Tuesday, 23 August 2016 19:03

Limassol's small print

The drive extruder for 3D printers weighing only 33 grams. The drive extruder for 3D printers weighing only 33 grams.

Limassolian Lykle Schepers has just invented a device that has hobbyists’ hearts beating faster. The Dutchman, together with an Australian, has created a direct drive extruder for 3D printers weighing only 33 grams.
3D printing uses an additive process during which an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created – a process that starts with a virtual design of the object via a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file.

The extruder of a 3D printer is the part of the printer that pushes the plastic filament through the hot-end where it melts to be deposited in liquid or semi-liquid form as the successive layers within a 3D print.

Great inventive minds

Lykle Schepers has always had a passion for design and mechanical engineering.
He started as a designer of large scale weighing equipment and later worked for IBM in computer-aided design and manufacturing.

He has also designed and built his own road legal car – a dream he’d had since he was 14 – and patented a floating fire to heat small swimming pools.
His invention of the new extruder came from his own need to print moulds to cast aluminium parts. He saw how the 3D printer environment was still developing and realised he needed a better method to push filament.

So, he set out to engineer a better solution.

The ‘second half’ of the technical brain, Brian Gilbert, the director of a successful web development company, is based in Australia. The two inventors met through an online community Brian started to support 3D printers.

He has been interested in electronics from the tender age of seven and always liked to modify or repair things.

Lykle and Brian immediately hit it off and are now collaborating on improvements to their printers and on designing new 3D printing products. It was during the development of a printer of their own design that they created the extruder.

More speed and convenience for technology fans

The clever invention called ‘Zesty Nimble’ allows higher-quality printing of flexible materials and makes switching filaments easier thanks to an unobstructed view and full access to the filament path. “Those familiar with 3D printers will know of the headache this step, which resembles threading a needle, can cause,” says Schepers.

The Nimble’s light weight, achieved by separating the power source from the extruder itself, gives it greater filament pushing power and speed.

The device was launched earlier this month after iterating on it for close to a year and will soon be available via their website www.zesty.tech 

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of August 12th 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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