Taking Cyclops and Chimera to the Next Level

Taking Cyclops and Chimera to the Next Level

We're proud to announce new and improved dual extrusion from E3D. Chimera+ and Cyclops+ are swappable HotEnds designed specifically for both air- and water-cooled dual extrusion.

Cyclops+ is a two-filament, one-nozzle HotEnd specifically designed to switch between two colours. There’s never an idle nozzle oozing while the other is printing (so there's no need for an ooze shield), and there’s no tricky nozzle height calibration.

Chimera+ is a two-filament, two-nozzle HotEnd designed to print two separate materials. It's capable of handling two-colour prints but really excels when printing parts that require a dedicated support material.

Choose your fighter.

Why did they need upgrading?

It’s always been easy to swap a V6 for dual extrusion with a Chimera thanks to the HotEnd’s small footprint and shared hot side. When V6 blocks upgraded to cartridge-style thermistors and heater cartridges, Chimera was brought along for the ride. It also lent itself to easy modification with silicone socksVolcano, etc.

Cyclops, on the other hand, was harder to get to grips with. It never really integrated especially well with the rest of the E3D ecosystem, what with its own unique heater block that still required bead-style thermistors. This was something of a shame as for those with the time and willingness to tame the beast Cyclops had a lot of rewards to offer. 

Low-poly Bulbasaur by Flowalistik, Easter Island Maoi by marcfelis; both via Thingiverse.com


What we’ve done:

We’ve completely reworked the Cyclops heater block, demarcated from the older style as 'Cyclops+'. While the internal geometry remains similar (two filament inputs, one output nozzle), the outer design is very different indeed. Rather than being one aluminium cuboid, it’s been modified with faceted cutting. This modification has two major effects: firstly it reduces thermal mass by hogging out any redundant material from the block; secondly it reduces the amount of radiant heat generated by the HotEnd onto the print. This radiant heat would normally cause problems like keeping top-most printed layers from fully hardening and causing general gooey meltiness and resultant loss of definition in small, high-resolution prints. With it deflected away from the print surface, Cyclops+ can now be used to reliably print fine details with a 0.25mm nozzle.

Two Color World by ecohen, JonMonaghan and skimbal, via Thingiverse.com


Following the success of Titan Aqua we're even more convinced that water-cooling is part of the future for desktop 3D printing. We’ve created a watercooled heatsink suitable for both Chimera+ and Cyclops+. This brings all the practical 3D printing benefits as we discussed when releasing Titan Aqua like reliable printing in warm and heated environments and better performance with high-temperature materials. It’s also very very quiet.

Water IS cool.

However, this water-cooled heat sink has some benefits all of its own. For example, it’s so compact that we actually ditched plans to make a watercooled V6, as the latter would actually be bigger and more expensive than a watercooled chimera with only one hot side. So if you’ve been waiting for a water-cooled V6 hot-end then this is your moment; the Chimera Aqua is for you!

Chimera Aqua and Cyclops Aqua are all-metal HotEnds designed to be used in bowden set-ups. This means that they can happily operate in even higher chamber temperatures than Titan Aqua. Chimera Aqua can be modded with copper blocks and nozzles for super-high temperature printing.

Easter Island Maoi by marcfellis, Fractal Gear Vase by BenitoSanduchi; both via Thingiverse.com


Mad science:

As well as improving two classic E3D products, this upgrade opens up a lot of opportunities for mad science and pushing the limits of what’s possible with desktop 3D printing. We've been experimenting with extruding two colours through a Cyclops+ for a beautiful two-tone effect (rather like the colours in a tube of toothpaste), that makes even simple prints look quite spectacular.

Print with sharp transitions (as with this Bicolor Rocket by Fiacre) or experiment with colour transitions!

An important Cyclops+ feature is that the distance between the filament input paths in the heatsink and heater block is now 2mm wider. Consequently the air-cooled heatsink itself is also 2mm larger compared to the old-style Cyclops. This does mean that the Cyclops+ heatsink and heater block and Cyclops Aqua heatsink are NOT COMPATIBLE with the previous version of Cyclops. But, if you have the know-how, it also means that you can fit two Cyclops+ hot sides onto a Kraken body.

We call this monstrosity the Krakclops.

Swap between air- and water-cooling.

Now, please note that this is a very advanced build. It's not recommended for amateurs and enthusiasts (for your own sanity), but if you've got the skills and kit to make firmware tapdance at your command then this might be the project for you. With two Cyclops+ hot sides on a Kraken you get a four-input, two-output system with all the same simultaneous-extrusion capabilities as a standard Cyclops+. Or take it even further with one Cyclops+ hot side and two V6 hot sides, allowing you to have a dedicated support material, a dedicated build material, and two swappable additional materials all in one mad HotEnd.

We offered some sneak peeks of this kind of set-up at TCT this year and it didn't half cause some excitement.

Good boy, Derek. Twisted Gear Vase by Benito Sanduchi thing:31722

Things to watch out for:

  • The Cyclops+ is designed for colour-switching, not material switching. As such you should only print with two PLAs, two PETs, two ABSs, etc. This is due to difference in printing temperatures and because it guarantees the best inter-layer adhesion.

    MatX, with its excellent inter-layer adhesion and flow properties, prints like a dream with a Cyclops+. Traffic cone design by R3ND3R via Thingiverse.com
    • Similarly, if you're planning on using dedicated soluble or breakaway support material then Chimera+ is the better choice for you. Chimera+ is perfect for dual-material extrusion with E3D paired filaments (e.g. Scaffold and Edge), but can also be used for dual-colour printing.
    • Never use Cyclops+ with only one material feed. If one filament path of the hot side is empty then molten filament can travel up it, leading to jams, clogs, and a general mess.
    • Water-cooling kit sold separately.
    • The following parts are  NOT compatible with Cyclops+:
      • Old Cyclops heater blocks
      • Old Cyclops heatsinks
      • Bead type temperature sensors
      • Parts suitable for V6 systems.

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