Hobbyist 3D printing has come a long way in the past decade and today’s printers are very impressive. But even the best FFF (Fused-Filament Fabrication) 3D printers today struggle with flexible filament. Those filaments, like TPE (ThermoPlastic Elastomer) and TPU (Thermoplastic PolyUrethane), have a tendency to get jammed up in the extruder and the “gooiness” of the material can cause clogs, stringing, and other extrusion problems. Most modern printers can handle these materials adequately if you tune the settings just right, but the experience is still frustrating and the results aren’t great. That’s why the new Atomstack Cambrian 3D printer was designed specifically for flexible filament.
The Atomstack Cambrian 3D printer is currently in the crowdfunding stage on Kickstarter and its campaign has already raised more than $75,000, which is more than ten times its funding goal. The printer has two extruder heads available that can be swapped to suit different projects. The first is intended for standard 1.75mm filament like ABS, PLA, and other materials that work in most 3D printers. The second is special and is this printer’s key feature. That head is built specifically to accept a proprietary 2.85mm TPR filament. TPR (ThermoPlastic Rubber) is a flexible material that was developed by Atomstack. Like TPE and TPU, it is available in a variety of shore hardness values ranging from very squishy like silicone to nearly rigid.
We haven’t received a review unit to test out, so we can’t comment on the Atomstack Cambrian’s ability to handle TPR compared to other printers and TPU. But the demonstration videos are certainly impressive. The filament extrudes smoothly without much stringing and the completed parts look very clean. Aside from that special 2.85mm head, the Atomstack Cambrian is conventional. It comes in two versions: the Cambrian Pro and the Cambrian Max. Those have a print volume of 235 x 235 x 250mm and 330 x 320 x 380mm, respectively. It has quiet TMC2225 drivers and a nice 4.3” LCD touchscreen for controlling the printer and loading files to print. The frame is constructed from extruded aluminum and the printer appears to be well-made, particularly because the cables are hidden in a very attractive way. All of the other specifications are comparable to just about every other budget FFF 3D printer on the market.
If you’ve been itching to print flexible parts and want to get your hands on the Atomstack Cambrian, the Kickstarter campaign will be running until February 19th. Early Birds can get the Cambrian Pro for $339 or the Cambrian Max for $439. 200g of TPR filament is included, and you can purchase additional 1kg rolls for $47 each (bulk discounts are available).