaxx has created a process where the calibration is semi-automated. This process should help you reduce the time required to adjust the height of the plate.
- Single Extruder – although it is a dual extruder, you are not limited to using both. You have the option to use only one. Tests indicate that it takes only an hour and fifteen minutes to complete a print.
- Laser Engraver – the machine comes with an app where you can prepare your images for engraving. It is not perfect, as it does come with some problems. However, this will do for most projects.
This printer looks great. The matt gray color on the extrusions is fantastic and really makes it stand out. The chassis, rollers, extruders, and touch screens are all well-constructed and give it a polished look. I also like how all of the connections that you would need are external to the printer – this makes it really easy to set up and use.
The second extruder port, auto-leveling port, USB, microSD, laser, and screen connectors are all in the front, clearly labeled, and easy to access. Certainly better than having to flip the printer over and unscrew bottom covering and rerouting cables as I’ve had to do with other printers.
When you are printing with multiple colors, the slicing software will need a purge tower for each layer. This is to get rid of the filament that is left in the nozzle after you switch colors. The purge tower needs to be bigger than the default 20mm if your print is going to be taller, to prevent it from becoming dislodged from the print bed during printing.
The Shark V2 has very quiet stepper motors and fans. The fans only turn on when it is absolutely necessary, because of the excellent design and attention to passive cooling. This printer is great for printing round parts from the print bed. Other printers with single-part cooling fans have trouble with rounded shape parts since the fan is only blowing on one side of the part as it prints. With that additional cooling power, you can print much faster.
The belt tensioning controls are not very easy to use. A simple threaded knob would make them easier to use and would improve the design. The existing tensioning is done by loosening t-nuts and drawing the belts tight. This can be done, but it could be easier. The laser attachment and software were difficult to get working properly. Be careful when using filament sensors. Make sure the filament is straight before you put it in. If it’s not, the filament could get stuck and damage the sensor.
Overall, the Lotmaxx machine produces outputs that I can call acceptable. I highly recommend it for people looking for an all-around printer. However, it is not one that you want if you are looking for a printer that specializes in something.
- Touchscreen interface to control heat and extrusion percentage while printing
- Heated platform with a magnetic bendable plate for easy print removal
- High printing speed is great for printing tool related items like brackets
- Tech support and tutorials are provided by Lotmaxx on youtube
- A little pricey to not include a $15 auto-leveler module
- Both Included Teflon tubes that were too short to connect extruder #2
3. FlashForge Creator Pro 3D Printer
This one is what I can call a middle-level printer. Its price is reasonable, and it does provide acceptable outputs. I recommend it for beginners and those who have experience in printing 3D models, but not for professional use.
- Dual Extruder – this printer allows you to choose two materials to get the job done. It also has a duplication mode, which means you can get two color models for the same printing job. If you want the same color, you can print with both extruders to produce two outputs.
- Stable Structure – the frame is made of metal, not plastic. The frame has a double linear design, which makes it stable while printing—no shakes. The enclosed body has a removable lid and has a cooling fan to prevent it from overheating.
- Alloy Platform – the base of the platform is made of durable alloy, and it is 6.55 mm thick. It allows for an even transfer of heat, which makes the printing process produce smooth surfaces for your models. It also supports multiple printing formats.
- Compatibility – the printer is compatible with many types of filaments. You can use PLA, PVA, TPE, TPU, and PETG. With the main parts of your print, you can also use ABS. you can also use materials that can melt in the bath
- Warranty – the product comes with 12 months of warranty. What I like the most is that it comes with a lifetime of technical support. The support is open 24 hours on their business days, and you can expect them to respond during their operating hours.
The printer comes with two free spools of filament, so you don’t have to worry about buying any additional filaments in the beginning. However, if you want a different color than the ones that come with the printer, you can always purchase more filaments later on.
Assembly of the printer does not take too long. Screw the extruders into place, level the bed and you are done with the assembly. The instruction manual is very detailed (with pictures), so you should not have any trouble understanding it.
This printer doesn’t have an automatic bed leveling system, so the first thing you need to do is level the print bed. You can do this by following the instructions provided. The next step is to load the filament into the extruder and you’re ready to print.
3d printing can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging. If you are just starting out, don’t get discouraged if your prints don’t turn out the way you want them to. There are plenty of support groups available where you can get help. It’s all about finding the right settings for your printer and once you have that figured out, you will be able to print all kinds of cool designs.
The FlashForge produces mid-level quality, which makes it an excellent option for small projects. It does a great job of printing with no noticeable defects. It can even build an Eiffel Tower model, and one would not be able to observe small imperfections in print output.
- Impressive print quality
- Good price
- Easy to use and setup
- Flashprint software can be finicky
- Destructively grippy print bed surface
4. FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro2
Although this model does not look much different from its predecessor, what it offers is better output. It has an impressive print quality, it is easy to use, and all these come at a good price. It does have some telltale signs of under extrusion, but these defects are negligible.
- Independent Dual Extruder – you can do mirror printing with this printer, and you can also make complicated prints. With the dual extruder, you can print models with different materials, giving you two outputs with different colors.
- Heating Bed – the printer has a rapid heat capacity that prevents the model from warping. The best kind of materials to use are PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPU. It also has an anti-scrape design where you can avoid scraps. What it means is that you do not waste material in printing unnecessary elements to get the model to life.
- Print Performance – the print is crisp, and the quality is consistent. It is great if you are printing multiple outputs for the same model, as you can expect to maintain standards. With consistent prints, you can expect the same quality of output with little to no need for re-calibrating the machine.
- Software Option – the one that it uses is Flashpoint, and it is not dreadful at all. It is easy to set up dual extrusion prints, and it is great for beginners and casual 3D printer enthusiasts. The software also has a setting mode for expert level, and you can configure it to your taste.
The layer lines are barely visible. I was very impressed by the quality of this printer right out of the box. This printer is easy to use, unlike some low-cost printers.
The touch screen tells you what to do, and the printer is very easy to level and calibrate. There are just three locations you have to level it at, and the printer does it for you.
The FlashForge Creator Pro2 is very durable. I feel safe leaving it running overnight. The IDEX feature is great. It doubles the speed of output for parts if you have a lot to produce. This is ideal if you are under a time constraint.
I don’t like the FlashPrint slicer program as much as Cura. Cura is easier to understand because it is better laid out, with similar options all nearby each other. I am finding it difficult to find certain slicer settings in FlashPrint’s menu, which can be frustrating.
Overall, this printer introduces new tricks, and it is much better than its predecessor, released four years ago. The quality of the dual extruder printer and its output comes at a competitive price, and it can tackle what you ask of it.
- IDEX for PVA to dissolve in water or dual color
- 2 x 1kg filaments included
- Easy to setup and start printing
- Anti-ooze or drip helps a lot
- Instructions can be confusing for beginners
- Bed is horrible to take prints out of, recommended to buy a flexible steel plate instead
- Heater bed PCB board is exposed and you can damage the unit if it is turned on and a screw or metal object touches it
- Fans can be noisy just by being “on” even without printing
Types of Dual Extruder 3D Printers
Dual printing machines allow you to print in multiple colors with different materials. There are two main types of dual extruder 3D printers available and these are Independent dual extruder system and Dependant dual extruders.
Independent dual extruder system
IDEX printers can print two different objects at the same time by using two print heads with two nozzles. Each print head has two nozzles that can print in mirror mode, duplication mode, or two separate objects.
Dependant dual extruders
Dual extruders are printers that have two extruders connected to each other. This lets the printer make one object using two different filaments at the same time. This speeds up the printing process because more print material can be produced in a shorter amount of time.
What are the benefits of using a dual extruder machine?
Advantages of Dual Extruder 3D Printers
One of the main advantages of dual extruder 3D printers is that they can print multiple colors at the same time. This lets you create patterns, layers, and even different hues, gradients, and blends without having to pause the printing process to swap in a separate color filament spool. Another key advantage is the ability to print objects with two different types of filament. This can give your object extra strength or make it more resistant to wear and tear.
Dual extruder 3D printers can print using two types of filament. One is the regular kind, and the other is a water-soluble type that dissolves quickly. This saves time because you don’t need to print both the object and the supports with one nozzle. It also conserves expensive filament, because you only need to use it for the object, not for the supports too. The prints come out cleaner this way, and there’s less post-printing cleanup required.
- Increased printing speed and reduced batch production time by 50%
- Multi-color prints
- Use of two materials with different properties
- Higher quality prints
Disadvantages of Dual Extruder 3D Printers
Need vs Want
There are a lot of great single extruder 3D printers on the market that many people prefer and believe are ideal for their purpose. It turns out that you may never really need the extra features and powers of a dual extruder machine. Dual extruders can be a great way to improve your 3D printing. However, if you are looking for something simpler, a single extruder may be all you need.
If you have a second extruder nozzle, you will need a second filament. This is an extra cost that can be challenging if you’re on a budget. Single extruders, which are less expensive, can deliver more power than you might expect. Dual extruders are more expensive but are worth the cost if you want to invest into a good machine.
Printer extruders need to be taken care of and maintained on a regular basis. The nozzle can become clogged, or there can be other issues with the hot end.
Since printers with two extruders have two of each of these, they are twice as likely to have problems.
Factors to Consider for the Best Dual Extruder 3D Printer – Buying Guide
Here are some factors to consider when trying to find the best dual extruder 3D printers.
Type of Printer
There are different types of 3D printers available. They come in different sizes, shapes, and printing technologies. They also use different materials to print. So it is important to know what you want to produce before choosing a printer. One small requirement can make a huge difference in the end results.
Just like regular 3D printers, dual extruder printers come with heated or non-heated print beds. A printer with a heated bed is usually more expensive, but it can offer better print quality by keeping the bottom layers warm. This reduces the chances of your prints warping during the printing process.
Dual extruder printer’s has more than one print head. This means that it can print two different things at the same time. Some dual extruder printers have one print head with two nozzles, which lets you use two different colors or materials to print an object.
The printing volume, also called the build volume, is how big an object you can print on a printer. For a printer at home, if you want to print something huge, it would have to be printed in parts and put together afterward. The average size of a 3D printer with a larger build plate is around 300 x 300 x 400mm.
If you are new to 3D printing, it is recommended that you buy a printer with automatic calibration. Automatic calibration is the process of adjusting a 3D printer so that it prints correctly. This can be a difficult task for beginners, but an automatic calibration feature can make it easier.
Almost all dual extruder 3D printers can print with popular filaments such as ABS and PLA. If you plan on using more uncommon or abrasive materials like carbon fiberfill or nylon, make sure the printer is compatible with these materials first. Consider buying a printer that uses a wide range of materials. It’s also recommend removable plates because they make taking prints off the bed very easy.
You should always make sure that any product you use is safe. Some products have materials that leak toxic gases. These fumes can be dangerous if you are exposed to them for a long time.
Always do some research online and read up on what others have said about the product, and choosing a reliable manufacturer. If possible, try to find an environmentally friendly product to use.
Dual extruding printers are more expensive than a regular single head printer and it’s one of the most important factors to consider. It also costs more to maintain because there are more parts. If you use different filaments at the same time, you need to factor in the higher costs for those materials.
Dual Extruder 3D Printer Printing Tips
It can be difficult to print an object with more than one extruder. Here are some tips.
- Enable prime towers – If you have more extruders, there will be more oozing. This is because the printer prints layers of plastic on top of each other to create the desired object. If there are more nozzles, then the inactive nozzle can be wiped clean after each layer is printed.
- Ooze shield – To stop oozing, use the ooze shield. A one-layer wall is built around the model to catch any residual material on the nozzle before each layer is printed.
- Correct slicer settings – Make sure your slicer software is set up correctly before you start. The first steps are to select the printer and to enable both extruders in the hardware settings. You may also need to measure the distance between the two and make sure it is reflected in the settings.
Are dual extruders worth it?
Most people find that a single extruder is still a great choice, especially for beginners, who may find that dual extrusion adds too much complexity to the printing process. Dual extrusion is more complex, which can lead to problems such as oozing and slicing can also become more complicated.
However, having dual extrusion is a feature that is good for almost everyone. With dual extrusion, it is much easier to create multi-colored prints. If this is important to you, then the extra costs will be worth it when you’re purchasing a 3D printer with dual extruders.
You can also use it to print models that have support material. This is helpful because the support material can hold the model up while the other color prints below it.
Does dual extruder print faster?
Dual extruders make the process go faster because you can have two different colors of filament going at the same time. This means that you don’t have to stop the machine in order to replace the filament, which is especially helpful when printing in multiple colors.
Should I buy a dual extruder 3D printer?
People usually buy dual extruder 3d printers because they can print in multiple materials. Printing with different materials can be useful for many reasons. For example, using different materials can help you create things that are stronger or more unique.
When printing with a dual extruder 3D printer, the process is more complex than when using a single extruder. In order for the printer to know which extruder should print each part of the model, the model file must be split into two parts, one for each extruder.
To specify which extruder prints which part of the file, you will need to follow the instructions for the software that is used with your specific dual extruder printer. This is usually a matter of selecting a drop-down box.
What is the purpose of dual extruder 3D printer?
The main purpose of a dual extruder 3D printer is that you can print with multiple materials. This means that you can use different colors and materials to print a single object.
How does a dual extruder 3D printer work?
3D printer with a dependent dual extruder will print two materials at the same time. This is done by having two nozzles that are always in contact with each other. The nozzles then move together in the same direction during the printing process. Some dual extruder designs are not able to lift away from the object they are printing. If this happens, the 3D printer parts can bump into the printed object and damage it.
How does a dual extruder 3D printer work?
Independent dual extruders can work on different tasks at the same time. This is helpful for more specialized projects. There are two main functions of independent dual extruders: duplication mode and mirror mode.
Duplication mode is when the printer prints two copies of the same object at the same time. Mirror mode is when the printer prints two copies of the same object, but one is its inverse. In both cases, extruders print one object each, which leads to faster and more efficient production. 3D printers with dual extruders can print objects without damaging them. This is done by lifting the printer away from the object while it is being printed.
Can 3D printers do multiple colors?
There are different ways that 3D printers can print. Printers that use one color of filament can only print in that color. Printers that use two colors can print in two colors at the same time by using two filaments. Printers that use multiple colors and gradients can mix different colors together to create a more complex print.
What is the most flexible 3D printing material?
Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is the most commonly used flexible material for 3D printing.
If you’ve been looking for a 3D printer that has dual extruders, but haven’t found one yet under $500, then this list is perfect for you.
All of the printers are of excellent quality and have some great features to offer.
We hope this post helps!